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January 15, 2013 | By Ben Fritz
The science-fiction hit "Looper" started off the new year by launching on the top of the DVD and Blu-ray sales and rental charts as well as the video-on-demand charts. During the first week of January, "Looper" was the only prominent new home entertainment release and was No. 1 by every measure, according to data from Rentrak Corp. The Sony Pictures release pushed aside "Ted," which had been the most bought DVD and most popular VOD title, as well as the No. 1 DVD rental "The Dark Knight Rises.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 20, 2014 | By Noel Murray
Sorcerer Warner Bros., $12.95; Blu-ray, $27.98 Director William Friedkin was riding the hot streak of "The French Connection" and "The Exorcist" when he attempted his most ambitious project to that point: a remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's brilliant 1953 French thriller "The Wages of Fear," about four desperate men hired to transport trucks full of explosive nitroglycerin up bumpy mountain roads. Friedkin's "Sorcerer" was a big enough flop to slow his career momentum considerably, and legal complications kept the film off DVD and Blu-ray - until now. The movie that many consider one of the most neglected masterpieces of the 1970s "New Hollywood" era has finally been restored and is able to be widely seen again.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 2, 2012 | By Joe Flint
After the coffee. Before getting ready to run a 10K this Sunday. The Skinny: No joke, I'm running a race this Sunday. I do it once a year just to torture myself. It's for a good cause. Friday's headlines include a preview of the weekend box office, a look at whether Hollywood is keeping VOD data a secret like it does with all its other movie accounting and a review of "Wreck-It Ralph. " Daily Dose: Katie Couric and Robin Roberts popped up on the Wednesday episode of ABC's new drama "Nashville.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 12, 2014 | By Noel Murray
Philomena Starz/Anchor Bay, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99 Available on VOD beginning April 15 One of last year's most heartening box-office success stories, this British melodrama had more financial success and drew more awards attention than one might've expected for a midbudget tear-jerker about a woman trying to find the son she was forced to give up in Ireland in the 1950s. Credit Judi Dench's lead performance as Philomena Lee, a proud woman who's spent decades dealing with the sense of shame she felt as a young unwed mother.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 14, 2013 | By Noel Murray
Only God Forgives Available on VOD beginning July 19 With all the talk about Nicolas Winding Refn possibly directing a James Bond movie, or a Wonder Woman film, or a "Logan's Run" remake, fans of the Danish filmmaker might have begun to worry that he was losing the edge he brought to his cult favorites "Bronson" and "Drive. " But the early reports that Refn's violent crime thriller "Only God Forgives" had been booed at Cannes proved perversely reassuring, and sure enough, the movie is distinctively Refn-esque, with "Drive" star Ryan Gosling playing a drug lord who tussles with the authorities in Thailand when his no-good younger brother gets killed by the cops.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 15, 2012 | By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Death of a Superhero The Giant Mechanical Man Sleepless Night Available on VOD beginning Tuesday The Tribeca Film Festival opens Wednesday, but three of the fest's entries will be available to watch a day earlier, for attendees and non-attendees alike. Those movies are: "Death of a Superhero," a melancholy coming-of-age drama about a teenage cancer patient (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) who is just coming to terms with his own mortality when he falls in love with a rebellious classmate (Aisling Loftus)
ENTERTAINMENT
November 14, 2012 | By Joe Flint
Media executives have been making a lot of noise lately about getting advertisers to pay for viewers who watch shows they have recorded four or more days after a program's initial airing. Currently, they pay for viewers who see a commercial within the first three days of it being recorded. But as the DVR reaches 50% penetration in the country and people stockpile shows, TV network executives want to extend the window of counting viewers to seven days. Of course, many viewers skip ads anyway, but Nielsen claims close to 50% of people using DVRs do watch a lot of commercials.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 10, 2013 | By Joe Flint
Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes said pay-TV distributors need to step up their game when it comes to video-on-demand. Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York on Tuesday, Bewkes praised the potential video-on-demand has for the entertainment industry in that it makes it easier for consumers to catch up on shows they've missed and discover new content. But at the same time, he chastised distributors for not doing more to not only promote VOD but also for having complicated interfaces that frustrate customers.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 20, 2012 | By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
"Footnote" Sony, $30.99;Blu-ray, $35.99 Available on VOD beginning Tuesday Writer-director Joseph Cedar's foreign-language Oscar nominee is about academics who study the wordings of ancient texts, a fairly dry subject rendered here with some snap. Shlomo Bar Aba and Lior Ashkenazi play father and son philologists with differing views on how to research the Talmud; when the father wins an award that was meant for the son, the latter has to find a way to prevent his colleagues from righting the wrong, lest they shame his old man. Cedar gets across the history of these two - and the nature of their professions - by using every stylistic trick at his disposal, from direct addresses to the camera to on-screen text, aiming to show how even something as remote and imposing as the word of God can be personalized through the art of interpretation.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 22, 2012 | By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Damsels in Distress Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99 Available on VOD beginning Sept. 25 Writer-director Whit Stillman's first film since 1998's "The Last Days of Disco" is a loopy campus comedy, starring Greta Gerwig as an idealistic upperclassman who leads a group of young women with strict rules about dating and cleanliness. Even those who've enjoyed the arch language and intricate social tribalism of Stillman's "Metropolitan" and "Barcelona" might be put off by the cartoony absurdism here.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 10, 2014 | By Inkoo Kang
Nostalgia is a legal but dangerous substance in "Detonator," a repetitive, sluggishly paced nocturnal rumination on why we bother reuniting with old friends we purposefully left behind. Suburban dad Sully (Lawrence Michael Levine) and wastrel bachelor Mick (Benjamin Ellis Fine) used to play in a punk band called Detonator, back when "the music was real," according to Mick. Their third bandmate, a female drummer who has gone on to solo success, is Sully's ex and Mick's obsession. Years after the band break-up, the two former pals reunite for a night of "you've changed so much, you haven't changed at all" - all just a prelude for Mick to ask one last preposterous favor of his exhausted buddy.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 17, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
The tweets were coming fast and furious before many of the weekend screenings had rolled their credits: “Veronica Mars,” the Rob Thomas cult show revived as a Kickstarter film to much fanfare last year, was a bust. You probably saw five in your feed before breakfast Sunday, and the gist of many of them was the same. Just $2 million in box office for a movie that had garnered so much attention? This was, the naysayers said, just one more example of the overinflated role of crowdfunding in the new Hollywood, one more example of the online echo chamber giving disproportionate attention to what a few hard-core fans were interested in. But was it really such a bust?
ENTERTAINMENT
March 15, 2014 | By Noel Murray
Frozen Disney/Buena Vista, $29.99; Blu-ray, $44.99 Available on VOD beginning March 18 Disney's clever, heartwarming Rapunzel riff "Tangled" was a surprise smash back in 2010, setting the stage for last year's billon-dollar-grossing, multi-Oscar-winning Snow Queen revamp "Frozen," and - if all goes well - a renewed emphasis on animation at the studio synonymous with the medium. At the least, between the grosses and the accolades, it's pretty clear that "Frozen" will have lasting impact on the generation of children who are going to grow up watching it over and over, while belting out the hit song "Let It Go" into their bedroom mirrors.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 27, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
The uninvitingly titled "Chlorine" is a flat, undercooked suburban comedy. Or is it a drama? Or maybe a kind of satire? Regardless, it's short on style, substance or any clear raison d'être. Set in a vaguely upscale New England berg called Copper Canyon (but filmed in New Jersey), the story attempts to lay bare the desperate times and desperate measures - relatively speaking, that is - of a circle of locals caught in the orbit of a shady construction deal. The film's nominal protagonist, beleaguered banker Roger Lent (Vincent D'Onofrio, in a strangely sleepy performance)
ENTERTAINMENT
February 23, 2014 | By Noel Murray
Blue Is the Warmest Color Criterion, $19.95; Blu-ray, $24.95 Available on VOD beginning Feb. 25 For all the controversy over the explicit sex in writer-director Abdellatif Kechiche's three-hour adaptation of Julie Maroh's graphic novel "Blue Is the Warmest Color," the film is ultimately just a sensitive and honest coming-of-age story, showing how a teenager discovers who she is with the help of her older lesbian girlfriend, then has to...
ENTERTAINMENT
February 13, 2014 | By Martin Tsai
In "A Stranger in Paradise," hedge-fund hotshot Josh (Colin Egglesfield of "The Client List" and the "Melrose Place" TV reboot) narrowly evades an SEC investigation with an impromptu trip to Thailand, only to find thugs and crooked cops on his trail. His brother, Paul (Stuart Townsend), runs a local hot spot and has shady dealings with the mob. The managing partner who urged Josh to take the vacation - who also happens to be Paul's college pal - vanishes along with the mob money he helped launder.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 13, 2012 | By Noel Murray
Moonrise Kingdom Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98 Available on VOD Oct. 16 Wes Anderson's easily strangest (yet loveliest) film follows two New England pre-teens in 1965 as they run away and try to make a go of it in the wild. Anderson's movies always have been about the conflict between harsh adult reality and the more fanciful world of children's literature, but the split between the two has never been as extreme as it is in "Moonrise Kingdom," which combines kooky Boy Scout adventures with the looming specters of death, marital infidelity, teen sexuality and institutionalization.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 4, 2012 | By Noel Murray
Prometheus 20th Century Fox, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99/$49.99 Available on VOD beginning Oct. 11 The dopiest and most awe-inspiring blockbuster of this past summer, director Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" is both a prequel to and remake of Scott's sci-fi/horror classic "Alien," following a new group of space explorers as they encounter a malevolent force threatening all humankind. Noomi Rapace plays a scientist who thinks she's discovered the planet where all life began, and travels there with a crew more interested in getting paid than finding "God.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 9, 2014 | By Noel Murray
The Armstrong Lie Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99 Available on VOD beginning Tuesday Give credit to Alex Gibney: Even with as many documentaries as he cranks out in any given year, he always finds new ways into stories that audiences may think they already know. For "The Armstrong Lie," Gibney tackles disgraced former champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, who after years of denials - including to Gibney, who'd been documenting Armstrong's attempt at a comeback - finally admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 25, 2014 | By Noel Murray
Rush Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98 Available on VOD beginning Jan. 28 Director Ron Howard and screenwriter Peter Morgan tell the story of 1970s Formula 1 racing stars James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) in "Rush," a true-sports adventure that starts out as a "the olden days were groovy" corn-fest, then takes a turn for the better. The second half of the film concerns itself mostly with the incredibly tight points-battle between Hunt and Lauda throughout the 1976 season, and those racing sequences - some of which were shot with a subjective camera, in bad weather conditions - are white-knuckle.
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