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  • Rap's Main Street: The music of Rosecrans Avenue

    Rap's Main Street: The music of Rosecrans Avenue

  • Compton's Most Vaunted: Who would deserve a spot on a Rosecrans Walk of Fame?

    Compton's Most Vaunted: Who would deserve a spot on a Rosecrans Walk of Fame?

    Incorporated in 1888, the city of Compton (pop. 96,455) has produced a notable volume of hip hop visionaries since the genre’s rise in the 1980s. So many that the rapper known as Problem has long believed Rosecrans Avenue needs a walk of fame to highlight the city’s many achievements. Asked who...

  • What are the best songs that reference Rosecrans Avenue?

    What are the best songs that reference Rosecrans Avenue?

    You can learn a lot about a place by the ways in which it’s treated in song. With Compton in general and Rosecrans Avenue in particular, the lyrical lessons mostly involve themes foreign to those unfamiliar with the terrain. Below, five crucial songs that have helped define West Coast rap’s boulevard...

  • Friday's TV highlights: 'High Maintenance' on HBO

    Friday's TV highlights: 'High Maintenance' on HBO

    SERIES MacGyver The team heads to New Orleans to catch a con artist (guest star Amy Smart) who is trying to pass herself off as the wife of Duke Jacoby, an alias Jack (George Eads) used to use, but her gambit backfires when “Duke’s” old enemies start looking for revenge. Lucas Till, Tristin Mays...

  • 'The Post,' 'Humor Me' and other movie picks for Jan. 19

    'The Post,' 'Humor Me' and other movie picks for Jan. 19

    Movie recommendations from critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang. Call Me by Your Name Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer give superb performances as two young men falling in love in the northern Italian countryside in this rapturously beautiful collaboration between director Luca Guadagnino...

  • What's the mood at Sundance 2018? We'll keep you posted

    What's the mood at Sundance 2018? We'll keep you posted

    This year’s Sundance Film Festival arrives at the intersection of cultural and political retrospection. As Hollywood grapples with a newfound spotlight on its egregious treatment of women and the country reflects on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration and the women’s...

  • Lazy actioner 'Showdown in Manila' is no thrilla

    Lazy actioner 'Showdown in Manila' is no thrilla

    If “The Room” impresario Tommy Wiseau had been given the opportunity to make an action film, the result would still have been more entertaining than the egregiously nonsensical and amateurish “Showdown in Manila.” A crass shoot-em-up that only Rodrigo Duterte could love, it harks back to a simpler...

  • 'Juliet, Naked' director Jesse Peretz returns to Sundance with one of the year's buzziest titles

    'Juliet, Naked' director Jesse Peretz returns to Sundance with one of the year's buzziest titles

    It was more than 20 years ago, but Jesse Peretz has no trouble remembering his first film at Sundance. "The title was 'First Love, Last Rites' and it was in a super art section," the director recalls, thinking back. "The theater was tiny; 40 people came, four walked out, maybe more. It did not...

  • John Hawkes takes the wheel in quirky pulp drama 'Small Town Crime

    John Hawkes takes the wheel in quirky pulp drama 'Small Town Crime

    Engagingly anchored by character actor John Hawkes, “Small Town Crime” is a satisfyingly quirky serving of frisky pulp fiction. Hawkes’ Mike Kendall is a piece of work — an unrepentant alcoholic of a disgraced ex-cop who attempts to outrun his past behind the beer-can-cluttered dashboard of his...

  • A wicked premise and unhinged Nicolas Cage release submerged parental horrors in 'Mom and Dad'

    A wicked premise and unhinged Nicolas Cage release submerged parental horrors in 'Mom and Dad'

    Early in Brian Taylor’s edgy horror-comedy “Mom and Dad,” snarling suburbanite Brent Ryan descends on his shrieking son Josh, while playing a game of “tickle monster.” The scene illustrates what “Mom and Dad” has going for it: a gleefully unhinged Nicolas Cage performance, and an understanding...

  • Closeted preacher faces a reckoning in delicately wrought drama 'The Revival'

    Closeted preacher faces a reckoning in delicately wrought drama 'The Revival'

    The often difficult squaring of religious fervor and sexual longing receives poignant, powerful treatment in “The Revival,” deftly directed by Jennifer Gerber from a sensitive script by Samuel Brett Williams, based on his stage play. Set in rural Arkansas, the film follows the travails of Eli (David...

  • Gerard Butler stars in the clever crime noir 'Den of Thieves'

    Gerard Butler stars in the clever crime noir 'Den of Thieves'

    Cops and robbers, robbers and cops. It's a classic genre, from children's games to cinema, and it's the spine of Christian Gudegast's directorial debut, the L.A. crime noir flick “Den of Thieves,” in which “cops and robbers” is writ so large it nearly becomes abstract. It's a film that wears its...

  • 'Humor Me,' starring Jemaine Clement and Elliott Gould, delivers heart and laughs

    'Humor Me,' starring Jemaine Clement and Elliott Gould, delivers heart and laughs

    “Humor Me” will humor you — and then some. It’s one of the best films of its kind, along with Albert Brooks’ “Mother” and “In Her Shoes,” in which a floundering adult gets back on track with help from a senior-age parent (or grandparent). If writer-director Sam Hoffman’s charming, well-performed...

  • Alex Lawther shines in flamboyant bullying drama 'Freak Show'

    Alex Lawther shines in flamboyant bullying drama 'Freak Show'

    Actress and producer Trudie Styler makes her feature directorial debut with the flamboyantly genderqueer “Freak Show,” an adaptation of the novel by the legendary club kid, writer and host James St. James. Scripted by Patrick J. Clifton and Beth Rigazio, the story puts a young adult spin on the...

  • 'Dance Baby Dance' taps out predictable, poorly-made story

    'Dance Baby Dance' taps out predictable, poorly-made story

    Bad movies can inspire derision or disappointment, but indie comedy “Dance Baby Dance” mostly just evokes pity. Writer, director, producer and star Stephen Kogon is clearly trying his hardest to create an entertaining film fueled by a passion for tap dance, but what’s on screen demonstrates an...

  • Lo-fi sc-fi 'This Giant Papier-Mâché Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy' excels on a shoestring

    Lo-fi sc-fi 'This Giant Papier-Mâché Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy' excels on a shoestring

    With an affection for nerd culture that is inversely proportional to its budget, this lo-fi sci-fi comedy is destined for laugh-filled late-night viewing. “This Giant Papier-Mâché Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy” pays homage to favorites like “Doctor Who” and “Battlestar Galactica” while looking...

  • Horror icons Robert Englund and Lin Shaye can't save 'The Midnight Man'

    Horror icons Robert Englund and Lin Shaye can't save 'The Midnight Man'

    In the 34 years since Robert Englund and Lin Shaye appeared in “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” both actors have brought their distinctive personalities to so many horror films of varied quality that their presence in a picture hardly guarantees greatness. In “The Midnight Man,” Shaye plays dotty shut-in...

  • Haunted house is the real star of tedious 'Delirium'

    Haunted house is the real star of tedious 'Delirium'

    The press-kit for the haunted house movie “Delirium” describes Oakland’s Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate as the film’s “star,” which is pretty much true. The elegant 19th century mansion — previously seen in “Burnt Offerings,” “Phantasm,” and “So I Married an Axe Murderer” — looks like it was...

  • Guitarist Reinhardt biopic 'Django' hits some flat notes

    Guitarist Reinhardt biopic 'Django' hits some flat notes

    Did Belgian-born Gypsy musician Django Reinhardt need to be the most celebrated guitarist of his day to survive a Nazi regime hellbent on eradicating his kind? It’s an intriguing premise, but one only fitfully explored in Étienne Comar’s World War II-set biopic “Django,” about events surrounding...

  • Elena Ferrante, whoever she is, will be a columnist for the Guardian

    Elena Ferrante, whoever she is, will be a columnist for the Guardian

    Elena Ferrante, the reclusive, internationally bestselling Italian novelist, will write a weekly column for the Guardian. The tricky part is “Elena Ferrante” isn’t a person — it’s a pen name. The Guardian announced its columnist coup on Thursday. The news seems sure to come as a relief to Ferrante's...

  • Last chance to put a bird on it: 'Portlandia' closes up its painfully hip artisanal shop this season

    Last chance to put a bird on it: 'Portlandia' closes up its painfully hip artisanal shop this season

    After seven seasons of the wacky and odd, “Portlandia” is reaching its wit’s end. The IFC sketch comedy series that gently skewers the hipster culture of Portland, Ore., launches its eighth and final season Thursday. The show, a flagship for a cable network that specializes in alternative comedy,...

  • With Sundance 2018, a festival reaches to meet the moment

    With Sundance 2018, a festival reaches to meet the moment

    Yes, there are still movies at the Sundance Film Festival. But the 2018 edition of the preeminent indie film showcase, which kicks off Thursday night in Park City, Utah, also will be dealing with a moment of tumultuous upheaval and uncertainty in the culture. Multiple moments, to be more exact....

  • Thursday's TV highlights: 'Will & Grace' on NBC

    Thursday's TV highlights: 'Will & Grace' on NBC

    SERIES Jay Leno's Garage Jay competes against race car driver Bryce Menzies in a soapbox race. 7 and 10 p.m. CNBC The Big Bang Theory Koothrapalli (Kunal Nayyar) discovers that the woman he’s been dating (guest star Beth Behrs, “2 Broke Girls”) has a husband (guest star Walton Goggins, “Justified”)...

  • Forthright and volatile, Lauren Ruth Ward is breathing life into rock 'n' roll

    Forthright and volatile, Lauren Ruth Ward is breathing life into rock 'n' roll

    Before singer-songwriter Lauren Ruth Ward moved to Los Angeles three years ago from Baltimore, she cut hair for a living. Dozens of clients a week, sometimes many more during wedding season. She was great at it, and could have maintained a comfortable living on the East Coast. “It’s absolutely...

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