McCarthy novels sap adrenaline from films

Ours is a violent generation, and Cormac McCarthy knows it. He knows it, and he knows how to exploit us for it. The final third of Joel and Ethan Coen’s adaptation of McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men was one of the most divisive acts of cinema committed this decade. After establishing a violent and […]

God gives very few answers

Oh my God, where did this film go wrong? British native Peter Rodger’s documentary was advertised as a valiant attempt to define God in such a way that would pervade religious barriers and promote peace. The actual product, however, is a sloppy, cliché film by a novice director. Rodger and his two-man crew traveled to […]

A sweet spot in Little Tokyo

Chewy. That’s the best word to describe traditional Japanese mochi, a treat derived from glutinous rice. Though most Benihana-eating, less educated folk know the treat as a round rice ball filled with ice cream or as a trendy pétite topping for frozen yogurt, mochi’s origins stem from customary offerings to the gods and are a […]

Beneath the snowfall and leaves is another side of the season

Can I admit something? The warmth of California sometimes frustrates me. It is just so undeniably constant. So predictable. I know when I wake up in the morning what I will need for the day — every day. There is always sun, a slightly smoggy sky and chilly, empty nights. But most of all, there […]

Believe the hype: Sundance winner is a ‘Precious’ gem

When a small independent film achieves mainstream success through several festival wins and early critical praise, a tidal wave of backlash is almost inevitable. Usually, the innocent underdog is tossed on a pedestal so fast that Oscar purists are quick to call sabotage before the hype can smother anybody else. Slap the names Oprah Winfrey […]

New releases: This week’s DVDs in review

Up Rating: PG Length: 96 min. Now available When film critics and audiences alike believed no animated film could top the incredibly innovative and heartfelt WALL-E, Pixar Animation Studios upped the stakes — again — with Up, the colorful, slightly more mature tale of misanthropic 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Edward Asner). A former balloon […]