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When the presidency and television ratings collide

In his first statement as White House press secretary, Sean Spicer conveyed the top priority of his boss, America’s first reality-TV star/executive producer president. For Donald J. Trump, it was all about ratings, ratings, ratings. “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration,...

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

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  • Sundance: Revisiting the Smiths of Montana

    Sundance: Revisiting the Smiths of Montana

    On one level, the outstanding Sundance drama “Walking Out” tells a very simple father-son wilderness survival tale. But just below the surface, roiling emotional complications add meaning and difficulty at every turn. Similarly, the story of how this film, which premiered Saturday night in Sundance’s...

  • Sundance: 'The Big Sick' offers an early cure for the festival blues

    Sundance: 'The Big Sick' offers an early cure for the festival blues

    The Sundance Film Festival’s early days may have been overshadowed by the one-two punch of Friday’s presidential inauguration and Saturday’s women’s march, but this 33rd annual edition has slowly but surely roused itself to life. The festival laid claim to its first major crowd-pleaser on Friday with...

  • Overrated/Underrated: 'Sherlock' stuck around too long; Brian Eno offers calm in a storm

    Overrated/Underrated: 'Sherlock' stuck around too long; Brian Eno offers calm in a storm

    UNDERRATED ‘In Order of Disappearance’ (2014): While we wait for the next season of “Fargo” coming this spring, this recent arrival on Netflix offers a rewarding mix of snowbound violence and deadpan humor that will feel familiar to fans of the Coen Brothers. Starring Stellan Skarsgård as a quiet...

  • Indie Focus: Sundance Film Festival 2017 continues to combine movies and politics

    Indie Focus: Sundance Film Festival 2017 continues to combine movies and politics

    Hello! I’m Mark Olsen, and welcome to another Sundance edition of your regular field guide to a world of Only Good Movies. For all of the LA Times Sundance coverage, go to latimes.com/sundance. Sporting their finest winter looks are Justin Chang, Amy Kaufman, Kenneth Turan, Jen Yamato and Steve...

  • While Donald Trump danced, Shepard Fairey debuted his 'American Civics'

    While Donald Trump danced, Shepard Fairey debuted his 'American Civics'

    On the night of President Trump’s inaugural galas in Washington, Shepard Fairey opened his “American Civics” exhibition in Los Angeles. The timing was intentional. The pieces of work, featuring images from the 1960s by the late photographer Jim Marshall, represent social issues including prison...

2017 MOVIE AND TV PREVIEW

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  • 'Split' scares up a hefty box office lead over 'xXx: Return of Xander Cage'

    'Split' scares up a hefty box office lead over 'xXx: Return of Xander Cage'

    M. Night Shyamalan’s low-budget psychological horror film “Split” defied expectations Friday, raking in an estimated $14.6 million and prompting industry estimates of between $36 million and $38 million for inauguration weekend. The Universal/Blumhouse film trounced the other major studio release,...

  • Chelsea Handler, Dolores Huerta and others march at the Sundance Film Festival

    Chelsea Handler, Dolores Huerta and others march at the Sundance Film Festival

    Women's marches live updates: Millions march in L.A. and around the world following Trump's inauguration Jan. 22, 2017, 7:30 a.m. A day after the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, millions nationwide and around the world marched in support of women's rights. • Huge crowds converge on flagship...

  • Sundance filmmakers and local businesses steel for women's march

    Sundance filmmakers and local businesses steel for women's march

    “Eight years ago was an amazing day,” said Emmy-winning film producer Julie Goldman (“Life, Animated,” “Weiner”) on a palpably subdued inauguration morning at the Sundance Film Festival. “Today is the opposite.” Sundance veterans can vividly recall Inauguration Day 2009, when attendees of the prestigious...

  • Sundance: ‘Landline’ doesn’t connect, but ‘Novitiate’ is worthy of praise

    Sundance: ‘Landline’ doesn’t connect, but ‘Novitiate’ is worthy of praise

    “The inauguration is over, so you can turn off your cellphones!” That was the Sundance Film Festival’s director, John Cooper, introducing the Friday afternoon screening of Gillian Robespierre’s new comedy, “Landline.” For those of us who chose to bury ourselves in movies rather than pay attention...

  • The L.A. DIY community contemplates a post-Ghost Ship life

    The L.A. DIY community contemplates a post-Ghost Ship life

    After a December fire in Oakland killed dozens of young music fans at the DIY venue known as Ghost Ship, one question has ricocheted around L.A.’s underground music community: What do we do now? In the wake of tragedy and public scrutiny, L.A.’s underground promoters, artists and fans know that...

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