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June 24, 2011 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Director Chris Weitz's new drama, "A Better Life," should be a much better movie than it is, but emotions get in the way. It's a quintessential L.A. story of a hard-pressed illegal immigrant family — in this case a father and son — living with the constant fear of deportation. Rather than being compelling, though, the film is weighted down by clichés. A pity, since the issues could hardly be more timely. Weitz, working from a screenplay by Eric Eason ("Manito"), wears his heart on his sleeve in every scene.
May 28, 2011 | Sandy Banks
The invitation arrived via email, from a reader whose age I could guesstimate by its boldface, 36-point type. Ruth Bartnof, age 88, was inviting me to join her cinema class on its final movie outing this semester. Every Wednesday afternoon, the group has gone to the Laemmle Theatre in the Fallbrook Center to watch a film with their professor, then discuss it in the theater lobby. Wednesday also is senior discount day at the seven-screen complex in the west San Fernando Valley.
April 23, 2011 | Sandy Banks
Marilyn Davenport might be a racist. Or a moron. Or just a dotty old lady with a warped sense of humor, and a scant understanding of history. For whatever reason, Davenport didn't seem to realize the potential for offense in a cartoon she circulated depicting President Obama as the offspring of chimpanzees. It was just a joke, shared among friends — many of them, like her, leaders of Orange County's Republican Party. "I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surrounding his origin of birth," Davenport told the OC Weekly, which broke the story last weekend.
April 8, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Picture yourself in a well-kept room — pictures neatly hung on walls, books organized on a shelf, floors clear of junk. Now sit yourself in a room with crooked pictures, scattered books and dirty laundry on the floor. Feeling any different? In the second room, you might be more apt to keep your distance from a person of another race, believe that Muslims are aggressive or think that gay people are creative, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science. The idea, said researchers from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, is that people in messy environments tend to compensate for that disorder by categorizing people in their minds according to well-known stereotypes.
March 11, 2011 | By James Oliphant, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Peter King and his fellow Republicans in the House declared their much-criticized hearing into Muslim "radicalization" in America a success, even as detractors slammed it as an "outrage" and "reality TV. " "Our hearings today were informative and educational and hopefully will have consequences in the Muslim American community," King, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, told reporters after the more than four-hour hearing...
February 4, 2011 | By Sheri Linden, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Like countless misunderstood mistresses, the title character of "The Other Woman" didn't set out to wreck an already busted home. Nor did she shy away from her love for a married man. Now, on the other side of the looking glass, she's ostracized by elementary-school mothers for being a "second wife" and for not conforming to the new-millennial, uptown Manhattan ideal of child-rearing. She's also grappling with capital-G grief over the death of a newborn, trying to forge a bond with her precocious stepson and struggling to save her marriage.
January 26, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
Can cause of death determine race? In some cases, the answer appears to be yes. When coroners and undertakers fill out death certificates, one of the pieces of information they must provide is the race of the deceased. That can be a somewhat subjective call, and one of the things that may influence an official's perception of it is the particular way the person died, according to a team of sociologists from UC Irvine and the University of Oregon in Eugene. They looked at data from 22,905 death certificates in the 1993 National Mortality Followback Survey , which compared information on official certificates to information provided by family members to see if it matched.
October 21, 2010 | MEGHAM DAUM
Internet dating sites, with their outdated photos and false claims about time spent at the gym, haven't historically been the most reliable information sources. But the online matchmaker OK Cupid has gotten attention in recent weeks for some surprising results that turned up in an analysis of its users' profiles and match searches. Using the site's 3.2 million members as a data pool, OK Cupid found that, contrary to stereotype, its gay users were no more promiscuous than its straight users.
September 19, 2010 | David Rooney, Special to Los Angeles Times
It takes an unabashed pop-culture geek to explain his concept of storytelling by invoking professional wrestling, "The Wire" and a youth spent glued to "Yo! MTV Raps. " But for playwright Kristoffer Diaz, those influences have been as instrumental in shaping his voice as the plays and musicals that ignited his interest in theater. Whether his characters are the exaggerated stereotypes of the wrestling ring, hungry club-scene upstarts or a drug-binging necrophiliac brandishing a severed zombie penis, the aggressive rhythms of hip-hop power his language.
August 23, 2010
Most men with genital piercings don't fit into the usual stereotype of bikers, druggies or Goths, researchers said Monday. In fact, most who responded to a survey are nearly middle-aged, middle class married men, according to an online study performed by researchers from Texas Tech University. Men report many reasons for piercings, including increased sexual satisfaction, a need for rebellion and a desire for risk-taking. But they also endure a variety of complications, particularly infections and bleeding.
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