Thomson on Film: Why ‘The Artist’ Just Might Win the Oscars
January 05, 2012
“The Artist is a silent film!” … until the end, when tap dance and a few words give way to our applause. The whole thing is so damn clever and charming, it might just sneak off with Best Picture. Something will, and this film is unexpected, a crowd-pleaser, and promoted by the Weinstein brothers—a pattern that has worked before. Never mind if it’s not exactly a “best film.” Though The Artist borrows its storyline from A Star is Born, it drops that film’s sad ending.
What's Behind The L.A. Arsons?
January 02, 2012
A spate of arsons is rocking Los Angeles this week. More than fifty cars have been set on fire over the last three days. Authorities have detained a man identified as a “person of interest” in the case, but so far very little other information is available. What drives a person to set fires? A 1994 study of 153 adult arsonists provides some insight. Some arsonists have obvious financial motives, but for many the urge to set fires is psychological.
TNR Exclusive: A Collection of Ron Paul’s Most Incendiary Newsletters
December 23, 2011
For years, Ron Paul published a series of newsletters that dispensed political news and investment advice, but also routinely indulged in bigotry. Here's a selection of some especially inflammatory passages, with links to scanned images of the original documents in which they appeared. Race “A Special Issue on Racial Terrorism” analyzes the Los Angeles riots of 1992: “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began. ... What if the checks had never arrived?
November 23, 2011
Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art 1945-1980 An Initiative of The Getty Foundation I. The bohemian luxe of a big white room full of Beatrice Wood’s ceramics, with dozens of fantastically shaped bowls, teapots, and chalices clothed in shimmering metallic glazes, is one of the capital impressions from “Pacific Standard Time,” an extravaganza involving exhibitions at more than sixty southern Californian cultural institutions.
Urbanity Now: Karachi as ‘Instant City’
November 09, 2011
Urban dwellers on the East Coast and Northern Californians typically don’t have a lot of nice things to say about Greater Los Angeles. Most complaints are of the “it’s a big sprawling mess” variety. The city and region grew so rapidly from the mid- to late-20th century, and so dependent on the automobile, that it seems to take at least 45 minutes to reach any destination in the metropolitan area. For a minute, though, picture a very different Greater Los Angeles: one beset by inter-ethnic violence equivalent to a Watts riot every single week; with half its residents living in illegally built h
Why Has the Obama Administration Declared War on Medical Marijuana?
November 09, 2011
Los Angeles—When you get a new car, you start noticing the same model all over the highway. It’s the same way when you figure out what California’s marijuana dispensaries look like—green crosses and signage about “medicine” and “420” start popping up all over the City of Angels: On your commute to work, in your neighborhood, around the corner from your favorite restaurant. To put it bluntly, it’s not hard to find weed in California. But that all might be about to change. The state’s four U.S.
Thomson on Films: ‘In Time,’ a Film That Can’t Deliver on Its Own Provocative Ideas
November 01, 2011
In Time is so crammed with provocative ideas it begins to feel over-crowded. At some time in a future that looks like the recent past of Los Angeles, human aging has been stopped at twenty-five. At that point of perfection, everyone has one year left to live, and their remaining span registers as a luminous green set of numbers (their “watch”), printed on the forearm. But this situation has turned time into the new money, and so—in the way of the world—some people are richer than others. People still look like twenty-five when they are eighty.
In the last week, my attention has been taken up by two American crime films from the 1950s that have appeared in excellent DVD versions: Joseph Losey’s The Prowler (1951), restored and delivered by a combination of benevolent institutions, the Film Noir Foundation, the U.C.L.A. Archive, and the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto, which means the exceptional patron of so many arts, David W.
Are Bureaucrats Blowing Off Obama’s New Immigration Policy?
October 04, 2011
This story is one of a series aiming to answer a simple question: Why are undocumented immigrants that the administration says it intends to help stay in this country still facing deportation? For an earlier story on this topic, see “One Family In Limbo: What Obama’s Immigration Policy Looks Like In Practice.” For the first time in years, Mayra Godoy, who came to this country after fleeing Guatemala’s civil war in 1991, ought to have reason for optimism. As an undocumented immigrant with no criminal record and deep roots (including a U.S.