November 9, 2012 |
When Jarrod Musselwhite, a 27-year-old single dad from rural Georgia, was feeling confused about his relationship with a girl he'd met online, there was one person he thought could help: an appealingly goofy New York photographer named Nev Schulman. Though an unlikely companion for the high-school-educated rocker, Schulman was no stranger to what Musselwhite was feeling. A protagonist of the controversial 2010 documentary "Catfish," Schulman had himself gone through a virtual romance that didn't turn out as expected.
November 8, 2012 |
"A Royal Affair" is not as racy as it sounds. This highly polished costume drama is exceptionally well-made and a model of intelligent restraint, but it is also unapologetically earnest and a bit on the bloodless side. For though the illicit physical passion implied by the title is definitely part of the story, this Danish film (the country's best foreign-language Oscar entry) is more about a transgressive couple's zeal for freedom and political reform, which while noble and involving, is not exactly barn-burner material.
November 8, 2012 |
The intimate romantic drama "28 Hotel Rooms" should prove a fine calling card for its first-time writer-director, Matt Ross. This tender, skillfully performed chamber piece tracks the more than two dozen times - over an indeterminate number of years - a complementary pair of otherwise engaged lovers meet up and bed down across a series of cities and hotel rooms. It's deeper, warmer and far less tawdry than it might sound as the pair, a jaunty novelist (an appealing Chris Messina)
November 7, 2012 |
Kristen Stewart is in high gear promoting "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2. " But that doesn't mean she's blabbing uncharacteristically freely. Stewart hit the "Today" show Wednesday for a sit-down with the gang, and after some chat about the film and especially her character Bella Swan's transition from human to vampire, she spoke publicly about her relationship with Robert Pattinson for the first time since the cheating scandal earlier this year. Obliquely, but publicly.
November 1, 2012 |
C-sharp minor - the mere words conjure up a sense of anxious edge, which is the feeling that drives "A Late Quartet. " Starring Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Mark Ivanir as the players, this is a chamber piece about chamber musicians that is set to Beethoven's emotional Opus 131 string quartet - in C-sharp minor. As much as the movie is shaped by the piece - Opus 131 is a complex, demanding work - "A Late Quartet" is not really about the music. Director Yaron Zilberman, a chamber music fan, is using the intimate collaboration required of a string quartet to examine the way in which lives become dangerously entangled over time.
October 25, 2012 |
In "The Loneliest Planet," the faces and bodies of the adventurous couple at the center of the film's journey do most of the talking, and pretty eloquently I might add. So driven is filmmaker Julia Loktev to immerse us in the couple's existential experience that dialogue is nearly nonexistent and stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Hani Furstenberg are often little more than specks on the horizon. It's as if Strasberg's Method acting techniques - that focused approach to "become" someone else, all baggage explored and absorbed by the actor - has been adopted by the director.
October 21, 2012 |
A month ago, people in and around the UCLA basketball program expected a quick end to the NCAA investigation of freshman Kyle Anderson. This wasn't supposed to be like teammate Shabazz Muhammad's case, they said. It wasn't supposed to drag on. But as the Bruins enter their second full week of practice, both players are facing a similar predicament. They have been given no timeline for a resolution and feel as if they are operating in the dark. "We have attempted to answer any question, provide any documentation that we can, but one of the problems is not knowing specifically any real issue or question that the NCAA has," said Robert Orr, the attorney representing Muhammad.
October 20, 2012 |
With a strong, strange sense of place that makes it something like a science fiction film that is nevertheless set in the here and now, "The Loneliest Planet" unfolds against the lush, exotic flora of the Caucasus Mountains in the country of Georgia. Writer-director Julia Loktev's film follows the story of Nica (Hani Furstenberg) and Alex (Gael García Bernal), a couple engaged to be married, as they backpack their way through the region. The film interlaces the couple's own relationship with that of their guide, Dato (Bidzina Gujabidze)
October 18, 2012 |
Raising vital questions about female sexuality in the cyber age, "Sexy Baby" studies a trio of subjects, sometimes in excruciating detail. The result is a kind of "Three Ages of Woman, With Plastic Surgery," that veers between insight and hand-wringing. Directors Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus aim to foster discussion, and toward that end they've made interesting choices to illustrate the mainstreaming of porn and the effect of the Internet on attitudes toward sex. They profile a 12-year-old Manhattanite, smart, privileged and virginal, as she spends endless hours shaping her racy Facebook image; a 22-year-old North Carolina schoolteacher who regards her upcoming labia reduction as a life-saving necessity; and a married 32-year-old former porn actress trying to start a family.
October 17, 2012 |
StemCells Inc. has a history not much different from those of dozens, even hundreds, of biotech companies all around California. Co-founded by an eminent Stanford research scientist, the Newark, Calif., firm has struggled financially while trying to push its stem cell products through the research-and-development pipeline. It collects about $1 million a year from licensing patents and selling cell cultures but spends well more than $20 million annually on R&D, so it runs deeply in the red. On the plus side, StemCells Inc. has had rather a charmed relationship with the California stem cell program, that $3-billion taxpayer-backed research fund known formally as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.