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July 8, 2013 | By Patrick Kevin Day
It's a warm spring day in downtown Los Angeles, but inside the gloomy Palace Theatre it's 1926 Detroit and actor Ken Marino is playing Harry Houdini as he dies onstage. Literally dying - staggering and heaving, attempting card tricks and failing and finally stumbling and falling down, uttering his final words to his wife, Bess. And here is where you realize this isn't the filming of a standard biopic. As Marino performs Houdini's death, he must work to lip-sync his dialogue to a prerecorded soundtrack played over speakers in the theater.
June 23, 2013 | By Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times
"On the night of June 23, 1967, the meaning of 'police brutality' took on an electrifying reality for thousands of respectable middle-class residents of Los Angeles who participated in a peaceful anti-Vietnam demonstration that was to have taken them the few blocks from Cheviot Hills Park past the Century Plaza Hotel, where President Johnson was addressing a $1,000-a-couple Democratic fundraiser. Most never made it. " - From an account of the march written a few days later by my father, Richard Abcarian, a San Fernando Valley State College professor who'd brought his family to Century City that night.
June 11, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The trial of George Zimmerman, which opened with jury selection Monday, will address the legal charges against the former neighborhood watchman in the death of Trayvon Martin. But long after the jury reaches its verdict, what happened in Sanford, Fla., on the evening of Feb. 26, 2012, will continue to be litigated in living rooms, barrooms and Internet chat rooms. That is partly because the evidence is ambiguous and only one of the two men who clashed that night is still alive, but it also reflects the fact that so many Americans have invested themselves emotionally in one of two competing narratives about what occurred.
June 1, 2013 | By Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times
Those who tuned in to President Obama's speech last month on counterterrorism and national security heard some pretty remarkable things: The commander in chief defending his decision to sanction the killing of a fellow citizen without due process, even while acknowledging that it's unconstitutional. A critique of the expansion of presidential powers that allowed him to do so. A warning that carrying out such assassinations on U.S. soil would be, well, a bad idea. It's enough to make even a devoted student of current affairs pause to reflect: Just how did we get here?
May 28, 2013 | By Susan King
Santa Monica's Edgemar Center for the Arts is the host of the first Cinema at the Edge Independent Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday and continues through Sunday. “We're delighted to give independent filmmakers an opportunity to screen their films in a community setting on the Westside,” artistic director and festival founder Michelle Danner said in a statement. The festival will present screenings, parties and artists' programs that celebrate indie film. Movies competing in the narrative feature, documentary and short film categories will be eligible for the Jury and Audience Awards.
April 16, 2013 | By Raja Abdulrahim, Los Angeles Times
ANTAKYA, Turkey - In newly printed textbooks at dozens of Syrian refugee schools, a small piece of Middle East geography has been amended. Seventy-five years ago, Turkey annexed the northern Syrian territory of Hatay against the will of Syria, but maps in Syrian schoolbooks during the lengthy reign of the Assad family have continued to include Hatay inside Syria's borders. The maps in the new schoolbooks show Hatay in Turkey, one of a number of political changes made by the Syrian opposition group that published the books.
April 9, 2013 | By Michael McGough
Are Roman Catholics, evangelical Christians and “ultra-Orthodox” Jews religious extremists comparable to the Ku Klux Klan and Al Qaeda? Yes, according to a PowerPoint slide that was apparently used by the U.S. Army Reserve in a training program. The briefing materials, which seem to have been discarded a year ago, have prompted complaints by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services and the conservative Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. The slide show is, at best, sloppy and simplistic.
April 1, 2013 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Anyone who dismisses television viewing as a passive activity clearly hasn't watched "Game of Thrones. " HBO's crown jewel requires the sort of OCD focus and possibly the same picture-plastered, color-coded white board that Carrie Mathison used to track down Abu Nazir in Showtime's "Homeland. " As with the George R.R. Martin series from whence it sprung, "Game of Thrones" has redefined "sprawling epic. " And as Season 3 opens, the sprawl factor is perilously high, with the multitudinous characters - seven families, people, from seven kingdoms - scattered all over Westeros, their story lines progressing in an ever-climbing wall of overlapping layers, a citadel of narrative.
March 21, 2013 | By Mark Olsen
In "Bob's New Suit," a family deals with a series of intersecting dramas. Bob and Jenny (Hunter S. Bodine and Hayley DuMond) decide to get married just as Bob's sister Stephanie (Shay Astar) announces she is transitioning from female to male and will now go by Steve. Their parents, Polly and Buster (Suzi Bodine and John Bennett Perry), struggle to take it all in as Buster deals with escalating health issues. Though Alan Howard, a former studio executive and film critic in his debut as a writer-director, captures the way in which personal and family dramas intersect so there is not one episode or incident that prevails in making life chaotic, he also can't stop himself from piling problems one on top of another like a late-night sandwich gone out of control.
March 14, 2013 | By Gary Goldstein
A kind of crash course in 50-plus years of environmentalism, the documentary "A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet," adapted from the book by Philip Shabecoff, proves a worthy reminder of how much has been done to help heal our planet's ecological woes as well as how much remains to be achieved. REVIEW: More movie reviews from the Times Writer-director Mark Kitchell ("Berkeley in the Sixties") efficiently divides the film into five acts - "Conservation," "Pollution," "Alternatives," "Going Global" and "Climate Change" - narrated, respectively, by Robert Redford, Ashley Judd, Van Jones, Isabel Allende and Meryl Streep.
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