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ENTERTAINMENT
June 20, 2013 | By Robert Abele
If last year's quietly wrenching Oscar-winner "Amour" revealed the artistic heights achievable by a story of lifetime love and imminent death, "Unfinished Song" reveals an all-too-common middlebrow miasma of easy tears and microwaved warmth. Much like a critic faced with one too many movies like this, cranky pensioner Arthur (Terence Stamp) thinks of the eccentric, ebullient choir practice his ailing wife (Vanessa Redgrave) goes to at the senior center as a waste of time. Perky choir director Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton)
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ENTERTAINMENT
June 20, 2013 | By Robert Abele
If last year's quietly wrenching Oscar-winner "Amour" revealed the artistic heights achievable by a story of lifetime love and imminent death, "Unfinished Song" reveals an all-too-common middlebrow miasma of easy tears and microwaved warmth. Much like a critic faced with one too many movies like this, cranky pensioner Arthur (Terence Stamp) thinks of the eccentric, ebullient choir practice his ailing wife (Vanessa Redgrave) goes to at the senior center as a waste of time. Perky choir director Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton)
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OPINION
November 8, 2003
Re "Real Test Is, Did the Kids Learn to Think?" Commentary, Nov. 5: Roger H. Weaver's point that K-12 education is suffering from testing that does not test education other than rote learning is too accurate. This current testing is, however, something that should come as no surprise. It is the result of years of attempts by certain elements to weaken public education to the point of ineffectiveness. A decade or so ago, California developed the CLAS (California Learning Assessment System)
ENTERTAINMENT
April 25, 2013 | By Robert Abele
Spycraft has long been associated with the use of numbers stations - shortwave radio outposts sending cryptic numerical messages over the airwaves, often in a female voice. The thriller "The Numbers Station" employs this low-fi, high-enigma gimmick for a story about a disillusioned CIA hit man (John Cusack) assigned to protect a pretty American numbers reader (Malin Akerman) posted in a bunker in the English countryside. When the pair are ambushed in a brazen siege on the station, they try to suss out who their enemies are while overcoming each other's increasing mistrust.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 10, 2003 | Dean Kuipers, Special to The Times
Hailed for her socially conscious storytelling raps on albums by the Roots, 4 Hero and Bahamadia, hip-hop poet Ursula Rucker on Saturday offered a packed house at the Temple Bar a series of primers in personal empowerment. But rapping and singing over moody backdrops by guitarist and producer Tim Motzer, Rucker lacked both the lyrical punch and the beats to really get heads nodding. Rucker's focus on self cut off access to her entertaining slice-of-life stories and her humor.
OPINION
April 29, 2008
Re "Showbiz grizzly kills trainer-stuntman," April 23 This bear killed its trainer for "unknown reasons"? Give me a break. How about these reasons: living in an unnatural, restricted environment; being subjected daily to the will of humans; performing rote and meaningless activities under duress? How many attacks will it take before humans get it -- you can't tame a wild animal, nor should you try. Ronna Siegel Van Nuys
ENTERTAINMENT
November 17, 1990
Jess Bravin's comedy review ("Rich Little Makes a Weak Impression," Nov. 13) was "right on target." With an audience composed of citizens who worked diligently to raise funds for some 40 charities, he should be ashamed of his performance. In his rote presentation of "old" material, not once did he seem in contact with his audience. His eyes were closed most of the time. I sincerely doubt he could find a valid excuse for such a dismal performance. Bravin was indeed correct about Julie Budd--she was absolutely marvelous and, in addition, donated funds from the sale of her new album to the buyer's charity choice.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 8, 1988 | MIKE BOEHM
* 1/2TOTO. "The Seventh One." Columbia. There are moments here when Toto steps out of the corporate rock board room, doffs its pinstripes and creates something that breathes with honest emotion.
SPORTS
May 7, 1989 | TOM FRIEND, Washington Post
Free agent Darrell Green emphasized Tuesday he's "not at war" with the Washington Redskins, his employer of six years' standing, and has plans to attend next week's minicamp. Recent projections had been less promising, with Coach Joe Gibbs fearing a Green holdout, but the cornerback said he is thrilled a trade with Denver fell through and added that contract talks with the Redskins should progress amicably. "They didn't trade me, didn't you hear?" said Green, who was shopped to the Broncos for a No. 1 draft pick and a player.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 8, 1985
On the morning of June 13 we arrived in Hollywood, looking for our 15-year-old son, Jeff, who had run away from home 10 days earlier. We found ourselves at the Hollywood YMCA and were subsequently introduced to the director of the International Center, Michael J. Phillips. At this time we had no idea as to our son's whereabouts, we did now know what to do and we were nearly frantic with worry and frustration. It was only through the unremitting efforts and persistent attention of Mike Phillips that we regained our lost son in less than 7 hours.
OPINION
July 15, 2012
The people of a large and mighty nation wonder why their schools can't do more to imitate those of another large, powerful nation across the Pacific Ocean. But this time it's not the United States seeking to emulate the schools of an Asian country - it's China seeking to emulate ours, at least to some extent. China is pushing for more emphasis on building creative skills and less on high-stress, high-stakes testing, according to a recent article in the New York Times . Under the existing system, a single entrance exam determines whether students attend college, and which one. Talk about teaching to the test: The last year of high school is often given over to cramming for the exam.
OPINION
July 12, 2010
Reducing the pay of state workers to the federal hourly minimum wage of $7.25 until a state budget is adopted will help close California's $19.1-billion budget shortfall. Except that it won't. The supposed savings are a drop in the budget ocean and would have to be repaid anyway after the Legislature finally adopts and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger finally signs a balanced budget. But the pay cut would at least punish the people responsible for the state's current condition. Except that it wouldn't.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 2008 | Mark Olsen, Olsen is a freelance writer.
Though it never actually happened, just imagine this assemblage of talent in a room together: Freddie Prinze Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, Val Kilmer, Anne Bancroft (in her last role), Chris Kattan, Malcolm McDowell, Louis Gossett Jr., Michael Clarke Duncan, Eric Idle, Kelly Ripa and, presiding over it all like some mad master of ceremonies, Burt Reynolds.
OPINION
April 29, 2008
Re "Showbiz grizzly kills trainer-stuntman," April 23 This bear killed its trainer for "unknown reasons"? Give me a break. How about these reasons: living in an unnatural, restricted environment; being subjected daily to the will of humans; performing rote and meaningless activities under duress? How many attacks will it take before humans get it -- you can't tame a wild animal, nor should you try. Ronna Siegel Van Nuys
NEWS
August 30, 2007 | Randy Lewis, Times Staff Writer
George Harrison liked to say that "if you're going to be in a band, it may as well be the Beatles." That said, who can fault singer-songwriter Neil Finn for similarly concluding, upon realizing that he missed playing in a band, that there was none he'd rather be in than Crowded House?
FOOD
December 6, 2006 | S. Irene Virbila
Franz Hirtzberger is a star in the Wachau, the region of Austria famous for world-class dry whites made on steep, terraced vineyards west of Vienna. With a little luck, you can still find his beguiling "Rotes Tor" Gruner Veltliner from the excellent 2005 vintage. (The federspiel refers to a level of ripeness.) What I love about this wine is its fragrance -- all ripe, golden fruit, with a touch of bitter citrus.
SPORTS
December 22, 1996 | DAVE GOLDBERG, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Six years ago, Lomas Brown was trying to figure out the Pro Bowl voting. "Everyone tells me I'm one of the best left tackles in the NFL, and I've never made the Pro Bowl," he said. "Why not?" Brown didn't make it because the Lions weren't very good then and didn't play on Monday night. But he was told that once he made it, he'd be on it forever. Voila. The Lions got better that year, Lomas Brown made the Pro Bowl and he hasn't missed since.
SPORTS
January 11, 1987 | CHRIS COBBS, Times Staff Writer
While the rest of the college football world frets over such fluffy matters as a playoff system, drug tests and the Boz, folks here are preoccupied with a real stomach-churning issue--capital punishment. Southern Methodist University, the most flagrant sinner in college sports, is being fitted for a noose. The institution that gave football Doak Walker, Don Meredith and Eric Dickerson is facing the athletic equivalent of the death penalty, a two-year suspension from football competition.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 9, 2006 | James Ricci, Times Staff Writer
By negative definition, a digression is not a digression if all things are connected. Which is why Barry Smolin, who is supposed to be teaching James Joyce, is kneeling on a desk in the middle of his classroom, giving a dramatic reading of Dylan Thomas' poem, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night." He is a small man of 45 in black jeans and chalk-dusted black T-shirt.
NATIONAL
October 14, 2004 | Paul Brownfield, Times Staff Writer
Here's what you knew, 20 ponderous minutes into this: Both candidates had developed themselves into such commanding reciters of their own favorite figures and factoids that the final debate, as a TV experience, was going to be about as exciting as catching an Office of Management and Budget hearing on C-SPAN. President Bush: "He's been a senator for 20 years. He voted to increase taxes 98 times. When they tried to reduce taxes, he voted against that 127 times." Sen. John F.
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