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Posts Tagged ‘Kenneth Turan’

Kenneth Turan Remembers When Cannes Was a Much Easier PR Ride

Those were the days. At the top of his reminiscence piece about covering the Cannes Film Festival, LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan paints a delightful, junk-the-junket picture:

Cannes was more casual back in 1971, of course. You could hang out with Italian director Luchino Visconti without much planning or go see Jack Nicholson in his hotel room and spend the afternoon discussing his first directorial effort, Drive, He Said, with no more preamble than running into a friend of his on the street.

There were 800 credentialed journalists back then; today, there are around 4,000. Turan cites the 1999 Greek sci-fi parody Attack of the Giant Moussaka as one of his all-time favorites from the less carpeted Marché side of the annual event.

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LA Times Tandem Will Break In During Oscar Commercials

The LA Times, as you might expect, has a gaggle of reporters set to cover the Oscars on Sunday. In the press room will be Amy Kaufman (after live-streaming the red carpet for The Envelope), Yvonne Villareal, Jessica Gelt and Jasmine Elist; Rebecca Keegan will be roaming around elsewhere backstage; and Steven Zeitchik will be sitting in the audience and later at the Governor’s Ball.

And… live from the paper’s downtown newsroom, film critic Kenneth Turan (pictured) and columnist Robin Abcarian will break in during each Oscar telecast commercial block to comment on what just transpired. The stream will be available on the LAT home page, at The Envelope and via latimes.com/Oscar. It’s the first time the paper has attempted this experiment for any telecast. During the actual show, the stream will feature Oscar tidbits, trivia and stats.

Sunday’s Calendar section will include four Oscar preview covers designed by artists Chris Gall (Tucson), Jody Hewgill (Toronto), Joe Morse (Toronto) and Adam Simpson (London). The artwork will also be downloadable for paywall subscribers.

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Kenneth Turan Recalls Judith Crist, the Columbia Journalism Teacher

For decades, the late Judith Crist taught film reviewing at Columbia University in New York. Among her many former students is LA Times critic Kenneth Turan, who in the wake of her death Tuesday pays touching tribute to her gifts as a mentor.

One of Crist’s repeated bits of classroom advice was, “Resist the temptation to sell your grandmother down the river for a good line.” Even though she herself was known for her classic put-downs. In some ways, what Crist engineered on campus stands as a larger legacy than what she accomplished as a writer:

Though she was not the only critic who taught, no one passed on the art and craft of journalistic reviewing with as much passion or longevity as she did. Crist taught that criticism class for more than 50 years, longer than anyone taught any single course in the entire history of the journalism school. She was still teaching it this past February, and her other alumni include film critic David Denby of the New Yorker and New York Times critics Anna Kisselgoff and Margo Jefferson.

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The Biggest Stars of LAFF: John Horn, Nicole Sperling and Kenneth Turan

Never mind the Narrative Competition; never mind the docs. The most widely seen and strangely hypnotic offering at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival is a nifty white-background promo from the event’s major media sponsor.

Playing before each featured attraction, the Calendar section shout-out showcases the brief close-up musings of entertainment reporters John Horn and Nicole Sperling, followed by those of esteemed film critic Kenneth Turan. The promo was shot in-house at the LA Times, and honestly, director Tim French deserves high marks for making it hold up under the burden of maximum repeat viewing.

The script was concocted by LAT VP of consumer marketing Donna Tarzian and her team consisting of Jim Fisher, Brandon Botta and Sally Lok. In terms of Hollywood leitmotif, Horn up on the big screen looks a little like Bruce Willis while Sperling actually bears a striking resemblance to Elisabeth Shue.

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Documentaries Now Need Newspaper Reviews for Oscar Eligibility

All you indie documentarians out there with Oscar dreams may want to start sending flowers to Kenneth Turan. Because new rules put forth by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will require documentaries to be reviewed by either the New York or LA Times to be eligible for Oscar consideration. The move is undoubtedly an effort to deal with the growing volume of documentaries that are coming out these days. This Fishie has a friend who screens films for a festival-that-shall-not-be-named who tells us the number of docs is out of control. And most are TERRIBLE.

The Academy would never likely have to sift though rubbish like our friend. But docs can be produced so cheaply these days, the number of good films screening each year is growing too. The Academy is obviously hoping for a little help with quality control. However, notes the NY Times, there are a few kinks to be worked out.

A draft of the proposed rule did not specify whether the review had to be included in a print edition, or might run only online. It also did not specify length, or distinguish between the sort of capsule review, which sometimes introduces festival films, and a more elaborate piece of criticism. Reviews by television critics were specifically ruled out.

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Wim Wenders Explains Why He Had to Leave LA

Over the weekend, Zócalo Public Square sponsored a series of “Pacific Standard Time” panel discussions about the ephemeral nature of LA. To the website’s credit, that is also where you will find the very best summary of what went down, complete with extensive photos and archived video.

During one of the discussions, moderated by KCRW’s Warren Olney, Wim Wenders voiced the perspective of a European transplant. He said he made a beeline for Mulholland Drive after first touching down in the city in 1972, but eventually decided that LA could no longer be his lady:

LA became a dream place that “lost all reality when I left.” Wenders felt he couldn’t even talk about his life here because no one would believe it. “The movies that I make [in LA] are about that conflict between the fiction and the reality,” he said…

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LAFF Panelist Recalls Dog Day Turnaround

Last night at the Los Angeles Film Festival, LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan hosted a panel discussion about the late director Sidney Lumet. Joining him at the front of LA Live’s Regal Cinemas Theater 12 were actor Andy Garcia, composer Quincy Jones, and writer-producer Frank Pierson, who won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award in 1975 for the Lumet drama Dog Day Afternoon.

That movie was originally intended to be more comedic. In fact, in the Columbia Pictures executive suite, it was dismissively nicknamed The Boys in the Bank. But everything changed one day when Pierson and Lumet were confronted by the sight of star Al Pacino, trying to make his point very dramatically by walking around on all fours and barking like a dog. “True story,” Pierson reminded.

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Film Critic Set to Reveal ‘Secret Swarthmore Life’

LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan graduated from Pennsylvania’s Swarthmore College the same year as the release of The Graduate. This coming weekend, the 1967 alum, who went on to earn his master’s at Columbia University in New York, will return for an Arts Weekend speech entitled “Swarthmore Made Me: A Critic’s Secret Life.”

Turan tells Swarthmore’s The Phoenix, a student newspaper founded the same year as the LA Times (1881), that his current teaching style is heavily influenced by his time on campus as a history major:

Teaching film reviewing and nonfiction writing at USC, Turan sees a lot of himself in his own students. “I’m excited by the field and I was hoping there was a place for me, which is exactly how my students feel,” he said… His teaching style is “an attempt to make my students get as much out of my class as I got out of the classes I took at Swarthmore.”

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Betsy Sharkey Becomes LAT Film Critic

thecrticddd.jpg Former entertainment editor Betsy Sharkey has a new post at the LA Times as film critic.

*Spoiler Alert*

Sharkey got into hot ‘Sex and the City Fan‘ water in June when she mentioned some plot point about Mr. Good Bar or something.

From LAT:

To the idea of adding a few words of warning for those who might not want to read further because they haven’t yet seen the movie, said Sharkey, “Two weeks into the run of a film, I’m just not sure it makes sense — where do we draw the line — three weeks out? When it goes into DVD release?”

Spoiler alert: Don’t read articles about movies you haven’t seen and want to be surprised by. That’s why you READ about films…to be informed.

Our congratulations to Miss Sharkey on the move.

The entire press release about the move is after the break.

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LAT In 90 Seconds

second_thought_220_2.jpgPissed Much, Ken? Within the first few grafs, film critic Kenneth Turan shows his disdain for his (admittedly stupid) task of having to answer whether critics ever second-guess themselves: “Let me explain why I feel that asking critics about what they got wrong, or for that matter what they got right, is to fundamentally misunderstand what it is we do and how we do it.”

40727141.jpgChilling Sentence Of The Day: In this story about a new Gits‘ docu, one of Mia Zapata‘s bandmates, Steve Moriarty says, “It can be pretty awful to have to describe what it was like to go out every night for three months looking for a murderer on your own with a knife and a baseball bat, which is what I did.”

40754044-07100117.jpgWelcome Sunday Rose: Nicole Kidman gave birth to a daughter this morning. Congratulations. Here’s hoping Nicole will be able to work off the remaining 3 ounces of baby weight.

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