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March 2, 2014 | By Ryan Faughnder
How much does the prospect of a gold statue mean for a movie's box-office treasure trove?  This year's set of nominees for the best picture Oscar certainly doesn't have the same number of all-out hits as last year. The 2013 roster boasted six films that crossed the $100-million mark in North America, plus one that came close ("Zero Dark Thirty," with $96 million). The current crop has just four $100-million-plus-to-date movies.   It's common to try to tease out which movie got the biggest bounce in ticket sales from the nominations.
February 27, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
The movie financed by audiences will soon be available to audiences.  Zach Braff's “Wish I Was Here,” funded in part by more than 46,000 donors on Kickstarter, will hit theaters in Los Angeles and New York on July 18, distributor Focus Features said Thursday. It will roll out to other cities in the weeks following, The date means Focus, which acquired the movie at the Sundance Film Festival last month, will position the relationship-oriented “Wish” as a summer counter-programmer -- call it an emotional tent pole -- a la “Little Miss Sunshine,” instead of dating it for the early fall, when it would be out of the cross-hairs of the big summer movies but somewhat more dependent on reviews.
February 27, 2014 | Matt Cooper
"Talhotblond" weaves a tangled Web in a world premiere at Ruskin Group Theatre. Also, Poor Dog Group lights "Five Small Fires" at the Bootleg Theater, and Santa Monica Playhouse brings back the enduring and endearing "Author! Author! An Evening with Sholom Aleichem. " The Wizard of Oz American Family Theater's new version of the musical fantasy. La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, 14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada. Sunday, 1 and 3:30 p.m. $8, $12. (562) 944-9801. The Emperor's New Clothes World-premiere, kid-friendly musical based on the Hans Christian Andersen fable.
February 23, 2014
Re "Save the small town cinema," Opinion, Feb. 19 Jordan Stancil's article on his family's theater in Grayling, Mich., brought back memories of the Palace Theater in Clearwater, Neb., population 400, in the 1940s. My parents were farmers who made the drive to town Wednesday and Saturday nights to buy groceries and socialize. My sister and I made a beeline to the theater, where we saw two first-run movies every week. Margaret O'Brien, Esther Williams and even Lassie became part of our childhood experience.
February 20, 2014 | By Robin Rauzi
On Wednesday, The Times' Op-Ed page published a plea from the owner of the Rialto , a little movie theater in Grayling, Mich., for the movie studios to help small-town theaters make the transition to digital projection. While we didn't go into depth on the cost in the piece, it is an expensive proposition. Projectors are just part of the cost, author Jordan Stancil told us during editing. A cinema that already had a high-quality sound system and modernized screen components might be able to spend about $40,000.
February 15, 2014 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
The first months of the year are, by consensus, the bleakest of cinematic times. But not so much if, like me, you are a lover of documentaries, someone who revels in the pleasures of the nonfiction film. Proofs of the remarkable strength of documentaries in this day and age are manifold right around now. If you were fortunate enough to go to last month's Sundance, for instance, a prime nonfiction showcase that this year screened some 40 documentaries from around the world, you got a peek at the best of what 2014 will offer.
February 14, 2014 | By Margaret Gray
Pyromaniacs, at ease: No firefighters actually appear in Tommy Smith's new play “Firemen,” in a world premiere by the formerly nomadic Echo Theater Company in its new home, Atwater Village Theatre. There are a few references to an offstage character said to be a fireman, but otherwise the flames in this black comedy are all metaphorical. Playwright Smith, evidently a provocateur, makes a counterintuitive attempt to frame a grown woman's exploitative affair with a middle-school student as a tender love story.
February 14, 2014 | By Charles Fleming
The remake of the 1980s thriller "RoboCop" roars into theaters this weekend, and the title character roars into action on a motorcycle. Except he doesn't roar. The filmmakers behind the MGM remake were determined that the futuristic robocycle underneath their RoboCop be authentic. So it's electric. VIDEO: The Can Am Spyder RSS Production designer Martin Whist, working closely with director Jose Padilha, started with a Kawasaki Z-1000. They stripped it down to the frame, extended the swing arm to increase the overall length of the bike, and clad it with a fiberglass-like shell.
February 13, 2014 | Matt Cooper
"My Name Is Asher Lev" introduces itself at the Fountain Theatre, "A Steady Rain" descends at Odyssey Theatre, and Moliere's "Tartuffe" is up to his old tricks at A Noise Within. DNA New Work Series Two-week showcase includes readings of new plays. La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, La Jolla. Mon., Thu., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 3 p.m.; ends March 1. Free; reservations required. (858) 550-1010. The Who & the What World premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar's drama about an aspiring writer and her conservative Muslim family in Atlanta.
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