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Alexa, meet Lauren: L.A. artist turns her apartment into an experiment in artificial intelligence

Los Angeles Times

At 9 on a Friday night, I knocked on a door in a nondescript Los Angeles apartment building. The only distinguishing feature was a small label with red text that read "Lauren." Soon came a whirring sound and the click of the door unlocking. My night with Lauren had begun. Lauren is the creation of artist and UCLA professor Lauren McCarthy, whose weeklong interactive performance was part of the IDFA DocLab, an International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam showcase for new-media projects, and also part of "Vulnerability: The Space Between," an exhibition at Young Projects Gallery in West Hollywood.


'Apes' director Matt Reeves: I wanted to push ... Caesar's story into the realm of the mythic'

Los Angeles Times

When he was 8 years old, Matt Reeves started making 8-millimeter movies inspired by his love for the original "Planet of the Apes." "I'd have my friends put on gorilla masks and run around shooting these little sci-fi films," he recalls. "As a kid, I was captivated by these images of horses with apes on them." Decades later, Reeves, perched on a sofa in his tidy Hollywood office, has taken his fascination with primate cinema to a whole new level as the auteur behind the 2014 performance-capture blockbuster "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" and this summer's "War for the Planet of the Apes." Taking the reins from "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" director Rupert Wyatt, Reeves, lauded for his low-budget horror hit "Cloverfield," initially harbored reservations about helming Twentieth Century Fox's multimillion-dollar franchise.


Essential Arts & Culture: Parsing Kusama, outcry over Philip Johnson update, art's woman problem

Los Angeles Times

The Kusama show at the Broad is raising the crowds (if not our critic's inspiration). Los Angeles just had a Philip Glass moment. There's been an architectural furor over possible changes to a work by Philip Johnson. I'm Carolina A. Miranda, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, with the week's blazing culture news: Yayoi Kusama's exhibition of Infinity Mirror Rooms at the Broad is the hot museum show in L.A. right now. But Times art critic Christopher Knight says if you didn't score a ticket, you're not missing much.


Cruising California canyons in Jaguar's F-Type SVR

Los Angeles Times

Jaguar Land Rover, taking a page from the European luxury car playbook, is offering increasingly attractive performance versions of its entry-level sports cars. Quicker, faster and better-handling than the base F-Type, the SVR model is a high-octane sports car disguised as a luxury car. The SVR versions of Jaguar Land Rover vehicles represent a still smaller slice of the pie. The F-Type SVR's size, limited storage and seating configuration will disqualify it for a lot of buyers.


When people work together, they're literally on the same wavelength, brain waves show

Los Angeles Times

Psychology researchers at New York University equipped each of 12 high school seniors with a portable, low-cost electroencephalogram and gathered the gadgets' brain-wave readings over a semester's worth of biology classes (11 sessions lasting 50 minutes each). Writing in the journal Current Biology, the researchers reported that when students were most engaged with each other and in group learning, the readings on their electroencephalograms, or EEGs, tended to show brain-wave patterns that rose and dipped in synchrony. Such shared entrainment shows up on EEGs as neural synchrony. "Brain-to-brain synchrony is a possible neural marker for dynamic social interactions, likely driven by shared attention mechanisms," the group wrote.


Personal Shopper,' 'Raw' and more critics' picks, March 10-16

Los Angeles Times

The Founder Michael Keaton gives a performance of ratty, reptilian brilliance as Ray Kroc, the American salesman who turned a California burger stand into the global fast-food behemoth that is McDonald's, in John Lee Hancock's shrewd and satisfyingly fat-free biopic. I Am Not Your Negro As directed by the gifted Raoul Peck, this documentary on James Baldwin uses the entire spectrum of movie effects, not only spoken language but also sound, music, editing and all manner of visuals, to create a cinematic essay that is powerful and painfully relevant. La La Land Starring a well-paired Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, writer-director Damien Chazelle's tuneful tribute to classic movie musicals is often stronger in concept than execution, but it's lovely and transporting all the same. Land of Mine Explosive devices that can detonate at any moment are intrinsically dramatic, and this Danish World War II film makes good use of that plot mechanism, but it has a whole lot more going for it as well. Manchester by the Sea Powerful, emotional filmmaking that leaves a scar, Kenneth Lonergan's drama starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams is both heartbreaking and heartening, a film that just wallops you with its honesty, its authenticity and its access to despair.


'The Women's Balcony,' 'Moonlight' and more critics' picks, March 3-9

Los Angeles Times

Arrival Amy Adams stars in this elegant, involving science-fiction drama that is simultaneously old and new, revisiting many alien-invasion conventions but with unexpected intelligence, visual style and heart. Elle Paul Verhoeven's brilliantly booby-trapped thriller starring Isabelle Huppert is a gripping whodunit, a tour de force of psychological suspense and a wickedly droll comedy of manners. La La Land Starring a well-paired Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, writer-director Damien Chazelle's tuneful tribute to classic movie musicals is often stronger in concept than execution, but it's lovely and transporting all the same. Manchester by the Sea Powerful, emotional filmmaking that leaves a scar, Kenneth Lonergan's drama starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams is both heartbreaking and heartening, a film that just wallops you with its honesty, its authenticity and its access to despair.


Essential Arts & Culture: Parsing Measure S, 'Fun Home' inspires genuflection, SCI-Arc goes to Mexico

Los Angeles Times

The award-winning show inspired by a singular graphic memoir. Plus: SCI-Arc in Mexico City, Oscar-nominated films that emerged from important plays, and a longtime curator leaves the downtown gallery he helped establish. I'm Carolina A. Miranda, staff writer for the Los Angeles, and I'm in your inbox with a weekly digest of everything culture: On March 7, Los Angeles will head to the polls to vote on a development measure that could affect the profile of the city. Measure S (formerly known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative) seeks to put a two-year moratorium on development projects that require an amendment to the city's general plan, among other factors. Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne parses the measure and its backers, whose roots lie in anti-growth initiatives from the 1980s -- and whose vision of Los Angeles seems to lie squarely in the 1960s.


'My Life as a Zucchini,' 'Toni Erdmann' and more critics' picks, Feb. 24-March 2

Los Angeles Times

Arrival Amy Adams stars in this elegant, involving science-fiction drama that is simultaneously old and new, revisiting many alien-invasion conventions but with unexpected intelligence, visual style and heart. Elle Paul Verhoeven's brilliantly booby-trapped thriller starring Isabelle Huppert is a gripping whodunit, a tour de force of psychological suspense and a wickedly droll comedy of manners. The Founder Michael Keaton gives a performance of ratty, reptilian brilliance as Ray Kroc, the American salesman who turned a California burger stand into the global fast-food behemoth that is McDonald's, in John Lee Hancock's shrewd and satisfyingly fat-free biopic. I Am Not Your Negro As directed by the gifted Raoul Peck, this documentary on James Baldwin uses the entire spectrum of movie effects, not only spoken language but also sound, music, editing and all manner of visuals, to create a cinematic essay that is powerful and painfully relevant. La La Land Starring a well-paired Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, writer-director Damien Chazelle's tuneful tribute to classic movie musicals is often stronger in concept than execution, but it's lovely and transporting all the same.


'Moonlight,' 'Manchester by the Sea' and more critics' picks, Feb. 17-23

Los Angeles Times

Elle Paul Verhoeven's brilliantly booby-trapped thriller starring Isabelle Huppert is a gripping whodunit, a tour de force of psychological suspense and a wickedly droll comedy of manners. I Am Not Your Negro As directed by the gifted Raoul Peck, this documentary on James Baldwin uses the entire spectrum of movie effects, not only spoken language but also sound, music, editing and all manner of visuals, to create a cinematic essay that is powerful and painfully relevant. La La Land Starring a well-paired Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, writer-director Damien Chazelle's tuneful tribute to classic movie musicals is often stronger in concept than execution, but it's lovely and transporting all the same. Manchester by the Sea Powerful, emotional filmmaking that leaves a scar, Kenneth Lonergan's drama starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams is both heartbreaking and heartening, a film that just wallops you with its honesty, its authenticity and its access to despair.