December 27, 2009 |
Bleak. Misanthropic. Sadistic. Unsettling. That's a sampling of adjectives that have attached themselves over the years to the films of Michael Haneke, whose latest award-winning feature, "The White Ribbon," opens Wednesday in Los Angeles. And those are from writers who admire the beauty, severity and mental prowess of the Austro-German director's work. Haneke's craftsmanship displays a switchblade-sharp precision and sang-froid intellectualism that causes reviewers to utter the hallowed words "Alfred Hitchcock."
December 25, 2009 |
Where are those puppets when we need them? The Montagues and Capulets, who feuded in "Romeo and Juliet," didn't have little stocking surrogates talking trash, although anything could happen in the next movie version. The Lakers and Boston Celtics did their own taunting, up close and personally. Even as friends, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird lived to grind the other in the dirt, as after one Celtics win in the Forum when Bird, sitting on the team bus, saw a disconsolate Johnson slink by. As Bird said later, "I thought, 'Suffer, you unprintable.
December 15, 2009
The Early Show The Golden Globe nominations; Anna Kendrick; Julian Lennon. (N) 7 a.m. KCBS Today Stanley Tucci; Golden Globe nominations; Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart"); Usher. (N) 7 a.m. KNBC KTLA Morning News (N) 7 a.m. KTLA Good Morning America Griffin Dunne. (N) 7 a.m. KABC Good Day L.A. (N) 7 a.m. KTTV Live With Regis and Kelly Guest co-host Anderson Cooper; Fergie ("Nine"); Chris Byrne. (N) 9 a.m. KABC The View Sigourney Weaver; Sam Worthington; Snoop Dogg.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 9, 2009 |
Mark Ritts, who played Lester the lab rat on the wacky children's science series "Beakman's World" and operated and voiced the puppet co-host Kino on the PBS children's show "Storytime," has died. He was 63. Ritts died of cancer Monday at his home in La Cañada Flintridge, said his wife, Teresa Parente. The son of puppeteers Paul and Mary Ritts -- their Ritts Puppets were a popular act that often appeared on television beginning in the early 1950s -- Ritts began working with puppets as a teenager when he assisted his parents on their TV shows.
December 7, 2009 |
It's an annual ritual -- the flooding of the music market with dozens if not hundreds of holiday-themed titles, and this year is no exception. Plenty of artists are releasing festive recordings, and labels are hoping all that good cheer will translate to some sales uplift. In the mix are offerings from a crystalline-voiced would-be American Idol and from a sandpaper-throated bona-fide American icon. Sting does some musical time-traveling, and one adventurous experimentalist beams the spirit of the season into the vastness of deep space.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 7, 2009 |
Steve Meltzer, a gently enthusiastic puppeteer who ran a one-man theater and museum operation, the Santa Monica Puppetry Center, for more than a decade, has died. He was 56. Two hours after he performed his final show and permanently closed his puppetry center on Aug. 16, Meltzer had a stroke. Days later, he had surgery for a brain tumor. He died Nov. 30 of melanoma at his home in Santa Monica, said his friend Mike Clark. "What's so amazing about Steve is that he was able to so fully live his dream, and so many of us do not," said Christine Papalexis, a puppeteer who preceded Meltzer as president of the Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry.
November 10, 2009 |
Happy birthday, "Sesame Street." You are 40 years old now, just a year younger than Mickey Mouse was the year you arrived on television -- and he was semi-retired by then, while you still report to work each day. This very morning you begin your 41st season, you and your cast of aging humans and ageless Muppets, with three first-episode veterans still in residence: Bob McGrath (who plays Bob), Loretta Long (called Susan) and Big Bird, who is still only 6 years old, although the man inside him, Caroll Spinney, will turn 76 next month.
August 17, 2009 |
There are a few things that would predispose me to like "Glenn Martin, DDS," a new stop-motion sitcom premiering tonight on Nick at Nite (what Nickelodeon becomes when prime time comes along). There is Kevin Nealon, who, though his work on "Saturday Night Live" never moved me much, I've greatly enjoyed on "Weeds"; here he lends his voice to the title character, a dentist who hits the road with his family in an RV-cum-office hopefully to bond. There is the great, great, great Catherine O'Hara -- from "SCTV" and much afterward, including "Beetlejuice" and "A Mighty Wind" -- as his wife, Jackie.
August 11, 2009 |
The beloved puppet show "Kukla, Fran and Ollie," the creation of puppeteer Burr Tillstrom, had millions of ardent fans, among them Orson Welles, John Steinbeck and James Thurber. The show was also a major influence on future generations of puppeteers, such as Jim Henson. In fact, the Muppets' creator publicly said, "We owe everything to Burr Tillstrom and 'Kukla, Fran and Ollie.' " The classic series is celebrating its 60th anniversary with the release today on DVD of 39 episodes of the show that aired on PBS and in syndication from 1969-71 and the unveiling of a new stamp commemorating the series, which was among the first to appeal to both children and adults.
July 16, 2009 |
Charlyne Yi, who co-wrote, executive produced and starred in the low-budget indie comedy "Paper Heart" (which screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival earlier this summer and will see limited release Aug. 7), came up with an inexpensive way to illustrate the true-life love stories of the interview subjects in her film: She used puppets, which she made herself. "I always enjoyed making puppets as a kid," Yi said. "I put on shows for my family.