The contrived but poignant ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’ will appeal to music buffs

The ideal viewer for the British romantic melodrama “Modern Life Is Rubbish” would be anyone who knows that the title’s referring to a Blur album. Though the movie’s way too contrived, director Daniel Gill and screenwriter Philip Gawthorne (adapting their own 2009 short) clearly understand the…

Darkly comic Croatian drama ‘Goran’ rewards patience

When “Goran” begins, there’s little hint of the black comedy that ignites its latter half. We’re unsure who the titular character (Franjo Dijak) is and why we’re spending time with him, his wife (Natasa Janjic) and their circle of friends and family. But once this Croatian film from director Nevio…

‘Jewel’s Catch One’ captures a pioneering L.A. community leader and a place of note

C. Fitz’s documentary “Jewel’s Catch One,” is a love letter to a historical landmark of Los Angeles nightlife, the now-shuttered Catch One nightclub on Pico Boulevard, which was the “Studio 54 of the West” for decades. But more than a portrait of the club itself, the film is a tribute…

U.N. intrigue and corruption in ‘Backstabbing for Beginners’

Despite delivering few actual thrills, the fact-based “Backstabbing for Beginners” qualifies as an intelligent, well-crafted political thriller based on the memoirs of Michael Soussan, an idealistic American diplomat who pulls the lid off a United Nations corruption scandal. The year is 2002 and…

James Cameron explores his inspirations with AMC’s ‘Story of Science Fiction’

When James Cameron was growing up, he’s often said, “I read any book with a spaceship on it,” and science fiction movies inspired him to become a director. Now, with “James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction,” he’s returning the favor. Made under the AMC Visionaries rubric and debuting on that…

Champions League In 90 Seconds: Are the semis over already?

The Exploding Heads recap the semi-finals, Mo Salah’s goal celebrations and more with Champions League in 90 seconds.

‘Kings’ confounds with a take on the L.A. riots starring Halle Berry that’s largely naive

French-Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven stunned with her first film, “Mustang,” the Academy Award-nominated portrait of an unbridled Turkish girlhood straining at the strictures of patriarchy. Her follow-up film is “Kings,” which was originally intended to be her directorial debut before “Mustang.” …

UC shelves tuition increase for now, in hopes of getting more state funding

University of California regents will not vote on a tuition increase next month, shelving the plan for now in hopes that state lawmakers will come through with more funding. “Raising tuition is always a last resort and one we take very seriously,” UC President Janet Napolitano said Thursday in…

Zidane: Real can do better

Reactions from Zinedine Zidane and Jupp Heynckes after Real Madrid edged Bayern Munich 2-1 in their UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg on Wednesday. 

‘Duck Butter’ adds a truly fresh take on relationships with Alia Shawkat in command

Actress Alia Shawkat has been quietly building one of the most interesting careers around, from television (“Arrested Development”) to independent films, finding a unique, almost auteurist groove in her work. With her newest film, “Duck Butter,” in which she stars, she makes her screenwriting debut,…

Manchester United to beat Arsenal; Juventus to struggle against Inter Milan

Arsene Wenger insists he and Sir Alex Ferguson are now friends and have been in contact since his decision to step down as Arsenal manager. Bayern Munich’s wastefulness in front of goal cost the column big time in midweek although our main bet — both teams to score in the…

Hawks GM says coach Mike Budenholzer’s departure was ‘harmonious’

Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk on Thursday described coach Mike Budenholzer’s exit as “harmonious” and “as mutual as parting can be.” Schlenk also said the decision, finalized and announced late Wednesday, came after many discussions with Budenholzer and was not based on just one…

Golden State Killer suspect known for cursing, angry outbursts, say neighbors who called him ‘freak’

Natalia Bedes-Correnti and her husband had nicknamed their cantankerous neighbor “freak” after hearing one too many expletives shouted across Citrus Heights’ quiet streets. Joseph James DeAngelo’s ire was never directed at anybody in particular as far as Bedes-Correnti could tell, but instead constituted…

Golden State Killer suspect known for cursing, angry outbursts, say neighbors who called him ‘freak’

Natalia Bedes-Correnti and her husband had nicknamed their cantankerous neighbor “freak” after hearing one too many expletives shouted across Citrus Heights’ quiet streets. Joseph James DeAngelo’s ire was never directed at anybody in particular as far as Bedes-Correnti could tell, but instead constituted…

‘Finally some justice’: Hollywood weighs in on Cosby verdict

Bill Cosby was found guilty Thursday on charges he drugged and sexually assaulted Andrea Constand, and many in Hollywood immediately celebrated the news on social media. The verdict came, after the jury’s 13 hours of deliberation, less than a year after a previous panel was unable to reach consensus…

‘The Rachel Divide’ tackles a complex case of false racial identity

A few years before the term “fake news” became commonplace, the media covered the strange case of Rachel Dolezal: a Spokane-based white woman “identifying” as black and accused of lying about being the target of racist hate crimes. Was Dolezal drawing attention to the slipperiness of cultural identity?…

Spaghetti western classic ‘The Great Silence’ makes its proper U.S. debut after 50 years

For a brief moment of time, largely during the 1960s, Italian spaghetti westerns shot across the international cinematic sky, making luminaries of directors like Sergio Leone and jump-starting Clint Eastwood’s feature career. One of the most celebrated of these films was Sergio Corbucci’s 1968…

Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz explore a forbidden love affair in ‘Disobedience’

The unruly power of romantic passion is one of the movies’ great themes, and it’s never more disruptive than when it manifests itself in what used to be called the love that dared not speak its name. But though films from Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” to Todd Haynes’ “Carol” have…

The political drama ‘This Is Our Land’ is set in France, but it could just as easily be America

“This Is Our Land” may take place in France but could just as easily unfold in these United States at this particularly fraught and divisive moment in our national discourse. If current American movie audiences showed more of an appetite for this kind of reflective political drama, a stateside…

Lucrecia Martel’s ‘Zama’ is a feverishly brilliant tale of European colonialism and its discontents

Early on in Lucrecia Martel’s “Zama,” in a Spanish-held South American colony during the late 18th century, a crown official named Don Diego de Zama (Daniel Giménez Cacho) tries in vain to seduce a married noblewoman, Luciana (Lola Dueñas). There’s probably a metaphor to be gleaned from this failed…

Punk rock blows teen’s mind in ‘The House of Tomorrow’

Writer/director Peter Livolsi’s directorial debut “The House of Tomorrow,” adapted from Peter Bognanni’s novel, uses the philosophy and beliefs of architect, designer, inventor and geodesic dome enthusiast Buckminster Fuller as the backdrop of a coming-of-age story soundtracked to classic punk. …

Guy Fieri on barbecue, country music and why he’s coming to Stagecoach

A stretch of the 10 Freeway headed toward Indio is packed with dozens of billboards for a number of the artists on the lineups for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach Festival. Eminem, Kasey Musgraves, Odesza, Jade Jackson and Kamasi Washington are some of the acts plastered…

Work on water infrastructure to cause 7 months of partial road closures in Beverly Crest

A city water infrastructure project is scheduled to bring partial road closures to a stretch of Benedict Canyon Drive in Beverly Crest starting next month. The improvements will center around Liebe Drive and stretch from Mulholland to Hutton drives, said officials with the Los Angeles Department…

Journalistic zeal resonates in Rob Reiner’s ‘Shock and Awe’

The importance of journalistic integrity can’t be overstated these days, which is why for all its flaws “Shock and Awe,” like 2017’s far superior “The Post,” is worth seeing. Still, if this swift, entertaining film, set during the post-9/11 run-up to the Iraq war, brashly leans left, it has history…

Weekend Picks: Verdi Chorus, ‘Noises Off,’ Redbone and some inspiration from Virginia Woolf

This weekend you also can catch the L.A. Opera Chorus, SITI Company, the Hear Now Music Festival and Argentine choreographer Diana Szeinblum’s gender-bending new work.

Golden State Killer suspect: Vietnam vet failed as a cop then went to work for grocery chain

Who is Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., the 72-year-old former police officer charged with eight counts of murder and accused by authorities of being the Golden State Killer? The decadelong trail of the notorious serial killer led officers from a task force of local and federal law enforcement agencies…

Track federation issues new definition of female athlete

International track officials are revisiting controversial territory with a new rule that defines female athletes by their body chemistry. The standards, issued by the International Assn. of Athletics Federations early Thursday morning, were characterized as a means of keeping women with naturally…

Yawkey Way, the street outside Boston’s Fenway Park, will revert to original name

Boston approved a plan Thursday to change the name of Yawkey Way, the street outside Fenway Park named in honor of a former Red Sox owner some have said was racist. The city’s Public Improvement Commission unanimously approved a proposal by current Red Sox ownership to call the stretch of…

Jaguars owner Shad Khan makes an offer to buy Wembley Stadium

The owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars confirmed Thursday that he has made an offer to buy London’s Wembley Stadium. The statement confirmed a report by the Evening Standard. Shad Khan released a statement saying he intends to buy the iconic venue, which is owned by the Football Assn., English football’s…

A former Marine gives a reminder about the mission of high school sports

My day was not going well. A high school student was giving me grief on Twitter for trying to offer an observation with which he didn’t agree. Some teenagers don’t know the difference between criticism and sarcasm; critiquing and advising. That caused me to sit in the bleachers at the…