Sitar maestro, Oscar winner Ravi Shankar dies at 92
Sitar maestro and Oscar winner Ravi Shankar, dubbed the "godfather of world music" by George Harrison, who helped popularize North Indian classical music in the West, died today at San Diego's Scripps Hospital, where he was admitted last week after complaining of shortness of breath. He was 92.
Critic's Notebook: 'Gatsby,' 'Gatz' and the fallacy of adaptation
'The Great Gatsby' is a great American novel, and what makes it great defies adaptation, though Elevator Repair Service's 'Gatz' tries.
We live in a culture of excess. From supersized fast food to billion-dollar presidential campaigns, bigger is always better.
This is hardly a new observation; it's been part of us all along. In his 1960 satire "The Magic Christian," Terry Southern imagines "a gigantic convertible … scaled in the proportions of an ordinary automobile but … tremendous in size — … longer and wider than the largest Greyhound bus." Read Story
When I first discovered Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet’s feature debut at the 2012 True/False Film Festival, I made this rather bold declaration: “After only one viewing, I’m ready to file Only The Young in the all-time coming-of-age canon.” After a second viewing, I stand behind that statement. This brisk, bracingly poignant portrait of teenagers living in Santa Clarita, California, sneaks up on you by making you think you’re getting into a film about reckless juvenile delinquents, only to realize that they are as good-natured, decent, wise-beyond-their-years, adorable, and hilarious as kids could possibly be. Mims and Tippet shirk their film’s potentially superficial punk rock trappings by employing a formalistic visual approach and a classic soul music soundtrack. Ultimately, and perhaps most importantly, this feels like a film made by filmmakers who are young enough to truly understand their young subjects. Read Interview
When Tim Burton next steps behind the camera, it appears he'll likely be directing a live-action adaptation of the classic fairy tale "Pinocchio" for Walt Disney Co. Although the film is still taking shape, it's a perfect fit for Burton: He not only delivered a $1-billion hit for the studio with his lavish fantasy "Alice in Wonderland" in 2010, but he's also been animating puppets with sentience and spirit since his college days at CalArts with films including "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Corpse Bride." Read Story
I am a sucker for the theatrical device of narrating for oneself. I love it when an actor occupies the role of narrator simultaneous with that of a character. Take a line like, "I assured him it wasn't so," where the "I assured him" is said as narrator, but the "it wasn't so" is said in character, toward the person who is being assured. It's a difficult line to walk. And in Gatz, Elevator Repair Service's production of The Great Gatsby, actor Scott Shepherd, in the role of first-person narrator Nick Carraway, expertly walks it for over six hours. Read Story
Filmmakers Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims Talk Their Debut Documentary 'Only the Young'
Even in your early 20s, it’s interesting to look back on those hazy days of adolescent ennui where the world felt infinitely smaller and less consequential. Peering back at high school, the world moved much slower, the future was completely uncertain, and perhaps that was the only time when that felt okay. Thinking to then, I process those times with a mix of nostalgia and pleasure in knowing that adulthood offers an entirely new sense of freedom that one only dreams about at that age. But however you see it, those years are a defning time of change and seminal in one’s life, and with Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet’s debut documentary feature, Only the Young, the filmmaking duo have managed to capture that essence. Read Story
The coming of age of the American adolescent, a perennial subject of fiction and nonfiction films, adds a fresh chapter with Only the Young, the debut feature by CalArts grads Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims. Their fast-moving documentary zeros in on three ultra-likeable Southern California high-schoolers, following them through a succession of hairstyles and turning points.
Tightly constructed while maintaining the loose intimacy of just hanging out, the sympathetic portrait of these Christian skate punks rejects easy labels. The economically distressed suburban setting makes for a fascinating tableau, and informs the note of anxiety that courses through the kids’ self-deprecating exchanges. Winner of the Audience Award for the “Young Americans” section of AFI Fest, the movie is destined to connect with audiences when it unspools theatrically, via Oscilloscope, beginning with a Dec. 7 New York release. Read More
L.A. Times book critic David L. Ulin saw "Gatz" this weekend. He's a longtime reader of F. Scott Fitzgerald (who isn't?) and we'll talk about what a play like "Gatz" means for literary adaptations. Read Story
The popular Tim Burton exhibition that originated in 2009 at New York's Museum of Modern Art and has since toured internationally, including a stop last year at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is next heading to South Korea. Read Story