Carina Chocano's replacement *

The lead movie review in today's print Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times isn't by lead critic Kenneth Turan (his review of Stranded gets second billing.) Or Carina Chocano, who was laid off last month. The review of Madagascar that tops the page is by Michael Phillips. Who, you might ask? He's the critic at the Chicago Tribune, a paper with no presence or reputation among Los Angeles newspaper readers (or desire to be read among Angelenos, that anyone can detect) but its material is free to the Times. That's the replacement for Chocano, who was actually known and liked in L.A., but who had to be paid, you know, a salary. Phillips, by the way, is a pro and a veteran, known in Hollywood (and a former LAT critic himself.) No knock on him. But I notice that the online version of Calendar plays his review way down the page, well below Turan's. (* Noted: I'm told that story order happens automatically when the paper goes to press, then is re-ordered later for online by an editor.)

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