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ENTERTAINMENT
March 4, 2012 | By Susan Carpenter, Tribune Newspapers
Embrace A Novel Jessica Shirvington Sourcebooks Fire: 400 pp., $16.99, ages 12 and up If angels are the new vampires, then "Embrace" is a worthy follow-up to "The Twilight Saga. " The kickoff to a new young adult series from debut author Jessica Shirvington has many of the same strengths - and flaws - as the Stephenie Meyer blockbuster with a heroine who doesn't understand her own strengths and becomes entangled in a complicated, steamy, love triangle. "Embrace" opens on the eve of Violet's 17th birthday - a bittersweet occasion that overlaps with the anniversary of her mother's death.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 20, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
What would you do for $500? For $15,000? For $250,000? That's the engine behind "Cheap Thrills," which begins as a simple "guy walks into a bar" story and snowballs into a mind-blowing little horror show. Directed with screw-tightening efficiency by E.L. Katz, from a savvy, wildly twisted script by Trent Haaga and David Chirchirillo, this nervy morality tale finds cautious, financially strapped family man Craig (Pat Healy) running into a former high school friend, the sketchy Vince (Ethan Embry)
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ENTERTAINMENT
June 3, 2012 | By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 26, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"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.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 26, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"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.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 2, 2013 | By Amy Nicholson
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 27, 2012 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
"Smokefall" appears to be Noah Haidle's version of "Our Town. " Nearly every American playwright has one, but most keep them hidden in desk drawers. This addition to the Thornton Wilder 2.0 collection, however, has been honored with an attentive production, directed by Anne Kauffman at South Coast Repertory (in a shared world premiere with Chicago's Goodman Theatre). Those with a penchant for homespun elegy playfully whipped up may enjoy "Smokefall," but the work is really a collection of derivative themes in search of a fleshed-out drama.
BOOKS
January 12, 1986 | MAUREEN CONNELL
NATIVES & STRANGERS by Louisa Dawkins (Houghton Mifflin: $18.95). A sweeping African saga set in Tanganyika and Kenya from the '50s to the '70s, is the fascinating story of Marietta Hamilton's quest for identity in post-Colonial times. It opens with her restless mother, a widow who manages guest-houses for British visitors, leaving for a holiday in England.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 6, 2012 | By Sam Adams, Special to the Los Angeles Times
In a movie as stylized as Whit Stillman's "Damsels in Distress,"decor is destiny, so it's no accident that the dorm room shared by Violet (Greta Gerwig) and her roommates at a northeastern liberal arts college prominently features the poster for Max Ophüls' maudit masterwork "Lola Montès. " Violet, an amateur self-help guru who practices her questionable theories on her unfortunate classmates, doesn't share much with Ophüls' eponymous heroine, a Scottish dancer who reinvented herself as the Spanish mistress of a Bavarian king.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 16, 2013 | By Gina McIntyre
SAN DIEGO - Strands of Christmas lights bathed the La Jolla Playhouse stage in a warm golden glow as singing, dancing sister act Violet and Daisy Hilton prepared to leave behind the companionship of friends. The Lizard Man and the Tattooed Lady, the Dog-Faced Boy and the Geek surrounded the conjoined twins in a show of support for the young women who were attempting to break out of the traveling circus to take a shot at real 1930s fame: vaudeville. It was the final day of rehearsals, and costumes still needed to be hemmed and musical arrangements tweaked.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 15, 2013 | By Allyssa Lee
Halfway through Season 23 of “Dancing With the Stars” and we've got our first shocker. After a feel-good night of dances commemorating the remaining couples' most memorable Years, it seemed especially harsh to send a couple home. Even worse was the actual couple the glitterverse sent packing: Christina Milian and Mark Ballas. This landed like a big "Forget You" to the high-scoring couple. Not only did this elimination come right after Christina had her best, most memorable dance, but it came after she scored the season's first 10. This also happened to be the night Paris Hilton came out in support of her multi-hyphenate friend.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 7, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Of all the things I imagined Oscar-winner Geoffrey Fletcher might choose for his directing debut, "Violet & Daisy," the story of two teenage assassins on the loose in New York City, was not on the list. Fletcher, who won the Oscar for his screenplay adaptation of Sapphire's searing novel "Precious," once again delves into the lives of teens in troubled situations in "Violet & Daisy. " But any other comparisons end there. Instead of the capacity of the human spirit to soar against impossible odds that defined "Precious," Fletcher, as both writer and director, is interested in the whys and wherefores of girls who blow giant pink bubble-gum bubbles that pop in sync with their gun blasts.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 2, 2013 | By Amy Nicholson
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 24, 2013 | By Christie D'Zurilla
Poppy Montgomery, one "Unforgettable" actress, is a new mom as of Monday, when she and boyfriend Shawn Sanford welcomed their first child together. The baby girl is named Violet Grace Devereux Sanford, according to People , which first reported the news. At 6 pounds, 12 ounces and 19½ inches long, she arrived at 7:57 a.m., said the mag. That means Montgomery's 5-year-old son Jackson, from a previous relationship, is now a big brother. "We are overjoyed with the arrival of our beautiful angel and filled with gratitude that she is happy, healthy and thriving,” said the couple (he's a Microsoft exec, incidentally)
ENTERTAINMENT
April 15, 2013 | By Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times
Ten minutes into his band's performance Friday night at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, singer Damon Albarn of Blur realized he hadn't introduced himself. So after a hard-driving rendition of Blur's song "There's No Other Way," the frontman took a second to address the tens of thousands of music fans sprawled across the manicured grounds of the Empire Polo Club. "For those of you out there who are unfamiliar with us," he said, "we're from England. " The audience might've guessed.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 4, 1996 | KEVIN THOMAS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
"Bound" starts with a deceptive image of a young woman gagged and tied up--an image that first-time directors Larry and Andy Wachowski return to frequently as attraction grows between two women in a Chicago apartment house. Just as you think you're in for some S&M lesbian sex that might be more than a little degrading or exploitative, the Wachowskis instead go for one surprise after another.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 20, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
What would you do for $500? For $15,000? For $250,000? That's the engine behind "Cheap Thrills," which begins as a simple "guy walks into a bar" story and snowballs into a mind-blowing little horror show. Directed with screw-tightening efficiency by E.L. Katz, from a savvy, wildly twisted script by Trent Haaga and David Chirchirillo, this nervy morality tale finds cautious, financially strapped family man Craig (Pat Healy) running into a former high school friend, the sketchy Vince (Ethan Embry)
ENTERTAINMENT
April 9, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
"Smokefall" appears to be Noah Haidle's version of "Our Town. " Nearly every American playwright has one, but most keep them hidden in desk drawers. This addition to the Thornton Wilder 2.0 collection, however, has been honored with an attentive production, directed by Anne Kauffman at South Coast Repertory (in a shared world premiere with Chicago's Goodman Theatre). Those with a penchant for homespun elegy playfully whipped up may enjoy "Smokefall," but the work is really a collection of derivative themes in search of a fleshed-out drama.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 20, 2013 | Los Angeles Times
A pile of dried roses and burned-out religious candles sat on a Van Nuys sidewalk, reminders that a homeless woman was set ablaze there weeks earlier. The bus bench on which Violet Ellen Phillips, 67, slept when she was attacked Dec. 27 had been removed. The portion of the sidewalk once shielded by the bench was left exposed, a lighter shade of grime than the rest, scarred with four holes where bolts had anchored the bench. The assault, which authorities described as horrific, sent Phillips to the hospital with second- and third-degree burns.
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