mv-voice.com http://www.mv-voice.com If it is local and useful, it is on mv-voice.com. en-us <![CDATA[Burglary suspect caught on video]]> Police released photos of a man who they believe broke entry into a Mountain View home where he slept inside and stole property from last week.]]> <![CDATA[No appetite for rent control among council candidates]]> While the pace of rent hikes in Mountain View has led to calls for rent control from some community leaders and middle class families, City Council candidates are favoring long-terms plans for increasing housing supply instead of the type of rent control ordinances in place in cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, Los Gatos, San Jose and East Palo Alto. ]]> <![CDATA[Police say suicide, accidental death to blame in fume-filled building]]> Police said they believe suicide and an accidental death are to blame in the deaths of a man and his teenaged son Wednesday. ]]> <![CDATA[Google fiber gets go-ahead]]> Progress is being made in bringing Mountain View the ultra fast Internet access promised by Google Fiber, according to an agreement announced Tuesday.]]> <![CDATA[Doing good with food]]> Foodanthropy has arrived in Palo Alto.
It's not some trendy new hybrid dessert, but rather, the marriage of two worlds -- food and philanthropy -- in an unusual new downtown restaurant.]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Silicon Valley income gap continues to widen]]> Silicon Valley incomes have increased for the second straight year after a three-year downward trend, according to a report released by Joint Venture Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies, a nonprofit think tank, on Wednesday.]]> <![CDATA[The Ecstasy of Embodiment]]> Programmers, entrepreneurs, academics and artists alike flock to Ecstatic Dance Palo Alto to discover the healing powers of dance and the hidden connections between their bodies and their minds.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Equalizer']]> Denzel Washington's commanding performance slightly elevates the immoral message and boilerplate plot of this violent vengeance fantasy.]]> <![CDATA[Council backs big El Camino Real plans]]> In a study session Tuesday, council members began finalizing the precise plan that is to guide future development of El Camino Real. Members showed support in a series of straw votes for bike lanes on key portions of El Camino Real and six-story buildings in "village centers" at major intersections, among other things. ]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'A Walk Among the Tombstones']]> Writer-director Scott Frank brings clever writing and moody atmosphere to this crime thriller centered on ex-cop and recovering alcoholic Matthew Scudder, played by Liam Neeson.]]> <![CDATA[A deeper look at Old Mountain View]]> Seven homes, dating from 1895 to just last year, highlight the upcoming Mountain View Education Foundation house tour through Old Mountain View this weekend.]]> <![CDATA[Crime briefs: car burglary, home burglary and indecent exposure]]> Two suspects flee officers in home burglary, groundskeeping tools stolen from a truck bed and man exposes himself on a city street.]]> <![CDATA[Two found dead in evacuated building]]> What started out as an investigation into the source of a possible gas leak took a dark turn, as two bodies were found in an apartment on California Street Wednesday evening. Police now say a gas leak did not cause the noxious fumes.
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<![CDATA[Budget cuts prompt county courts to cut hours]]> Santa Clara County Superior Court, citing budget cuts, plans to reduce business hours at its courthouses in San Jose, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Morgan Hill by at least an hour per day, court officials said today.]]> <![CDATA[Impasse in teacher salary talks]]> Tension between the Mountain View Whisman School District and its teachers union has reached a tipping point. The Mountain View Educators Association reported today that the district and the teachers union are at an impasse, and that teachers will no longer work outside of their contract hours while they await mediation.]]> <![CDATA[Rain showers predicted in Bay Area tonight, tomorrow morning]]> The Bay Area can expect to see its greatest rainfall since April when showers pass through the region today and Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.]]> <![CDATA[Update: City Council candidate forums]]> October will be a busy month for City Council candidate forums, including a new one this election year organized by Peninsula Interfaith Action, rescheduled from Sept. 25 to Oct. 10 so as not to conflict with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. ]]> <![CDATA[Springer families save energy to fund school]]> Why have a bake sale when you can turn off the lights and adjust the thermostat? A Bay Area tech company has partnered up with Springer Elementary School in a pilot program that would allow families to raise money for the school by saving energy at home, with a starting goal of $10,000.]]> <![CDATA[A one-stop source for health care classes]]> Foothill College has partnered up with a medical training company to help health care professionals to stay certified in their field.]]> <![CDATA[More than 100 arrested at Shoreline rave]]> The speakers didn't go up to 11 last weekend at the Beyond Wonderland electronica dance festival. Though the number of narcotics-related arrests remained high this year, police say that noise complaints from nearby residents dropped by more than 75 percent -- in part because of careful planning and lessons learned from last year.]]> <![CDATA[Op-Ed: The city needs housing, not just offices]]> At the end of the Tuesday's City Council study session on the North Bayshore Precise Plan, some council members urged that the entire proposed 3.4 million square feet of offices be quickly built to bring in money to pay for transportation and other improvements.
I urge the Mountain View City Council to slow down and not approve this plan as-is.]]>
<![CDATA[Op-ed: Adding housing to North Bayshore won't solve any problems]]> The three main reasons people give for wanting to build housing in North Bayshore are to reduce the Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from commuters by having people live close to work, to improve the workers' quality of life by not having a long commute, and to create additional affordable housing in Mountain View.
I believe we should not build housing in North Bayshore area because doing so would not achieve any of these desirable effects.]]>
<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Community Foundation to get $7.5M grant]]> Silicon Valley Community Foundation in Mountain View will receive $7.5 million from the federal Social Innovation Fund to improve reading skills in San Mateo County, where 42 percent of third-graders cannot read proficiently, according to a foundation press release.]]> <![CDATA[Community shuttle route still up in the air]]> Though set to begin service this fall, the route and schedule still haven't been decided for the free community shuttles Google has donated to the city.]]> <![CDATA[Bicyclist to sue city over collision with police car]]> The city of Mountain View is facing a lawsuit from a bicyclist seeking damages after he was allegedly struck by a police car last year.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Maze Runner']]> A group of teens struggle for survival in a dystopian world in this film, which, like the novel on which it's based, can be read as an allegory of puberty.]]> <![CDATA[Review: The Skeleton Twins]]> Erstwhile "SNL" cast-mates Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader star as adult siblings Maggie and Milo who struggle with depression in this likeable Craig Johnson dramedy.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'My Old Lady']]> Kevin Kline shines in playwright Israel Horovitz's directorial debut about a down-and-out New Yorker forced to face his demons in Paris.]]> <![CDATA[Review: Double the pleasure in 'House & Garden']]> Premiered in the playwright's native England in 1999, Alan Ayckbourn's "House & Garden" is a rare theatrical phenomenon: a pair of plays intended to be performed simultaneously, by one cast, for two audiences. ]]> <![CDATA[Cluck, cluck! It's time for the Tour de Coop]]> Sharon Erickson can barely remember a time when her family didn't raise chickens.]]> <![CDATA[Local groups help hoarders conquer the clutter]]> "Everybody knows somebody who hoards. We just don't talk about it," said Emily Farber, a social worker case manager with Palo Alto nonprofit Avenidas. Read the stories of people who have faced this issue head on.]]> <![CDATA[Portola Valley theater company snags heavy-hitter as artist-in-residence]]> When the San Jose Repertory Theatre went under earlier this year, it left the regional theater community in dismay. ]]> <![CDATA[Mary Kom]]> Mary Kom holds enough world boxing championship titles and influence in the sport to merit a keen cinematic look at her career's progression. However, this film botches that opportunity, succumbing instead to the common pitfalls of its genre, and topping it off with an inelegant style of execution.]]> <![CDATA[Dolphin Tale 2]]> "Dolphin Tale 2" will no doubt be a delightful experience for animal-loving tots. But for the adults who bring them, it's pretty much guaranteed to be a surreal experience.]]> <![CDATA[Where to savor the end of summer]]> Summer is drawing to a close, but chances are the warm weather plans to stick around for another month of comfortable outdoor dining. Here are 10 great spots to dine outdoors in Palo Alto, Mountain View and Menlo Park.]]> <![CDATA[A Festival of Fall Arts]]> Fall is here, and as all art lovers know, that means a fresh new arts season is upon us. In the following pages, you'll find events ranging from live dance and theater to music, film, comedy, magic and storytelling.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood']]> There's something telling about "The Last of Robin Hood" being the first project to emerge from Lifetime Films. The sordid tale of Errol Flynn's last days clinching with a Lolita and soaking in booze and drugs, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's by-the-numbers account technically qualifies as a true crime tale, and seems to exist mostly because of its marketable prurience: a hallmark of Lifetime's infamous cable movies.]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E events]]> This week, check out fine arts and crafts, food and drink vendors, live music and more at the Mountain View Art & Wine Festival. Enjoy moon cakes and traditional lion dances at Ming's of Palo Alto in celebration of the Autumn Moon Festival, and welcome the Pacific Art League back to its newly-renovated Ramona Street home at its Grand Opening Exhibition.]]> <![CDATA[Portrait of a nation]]> Next Wednesday, Sept. 10, the Cantor Arts Center unveils many of Robert Frank's iconic images, alongside some of his never-before-seen works, in "Robert Frank in America."]]> <![CDATA[Review: The best of all worlds]]> What's a "marketbar?" Please, let it be not another pricey, erratic new eatery that's trendier than thou and louder than garbage trucks backing up. Rest assured, the restaurant that opened in Menlo Park early this year is none of the above. ]]> <![CDATA[Moonlight Run & Walk tonight]]> The 30th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run & Walk takes place tonight under the full Harvest Moon in the Palo Alto Baylands.]]> <![CDATA[Palo Alto's popular muralist Greg Brown dies]]> Greg Brown, a Palo Alto muralist whose elaborate, realistic and often whimsical depictions of crooks, aliens, cunning animals and everyday people have been shocking and amusing local pedestrians for nearly four decades, died Friday after a brief battle with cancer. He was 62.]]> <![CDATA[Timely and tender]]> The current offering in TheatreWorks' new season is the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Quiara Alegria Hudes, who previously won a Tony for the book of the musical, "In the Heights." In this newest work, Hudes follows a cluster of recovering crack cocaine addicts who only meet virtually, as well as a pair of cousins dealing with family death and denial.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Love Is Strange']]> Marital domesticity is tough enough. Add in the obstacle of Kafkaesque sociopolitical forces -- still the lot of many gay couples -- and any marriage would feel the strain.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Trip to Italy']]> Comedy sequel "The Trip to Italy" is almost exactly like its predecessor "The Trip," and for the most part, that's a good thing.]]> <![CDATA[Gone garbanzo]]> Saumil Pandey, founder and CEO of Tasty Karma, began making chickpea chips for her family, bagging them for her kids' lunchboxes, and sharing them with friends and neighbors. She now sells the crunchy, good-for-you snacks at local farmers markets and grocery stores.]]> <![CDATA[Keeping water off the street]]> In the midst of California's driest year on record -- and $500 fines for sprinkler runoff as of Aug. 1 -- residents with out-of-date or problematic irrigation systems are due for an upgrade. ]]> <![CDATA[New gelato shop melds Italian and California sensibilities]]> From chocolate faucets to kumquat sorbetto, there's something different about Gelataio, Palo Alto's newest gelato shop.]]> <![CDATA[Review: If I Stay]]> "Romance novels" function on idealization, including fulfilling a teen's yen for drama -- any kind of drama -- to alleviate the tedium of school days and curfew nights. ]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall']]> In a sense, "When the Game Stands Tall" the Hollywood-ization of De La Salle High School's legendary Spartans football team -- is about what it's not about. It's not about winning.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Giver']]> It's odd to watch a film about the rediscovery of love, faith, passion and color, and for the film to be so by-the-numbers colorless.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Calvary']]> To believe or not to believe: That is the question of religious faith. And while the Catholic Church, battered by scandal, may be waning, it remains that you can take the man out of Catholicism, but not Catholicism out of the man. Just ask John Michael McDonagh, writer-director of "Calvary."]]> <![CDATA[Review: Mandarin Roots offers menu with fusion twist]]> Let's not argue. Some of you might say Mandarin Roots isn't really a true Chinese restaurant, it's an Asian-Californian-fusion restaurant. It is, but the menu and presentation fall predominantly on the west side of the International Date Line.]]> <![CDATA[New life in Old Mountain View]]> Old Mountain View is not quite living up to its name. Old trees line the sidewalks and populate the various parks, but beneath their soft, aged shade new, young families are out and about enjoying, once again, the perpetual blue skies.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles']]> Unless you're an 8-year-old just getting acquainted with them, you probably made up your mind about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles long, long ago. ]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Hundred-Foot Journey']]> There's a moment in "The Hundred-Foot Journey" -- Lasse Hallstrom's film adaptation of Richard C. Morais's bestselling novel -- when the female ingenue gives the male ingenue a hot tip on how to prepare corn.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Into the Storm']]> Sometimes the line between real-life tragedy and action escapism is mighty fine. Wide-release movies have been known to get cold feet (post-9/11 and post-mass shootings) but always return to the well of exploiting our anxieties for cash.]]> <![CDATA[A Fresh Look]]> Got baskets? Most of us have a closet full of baskets we don't know what to do with. Don't let them gather dust -- put them to use in new ways! Here are a few ideas for using them throughout your home:]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Magic in the Moonlight']]> There have long been notable connections between filmmakers and magicians. Houdini became a film star, Orson Welles delighted in performing magic (sometimes on film), and stand-up performers turned actor-directors Steve Martin and Woody Allen have also shown a marked interest in magic and affectionately spoofing it.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy']]> If the denizens of the Island of Misfit Toys were packing heat, you might get the Guardians of the Galaxy, the heroes of the latest Marvel comic-book-to-screen extravaganza. As shepherded by director James Gunn ("Super"), "Guardians of the Galaxy" lurches along a bit awkwardly, but always with utterly dazzling visuals and a goofy gag at the ready.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Get On Up']]> Trying as hard as possible can be the most valuable asset an artist possesses or a liability. ]]> <![CDATA[V is for 'Victory']]> The dedication of Palo Alto's Museum of American Heritage to the history of technological innovation from 1750 to 1950 is reflected today both inside and out, with a newly thriving replica of a "Victory Garden."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Lucy']]> Big-budget mind-expansion sci-fi has been a thing of late, with "Limitless," "Transcendence" and now Luc Besson's "Lucy" exploring what happens when humanity gains "access to previously unexplored cerebral zones."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Boyhood']]> You've watched actors grow up on screen before, whether it be Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor or Jerry Mathers (as the Beaver). But Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" makes cinematic poetry of the experience by presenting us with a single narrative consumable in one sitting.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Sex Tape']]> There's a sequence early on in "Sex Tape" during which the married couple played by Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel try repeatedly to rekindle their sexual flame. Time after time, they almost get "there," but something keeps frustrating their enjoyment.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Wish I Was Here']]> Gee, life is tough. But "We move forward -- that's the only direction God gave us." These and other Big Important Life Lessons can be yours for the low, low price of a movie ticket to "Wish I Was Here," Zach Braff's mawkish new comedy-drama.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes']]> "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is the latest in a series of modern Hollywood action reboots, which aim to transform a campy and droll movie into a gloomy and serious film. In the case of "Dawn," it has succeeded.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Tammy']]> By all rights, the new comedy "Tammy" would be the ultimate expression of Melissa McCarthy's comedy. Written by the film and TV star with her husband Ben Falcone -- who also directs -- "Tammy" should have all the right moves to drive McCarthy fans wild with pleasure. Instead, it's likely to inspire the question "Is this all there is?"]]> <![CDATA[Local Realtors outselling most in country]]> Three local Realtor teams and 14 individuals were among the top 250 salespeople in the country in 2013, in rankings announced by Real Trends in ads that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on June 27.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Third Person']]> Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis ("Crash") raises navel-gazing to an art form with "Third Person," a "Crash"-y, borderline trashy entry in the genre of global interlocking stories. Those who scoffed at "Crash" will have even more to sniff at here, and the Best Picture's defenders may think twice after slogging through the 137 minutes of "Third Person."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Obvious Child']]> The title of "Obvious Child" refers to its heroine, another protagonist suffering from severely arrested development. What makes "Obvious Child" different is that this protagonist is a woman saddled with an unwanted pregnancy.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Jersey Boys']]> Let's face it: "Jersey Boys" has never been high art. The wildly successful jukebox musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons ran on chart-topping hit songs and ample corny shtick in nominally telling the story of the beloved pop act. Now, it's all been folded into a Clint Eastwood film that's neither theatrical fish nor cinematic foul.]]> <![CDATA[How big is that house, really?]]> A home's square footage is a number easily misrepresented, especially when determining ever-ambiguous "liveable space." Measurements can be taken in numerous ways, and what to include in those measurements -- garages, basements or porches -- is often unclear.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'How to Train Your Dragon']]> Children's movies don't really have to work very hard for their target audience, but of course, they're better when they do. A good children's film doesn't talk down to kids, and the animated adventure "How to Train Your Dragon 2" fits this bill.]]> <![CDATA[Review: '22 Jump Street']]> "Do the same thing!" Ice Cube bellows at Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum -- or, rather, Captain Dickson bellows at Schmidt and Jenko, the buddy-cops of "22 Jump Street."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Edge of Tomorrow']]> The new Tom Cruise sci-fi action movie "Edge of Tomorrow" uses the narrative structure of a video game to present a "what-if" scenario: What if we could keep pressing "restart" every time we fail?]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Driving Miss Daisy on Broadway"]]> "Driving Miss Daisy on Broadway" is a terrific gift for American theater lovers who can't just hop a plane to Melbourne to see the 87-year-old Lansbury play Miss Daisy opposite the 82-year-old Jones.]]> <![CDATA[Emergency preparedness: Are you ready?]]> Most emergencies are completely unpredictable. Local authorities are required by law to prepare an emergency plan so that resources and experienced people are on standby to respond quickly and in the best possible way when a major crisis -- of whatever kind -- occurs.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Maleficent']]> In spite of a virtual feature-length stampede of CGI special effects, it's good old-fashioned movie-star wattage that stuns in "Maleficent." Disney's revisionist take on its own "Sleeping Beauty" almost certainly wouldn't have been made were it not for Angelina Jolie. If only the film around Jolie were worthy of her.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'A Million Ways to Die in the West']]> There's no accounting for taste, they say, which might explain the $549 million worldwide gross for Seth MacFarlane's 2012 comedy "Ted." Something tells me the planet won't go quite so gaga for his Western-themed sophomore effort, "A Million Ways to Die in the West," but it's considerably better -- even within spitting distance of good.]]> <![CDATA[Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past]]> The best superhero movies in some way work against the grain. "X-Men: Days of Future Past," A loose adaptation of the beloved two-part comic book story by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, does just that. With an outstanding cast and strong editing, the film is poignant and coherent.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: Blended]]> Sometimes Adam Sandler works for others (notably Paul Thomas Anderson and Judd Apatow) and makes an interesting and sophisticated film. Mostly, though, he churns out branded "Adam Sandler comedies," in which he doubles as both producer and star. "Blended" is one of the latter.]]> <![CDATA[Reaping the benefits of gardening]]> Growing up as an "army brat," Pam Scott recalled moving around the country in her youth. While her state of residence continuously changed, one thing remained constant.]]> <![CDATA[Review: Million Dollar Arm]]> A struggling sports agent works to teach a pair of hard-throwing cricket players from India to hit the strike zone in the hopes of making them big league ballplayers in "Million Dollar Arm." Weekly film critic Susan Tavernetti says the result is a heartwarming tale, which despite its lack of urgency is ultimately "charming and uplifting."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Godzilla']]> In one way or another, Godzilla has always represented humanity's arrogance. It's a concept that is artfully articulated in Gareth Edwards' latest addition to the franchise.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Palo Alto']]> The film "Palo Alto" universalizes its setting to an archetypal upscale suburbia, populated by disaffected white kids and their "free-range" parents (Gia Coppola shot the film in southern California). Freely adapting James Franco's stories, writer-director Coppola eschews melodrama, coaxing powerfully resonant performances from her young leads while never pushing style or content into blatant manipulations.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Neighbors']]> Even more so than its recent forebears (and this is saying something), the new comedy film "Neighbors" is all about the riff. With Seth Rogen taking center stage, that's not such a bad thing: a steady flow of one-liners improves the odds for laughs.]]> <![CDATA[Real estate: a way to diversify]]> The stock market is volatile, interest rates are negligible and the economic future is uncertain. So, what is a good investment today? ]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2']]> It feels a bit uncharitable to chide a blockbuster superhero movie for providing too much. But "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" certainly crams quite a bit in. And runs quite long. Still, Palo Alto Weekly film critic Peter Canavese says, the film is fun and doesn't embarrass itself. Plus, the kids (and kids at heart) are bound to love it.]]> <![CDATA[A market sampler]]> Here's a comparison of what was offered in mid-March at similar prices but in different cities.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Particle Fever']]> Physicist turned filmmaker Mark Levinson gets (and thrillingly shares) VIP access to that moment, as those physicists rev up CERN's Large Hadron Collider to reproduce the conditions just after the Big Bang.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Other Woman']]> The women in "The Other Woman" get the equal opportunity, like the men in Judd Apatow movies, to behave like overgrown children, but the power they give their cheatin' man to occupy all their waking hours makes this comedy more sad than funny.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Transcendence']]> "Transcendence" is as silly as it is sinister. But with Christopher Nolan's longtime cinematographer Wally Pfister -- an Oscar winner for "Inception" -- in the director's chair, "Transcendence" has a sobriety of tone that effectively works against its inner mad scientist.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Finding Vivian Maier']]> Photographer John Maloof was only looking for some historical photos of the Chicago area when he purchased a box of undeveloped negatives at an auction in the winter of 2007. He ended up discovering the work of a previously unknown artist -- Vivian Maier -- who is now being compared to some of the greatest street photographers of all time.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Draft Day']]> It says something about the culture that the latest American sports-themed movie has almost nothing to do with game play and everything to do with wheeling and dealing: dealmaking itself has become a sport worthy of analysis.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Rio 2']]> Rio 2, like its predecessor, is a run of the mill CGI-animated kid flick, Palo Alto film critic Peter Canavese says. Yet, while the story is "pretty much boilerplate at best and unpleasant at worst," the animation is a "colorful, advanced 3D spectacle." ]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'The Raid 2: Berandal']]> There's a moment in "The Raid 2" when a goon begs, "Please have mercy," and his assailant responds by raising his pickax. It's that kind of movie. And I'm half-joking when I say that if you gleefully identify with the assailant in that scene, this is the movie for you. Others may feel more like the goon.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'Captain America: Winter Solider']]> Give this to the films of the "Marvel Cinematic Universe": they have a consistency of quality. By treating their comic-book-derived films more as regular "issues" than film events, Marvel may never produce a film as great as "The Dark Knight," but it'll never sink to a low like "Batman and Robin" either. And there we have "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."]]> <![CDATA[No cookie-cutter homes here]]> "A 3-story tower and roof deck emerges among vibrant evergreens, providing a unique vantage point of the surrounding townscape."]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'The Lunch Box']]> The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, so they say. And so says writer-director Ritesh Batra in his debut feature "The Lunchbox." Though considerably more understated than a Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan movie, one might call this wry-at-times romantic drama "You've Got Lunch."]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'Bad Words']]> There's an old showbiz adage that directing is 90 percent casting, and that's also true of casting the directors themselves. Take "Bad Words," the directing debut of actor Jason Bateman.]]> <![CDATA[Artwork to 'chair'-ish]]> Discovery of 60 wooden folding chairs dating back to the 1930s hidden in ancient rolling drawers underneath a stage has inspired The Woman's Club of Palo Alto to give new meaning to recycling and repurposing.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'Muppets Most Wanted']]> A self-aware sequel to the 2011 film "The Muppets," "Muppets Most Wanted" provides more testament to the enduring appeal of the post-Vaudeville likes of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and the Great Gonzo, as well as the love and care they inspire in generation after generation of performers and audiences.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: The Grand Budapest Hotel]]> If there were a valid critique to be given of "The Grand Budapest Hotel" -- writer and director Wes Anderson's latest, highly stylized ode to a place that might have been -- it would be that Anderson has fallen victim to his own tropes. But you won't hear that here.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'Need for Speed']]> Manifestly overlong at 130 minutes, "Need for Speed" includes some eye-popping racing scenes of some very pretty high-performance sports cars. But in a world with thousands of cable channels and six "Fast & Furious" movies (with a seventh on the way), fast cars aren't enough.]]> <![CDATA[Who you gonna call?]]> The perfect utopian home would be something like this: light bulbs that never went out, living room paint that remained forever crisp and vibrant, drains that never backed up and doors that never got stuck.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'Tim's Vermeer']]> Watching paint dry has never been more fascinating than it is in "Tim's Vermeer," a documentary produced by the magicians Penn & Teller.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: '300: Rise of an Empire']]> Both blood-bathetic and deliriously entertaining high camp, this prequel-sequel-parallel plotline to Warner Brothers' 2006 hit will appeal mainly to meatheads, but those with a tolerance for over-the-top violence may appreciate it on other levels.]]> <![CDATA[Real Estate Matters]]> If last year was any indication, 2014 should be another exceptional year for home sellers across the Bay Area.]]> <![CDATA[Garden Tips]]> What is a garden anyway? Why do gardens make so much difference in our lives and why do we fall in love, raise our children and grow old together in them so much better than if we live our whole lives indoors?]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'The Wind Rises']]> "All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful." So said aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi, whose Mitsubishi A5M and A6M Zero served the Empire of Japan during WWII. Amid some controversy, living-legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki has written and directed his own latest "something beautiful," this one a hand-drawn fantasia about Horikoshi: "The Wind Rises."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Pompeii']]> The new action picture "Pompeii" is a bit like its own villain, Mount Vesuvius: massive, full of hot air and brainless.
]]>
<![CDATA[Review: 'RoboCop']]> Word leaked two years ago that Josť Padilha, director of the new "RoboCop" remake, was struggling mightily against studio suits to achieve his vision for the film. "It is hell here," the Brazilian director told a filmmaker friend. Now the film has arrived, and it's fairly clear that this "RoboCop" is a product of unhappy compromise.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Winter's Tale']]> If your girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse asks you to take them to "Winter's Tale" for Valentine's Day, my relationship advice is to immediately say yes. But leave a copy of this review lying around, and you may get a chance at making better plans.]]> <![CDATA[The Monuments Men]]> Say this for George Clooney, film director: He consistently makes films for adults. So it's too bad that, with his new WWII film "The Monuments Men," he sometimes treats that adult audience like children in need of a spoon-feed.]]> <![CDATA[The Lego Movie]]> Kids' toys and games have a poor track record as the basis for films. Since the broad-ranging "Toy Story" franchise doesn't really count (and with apologies to "Transformers" fans), the bar hasn't been set any higher than "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl," "Clue" or perhaps "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." But, in a minor miracle of pop cinema, "The Lego Movie" changes all that.]]> <![CDATA[Review: Labor Day]]> One name for Hollywood that's stuck is "The Dream Factory," implying a big-screen projection of our fantasies. The trend of late favors the fantasies of tween-age boys (of all ages), as played out in "genre" pictures, but the new drama "Labor Day" steps out in other directions.
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<![CDATA[Review: The Invisible Woman]]> History, they say, is written by the victors. Indeed, popular English novelist Charles Dickens was a winner who jealously protected his legacy. But don't they also say the truth will out? ]]> <![CDATA[A winemaker's dream]]> A doorbell decorated with grapes announces visitors to the home of David Bulfer and Kelly Pope. That's fitting, since they recently built a wine workshop and are educating themselves about winemaking.]]> <![CDATA[Custom-made to last a lifetime]]> From the front, not much is different about Aleta Hanna's small mission bungalow at the edge of Crescent Park (what was once called University Park).]]> <![CDATA[Review: The Nut Job]]> OK, so you didn't plan ahead, but don't worry. The new animated flick "The Nut Job" has squirreled away enough lame nut puns to get you through the winter. More than enough.]]> <![CDATA[Higher, lighter and brighter]]> Like many couples with three young kids, Roland Dreier and Bina Bhattacharyya expected space in their house to become an issue.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Lone Survivor']]> One word you won't see used to describe "Lone Survivor," the fact-based movie about a FUBAR Navy SEALs operation: "contemplative."]]> <![CDATA[Review: "August: Osage County"]]> It may be 30 below in Cass County this week, but on screen it's 108 degrees in "August: Osage County." And as the old story goes, when the day is hot, there's no escaping a brawl.]]> <![CDATA[Remodeling: In da Houzz]]> What happens when you combine the words house and buzz? The answer is the online community "Houzz," a website and mobile app for home remodeling and design.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'American Hustle']]> "American Hustle" is a dark-comedy lark with flair, letting the best (con) man win.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty']]> Reborn as a flashy but soppy new adventure directed by and starring Ben Stiller, the film is sentimental claptrap about (to paraphrase a character) "courage and going into the unknown."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Past']]> In 2012, Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation" became the first Iranian picture to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. This is his follow-up.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Wolf of Wall Street']]> "The Wolf of Wall Street" charges out of the gate with immediate evidence of Martin Scorsese's skill, abetted by Terence Winter's whip-crack screenplay and Thelma Schoonmaker's brilliant editing. ]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Her']]> All people in romantic relationships want to know their love is real. But when half of the intelligence involved is artificial, can love be real? ]]> <![CDATA[Real Estate Matters]]> As winter approaches, we typically expect Bay Area and Peninsula home prices to start cooling along with the weather, as buyers replace their house-hunting expeditions with holiday-shopping trips. ]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Inside Llewyn Davis']]> Like a rolling stone, singer-guitarist Llewyn Davis tumbles through the Greenwich Village folk-music scene of the '60s. It's the Coen Brothers' most compelling character study to date.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'American Hustle']]> "American Hustle" is a dark-comedy lark with flair, letting the best (con) man win.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug']]> Peter Jackson's grandiose vision of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth reaches a crescendo with this thrilling second installment in "The Hobbit" trilogy.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Great Beauty']]> It is, perhaps, impossible to make an ode to Rome without invoking Fellini. Though Paolo Sorrentino does so only indirectly in "The Great Beauty," it's impossible not to think of how he pales in comparison to the maestro.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Out of the Furnace']]> What, one might ask, is the point of understated melodrama? It's a bit like decaf coffee or near-beer. But understated melodrama, for the most part, is the stuff of "Out of the Furnace."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Homefront']]> Standard Statham action gets a solid acting boost courtesy of James Franco in the Louisiana-based "Homefront." We can put this in the "co-stars you thought you would never see" category.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Philomena']]> The film "Philomena," starring Judi Dench, takes the perspective of a wronged Irish mother coerced, in 1952, into giving her baby away. Co-producer and co-screenwriter Steve Coogan plays a journalist investigating the story.
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<![CDATA[Review: 'Nebraska']]> It's never too late to play a few grace notes. With Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," this proves true for two septuagenarians: addled heartland grump Woodrow "Woody" Grant and the Hollywood royal who plays him, Bruce Dern.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Delivery Man']]> This tale of an accidental (multiple) father manages to be high-concept and squishy at the same time. At least the star power of Vince Vaughn adds some comedy.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Book Thief']]> There will, of course, never be enough Nazi Germany-set dramas to fill the awards-season maw. Unfortunately, "The Book Thief" is conspicuously phony in its ruthless attempt to manipulate audiences.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire']]> It would be easy to damn "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" with the faint praise of calling it a competent sequel, which it is. But the film gives audiences more to chew on than its predecessor.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Blue Is the Warmest Color']]> This movie is billed as "The story of a young lesbian couple's beginning, middle and possible end." It's also an NC-17 film with a seven-minute sex scene that has made it cinema non grata in Idaho.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Armstrong Lie']]> The title of Alex Gibney's film derives from a 2005 headline in the French paper "L'Equipe." The paper alleged what many had assumed to be true: Banned substances had fueled Armstrong's endurance and speed.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Dallas Buyers Club']]> Yes, "Dallas Buyers Club" is classic "Oscar bait," and falls into some of the common traps of exploiting a true story. But it's also lively, funny and scary.]]> <![CDATA[Review: '12 Years A Slave']]> This is the story of a man: another tale of physical and emotional survival that, unlike "All is Lost" and "Gravity," derives from a true story.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'About Time']]> Though you'll feel like you've seen this movie before, the film's strength is the ensemble cast effortlessly exuding affection for one another.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Last Vegas']]> At first glance, "Last Vegas" seems like "The Hangover" for the 60-and-over crowd (minus the raunch). But the class-act cast and a solid script keep the film fresh and funny.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Kill Your Darlings']]> An oft-overlooked chapter in literary history comes to life in "Kill Your Darlings," a lurid yet penetrating look into Allen Ginsberg's formative influences.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Fifth Estate']]> This slickly edited drama plays like the account of a jilted lover, with the would-be dazzle attempting to misdirect from the ordinariness of the personal melodrama.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'A.C.O.D.']]> "A.C.O.D." stands for "Adult Children of Divorce," a demographic big enough to ensure this dry-witted indie comedy a wide audience.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Romeo and Juliet']]> Call it the "Drunk History" version of "Romeo and Juliet." -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Captain Phillips']]> The "real-life thriller" "Captain Phillips" may be obvious and it may be clumsy, but it's also a little bit thoughtful, and there's never a dull moment. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Gravity']]> Life is one hell of a ride, as George Clooney's character puts it. So is "Gravity." -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Runner Runner']]> What are the odds you'll be satisfied with your movie-ticket purchase? -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Enough Said']]> Two powerhouse performances and some nicely written scenes that, in tandem, provide some of the most enjoyable romantic and comedic moments of the year. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Rush']]> The director of "Frost/Nixon," Ron Howard, brings us in "Rush" another Morgan match-up: 1970s Formula One racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Afternoon Delight']]> Jill Soloway's new comedy-drama about clambering to stay above the yawning pit of middle-aged ennui. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Short Term 12']]> Writer-director Destin Cretton bears witness to the agony and the ecstasy of foster care in "Short Term 12," a fiction film inspired by his own experiences working in a group home. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Riddick']]> The man with the night-vision eyes is back: Vin Diesel's science-fiction anti-hero returns to something like his "Pitch Black" roots in the simply titled -- and R-rated -- "Riddick."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Grandmaster']]> If there's one thing not to expect from cinematic grandmaster Wong Kar Wai, it's a driving plot. But that's what we love about the languorous director. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Closed Circuit']]> You've seen worse than the new boilerplate legal thriller "Closed Circuit," but you've also seen a lot better. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The World's End']]> You can go home again, but it's going to involve drinking. That's the starting point of "The World's End," the latest from the most exciting team in film comedy. -P.C.]]>