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January 30, 2014 | By Inkoo Kang
Charles Manson has been behind bars since 1969, but he's still a hero to budding sociopath Chloe. When the prep-school dropout declares early in the film that her master plan is to become famous, it's clear she's trouble: In the movies, only bad people pursue fame. In her thick eyeliner and all-black outfits, Chloe (Gia Mantegna) could be just another cyber-bullying mean girl. Her greatest asset as a destroyer is her ability to hide in plain sight. But she's also model-gorgeous, which is how she gets two dopes to mistake her manipulations for fun. Nick (Devon Werkheiser)
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 14, 2014 | By Amy Kaufman
After convincing some 91,000 fans to donate $5.7 million toward the making of a "Veronica Mars" movie, you'd think show creator Rob Thomas would take a breather. After all, no film on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter had ever raised that much, and now Thomas finally had the greenlight from Warner Bros. to turn his television show into a feature film. But in fact, it was only when he finally had the serious chunk of change in hand that he really began to worry. "Once we raised the money and it became a fan-funded movie, there was this added pressure to give 'Veronica Mars' fans what they wanted," said the writer-director.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 13, 2012 | By Gary Goldstein
The largely engaging class-reunion dramedy "10 Years" allows audiences to pretend they went to high school with the likes of Channing Tatum, Justin Long, Rosario Dawson, Anthony Mackie and Kate Mara. But at some point, they are also going to have to pretend the film, written and directed by Jamie Linden (the screenwriter of "Dear John" and the fine "We Are Marshall"), is deeper and more essential than it actually is; there's a lot of been-there, done-that going on. That said, this very distant, slightly more youthful cousin to "The Big Chill" presents a convincing version of a 10-year high school reunion, one that eschews excess and melodrama for a wistful visit with a clutch of decent guys and gals who've chugged forward over the last decade, some more happily - and expectedly - than others.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 13, 2014 | By Robert Abele
As disarmingly bracing at times as the stunning Alberta mountains behind its love-frazzled characters, the romantic comedy "The Right Kind of Wrong" works often in spite of its willful eccentricities. Failed novelist turned dishwasher Leo (Ryan Kwanten) is an unwitting poster boy for marital disappointment thanks to his ex-wife's popular blog and book, "Why You Suck. " In rebounding, Leo decides feisty tour guide Colette (Sara Canning) is the woman of his dreams, despite the fact that he meets her on her wedding day. What follows is what you'd expect: a hapless dreamer's grand gestures, flabbergasted hand-wringing by the newlywed - whose bohemian mother (Catherine O'Hara)
ENTERTAINMENT
March 14, 2014 | By Amy Kaufman
After convincing some 91,000 fans to donate $5.7 million toward the making of a "Veronica Mars" movie, you'd think show creator Rob Thomas would take a breather. After all, no film on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter had ever raised that much, and now Thomas finally had the greenlight from Warner Bros. to turn his television show into a feature film. But in fact, it was only when he finally had the serious chunk of change in hand that he really began to worry. "Once we raised the money and it became a fan-funded movie, there was this added pressure to give 'Veronica Mars' fans what they wanted," said the writer-director.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 13, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Maybe there really are supernatural forces at work in this world. How else to explain "Beautiful Creatures"? The movie is an intriguing, intelligent enigma - three words not typically associated with teen romances. A couple of unknown heartthrobs provide the film's X-factor, while its angst lies in true love's struggle against otherworldly powers, Civil War flashbacks, literary conceits and high school friction. Besides, any film that credibly references poet Charles Bukowski has my attention.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 3, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
K2 in the Himalayas is known to climbers as the most difficult of mountains, a savage peak, the second highest in the world, with the power to cloud men's minds. On the morning of Aug. 1, 2008, however, everything looked easy. "Conditions were perfect," recalls someone who was there. "It was a day in a million. " Or so it began. Then, within 48 hours, things went drastically, horribly wrong. Eleven climbers perished, including seven who had reached the top and died on the way down.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
David O. Russell is a director on a hot streak, an audacious original with an affinity for edgy American madness. His dizzying, outlandishly entertaining "American Hustle" is a 21-first century screwball farce about 20th-century con men, scam artists and those who dream of living large, a film that is big hearted and off the wall in equal measure. As he demonstrated in his previous two pictures, "Silver Linings Playbook" and "The Fighter," out of control people are Russell's specialty.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Don't look to be entranced by "Trance. " It starts out like a house afire, but by the time it's over we're the ones feeling burned. A slick heist tale with more twists than sense, this is one movie that ends up outsmarting itself. Both the good and the bad things in "Trance" are traceable to director Danny Boyle, who assembled the capable cast (James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson) and has long wanted to film this project. As co-written by Joe Ahearne (whose 2001 British TV movie was the basis for this production)
ENTERTAINMENT
October 18, 2012 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
The shocker about "The Sessions," starring Helen Hunt and John Hawkes, is not the full-frontal nudity, or its provocative story of a sex surrogate who helps a 38-year-old in an iron lung lose his virginity. It's not even the priest's blessing allowing the out-of-wedlock sex acts. Rather, it's the humanistic way in which "The Sessions" deals with what sex at its best can be - emotional, spiritual, physical, pleasurable, soul-satisfying, life-affirming. In a country that embraces cinematic violence with such ease but blushingly prefers to keep sex in the shadows or under the sheets, the grown-up approach of "The Sessions" is rare.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 3, 2014 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
As the evening wore on - and did it ever wear on - the many questions everyone had going into Sunday night's Academy Awards show boiled down to but one: Would this evening be a single coronation or a double one? With "Gravity" cleaning up on the technical and craft side, as expected, eventually winning seven categories it was nominated for (including director for Alfonso Cuarón), there was only one thing left to decide: Would this film's momentum sweep the board and bring home the best picture statuette as well?
ENTERTAINMENT
February 27, 2014 | By Robert Abele
After a strong Olympic showing, Russia isn't securing Oscar gold with "Stalingrad," which was submitted for the foreign-language film Academy Award but didn't make the final list of nominees. But there's plenty of competitively epic epicness on display nonetheless. If you're making the first Russian film to be released in 3-D and Imax, after all, why not scorch the screen with the blood, fire, ash and emotion swirling around the decisive Eastern Front battle of World War II? Director Fedor Bondarchuk's fervidly realized, effects-laden set pieces include a torturous Volga river crossing, a blazing fuel depot, a plane crash and grueling firefights between German and Russian forces camped out in decimated buildings.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 22, 2014 | By Rebecca Keegan
For some it's the Super Bowl, for others Olympic ice hockey - but for many, Oscar producer Neil Meron believes, the season's big game takes place in black-tie. "The Oscars is a sport," Meron said in an interview Thursday from a small office backstage at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre, where a skeleton crew had assembled to start preparing for the Academy Awards on March 2. "There's the excitement of watching something live, as it happens. " Meron and his partner, Craig Zadan, are returning to produce the Oscars for a second year, this time bringing on Ellen DeGeneres as host for a second time and focusing the show on the theme of movie heroes, from Atticus Finch to Batman.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2014 | By Susan King
Romanian new-wave director Calin Peter Netzer ("Medal of Honor") and screenwriter Razvan Radulescu ("The Death of Mr. Lazarescu") were bouncing around ideas for a film about a dysfunctional family when they began talking about their own relationships with their parents. "We discovered we both have some kind of domineering mother," said Netzer over the phone from his home in Bucharest. The result, "Child's Pose," which opens Friday, is an Oedipal tale in the guise of a psychological thriller about a domineering mother and her obsessive love for her now-adult son. BEST MOVIES OF 2013: Turan | Sharkey | Olsen "Child's Pose," which won the Golden Bear last year at the Berlin Film Festival and was Romania's Oscar submission for foreign language films, derives its title from the well-known yoga pose.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2014 | By Sheri Linden
The latest incarnation of "Thérèse Raquin," Emile Zola's 1867 novel of lust and murder, arrives not as a bodice ripper but a bodice unbuttoner. Aiming for the screw-tightening tension of noir, writer-director Charlie Stratton lands in a murky region of the gray scale with "In Secret," a film rich in atmosphere but emotionally as blunt as its title. With varying degrees of success, Elizabeth Olsen, Oscar Isaac, Tom Felton and Jessica Lange struggle against the shaky mix of melodrama, black comedy, ghost story and a soupçon of Grand Guignol.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2014 | By Martin Tsai
The extraterrestrial species that the denizens of "Almost Human" have close encounters with is of the parasitic variety that also possesses the ability to manipulate the behavior of its hosts. Mark (Josh Ethier) reemerges two years after his abduction by aliens and immediately embarks on a killing spree. With circumstances of Mark's inexplicable disappearance now recurring, his best friend, Seth (Graham Skipper), and now-ex girlfriend, Jen (Vanessa Leigh), begin fearing the worst.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 5, 2013 | By John Ridley / ‘12 Years a Slave'
A nearly universal desire among writers is to make themselves conspicuous in their work. It's completely understandable. When a script that you've spent months - if not years - writing has your name on the title page, who wouldn't want the material inside to crackle with style; full of snappy rejoinders that audiences gleefully repeat as they exit the theater. Moments that scream: "I wrote that. " Having worked the whole of my professional life toward achieving such, it's kind of ironic that in adapting Solomon Northup's "Twelve Years a Slave" I would end up taking the exact opposite approach.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 4, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
To begin talking about the new indie film "The Way, Way Back," I want to go way, way back. Praise for the movie's excellent cast, anchored by Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Allison Janney and teenage rock Liam James, will come later. As good as the actors are, we must begin with the originality of the screenplay by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. The writers, who also co-direct and have small roles in the film, take a fairly straightforward story of coming of age in a time of divorce, with all the frictions that arise as kids find themselves dealing with mom and dad's new loves, but they make it feel fresh.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Is McG going soft on us? Has the director behind so much of the 21st century's over-the-top action - from the light froth of his "Charlie's Angels" reboot to the post-apocalyptic dark of "Terminator Salvation" - tapped into a more sentimental side? "3 Days to Kill," starring Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfeld and Amber Heard, certainly suggests a different emotional temperature. McG is a filmmaker in transition, mixing metaphors, genres and feelings in this action-thriller, espionage-comedy, family-drama jumble.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2014 | By Sheri Linden
There's an endemic problem in the world of dark crime comedies: filmmakers getting stuck in a self-reflexive loop, more interested in quoting the genre's movie-quoting movies than in telling a story. Between the inevitable nods to Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie, fresh riffs are hard to come by. Dutch director Arne Toonen doesn't invent any in "Black Out," but he does corral the requisite collection of "colorful" characters, from the dumb to the deranged, in the desperate adventures of a reformed hood who gets dragged back into the criminal underbelly on the eve of his wedding.
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