Los Angeles Times


Fox's 'The Resident' may not shake up the medical drama, but it can still raise a pulse

Los Angeles Times

"The Resident," premiering Sunday on Fox before taking up its regular Monday post the following night, is a meat-and-potatoes hospital show in which mostly pretty people, mostly in lab coats, try to work or game or fight the system (and each other) in order to help their patients or help themselves. If it doesn't break any new ground in the genre, it efficiently delivers a familiar mix of ethical conundrums and colorful characters, with just enough blood and sex to seem "real" in TV terms. If it is unusual in any way, it's that it is perhaps more than usually frank about what hospitals do for money, and the likelihood that merely being admitted to one increases your chances of never leaving. "Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States after cancer and heart disease," says alliteratively named nurse Nicolette Nevin (Emily VanCamp, from "Revenge"). You will also learn that 1 in 7 hospital patients get an infection they didn't come in with.


Lo-fi sc-fi 'This Giant Papier-Mâché Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy' excels on a shoestring

Los Angeles Times

With an affection for nerd culture that is inversely proportional to its budget, this lo-fi sci-fi comedy is destined for laugh-filled late-night viewing. "This Giant Papier-Mâché Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy" pays homage to favorites like "Doctor Who" and "Battlestar Galactica" while looking like it cost less than a cosplay effort to make. Serious fan Jeffrey (Daniel Pujol) drags his friends Tom (cowriter and director Christian Nicolson) and Gavin (Lewis Roscoe) to a science-fiction convention. There, they get far more than their passes offer when they're sucked into an alternate universe that looks just like a black-and-white B movie set in space, where they're the heroes who have to fight intergalactic supervillain Lord Froth (Joseph Wycoff) alongside heroine Emmanor (Sez Niederer). Fans of the silliness of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and "Galaxy Quest" will find that Nicolson and his co-writer Andrew Beszant are on their wavelength with this inventive New Zealand film.


Who's the best drone pilot in the world? Las Vegas championship challenge will award $50,000 prize

Los Angeles Times

The world's top 32 drone pilots will compete Saturday in Las Vegas for the world champion title in the International Drone Racing Assn.'s top challenge. Semi-professionals wearing virtual reality headgear compete for a $50,000 cash prize in the Challengers Cup Final on Friday and Saturday at the South Point hotel-casino at 9777 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Competitors qualified during 2017 races that began in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and concluded in Manila, the Philippines. Visitors can buy tickets to watch for $20. You'll be admitted to Friday's practice runs and the competition on Saturday afternoon. The elimination round will get underway at 12:30 p.m. with the finals set for 3:20 p.m. Saturday.


Friday's TV highlights: 'Tony Bennett: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song'

Los Angeles Times

MacGyver Mac (Lucas Till) gets involved in a competition to create robotic vehicles suited for combat, and one competitor – an ex-love interest (guest star Ashley Tisdale) – has her entry hacked, and sent to attack the Pentagon in this new episode. Blindspot Jane (Jaimie Alexander) and her colleagues must locate nuclear warheads that have vanished. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) begins reaching out to the world and helping others. Hawaii Five-0 Grover (Chi McBride) tries to dissuade the main suspect (guest star Devon Sawa) in his own wife's death from suicidal thoughts in the new episode. Taken The series inspired by the Liam Neeson-starring action movies opens its second season, with Clive Standen – as a younger incarnation of the Neeson character, CIA man Bryan Mills – and Jennifer Beals remaining from the first year's cast.


As artists fall into disgrace, must their art be consigned to oblivion?

Los Angeles Times

The other day while paging through a collection of George Orwell's writing, I was startled by his angry dismissal of fellow writers Stephen Spender and W.H. Auden as "fashionable pansies." I shrugged my shoulders and kept on reading. I had a similar reaction about a year ago when leafing through a collection of early Pauline Kael film criticism I happened upon a negative review of the screen version of Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour." Kael complains that "the lesbianism is all in the mind" before making this doozy of a parenthetical quip: "I always thought this was why lesbians needed sympathy -- that there isn't much they can do." These little homophobic nuggets didn't change my thinking about these great writers, who have too much intelligence and flair to be reduced to their worst statements.


Bad in bed? Millennials can work with that -- just as long as you're not a Trump supporter

Los Angeles Times

In the Trump era, the desire for great sex appears to have taken a back seat to fears about lousy pillow talk. According to internal data the dating service OkCupid provided, its millennial users overwhelmingly care more about their partners' politics than how good they are in bed. In the nation's capital, 70% of millennials would prefer romantic partners who shared their political opinions than their sexual proclivities. In Chicago, Portland, Brooklyn and Philadelphia, the majority of millennials are more invested in a partner's position on climate change than their preferred position in the "Kama Sutra". Last year, we learned that younger millennials are having astonishingly little sex to begin with.


Obscure start-ups -- not tech's biggest names -- are taking advantage of CES

Los Angeles Times

On any given day during the year, tech news is typically dominated by the Apples, Amazons, Facebooks and Googles of the world. Not so every January, when CES descends on Las Vegas and attention turns for a few brief days to roughly 4,000 exhibiting companies, many of them little-known or completely unheard of start-ups. Thanks to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who turned product announcements into glitzy productions, big tech companies have taken to launching their most important new products in isolated, single-company unveilings and developers conferences intended to drum up as much media frenzy as possible. Although some industry behemoths still attend CES -- in a rare showing, Google has a big stand-alone booth this year -- it's not a time to roll out their hottest gadgets and initiatives. That lets small start-ups and larger-but-less-sexy established companies take center stage.


LAPD takes another step toward deploying drones in controversial yearlong test

Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Police Department took another step toward using drones in some tactical situations after its civilian bosses Tuesday approved a $31,500 donation to purchase the controversial devices. The LAPD has yet to fly any drones. The yearlong pilot program, approved by the Police Commission last fall, won't begin until the department buys the drones and teaches officers how to use them. The donation from the Los Angeles Police Foundation will go toward four drones, Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala told police commissioners at their weekly meeting Tuesday. Each are from DJI, a tech company specializing in drones with offices worldwide.


Intel CEO says fixes for serious chip security flaws are on the way

Los Angeles Times

Intel Corp. has big plans to steer toward new business in self-driving cars, virtual reality and other cutting-edge technologies. But first it has to pull out of a skid caused by a serious security flaw in its processor chips, which undergird many of the world's smartphones and personal computers. Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich opened his keynote talk Monday night at the annual CES gadget show in Las Vegas by addressing the hard-to-fix flaws disclosed by security researchers last week. At an event known for its technological optimism, it was an unusually sober and high-profile reminder of the information security and privacy dangers lurking beneath many of the tech industry's wonders. Some researchers have argued that the flaws reflect a fundamental hardware defect that can't be fixed without a recall.


'Wonderstruck' costume designer Sandy Powell sheds light on working in black and white

Los Angeles Times

To understand the challenges facing "Wonderstruck" costume designer Sandy Powell, take a photo of something complex and colorful, say, a crowded city street, and then make it look cinematic in black and white. The three-time Oscar winner ("Shakespeare in Love," "The Aviator" and "The Young Victoria") found a solution in the palm of her hand when making costumes for the film, half of which was shot in black and white. Powell applied a black-and-white filter to to her iPhone when snapping images of those costumes. That kind of creative problem-solving may be partly why she won those three Oscars and earned an additional nine nominations, including two in 2016 for "Carol" and "Cinderella," and earlier ones for "Gangs of New York," "Velvet Goldmine" and "Hugo." Like "Hugo," "Wonderstruck" is based on a complex graphic novel by Brian Selznick telling the story of two deaf runaways, Rose and Ben, in two eras and two aesthetics: a black-and-white, silent movie feel for Rose in 1927, and a gritty, colorful 1977 with a full soundtrack for Ben.