February 20, 2014 |
Part sword-and-sandal spectacle, part disaster epic, "Pompeii" accomplishes its ambitious agenda to largely engrossing effect. Sure, it's not the brainiest of outings, but director Paul W.S. Anderson (the man behind four of the "Resident Evil" films) keeps the action apace and the lava a-flowing with workmanlike energy and sufficient visual dazzle. Set in AD 79, immediately before and during the cataclysmic eruption of southern Italy's Mt. Vesuvius, the script by Janet Scott Batchler & Lee Batchler and Michael Robert Johnson places a star-crossed romance at the center of one of the ancient world's most legendary calamities.
February 4, 2014 |
In the northeast of China, at the Yixian and Jiufotang formations, scientists have discovered thousands of exquisitely preserved fossils of plants and birds, dinosaurs and mammals. Together they make up the Jehol Biota -- an ecosystem, preserved in ash, that dates back nearly 130 million years. Some of these fossils are so complete that researchers can determine what a dinosaur had for breakfast on the day it died. Others include impressions of an animal's muscles and skin, as well as hair, feathers and scales. The fossils tell us that back in the lower Cretaceous period this land was humid, and dotted with conifer forests and lakes.
November 16, 2003 |
The longest lines start at the ancient brothel, where tourists ogle the erotic frescoes and terra-cotta sculptures. Up and down Pompeii's stone streets, hordes of visitors crowd around the restored ruins of elegant villas, examine the chipped remains of fading mosaics, and plod through the city that nearly 2,000 years ago met its death under a deluge of volcanic ash, lava and poisonous gas.
November 14, 1997 |
Guido Barone doesn't make the rules here, so he can only wince at the latest assault on this ancient Roman city--by an army of backpacks. Squeezing into Pompeii's fragile ruins on the backs of tourists, they scrape precious wall paintings as their bearers pivot recklessly in overcrowded spaces. "You cannot force people to leave those things outside," Barone says in dismay amid a traffic jam in the House of the Vettii.
October 8, 2003 |
With Mt. Vesuvius in the background, a determined Pope John Paul II indirectly confronted growing concern over his failing health Tuesday, urging the Catholic faithful to pray for him "today and always." The pope traveled by helicopter to the ancient ruins of this southern Italian town, making a public appearance outside Rome for the first time since a four-day trip to Slovakia in early September left him exhausted and weak.
January 28, 2005 |
Whether we remember history or not, it seems we are condemned to repeat it, at least those of us with a television, the natural home of documentaries and docudramas and biopics. Two sorts of historical re-creations are on view Sunday, both of which concern green and pleasant lands overtaken by an unstoppable force.
December 3, 1995 |
Watch the sun rise over Stonehenge and try to decipher the centurions' graffiti on its ancient pillars. See Dresden Cathedral rise from the rubble of wartime Germany. Relive Pompeii in all its ancient glory before Vesuvius destroyed the Roman city. In the world of Virtual Heritage, one simply straps on a headset and takes off in a time machine through history. Artists and scientists have combined to help us walk through ancient sites armed only with a set of goggles and a soaring imagination.
August 31, 2003 |
Sorrento, Italy "Good kids, good kids," the concierge assured me as I stood in the lobby waiting for my 15-year-old daughter and her friend to return to the hotel. It was 1:05 a.m. in Sorrento, and the girls, who were out with a group of Italian teenagers they had met that evening, were supposed to have been back at 1 a.m. "Very good kids," the concierge said as he smiled and shifted his weight from the heels to the toes of his shiny black shoes. "It is better not to worry," he told me, rocking back and forth.
October 15, 1989 |
On a June evening 1,400 years ago, a volcano suddenly erupted in what is now El Salvador and sealed an entire prehistoric settlement in a time capsule, complete with the dirty dishes of a civilization that flourished 600 years before Columbus arrived in the New World.
April 29, 2009 |
It's been 10 years since the Los Angeles County Museum of Art brought us "Pompeii: Life in a Roman Town." "In Stabiano: Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite," an exhibition of antiquities excavated from a site near Pompeii, toured the country from 2004 to 2008, stopping at the San Diego Museum of Art in 2006. Now here comes "Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples," opening Sunday at LACMA.