June 3, 2012 |
Tokyo Heist A Novel Diana Renn Viking: 373 pp.: $17.99, ages 12 and up When Japanese culture is fused with teen fiction, the result is usually shojo manga - black-and-white graphic novels with a girlish romantic twist. In "Tokyo Heist," Japanese comics aren't the format but serve as an undercurrent in a globe-trotting, art-themed mystery novel involving missing Van Goghs, Japanese gangsters and a 16-year-old girl on the outs with her father. Violet had no idea how important her interest in all things Japanese would become when she went to live with her artist dad for a summer after years of seeing him every other month for dinner.
May 2, 2013 |
At 48, Keanu Reeves is twice the age of his nubile costar Adelaide Clemens in "Generation Um... " and the generation gap might explain why they spend the film staring at each other blankly. Reeves plays John, a driver for an escort service who works nights shuttling Mia (Clemens), a placid baby-doll blond, and her raging cokehead partner, Violet (Bojana Novakovic, often pants-less). The women aren't John's friends, exactly - they alternate between pestering him and pleasuring him in a grotty bathroom, both of which make writer-director Mark Mann's feature debut sound more exciting than it is. After an inert first act in which John eats cupcakes and watches strangers, he finally leaps to action by stealing a video camera.
April 27, 2012 |
The romantic comedy "The Five-Year Engagement," starring Emily Blunt and Jason Segel, tackles the messy business of love in a time when commitment can be career-ending for one of the better halves. Since it is mostly told from a fairly evolved guy's point of view, it sounds so promising, so fresh, you want to root for these kids to get it right - not just the couple, but the filmmakers. Both have their moments, though not enough to keep the audience, or the couple, engaged for anything close to five years, which this two-hour film can sometimes feel like.
May 29, 2008 |
May has been "Camp Freddy Month" at the Roxy, and tonight the band and singer Donovan Leitch wrap up the run. Leitch, the actor son of '60s cosmic-folkie Donovan and brother of "Say Anything" icon Ione Skye, lives in Studio City with wife Kirsty Hume and daughter Violet. HOME Friday is Valley Appreciation Night, which means not dealing with Hollywood traffic. We'd start at Woodbridge Park with a play date for Violet, and then go to dinner at Coyote Pizza on Tujunga. It's famous for "The Salad"; they say if you're pregnant and eat it, you give birth within 24 hours.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 27, 2012 |
The homeless woman was a familiar presence at the corner of Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way. Employees at the nearby businesses knew her routine, if not her name. Mornings, she bought a pack of Grand Prix cigarettes - always with exact change - at the United Oil gas station. Nights, she curled up on a bus bench outside the 24-hour Walgreens and tried to fall asleep. The stop on line 761 has three seats, some graffiti and a gold-and-turquoise advertisement for a maker of eyeglasses.
December 26, 2013 |
"I'm just truth telling," says Meryl Streep's Violet, the gorgon mother at the center of "August: Osage County," and in that same spirit I have to confess that (a) I never saw this Pulitzer Prize-winning vehicle by Tracy Letts when it was on stage and (b) nothing about this film version makes me regret that choice. Despite a pedigree that includes five Tonys in addition to that Pulitzer and a cast of gifted actors that is a full dozen deep, "August: Osage County" does nothing but disappoint, with all the talent involved simply underlining how uninvolving this material is. If anything, the cinematic "August" feels related to that branch of reality TV where dysfunctional characters, whether active or passive, make a public display of their wretched lives.