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October 3, 2012 | By Betsy Sharkey
"The Master" proves an ideal forum for themes that have haunted the work of writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson. The redeeming and destructive power of religious fervor and man's desire to bend others to his will usually find their way into Anderson's films. The roots were certainly exposed in the visceral "There Will Be Blood," with its power-mad oilman and his fire-and-brimstone nemesis. But in "The Master," the filmmaker gets to the heart of the matter. With stirring performances by Philip Seymour Hoffman as the head of the Scientology-like cult the Cause, Amy Adams as his zealot wife and Joaquin Phoenix as the conflicted acolyte, "The Master" is ultimately a story of self-love and self-hate taken to extremes.
September 21, 2012 | By Gary Klein
After last week's losing performance at Stanford, USC could not wait to play California on Saturday at the Coliseum. "You go win the next game," Trojans Coach Lane Kiffin said of his players' mind-set, "all of a sudden that game doesn't hurt the same. " Other than perhaps quarterback Matt Barkley, no one felt more beat up after the Stanford loss than USC's offensive and defensive lines. The offensive line, without injured center Khaled Holmes, was confused and overpowered by the Cardinal.
September 18, 2012 | By Sarah Chayes
In one of the most famous 1st Amendment cases in U.S. history, Schenck vs. United States, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. established that the right to free speech in the United States is not unlimited. "The most stringent protection," he wrote on behalf of a unanimous court, "would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. " Holmes' test - that words are not protected if their nature and circumstances create a "clear and present danger" of harm - has since been tightened.
August 16, 2012 | By Sam Adams
A poetic, almost abstract portrait of impoverished ranchers waiting for rain, Everardo Gonzalez's documentary "Drought" traces the parched terrain of northern Mexico, in the communal region called Cuates de Australia. The film provides little in the way of background or ongoing story, although a young couple's journey from prenatal ultrasound to birth provides a rough, and somewhat contrived, sense of progress. González (who served as his own cinematographer) occasionally engages his subjects from behind the camera, but he mainly observes with an outsider's patient eye. He keeps his distance, leaving room for plenty of thoughtfully framed compositions and allowing the hush of a dried-up land to predominate.
August 14, 2012 | By Mike Anton and Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times
What could be more soul sapping than standing in line at the state Department of Motor Vehicles? Standing in line at the DMV in 100-degree heat on a day the agency's computers melt down. That's what drivers were greeted with Tuesday when a "connectivity issue" with AT&T and Verizon caused a computer crash at DMV offices statewide that left clerks without access to information needed for issuing licenses and vehicle registrations. At some offices, typically long lines stretched even longer, testing the patience of drivers.
August 11, 2012 | Bill Dwyre
LONDON - Perfect endings are for novels. Not so much for real life, or for volleyball teams and coaches. These London Olympics were to be the completion of the Hugh McCutcheon sweep, both as kind of payback for past Olympic-related indignities and as a success story with a gender twist. McCutcheon, a tall New Zealander with no hair, lots of personality and an irresistible back story, wasn't promoting any of that. He was coach of the men's U.S. Olympic volleyball team that won the gold medal four years ago in Beijing.
August 2, 2012 | By Michael Kinsley
Why does a typical bus driver in the U.S. earn a monthly disposable income (after taxes) of $1,594, while a typical bus driver in Peru earns $325? Why does an airline pilot here bring home $4,206 a month, while a pilot in Lithuania doing what we hope is pretty much the same job with the same training makes only $1,674? (These figures, from , use 2005 dollars, adjusted for the actual purchasing power of various currencies.) Well, the explanation is obvious, isn't it?
August 1, 2012 | Bill Shaikin
Michael Phelps shared his celebration with a pool and a world. He put his arm around the South African kid who had just beaten him in one of his signature races, guiding the protege through the medal protocol. He went out of his way to compliment a French sprinter on what he thought was one of the five best swims of all time. He gathered his relay teammates to thank them for their help, and to tell them he might be too choked up to sing the national anthem. And then he left the pool, with a giddy smile and the greatest collection of medals any Olympian has ever seen.
July 6, 2012 | By Jonathan Gold, Los Angeles Times Restaurant Critic
It is toward midnight at the Pikey, the lights are fairly low and the Kinks are playing so loudly that you swear you can hear Ray Davies scratching his ears. You are seated beneath one of Ben Watts' photographs of aging Teddy Boys - tattooed Robert Mitchum types in dark, bespoke suits, and you may be drinking something called a Divine Brown, a peculiar mixture of Ancient Age whiskey and Dr Pepper named for the hooker caught with Hugh Grant just a few blocks from here in Hollywood. You will definitely be observing members of the crowd - in their early 20s - who don't sit down to dinner as much as drift from table to table, having a drink here and an appetizer there before vanishing into the night.
July 1, 2012 | By Helene Elliott
- It normally takes about 11 seconds to determine the top finishers in the women's 100-meter dash at the elite level. When Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh cross the finish line of their runoff Monday night at Hayward Field, it will have taken nine-plus days to settle the tie between them for third place at the U.S. Olympic trials and determine the final berth in the 100 at the London Games this month. "It's definitely been a long process," Felix said Sunday. "I was not expecting to be having another race, of course.
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