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October 10, 2013 | By Mark Olsen
Robert Rodriguez's new "Machete Kills" is the strongest example yet of the corner the filmmaker seems to have painted himself into, a sad funhouse of bad movies made in thrall of bad movies. Even the self-sufficiency of Rodriguez having his own production facilities in Austin, Texas, seems to be yielding diminishing returns, as so much of what he has done recently feels like wandering into the backyard to idle away a day. The story of "Machete Kills" follows a blade-wielding secret agent (Danny Trejo)
October 6, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Activision Blizzard Inc. is one of the world's largest publishers of video games. The Santa Monica company produces games that are used on PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, personal computers, mobile phones and other hand-held devices. Two of its most popular games are the war-themed "Call of Duty," and "World of Warcraft," a role-playing game set in a fantasy world. It's a big business. In 2012, the company released "Call of Duty: Black Ops II," which set video game sales records with more than $1 billion of retail sales within 15 days of its launch, the company said.
October 3, 2013 | By John Horn
The last three movies produced by Mark Burg - a sequel to "Saw," the remake "Texas Chainsaw 3D" and a violent revenge tale called "The Tortured" - were all rated R for "grisly" and "sadistic" violence and were hardly pleasant experiences for characters trying to remain alive. But Hollywood has a habit of making strange bedfellows, and when Burg's latest project arrives in theaters on Friday, fans of the horror veteran's work may be surprised by its story: "Grace Unplugged" is a Christian drama about a church singer (AJ Michalka)
September 26, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
I have no idea what effect foodimals will have on the ecosystem, and I do worry. But the 3-D animated movie mash-up that creates such exotic species as taco-diles, shrim-panzees, banan-ostriches and, my favorite, fla-mangoes makes for some pretty delicious family fun in "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. " There are definitely fewer carbs this time around. Whether charges of insensitivity to childhood obesity issues hurled at the first film are the reason, "Cloudy 2" is overwhelmingly fruit- and veggie-centric.
September 22, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The genius of the state's late and not-very-much-lamented community redevelopment agencies was that they built projects that raised property values and then kept for themselves the higher tax receipts that resulted. Normally, taxes are divvied up among the city, the county, the school districts and the state, but in a California-style CRA project area, any tax receipts beyond what the parcel already had been generating would stay with the agency to pay off bonds and invest in new projects.
September 19, 2013 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
When Stephen King published his third novel, "The Shining," in 1977, he was a writer with a lot on his mind. Initially, he told The Times in 1998, he conceived of the book as "a Shakespearean tragedy, a kind of inside-out 'King Lear,' where Lear is this young guy who has a son instead of daughters. " He even went so far as to divide the first draft into acts and scenes. Make of this what you will, but it suggests that King has always had more at stake than merely to frighten us, that he wants to get at the big themes: love, loss, loyalty, what happens between parents and their kids.
September 16, 2013 | By John Horn
That didn't take long. A day after "Insidious: Chapter 2" killed it at the box office, the horror film's makers said they are planning to make a third installment in the franchise. Made for just $5 million, "Insidious: Chapter 2" sold an estimated $41.1 million of tickets in its opening  weekend,  more than three times the $13.3 million the first “Insidious” grossed in 2011. On Monday, the film's financiers -- Entertainment One, FilmDistrict and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions -- said they were developing a third "Insidious" movie, written by Leigh Whannell, a screenwriter on the first two "Insidious" films.
September 12, 2013 | By Robert Abele
If "The Conjuring" and "Insidious" director James Wan ever made a romantic comedy, one imagines he'd still set it in a creaky old two-story with dark corners and foreboding armoires. For his latest hauntfest "Insidious: Chapter 2," we're back with the possession-afflicted Lambert family - nervous mom Renai (Rose Byrne) and astral-projecting dad Josh (Patrick Wilson) - trying to regroup from the spirit realm trauma that almost took their son Dalton. But there's still the unresolved matter of what happened to supernatural whisperer Elise (Lin Shaye)
September 6, 2013 | By Oliver Gettell
"Riddick" -- the third sci-fi film to star Vin Diesel as the interplanetary antihero of the same name -- arrives nine years after its predecessor, "The Chronicles of Riddick," and 13 years after the original, "Pitch Black. " Unfortunately for Diesel and series writer-director David Twohy, "Riddick" hasn't exactly returned to a hero's welcome. For every film critic who finds it a fun, gory slice of genre entertainment, there's another who finds it stale and one-dimensional. In the Los Angeles Times, for example, Michael Phillips calls "Riddick" "extremely violent, cleverly managed fun. " He explains, "This is not one of those Johnny-come-lately sequels preoccupied with getting a new audience up to speed on where the story was. It's about living in the moment, in the now, and killing in the now. " Diesel, Phillips says, "has discovered what it means to be a certain kind of movie star, working hard but not too, serving material that, here, does what it's supposed to do. " PHOTOS: Fall movie sneaks 2013 On the other hand, USA Today's Claudia Puig warns , "Move along, there's nothing to see and no one to root for in this murky franchise reboot.
September 5, 2013 | By Michael Phillips
From the dusty annals of a science-fiction franchise belonging to another age - that of "Pitch Black" (2000) and "The Chronicles of Riddick" (2004) and several video-game variations - comes a modestly scaled summer picture continuing a legend that time and many moviegoers forgot. And it's fun! "Riddick" is extremely violent, cleverly managed fun - full of eviscerating aliens, Vin Diesel making those little swimmie-goggles look sharp and Katee Sackhoff of "Battlestar Galactica" swaggering around as a sexually ambiguous bounty hunter stuck with a bunch of guys on a crummy planet.
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