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February 15, 2014
Re "History lessons, with popcorn," Opinion, Feb. 12 Zach P. Messitte is spot-on regarding the influence that films with historical backgrounds have on today's college students. Since 1991 I've been teaching at USC's School of Cinematic Arts. I've witnessed many changes there, both in technology and student attitudes, particularly when a historical incident is adapted into a film. In my generation I saw how films like "Apocalypse Now" and "The Deer Hunter" affected American audiences regarding Vietnam.
February 13, 2014 | By Alicia Banks
Former "Grey's Anatomy" star Isaiah Washington, who has three projects in the 22nd annual Pan African Film Festival running through this weekend, says the fatherly thread in his latest projects is no coincidence. The actor portrays a small-town father who guides a son struggling with his sexuality in "Blackbird," based on the novel by Larry Duplechan. That screening, on Sunday, follows an earlier showing of Washington's star turn in "Blue Caprice," which portrays a twisted father-son-like relationship between John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, the men behind the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks around Washington, D.C. For Washington's third project in the festival, he served as co-producer on Stacey Muhammad's Web series, "For Colored Boys," a spin on the popular 1975 poem-turned-film "For Colored Girls…" The series, screening at the festival Friday night, follows a father's yearning to reunite with his family after a lengthy incarceration.
February 13, 2014 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - Lawyers in the upcoming trial of an alleged top Al Qaeda leader reached a compromise Thursday to allow his defense attorney to submit written questions to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, with government lawyers allowed to review the questions and answers from the presumed Sept. 11 mastermind to ensure no classified material is included. If government national security officials clear those replies, that could lead to highly dramatic testimony from Mohammed during the New York trial of Sulaiman abu Ghaith, possibly through a closed-circuit feed or videotape from Guantanamo Bay. The complex turn of events came after Mohammed agreed to help the legal defense of Abu Ghaith, who is charged with criminal conspiracy in connection with the Sept.
February 12, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
HOMS, Syria - They appeared like a defeated army, gray blankets draping their shoulders, baggy clothes flowing over withered frames, faces gaunt and exhausted. At least half a dozen had lost limbs; others arrived in wheelchairs and on stretchers. Some wore bloody bandages. Many dragged heavily on cigarettes, like condemned men savoring their last smokes. "We couldn't stand it in there anymore," said Wassim, 23, a scraggly survivor seated Wednesday with other men at a glass-topped round table in a once-elegant banquet hall here, now a tattered makeshift shelter on the edge of a war zone.
February 12, 2014 | By Dennis McLellan
In a day before comedy was laced with irony and studded with mean-spirited barbs, Sid Caesar was more than funny. He was hilariously, outrageously, tear-inducingly, gather-up-the-whole-family-for-this funny . A veteran of the Catskills with an elastic face, a knack for gibberish and a mind that could find comedy gold in the workings of a Bavarian cuckoo clock, Caesar was the king of live television sketch comedy in the 1950s. Some of the best writers - Carl Reiner, Neil Simon and Mel Brooks - vied to work for him. No slouches at comedy themselves, they were dazzled by his genius and, at times, horrified by his temper; he once tore the sink from a hotel bathroom and threatened to throw Brooks out an 18th-story window.
February 11, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
The large, crazed bunnies known as Rabbids -- spawned from the "Rayman" video game franchise and popularized in an animated TV series -- are headed to the big screen, Sony Pictures Entertainment and French game publisher Ubisoft announced Monday. The two studios are partnering to develop a feature film based on the characters. Jean-Julien Baronnet, executive director of Ubisoft Motion Pictures, said in a statement that Sony "has tremendous experience developing hybrid live-action-and-animated blockbusters for audiences around the world, which makes them a natural fit for what we want to achieve with a Rabbids film.
February 11, 2014 | By Ryan Faughnder
Networks, advertisers and tech start-ups have been trying to better engage consumers who increasingly play with their smartphones and tablets while watching TV. According to a TV industry study, they have a long way to go.  Companies have been putting out apps that let viewers vote during reality shows, participate in polls, play trivia games and comment on the episodes with other viewers, encouraging fans to participate along with the programs...
February 11, 2014 | By Monte Morin
Yearly mammography screenings for women ages 40 to 59 do not reduce breast cancer deaths, even though they make a diagnosis of illness more likely, according to a long-term study of nearly 90,000 Canadian women. The research , published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal, is the latest in a series of studies that question the value of annual breast X-rays for pre-menopausal women and whether too many women are being "overdiagnosed" by the popular test. "We found absolutely no benefit in terms of reduction of deaths from the use of mammography," said study leader Dr. Anthony Miller, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
February 8, 2014 | By Glenn Whipp
Dinner and a movie. Yes, I realize it represents a profound failure of imagination, but this was the date I had proposed to my wife for Valentine's Day next week. But sometimes life's obligations (not to mention two kids) limit your options for an evening out, so you flail around, punt and resort to an old standby. It still beats takeout and loading the dishwasher, right? Maybe not. A cursory glance at the theater listings reveals a slate of movies not exactly geared toward anyone whose age or IQ exceeds 30. "That Awkward Moment"?
February 6, 2014
Re "Better history through storytelling," Opinion, Feb. 3 Nicholas Meyer thinks that "no one learns history (or civics, remember them?) anymore. " He blames the "dismantled" school system and says movies that are based on history but alter facts are picking up the slack. The same complaint appeared in the New York Times - on April 4, 1943, in an article with the title, "Ignorance of U.S. History Shown by College Freshmen. " It reported that only 25% of the students knew that Abraham Lincoln was the president during the Civil War and that only 15% knew where Portland, Ore., was. In 1930, Thomas Briggs of Columbia Teachers College reported that high school students had no idea who Solon was and were unable to define the Monroe Doctrine.
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