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February 21, 2013 | By David Horsey
In one episode of "Seinfeld," hapless George Costanza was hired as a stunt hand for a movie. Predictably, things went awry and poor George's hand never made a cinematic debut. In the days leading up to the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony, my own hand fared far better performing a tiny but stellar role in a documentary about the great Washington Post editorial cartoonist, Herblock. Last week, I got a call out of the blue asking if I had time to be a technical advisor for a film about the man whose pen name was derived from the simple mashing together of his first and last names, Herb Block.
February 19, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan
There are a variety of ways that companies can stir up attention. Some employ a daredevil to jump from 24 miles above the Earth . Some hire a supermodel to swap saliva with an archetypal nerd during the Super Bowl. Still others, like Mini, have a driver back-flip a car amid snow-covered mountain ranges. In a stunt that the company calls the first automotively propelled back flip "to execute a perfect landing," race car driver Guerlain Chicherit took to the winter sports resort of Tignes in his native France on a specially prepared track.
February 19, 2013 | By Salvador Rodriguez
In an apparent move to gain Twitter followers, sister networks MTV and BET pretended hackers took over their accounts. Tuesday's publicity stunt came after Burger King and Jeep had their Twitter accounts hijacked by hackers who switched their profiles to show information for their respective rivals McDonald's and Cadillac. MTV and BET, which are owned by Viacom, pretended the same kind of hacking was happening to their accounts by switching profile photos and logos. MTV became BET, and vice versa.
February 13, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Given how successful its four predecessors have been, it's not surprising that "A Good Day to Die Hard" plays like an extended victory lap for star Bruce Willis and the entire "Die Hard" franchise. Not surprising, but not overwhelmingly entertaining either. Starting with the original "Die Hard" in 1988, over the next quarter-century the series has grossed an estimated $1.2 billion worldwide, a hefty sum which apparently convinced 20th Century Fox to commission this fifth time in the trenches for Willis' regular-guy action hero, New York City police Det. John McClane.
January 29, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan and Richard Winton
Video footage of mischievous motorists cutting across traffic and ripping a set of tire-smoking doughnuts has again hit YouTube, causing an uproar among concerned citizens and authorities. The most recent videos, one shot in Oakland and the other in West Covina, show the latest in a string of incidents witnessed across the country as organized groups perform audacious choreographed tricks -- typically reserved for the most daring Hollywood stunt drivers -- on public streets. Such events have also been reported and prosecuted in Washington, D.C. , and Atlanta.
December 31, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times
Race car driver Ken Block speeds down a narrow band of asphalt in his souped-up Ford Fiesta, careening through the "Back to the Future" set on Universal Studios' back lot. The speedometer flies toward 80. Block's eyes are fixed on the road as he accelerates toward an invitation-only crowd of gear heads in town for the Los Angeles Auto Show. When he whips around the corner toward Courthouse Square in Marty McFly's hometown, Block sees a sea of undistinguishable faces. He plants his foot on the accelerator, then pulls back on a massive hand brake on his right side.
November 17, 2012 | By T.L. Stanley
Is David Lyle, chief executive of National Geographic Channels, being coy when he says he didn't expect a major dust-up over his decision to air the movie "SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden" a few days ahead of the hotly contested U.S. presidential election? Or is he just crafty, using a film that quickly became a political football as an attention-grabbing centerpiece of his fall schedule? Despite some critics' charge that the film could give President Obama an unfair boost, Lyle said he had no second thoughts about showing it on a Sunday night two days before Americans were to go to the polls.
November 17, 2012 | By Vincent Bevins, Los Angeles Times
JUAZEIRO, Brazil - As 6-year-old Ana Jamil skips up to the school gates, she has a simple question for the principal: "Is there class today?" Children here are in the habit of asking, because their teachers often don't show up, as hers didn't the day before. When Jose Pereira da Silva Municipal School does hold class, students spend just a little more than three hours a day with teachers who are woefully unprepared. "Around here, there are teachers who can't even read and write," principal Maria Olivia Andrade says.
November 8, 2012 | By David Undercoffler
For seven years, he was the most famous driver you never saw. And with the next James BondĀ filmĀ 'Skyfall' opening this week, you still won't see him in action. But he's there. Known alternately as the Stig from BBC's "Top Gear," a stunt driver in such films as "The Dark Knight Rises" and "National Treasure 2," and a professional race car driver in Europe and Australia, Ben Collins has made a career of driving fast on camera while his face is completely obscured by a helmet. That trend continues in "Skyfall.
October 31, 2012 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski, Los Angeles Times
Kay D'Arcy didn't expect what Hollywood had in store for her. At an age when others have been relegated to playing invalids and dowagers, D'Arcy will appear as Agent 88, an assassin who keeps the deadly tools of her trade tucked into her hair bun. The octogenarian avenger dispenses evildoers with acrobatic moves that would impress Jackie Chan. In the opening episode of the Web series "Agent 88," D'Arcy demonstrates her martial arts skills in an encounter with thugs surrounding the bloodied body of their victim.
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