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FilmWeek: Our Reviews Of ‘Irresistible,’ ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,’ ‘My Spy’ And More

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Chris Cooper stars as Jack Hastings and Steve Carell as Gary Zimmer in IRRESISTIBLE, a Focus Features release. (Daniel McFadden/Focus Features)

Every week, Larry Mantle, who also hosts our newsroom's longtime public affairs show AirTalk, and KPCC film critics spend an hour talking about new films.

This week, Wade Major and Angie Han join Larry to review this weekend’s new movie releases and share some of their recommendations:

“Irresistible”

  • Mission Tiki Drive-in & VOD (Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Google Play, Vudu, FandangoNOW & Alamo On Demand)

Angie says:

“It feels frozen in time from the last time that Jon Stewart was at the forefront of political comedy when he left ‘The Daily Show’ in about 2015, and a lot of that has to do with the politics and the tone. It takes this glib, ‘both sides are just as bad’ approach and makes observations about the divide between coastal elites and “real Americans” that would have felt stale three years ago but feel especially out of touch at a time when there are protests raging in the streets in the middle of a deadly pandemic and Americans are having this national reckoning about race.”

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”

  • Available on Netflix

Here’s Wade’s review:

“It’s at least 15 or 20 minutes way too long. It overstays its welcome in a lot of sequences that just drag on and on and on and belabor the joke. I think Eurovision is innately very funny, and this is sort of prime Will Ferrell territory -- pick an occupation, a world and then insert Will Ferrell to create havoc and sort of magnify all of the eccentricities of that world. It would be funny, I think, if it were a little bit leaner.”

“My Spy”

  • Mission Tiki Drive-In (Montclair), Van Buren Drive-In (Riverside), Vineland Drive-In (City of Industry) & Amazon Prime Video

Angie’s review:

“It was both a little bit better than I expected and not quite good. It’s a movie that you’ve seen even if you haven’t seen it, by which I mean it’s one of those family comedies that pairs a big, muscle-bound dude with a precocious kid in the tradition of ‘Kindergarten Cop’ or ‘The Pacifier.’ Dave Bautista is really the best thing about this... and he’s very likeable here. He has great comic timing, he does great physical comedy, he has great chemistry with the kid, but he’s also really winning in some of the more emotional parts.”

“The Ghost of Peter Sellers”

  • Available to rent or buy on YouTube, Google Play & Amazon Prime Video)

Wade had this to say:

“I think this is absolutely amazing. This is an extraordinary kind of documentary. It’s more of a personal memoir of sorts. It is absolutely fascinating, not just from a filmmaking standpoint of how a movie can go wrong even if the people making it are presumably competent... but it also gives you the insight into the fragility of the artistic mindset, that even if you are a completely capable filmmaker, you’re still perfectly capable of being pulled apart if circumstances don’t come just right. I really loved it.”

Listen above to hear more in-depth reviews of these films and more:

ABOUT OUR CRITICS:

  • Angie Han is also deputy entertainment editor at Mashable; she tweets @ajhan
  • Wade Major is also film critic for CineGods.com

WANT MORE PICKS?

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LADOT Could Start Enforcing Those Previously 'Relaxed' Parking Rules On July 6

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(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Alert! If you have alternate parking on street sweeping days, you may have to start moving your car again soon.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation announced today that the city will resume issuing some parking tickets on July 6, after several months of halting those tickets due to the stay-at-home orders issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The last major update on the department's website had indicated the relaxed rules would extend until at least June 1 — which means we've been in limbo for almost a month.

Tickets will resume for:

  • Residential street sweeping
  • Peak/rush-hour and anti-gridlock zone restrictions
  • Abandoned vehicles (72-hour rule)
  • Expired registrations

Tickets will not resume (meaning you still get a free pass) for:

  • Overnight/Oversized Vehicle parking zones
  • Vehicles with recently expired Preferential Parking Permits

The payment due date for existing citations will be extended until Aug 1. People who can document that they are unemployed are eligible to have late penalties waived if they pay the base citation by the end of the 2020 calendar year.

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3 Ex-Long Beach Police Involved In Online Discussion About Killing Activist

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(Benjamin Brayfield/LAist)

Three former members of the Long Beach Police Department are among a group of law enforcement officers who had an online discussion about killing a prominent activist and police critic.

New York-based activist Shaun King took to the website Medium to call attention to what transpired in a private Facebook group for California law enforcement officers.

The thread was started by a retired Long Beach police officer named Laura Tartaglione, according to King. Referring to King, she wrote, “these criminals that the Democrats created need to be stopped.”

Several people in the group chimed in. One wrote, “Shaun King needs to be put down.” Another said, “need a sniper,” and a third added, “toss this guy from a helicopter.”

The Long Beach PD confirmed that three former officers participated in the discussion: Tartaglione, who left the department in 1997; Jeffrey Garcia, who left the department in 2014; and Mary Jensen, who left the department in 1993.

“To be clear, none of the individuals in the article are current LBPD officers,” the department said in a statement, adding that it's "appalled and deeply disturbed" by the posts. It said it has asked the FBI to help with the investigation.

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Coronavirus Recession Is Hitting Women And People Of Color Hardest

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Employment for Black and Latina women fell much more sharply than for white men, according to a recent study from the California Budget & Policy Center.

The coronavirus recession is already much worse than the Great Recession. And it's disproportionately affecting women and people of color in California, according to a new report by the California Budget & Policy Center.

California lost 2.6 million jobs in the first two months of the coronavirus recession. That's twice as muany as were lost over nearly three years during the Great Recession.

But the losses haven't been felt equally. Employment for Black and Latina women fell more than three times as much as employment for white men, and about twice as much as for white women.

Alissa Anderson, a senior policy analyst at the California Budget & Policy Center, says the disparity is likely because of the industries in which women, in particular women of color, tend to work, like leisure and hospitality.

In L.A. County, that sector lost more than twice as many jobs as any other sector.

Anderson also wonders if school closures play a role in the demographic disparities, though she doesn't have data to support her theory.

"We know that women are often far more likely to be the ones to step back from work to care for children," she said.

Immigrants in California, especially women, have also been more affected by the economic downturn than non-immigrants.

Source: California Budget & Policy Center. https://calbudgetcenter.org/

Anderson worries about what will happen when the extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits expires on July 31.

Letting the benefit expire, "when we see much greater job losses for women, Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, Latinx Californians and immigrants, would essentially do even more harm to these Californians," she said.

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LA Teachers' Union Endorses Calls To Defund School Police

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UTLA members rallied at City Hall on June 7, 2020 in support of calls to defund the L.A. School Police. (Kyle Stokes/LAist)

United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing L.A. Unified teachers and counselors, has voted in favor of efforts to defund the district's school police force.

The UTLA motion –- which was passed 154-56 by the union's House of Representatives –- calls for getting rid of the school police’s $70 million budget, and instead diverting those funds to community schools with more Black students. It also called for hiring more social workers and counselors, who are among the employees the union represents.

Earlier this month, the union's leadership joined calls to defund the Los Angeles School Police Department.

There has been some disagreement, though, among the member’s 35,000 members. Right before Thursday evening’s vote of UTLA's House of Representatives, the union received a petition with hundreds of signatures calling instead for a vote among the entire membership.

At a meeting of the district's Board of Education that lasted 11 hours-plus on Tuesday, some self-identified district employees spoke against defunding the school police.

One of the proposals on the table during that meeting was by board member Mónica García. If passed, it would have drastically reduced the department's funding -– first by 50%, and eventually, 90%.

Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, which represents school principals and administrators, has joined other unions representing other LAUSD employees to express support of the LASPD.

SEIU 99, which represents a range of district employees including custodians, cafeteria workers, assistants and bus drivers, expressed support for García's proposal to greatly reduce school police funding, which ultimately did not pass.

READ MORE:

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Heavy Trucks Cause Much Of Our Air Pollution. A New State Rule Aims To Change That

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Trucks stand prepared to haul shipping containers at the Port of Los Angeles on Sept. 18, 2018. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Shocking no Angeleno who’s ever been outside, Los Angeles has the worst smog in the nation (again). And California counties lead the U.S. in long-term particulate matter pollution.

The main culprit behind our air quality woes? The big diesel-burning trucks that keep our economy moving. Trucks are responsible for about 70% of the air pollution that we breathe in on a regular basis, according to the California Air Resources Management Board (CARB).

That’s why yesterday, CARB passed a new regulation to start phasing out fossil fuel-fueled trucks in favor of zero-emission electric ones.

The new rule requires truck manufacturers to begin shifting production to electric vehicles, starting in 2024. The goal is for all new trucks sold in California to be zero-emission by 2045.

Studies show that air pollution disproportionately harms Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans and low-income communities. And a recent study out of Harvard linked more air pollution exposure to higher death rates from COVID-19.

In a statement, CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols said the move is long overdue and will help address inequity across the state.

“For decades, while the automobile has grown cleaner and more efficient, the other half of our transportation system has barely moved the needle on clean air. Diesel vehicles are the workhorses of the economy, and we need them to be part of the solution to persistent pockets of dirty air in some of our most disadvantaged communities."

READ MORE ABOUT L.A. AIR QUALITY:

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Newsom Warns Coronavirus Deaths Will Rise; California Pauses Further Reopening

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Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered an update on California's response to coronavirus. You can read highlights below or watch the full update above.

CALIFORNIA PAUSES REOPENING

Newsom said that California has paused its efforts to reopen additional sectors of the state's economy by releasing new guidelines, such as the those for reopening theme parks. Disney referenced that information in their announcement delaying the reopening of Disneyland, originally planned for mid-July.

Newsom said the state decided to hit the pause button more than a week ago.

"There is nothing to suggest, based upon the criteria and conditions — and those trendlines that are developing into headlines across this nation, but substantively here in this state as well — that we'll be moving anytime soon by pushing further with those protocols and those announcements," Newsom said.

He mentioned that San Francisco also announced it was pausing its own reopening, which was set to extend further this coming Monday with nail salons, barbershops, and outdoor bars opening their doors.

THE LATEST CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS

There were 4,890 coronavirus positives in the past 24 hours in California, and 79 deaths. Hospitalizations were up 3.3%, while ICU patients were up 4.4%. Newsom characterized these increases as moderate.

Looking at the last 14 days, the state's positivity rate is at 5.3% — and 5.7% over the past 7 days. Newsom noted that California is expected to see more cases as testing increases, but that the positivity rate is most important. In the past 24 hours, there were 77,000 tests conducted, Newsom said.

Newsom noted that death rates are lagging, and that over the next week or two, we will see death rates rise as hospitalizations tick up. He said that it's not just 80- and 90-year-olds that are dying, and emphasized the presymptomatic and asymptomatic people may be spreading the disease to either people they know or strangers.

The state is looking to do target testing, Newsom said, in communities that have been underserved.

The state has offered "technical assistance" for 15 California counties on a watchlist due to statistics that don't meet the benchmarks to move forward with reopening; that watchlist includes L.A. County.

BRINGING BACK STAY-AT-HOME ORDERS IN IMPERIAL COUNTY

State officials are advising Imperial County to reinstitute stay-at-home orders. Imperial County is an area of particular concern, Newsom said, noting that its hospitals are already under significant strain.

If the county isn't able to come to a consensus on reinstituting restrictions, Newsom said, he will intervene.

Imperial County's positivity rate over the past two weeks is approaching 23%.

Imperial County is significantly over coronavirus thresholds set by the state in multiple areas, State Public Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell said.

The state has given the Imperial County additional beds for non-acute patients and sent in National Guard medical support, Newsom said. Other government agencies have also sent staff.

Vice President Mike Pence has also reached out to support efforts in Imperial County, Newsom said.

WEAR MASKS THIS WEEKEND

Newsom emphasized the need to wear masks. He noted that people often let their guard down going into the weekend, and urged Californians not to do so.

"If you are going to break with tradition, common sense, and you're going to invite your neighbors, or friends, or extended family members over — against the advice and counsel of local health directives — wear a mask, practice physical distancing," Newsom said.

PROTESTS CONTRIBUTE TO CORONAVIRUS SPREAD

Exact numbers are not yet available, but state officials believe that protests have been a contributor to increased coronavirus positives, Angell said. However, she noted that with the economy reopening, the state hasn't been able to determine to what extent demonstrations contributed to the growing case numbers. Angell encouraged people to stay out of large crowds.

POOLED TESTING

The state is working at the local level to use pooled testing, Newsom said in response to a question from KPCC/LAist. Pooled testing is when samples are tested in a pool to reduce the number of tests needed. If that pool tests positive, those in that pool will need to be individually tested.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURING

Newsom announced a new website, SafelyMakingCA.org. The state is offering free personal protective equipment to manufacturers while supplies last, as well as connecting people with California manufacturers of PPE.

The governor spoke from the Tri Tool manufacturing facility for Friday's press conference. He encouraged people to purchase personal protective equipment made by Californian companies. He said he wanted California manufacturing to be able to provide supplies outside of the state as well.

OVERALL LOOK AT CALIFORNIA NUMBERS:

Here's a look at longer-term trends in the state. To see more, visit our California COVID-19 Tracker and choose L.A. County or any other California county that interests you. These numbers are current as of Thursday, June 25:

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

Tales From LA Teens Balancing Jobs, A Pandemic And High School

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Juan Constantino, 17, a high school senior, has worked throughout the coronavirus pandemic for a mobile auto repair and locksmith business. (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in fundamental changes to both schools and workplaces, and working high school students absorbed all of those changes at once. Nationally, one out of five high schoolers has a job.

The pandemic has also triggered a recession — and some experts fear working-age students from cash-strapped households might be forced to drop out to work. If they’re not dropout risks, surveys show they’re also likely to be helping with household bills or taking on other stresses from home or school.

KPCC/LAist spoke with 11 working high schoolers from across L.A. about their experiences balancing jobs and distance learning courses. We featured one of those students in this story earlier this week.

The interviews with the remaining 10 students also offered illuminating — and sometimes surprising — perspectives on several crucial issues facing schools next fall. We wanted to share their stories.

READ THE FULL STORY:

MORE ON THIS STORY:

Morning Briefing: A Note From Our CEO

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Downtown Los Angeles skyline seen from the First Street bridge. (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

Never miss a morning briefing. Subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.

In the wake of international protests against systemic racism and police brutality, Southern California Public Media’s leadership has issued a statement to reflect the company’s stance. Here’s an excerpt, from President and CEO Herb Scannell:

For nearly a month, our country has been engulfed in conversations about racism. Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) is no different. Our discussions have been painful at times, as we reflect on how we treat one another, and how biases play out in our coverage.

Our longstanding mission has been to strengthen the civic and cultural bonds that unite Southern California's diverse communities. We do this by providing high-quality news and information and forming audience relationships that foster understanding, trust, loyalty and goodwill. We have taken strides to be diverse, equitable and inclusive and we recognize we can and should do more.

As an organization we condemn systemic racism — and racism of any kind — and remain committed to reflecting the diverse communities we serve. With that in mind, we say the statement "Black Lives Matter" reinforces our commitment.

You can read the rest here.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, June 26

Tommy Mofid fled Iran in the 1980s and spent decades tending bar in L.A. before opening the Wrigley Tavern, which has become a neighborhood favorite in northwest Long Beach. This past weekend, LAist contributor Gab Chabrán reports that the bar reopened for the first time in three months, even as many neighboring businesses have closed for good.

Kyle Stokes spoke with 11 working high schoolers from across L.A. about their experiences balancing jobs and distance learning courses. Their interviews offered illuminating — and sometimes surprising — perspectives on several crucial issues facing schools next fall.

Never miss an LAist story. Sign up for our daily newsletters.


The Past 24 Hours In LA

Policing The Police: L.A. Metro's board of directors will form a new committee to study how to reduce armed law enforcement on the county’s transit system.

Mental Health: The suicide rate is rising among young Black people.

Better Late Than Never: The Los Angeles Times is moving toward a settlement in a lawsuit over race and gender bias, and promises change. Disneyland is rethinking its Splash Mountain ride, which is currently based on characters from the film Song of the South – long shelved due to its racist overtones.

Money Matters: Angelenos who have lost jobs and income and have been protected from losing water, gas or electric service even if they don’t pay their bills, may be relieved of some of that debt. L.A. County's CEO has released a dire revised budget proposal that could result in the elimination of more than 3,200 positions and 655 layoffs, more than half of which could affect the sheriff's department.

Holding Power Accountable: Jose Huizar’s constituents in Boyle Heights, part of his City Council District 14, weigh in on his arrest on racketeering charges. An estimated 36,000 home child care providers in California will soon decide whether to unionize.

Coronavirus Updates: If you're like us, you might be feeling confused about the many, many mixed messages we've been receiving lately when it comes to reopening -- so we got some answers. As the Dodgers prepare to start training on July 3, the team's president of baseball operations said he fully expects COVID-19 to intrude.

Stop Scrolling And Do Something: Pick up a banjo and strum along to some queer bluegrass, sip a martini in old school style at Musso & Frank, or learn about the history of chocolate and vanilla at this week’s best online and IRL events.

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Photo Of The Day

The Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro will hold a virtual seal day on Saturday, and here are two seals kissing (as far as we are concerned).

(Karen Schuenemann)

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