Arts & Culture

Dead Stop
12:13 am
Fri July 27, 2012

The Trainer Who Created Four-Legged Stars

Hollywood animal trainer Frank Inn with Higgins, a shelter dog known for his starring roles in the 1960s TV series Petticoat Junction and the 1974 film Benji.
Courtesy of Kathleen Copson

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 10:55 am

Gene Autry, Bette Davis and Buster Keaton are just a few of the names that draw flocks of tourists to Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills.

But there's a lesser-known man among the silver screen legends: Frank Inn, a pioneering animal trainer who made stars out of animals.

Inn's own life closely resembled a Hollywood film. Born into a strict Quaker family from Indiana, Inn set his sights on the movie business early. In the mid-1930s, while still in his teens, Inn hitchhiked west to Los Angeles.

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Movie Reviews
4:08 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

'Ai Weiwei': A Defiant Artist Pushes Back In China

Ai Weiwei is one of the biggest stars of the international art world, but Alison Klayman's documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry focuses more on the significance of his politics than of his artwork.
Ted Alcorn IFC Films

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 5:44 pm

Cage-rattling Chinese artist Ai Weiwei lives in a Beijing complex with his wife and some 40 cats and dogs. Only one of the animals — a cat — has figured out how to open the door to the outside. This ready-made metaphor arrives early in Alison Klayman's documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and is never mentioned again. But it underlies the tale of one of the few contemporary Chinese who publicly defies the government.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

'Klown': Childish Raunch With Adult Consequences

To prove his abilities as a father, Frank (Frank Hvam) takes his nephew Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen) on what was planned as a no-wives-allowed canoe trip. Klown has already been picked up for an American remake, slated for 2013.
Drafthouse Films

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 2:06 pm

The success of R-rated comedies in recent years might as well be broken down to a formula: blend boundary-pushing raunch comedy with heartfelt sentimentality — and if you're most movies produced by Judd Apatow, center the story on male coming-of-age, even for characters well into adulthood. Teary eyes, full raunch, can't lose.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

An Unwitting Folk Hero Finds A Spotlight At Last

In the 1960s, protest singer Rodriguez didn't find an audience in the United States. Unbeknownst to him, though, one of his albums became a massive success in South Africa. Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul tracks him down in Searching for Sugar Man.
Hal WIlson Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 2:06 pm

In 1968, two music producers went to a Detroit dive called The Sewer to hear a Mexican-American protest singer with a small cult following.

The producers' client list was mostly Motown, but they immediately signed Rodriguez (full name Sixto Rodriguez), whose stirring lyrics they hoped would speak to disenfranchised outsiders of all stripes and their champions.

Together, they made two albums — one of which, Cold Fact, provides the soundtrack for the thrilling new documentary Searching for Sugar Man.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

A Neighborhood Watch Goes Alien-Hunting

In The Watch, Franklin (Jonah Hill), Evan (Ben Stiller), Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) and Bob (Vince Vaughn) start a neighborhood watch after a Costco security guard is mysteriously killed on duty.
Melinda Sue Gordon 20th Century Fox

The savings are never passed on to the consumer, but a little product placement has become standard practice for Hollywood movies — a pizza box here or a conspicuously angled soda can there, and few take notice. But product integration is another matter: If a movie has been explicitly designed to accommodate a sponsor, it's worse than just a commercial movie. It's a movie commercial.

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