mv-voice.com http://www.mv-voice.com If it is local and useful, it is on mv-voice.com. en-us Copyright 2016 mv-voice.com Mountain View Online http://mv-voice.com/art/top_logo.png http://www.mv-voice.com/news/rss.php <![CDATA[Inspectors close care facility for disabled]]> San Antonio Manor, a Mountain View care home for disabled adults, was ordered to shut down this week after health inspections uncovered numerous ongoing violations, including mold, bed bugs and sewage leaks that were seeping into residents' living quarters. ]]> <![CDATA[Living in the shadows]]> It was barely 6 a.m. on Dec. 2, when Guillermo Zavala walked out the front door of his Mountain View apartment and straight into a trap. That began a frightening odyssey that threatens to tear apart his family.]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week, take your sweetie to a Valentine's sing-along with Schola Cantorum in Los Altos, take the kids to see Peninsula Youth Theatre's "Judy Moody Gets Famous" and have a good laugh on Saturday at Red Rock Coffee's free comedy show.]]> <![CDATA[Real Estate Matters]]> Just after sunset in mid-January, my colleague and I were seated at a square, maple-colored table located near the entrance of the Starbucks on California Avenue, waiting to meet with a potential client.]]> <![CDATA[Saving water and blooming all year round]]> Water-wise gardens, popular during the drought, do not have to be a colorless compromise, according to Roberta Barnes, who teaches science-based gardening in Palo Alto. Planned right, they can be a great source of year-round blooms.]]> <![CDATA[Man sought in gun-brandishing road-rage incident]]> Palo Alto police are seeking a man allegedly who brandished a handgun at a woman during a road-rage incident on Thursday, Feb. 11.]]> <![CDATA[Home Front]]> This week's Home Front column features a Spring Plant Clinic, a hands-on fruit tree workshop and volunteers fixing bicycles, clothing and computers during the next Repair Café.]]> <![CDATA[City eyes new ideas for North Bayshore housing]]> A long-term vision to introduce a residential community into the North Bayshore office park gained new focus as city officials unveiled plans to create three mini-neighborhoods. ]]> <![CDATA[Fear and loathing in Manhattan]]> In Dragon Theatre's new production of Gina Gionfriddo's black comedy "U.S. Drag," the world is a dark and desperate place, full of narcissists, sociopaths, fools and cynics. Gionfriddo's original production notes accurately call the piece "a play about fear and terror."]]> <![CDATA[Speedier schedule for free shuttles]]> In the coming days Mountain View's free community shuttle system will be undergoing some minor tweaks that are expected to speed up service, city officials said. ]]> <![CDATA[Food truck 101]]> Instrucktional, a new, perhaps one-of-a-kind program from Bay Area food-truck giant Off the Grid, puts participants through all of the necessary training, from cooking to marketing to operations, to run a successful mobile-food business.]]> <![CDATA[Water board OKs $5M contract with controversial firm]]> The Santa Clara Valley Water District is moving forward on an ambitious $950 million program to provide billions of gallons of recycled water to the South Bay annually by 2020. But the program is off to a rocky start, as board member confidence wavered Tuesday night on whether work with a controversial engineering firm.]]> <![CDATA[Silicon Valley's year: 'amazing' but with 'perils']]> Joint Venture Silicon Valley's annual economic study found that 2015 was a year of record-breaking growth and prosperity, but it cautioned that there are perils associated with this kind of break-neck trajectory. It cautioned that a fourth-quarter slowdown, raised the question of whether it marks the beginning of the burst of a bubble.]]> <![CDATA[President Obama asks Congress for $125M for Caltrain electrification]]> President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $125 million in the fiscal 2017 budget for the electrification of Caltrain, U.S. Department of Transportation officials announced Wednesday. ]]> <![CDATA[Inside the lines]]> Most kids are familiar with the simple pleasures of coloring. Now, grown-ups are getting in touch with their inner children and finding out coloring is just as much fun in adulthood. Visit any bookshop and you'll see displays of grown-up coloring books in a range of styles. Local libraries have embraced the coloring craze, holding events that allow adults to unwind and dust off their Crayolas.]]> <![CDATA[The chili house mystery]]> A recent round of downtown demolition revealed a curious puzzle for Mountain View's history buffs. ]]> <![CDATA[Mountain View goes to Washington]]> Seeking federal aid for an assortment of local issues, Mountain View City Council members brainstormed priorities as they prepared for a once-a-year trip to Washington D.C. ]]> <![CDATA[Robotics season kicks into high gear]]> Automated vehicles are all the rage in Silicon Valley, as Google and other prominent tech companies work on developing self-driving cars. And students at both of Mountain View's middle schools have followed suit, albeit on a smaller scale.]]> <![CDATA[Super Bowl stings find 42 possible human trafficking victims]]> Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies arrested or cited dozens of men for soliciting prostitution and found more than 40 potential human trafficking victims during a series of stings in the weeks leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl, a sheriff's sergeant said.
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<![CDATA[Water district CEO departure prompts big payout]]> Last month, Santa Clara Valley Water District board members announced that CEO Beau Goldie would be stepping down from the top position of the South Bay's regional water agency. But the so-called resignation came with the kind of hefty paycheck normally associated with an involuntary termination.]]> <![CDATA[New take on creekside encampments]]> Santa Clara Valley Water District board members agreed to sign onto a county-wide effort to reduce homelessness in Santa Clara County, which could include housing homeless people on district-owned land.]]> <![CDATA[Despite budget concerns, LASD teachers to get raises]]> School officials at the Los Altos School District have agreed to give 3 percent raises to teachers and other employees this year, citing the high cost of living and steep competition with other school districts as key reasons to raise compensation.]]> <![CDATA[Showtime for Super Bowl plans]]> On Sunday, the eyes of the world were set squarely on the South Bay as it hosted Super Bowl 50. For Mountain View, which was serving as a transit hub for those heading to the event, Super Bowl Sunday got off to a remarkably smooth start.]]> <![CDATA[Cities join forces to back transportation-funding plan]]> With Santa Clara County cruising toward a November transportation tax measure, Palo Alto and eight other cities in the north county and west valley are rallying behind a new plan for how the $6 billion from the measure would be spent.]]> <![CDATA[Recent home sales: Portola Valley to Mountain View]]> The big sale in Mountain View on this week's list was a 29,600 square foot lot with a home in the Martens-Carmelita neighborhood, which went for $3,600,000. ]]> <![CDATA[House fire closes Easy Street]]> A residential structure fire in Mountain View has prompted a road closure this evening, according to police.
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<![CDATA[Water district delays decision on $5M contract with controversial firm]]> The Santa Clara Valley Water District has put off a decision on whether to work with a controversial firm to kick off work on a $800 million recycled water program.]]> <![CDATA[Do self-driving cars need a licensed driver?]]> If there's one priority for self-driving cars upon which everyone can agree, it's safety. Google and other manufacturers are quick to tout the autonomous vehicles as a way to prevent around 33,000 U.S. deaths and many more injuries from auto-related crashes each year. But for all the triumphs of autonomous cars, regulators and consumer advocates warn there are too many risks to give these vehicles free rein on public roads. ]]> <![CDATA[AAA offering free tows to those who drink during Super Bowl]]> Bay Area Super Bowl fans who choose to drink Sunday at the Super Bowl and at Super Bowl parties can get a free tow home through AAA's Tipsy Tow program, AAA officials said Wednesday. ]]> <![CDATA[Drones prohibited over Super Bowl airspace]]> With the long-awaited Super Bowl 50 fast approaching, the Federal Aviation Administration is reminding Bay Area residents not to try to get a drone's-eye view of the big game.]]> <![CDATA[El Camino to close free RotaCare Clinic]]> The Mountain View RotaCare is closing down. The board of El Camino Healthcare District signed a new deal to finance the MayView Community Health Center to serve as the region's main medical facility for the uninsured. ]]> <![CDATA[Fine dining, with a few quirks]]> It didn't take long to realize that Bird Dog is not the kind of restaurant Palo Alto sees very often. The restaurant, which opened at 420 Ramona St. in November, offers big-city sophistication with a hefty dose of quirkiness. ]]> <![CDATA['Inside the art']]> High-tech digital installations with traditional Japanese influences are on display in "Living Digital Space and Future Parks," the new exhibition at Pace Art + Technology, a pop-up space for the New York-based Pace Gallery. The gallery, located at Tesla's former dealership in Menlo Park, will present the large-scale exhibition by the Japanese art collective teamLab beginning Feb. 6 and continuing through July 1.]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week, check art by local students at Mountain View's City Hall, hear the best-selling author of "The Life of Pi" discuss his new book, and see Mo Willems' beloved book characters take the stage in "We Are In A Play!"]]> <![CDATA[Somewhere in the middle]]> The mundane and the cosmic are side by side in Los Altos Stage Company's production of "Middletown," which creates a quiet place for contemplation through its portrayal of small-town life.]]> <![CDATA[Candidates rake in cash for Assembly race]]> With the race to succeed Assemblyman Rich Gordon in Sacramento heating up, Cupertino Mayor Barry Chang has Palo Alto Councilman Marc Berman and Mountain View Councilman Mike Kasperzak, according to documents filed earlier this week with the California Secretary of State.
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<![CDATA[Controversial board member won't seek re-election]]> Steve Nelson, a controversial member of the Mountain View Whisman School District board, told the Voice in an email Tuesday that he would not be seeking re-election in November. He cited "poor" communication as a reason for stepping down at the end of his first term.]]> <![CDATA[A city park that bans bikes and trees?]]> A tangle of restrictions and costs led many at Tuesday's City Council meeting to denounce plans for a new mini-park near Fayette Drive. ]]> <![CDATA[Local transit gets heightened security for Super Bowl]]> The Transportation Security Administration is providing extra resources to local law enforcement on all Bay Area transit systems starting today and through the Monday after the Super Bowl.
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<![CDATA[Parents start local mental-health support group]]> A group of parents who saw a need for a locally based, ongoing group to support other parents concerned about the mental health and well-being of their teens will be launching such a group this month.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford Blood Center in need of donations to avoid shortage]]> With an estimated two to three million people expected to visit the Bay Area for Super Bowl 50, the Stanford Blood Center is seeking donors to help them stock up on blood. ]]> <![CDATA[Drought persists, despite state's big snowpack]]> Although the amount of rain and snow in California this year has reached higher levels than last year, the state's drought is still not over, the California Department of Water Resources said today.
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<![CDATA[Teen seeks funds for peanut-sniffing dog]]> For years, 19-year-old Arielle Davis has been coping with a peanut allergy that used to be completely under control. But over the course of 2015, Davis found herself in and out of the hospital nearly a dozen times as her allergic reactions became more severe.]]> <![CDATA[Traveling to Super Bowl 50? Bring a clear plastic bag]]> Anyone traveling to Levi's Stadium to watch Super Bowl 50 on Valley Transportation Authority's light-rail trains had better not bring any bags on board other than clear plastic ones, Santa Clara County Transportation Authority officials said.]]> <![CDATA[Getting around Mountain View on Super Bowl Sunday]]> On Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 7, city leaders are warning residents that many streets near the downtown transit center will be closed, and people without Super Bowl tickets won't be able to ride the VTA light-rail line.]]> <![CDATA[Sobrato floats plans for housing]]> Members of the city's Environmental Planning Commission took a first look at plans by the Sobrato Organization to build up to 800 housing units east of Shoreline Boulevard. The new residential neighborhood would be coupled with some retail space and 230,000 square feet of new office development. ]]> <![CDATA[They are in a play!]]> Parents, children's literature fans, and well-read local kids are likely familiar with the work of Mo Willems. His style is a blend of simple-yet-expressive animal characters with clever, quippy and emotionally resonant dialogue. In my house, the favorite is his "Elephant & Piggie" series, which is now presented at Palo Alto Children's Theatre in the form of "Elephant & Piggie's 'We Are In A Play!'"]]> <![CDATA[Teacher salary debate heats up]]> The Mountain View Whisman School District is roughly a month away from negotiations with its teacher union on salaries, and both sides are already at odds.]]> <![CDATA[Package thief suspect arrested]]> Mountain View police arrested a San Jose man Tuesday after an officer allegedly found several stolen packages inside his car during a traffic stop.]]> <![CDATA[MV approves ceding properties to Los Altos]]> To hear Stephen Friedman describe it, his neighborhood of Jardin Drive is like Mountain View's version of the Bermuda Triangle. For the more than 30 years he's lived there, he's gotten used to having to explain to garbage men, emergency responders and sometimes even city officials that, yes, his house is in Mountain View. ]]> <![CDATA[Schools may have to share campus]]> In the latest round of cuts to bring a bloated school construction budget back in line, Mountain View Whisman School District officials said Stevenson and Theuerkauf schools are going to have to divide a too-small pool of money or share new campus facilities.]]> <![CDATA[Computer Museum bids farewell to Babbage engine]]> The Mountain View Computer History Museum is saying goodbye to a unique exhibit, one that also might be its most priceless. ]]> <![CDATA[Moroccan food with a little shimmy]]> The only thing better than dinner . . . is dinner and a show. Thursday night is always a belly-baring party at Morocco's Restaurant in downtown Mountain View. Munch on authentic Moroccan food and watch belly dancers shake, balance and twirl.
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<![CDATA[Victim's body found, Los Altos man charged with homicide]]> Detectives found the body of Kyle Myrick in unincorporated Santa Cruz County Thursday afternoon, according to police. Los Altos resident Steve Hlebo, his coworker, is suspected of killing Myrick.
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<![CDATA[Is the DMV slowing down self-driving cars?]]> Google, Tesla and a pack of other companies investing in autonomous car technology are certain to have circled Thursday, Jan. 27, on their calendars. That's when the California Department of Motor Vehicles was set to hold its first-ever public workshop to finalize the many rules for how self-driving cars should operate and be regulated on the streets. ]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week's top events include Valerie Capers in concert, a free talk on extraterrestrial life by a NASA scientist and an Italian festival.]]> <![CDATA[Los Altos man arraigned in SJ murder case]]> A 39-year-old Los Altos man who allegedly killed his co-worker at a San Jose powersports vehicle shop last week was arraigned Thursday in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
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<![CDATA[Superintendent has big plans to raise test scores]]> The Mountain View Whisman School District could be on the verge of sweeping changes after Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph vowed to improve student achievement and raise employee morale in what he called a "frustrated" district.]]> <![CDATA[A joyful 'Noise']]> From handmade acoustic instruments to powerful distorted electronics, from teenage phenoms to music-world veterans, KZSU's "Day of Noise" represents an eclectic range of sounds and styles. What its diverse artists have in common is a commitment to experiment live on air for the Stanford University radio station's annual 24-hour event.]]> <![CDATA[Police seek brazen package thieves]]> Police are looking for two male suspects in the theft of packages from a Mountain View home, following the arrest of two minors who were taken into custody Wednesday morning.
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<![CDATA[City to foot the bill for creek trail project]]> A project to extend the Permanente Creek Trail through Crittenden Middle School is moving forward on, as part of a larger project to revamp the Crittenden field.]]> <![CDATA[Top MV science student heading to national competition]]> A Mountain View student is among five Santa Clara County high school seniors who have been selected as finalists in the this year's Intel Science Talent Search in Washington D.C., according to the Santa Clara County Office of Education.
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<![CDATA[How to spend $6 billion on transit]]> A new sales tax to improve the South Bay's transportation woes won't go to voters until the end of the year, but officials from Mountain View and a coalition of other West Valley cities are notching up the pressure for how those dollars should be spent. ]]> <![CDATA[Review: No business like show business]]> "The song is ended," as one of Irving Berlin's lyrics goes, "but the melody lingers on." Though he first rose to fame more than a century ago, Berlin's melodies have been lingering on in popular culture ever since, including in the one-man show "Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin," presented by Theatreworks at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.]]> <![CDATA[Fired up]]> My new favorite pizza in the whole world is the carbonara at Vesta in downtown Redwood City. What could have been a dense, gooey affair was feather light, packed with flavor and satisfying. On subsequent visits, I had to force myself to order other menu items so I could complete this review.]]> <![CDATA[Season of pho]]> There's not yet a study to back it up, but I'm convinced there's a strong correlation between cold, rainy weather and cravings for phở.]]> <![CDATA[No strings attached]]> Depression can take the form of going through motions like an unfeeling automaton, virtually checked out of life. Near the outset of Charlie Kaufman's "Anomalisa," the protagonist checks in to a Cincinnati hotel that just might hold the key to his salvation -- if he can overcome his ennui.]]> <![CDATA['Along' for a 'Ride' 2]]> Picture if you will: a screenwriting team banging out a feature film script one day before lunch. That image was more vivid to me than anything before my eyes in "Ride Along 2," a witless, worthless buddy-cop sequel that gives new meaning to "lazy."]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week, catch the musical "Ami and Tami," the play "The Mountaintop," the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and pianist Laura Magnani, or test drive the choral experience during Ragazzi Boys Chorus's SingFest.]]> <![CDATA[The writer's voice: A conversation with Elizabeth Strout]]> Having won the Pulitzer Prize for her 2008 novel-in-stories "Olive Kitteridge," Elizabeth Strout has now delivered another book about motherhood and parenting, secrets kept and revelations deferred. ]]> <![CDATA[American dreamers]]> Arthur Miller's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Death of a Salesman" is frequently taught in high school English classes, local ones included. Palo Alto Players' new version of the theater classic boasts many Gunn High School connections in the cast and crew. Their experiences with the play at Gunn led to this production's creation.]]> <![CDATA[Home Front]]> This week includes January cooking classes, a service day with Canopy and the NFL, a program about Japanese maple tree care and a global orchid show and sale. ]]> <![CDATA[Jym Marks to perform with his jazz quartet in Menlo Park]]> Poetry and jazz; words in meter and the syncopated beat of drum and melody are twin passions of poet and drummer Jym Marks, the 81-year-old leader of the Jym Marks Quartet, which will give a free performance in the Menlo Park City Council Chambers on Saturday, Jan. 9. ]]> <![CDATA[Sales at a glance]]> This week, the Sales at a glance includes the past two weeks of sales data because of lack of space in our New Year's Day edition. In this grouping, Atherton tops the list, even if we only consider its lowest sale price: $8.8 million. ]]> <![CDATA[Recent home sales]]> Palo Alto's 16 sales from the past two weeks stretch, alphabetically, from Alma Street to Wilkie Way. Learn about these sales and others in this week's list of recent home sales.]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week, check out 17-year-old San Mateo singer/songwriter Katie Kilcullen at Angelica's Bistro in Redwood City, Dave Massolo's black and white photographs from his travels at Gallery 9 in Los Altos and a two-hour improv workshop at the Dragon Theatre.]]> <![CDATA[Indian favorite keeps delivering]]> Relax, Peninsula diners. Amber India may have changed venues and cities, but it's still deserving of its reputation as the premier local Indian restaurant.]]> <![CDATA[A Fresh Look]]> Why not transform your bookshelf from an overstuffed eyesore into an integral part of your decor?]]> <![CDATA[Home Front]]> This week includes a Monday night vegetarian dinner, a guided tree walk through the Barron Park neighborhood, a beekeeping course and sandbag installation assistance. ]]> <![CDATA[A fresh start for 2016]]> Eating more healthily. Gaining fitness. Losing weight. Is there any way to get new year's resolutions to stick? Local experts weigh in.]]> <![CDATA[The year in film]]> Our film critic Peter Canavese looks back over the year in movies to revisit the highest highs, the lowest lows and other notable cinematic moments.]]> <![CDATA[Year in review: MidPeninsula dining]]> Peninsula Foodist blogger Elena Kadvany takes a look back at the notable restaurant openings, closings and other food news of 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Sales at a glance]]> This week, Mountain View saw five homes sales. Read the rest of the real estate numbers to see how other Palo Alto-area locations compared.]]> <![CDATA[Recent home sales]]> Two sales took place on North Whisman Road this week. Learn about these home sales and others in this week's list of recent home sales.]]> <![CDATA[Home Front]]> This week includes a holiday art market, the California Avenue Farmers' Market, a sewing clinic, a rose trimming lesson and an eight-week winter gardening course. ]]> <![CDATA[Hats off to Cetrella]]> Mouthwatering California-Mediterranean cuisine prepared by Chef Michael Ellis awaits diners at 4-month-old Cetrella on Main Street in Los Altos.]]> <![CDATA[Real Estate Matters]]> We have all heard the expression, "Good fences make good neighbors." Nevertheless, there are countless bitter disputes between neighbors over the location, construction and maintenance of fences. Under the Fence Act, the California Legislature laid out specific rules regarding notice, construction and maintenance of fences constructed on property lines. ]]> <![CDATA[Sales at a glance]]> This week, a Woodside home tops the sales list with a sale for $11 million. Read the rest of the real estate numbers to see how other Palo Alto-area locations compared.]]> <![CDATA[Home Front]]> This week includes a chance to purchase Gamble Garden's new cookbook, a holiday art market, a tree care volunteer opportunity, the availability of sewing machines and an adventure on the farm.]]> <![CDATA[How to throw a holiday soiree]]> A local business owner and frequent party hostess shares her tips and tricks for throwing a holiday party, one of which is "keeping it simple." ]]> <![CDATA[Recent home sales]]> What a difference 45 years makes. This is especially true for a home sale in East Palo Alto. The property was last purchased in 1970 for $6,000; in November, it sold for $570,000. That's a $564,000 difference. ]]> <![CDATA[Kids driving you crazy?]]> Sure, in the olden days, just getting to grandpa's house was an adventure. These days, whether traveling long distances by car or by plane, it can be less of an adventure and more of a royal pain — unless you're prepared.]]> <![CDATA[Building sandcastles in December]]> Although snowy white winters are not typical in the Bay Area, local families have taken advantage of the Peninsula's sunny holiday season by heading outdoors to create their own winter traditions — spanning from train rides in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz mountains to exploring the beaches of Half Moon Bay.]]> <![CDATA[South Los Altos neighborhood]]> A graceful canopy of trees lines Fremont Avenue, the near-center line of quiet South Los Altos. Bounded by Cupertino, Mountain View and Sunnyvale, and flanked by Highway 85 and Foothill Expressway, South Los Altos offers more approachable real estate with easy access to nearby communities.]]> <![CDATA[Cuernavaca neighborhood]]> Those living under the red tin roofs with tailored green landscapes appear content in the community Irv Statler calls his "Camelot." Statler and his wife, Renée have lived in the Cuernavaca neighborhood for about 30 years. ]]> <![CDATA[Martens-Carmelita neighborhood]]> Formerly considered a county area, the Martens-Carmelita neighborhood is one of the only neighborhoods in Mountain View where families can find a particular amalgamation of a near pin-drop quiet noise level, a hodgepodge of cottages, midcentury moderns and two-story homes partitioned by tall hedges and ranch inspired fences, tiny cul-de-sacs, large lot sizes and only half a street's worth of sidewalks.]]> <![CDATA[Dutch Haven neighborhood]]> Not a week has gone by in which Dutch Haven resident Rohit Sawhney hasn't used the local YMCA or the Stevens Creek Trail. Having these recreational opportunities nearby appealed to Sawhney and his family as they sought a new home in 2005. ]]> <![CDATA[The romance of ballroom dance]]> When Winston and Lilly Chow met in college, they had a common interest in ballroom dancing, each having taken one class for their physical-education requirement. But they couldn't predict that more than 40 years later they would be ballroom-dance champions.]]> <![CDATA[Hey, hey, they're the Minions ...]]> Like the Penguins of "Madagascar" before them, these Minions (spun off from the mega-popular "Despicable Me" films) don't so much go on an adventure, in their own solo movie, as run a fool's errand.]]> <![CDATA[Local boy makes good]]> "Batkid Begins" celebrates a city united for fun and goodwill, and the rare, pronounced sense of play and energy adults are capable of rediscovering, as do those who toil excitedly and hopefully to give leukemia survivor Miles Scott "a little bit of his childhood back."]]> <![CDATA[Some assembly required]]> The densely plotted "Age of Ultron" is writer-director Joss Whedon's follow-up to 2012's megahit Marvel Comics superhero team-up "The Avengers." The Comic-Con crowd has never been better served.]]> <![CDATA[Primating rituals]]> "Monkey Kingdom" follows a group of macaques in Sri Lanka over a period of months as they eat, groom, mate and fight for survival.]]> <![CDATA[Memoir-able]]> In telling the story of real-life fallen journalist Michael Finkel and the convict who stole his identity, "True Story" encourages audiences to be skeptical of truth in the modern media age.]]> <![CDATA[Taken for a 'Ride']]> "The Longest Ride," like all Nicholas Sparks movies, is cinematic Jello: It sells well, the number one ingredient is sugar and there's always room for it.]]> <![CDATA[She was framed]]> A Nazi-enabled "finders keepers" claim comes under scrutiny in the based-on-a-true-story drama, "Woman in Gold."]]> <![CDATA[Nothing to write 'Home' about]]> In the over-saturated market for CGI-animated kids' films, "Home" doesn't stand out as anything special: It's another conspicuously packaged product seemingly designed to wear down an audience more than entertain it. ]]> <![CDATA[Ax me why]]> Amidst the Smoky Mountains circa 1929, a power couple conspires to expand its lumber enterprise, even if it means ... muuuurder! It's a story ripe for dark atmosphere or social satire, but "Serena" winds up sawing logs.]]> <![CDATA[Life in the fun-house mirror]]> Quentin Tarantino, move over. Argentinian writer-director Damián Szifron has his own "Wild Tales" to tell -- six of them, in fact -- in the take-no-prisoners black-comedic anthology film that scored an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.]]> <![CDATA[Boots on the ground]]> Lean, mean craftsmanship defines the compact (para)military thriller "'71," set during the titular time of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. ]]> <![CDATA[Rags to riches]]> This "Cinderella" is a lavish, classy affair. Ultimately, though, the film isn't joyful enough to supplant Disney's first take, or sophisticated enough to surpass it in speaking to today's girls. ]]> <![CDATA[Deep waters]]> In this enigmatic, slow-paced film of ideas, an auto-repair shop owner must fight to keep his home and land from being seized by the crooked mayor of a remote fishing village in northern Russia. Cinematographer Mikhail Krichman's stunning images complement the narrative. ]]> <![CDATA[Check-in time]]> Though "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" won't be to everyone's taste, returning screenwriter Ol Parker and returning director John Madden keep a collective eye on the quality control, delivering an amiable sequel that will surely please fans of the first film.]]> <![CDATA[Bloody hilarious]]> Cross "Bram Stoker's Dracula" with the Britcom "The Office," and you get "What We Do in the Shadows," a brilliantly funny new vampire-themed mockumentary out of New Zealand. ]]> <![CDATA[That'll learn 'em]]> Kody Keplinger was seventeen when she published her novel, "The DUFF," which struck a chord with readers. It's possible the film version will do the same with teen girls, if they can get past the the changes made to sanitize the book's approach to sex.]]> <![CDATA[Run for your life]]> Though "McFarland, USA" tells an inspiring true story of underdog triumph, audiences of all ethnicities deserve far better than the easy racial stereotypes the film trades in.]]> <![CDATA[Penthouse forum]]> Yes, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is absolutely ludicrous, dramatically clumsy, 50 shades of wrong. Yet every small adjustment the movie makes to E. L. James' thinly veiled romance novel qualifies as an improvement.]]> <![CDATA['Service' is rather poor]]> "Kingsman: The Secret Service" doubles down on glib ultraviolence while pressing buttons of class-consciousness and teasing out pop culture allusions. All the mayhem is ultimately exhausting.]]> <![CDATA[Crash landing]]> If what we go to the movie theater for now is spectacle, the science fiction epic "Jupiter Ascending" fits the bill. But to the extent that we still demand rich characters and sensible plotting, the Wachowskis' latest is a few planets short of a galaxy.]]> <![CDATA[Sea-minus for effort]]> "Sponge Out of Water" treads water with a plot line that's as old as the gills. The film is often mildly amusing, but the concept dried up some time ago.]]> <![CDATA[No gray area]]> Acknowledging the discomfort of brushing against racial stereotypes and prejudices occasionally takes "Black or White" into intriguing territory, but it's too little, too late to balance the film's scale-tipping sentiment.]]> <![CDATA['Two Days,' one dark night of the soul]]> Turning workplace ethics into moral fable is delicate work, but directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne prove they're up to the task of creating wrenching drama that avoids melodrama. Above all, Marion Cotillard's heartbreakingly raw work carries the day.]]> <![CDATA[Standing still, 'Alice' moves]]> There's a master class in screen acting coming to a theater near you, which is reason enough to see "Still Alice." Heavily favored to take home a Best Actress trophy at this year's Oscars, Julianne Moore plays the titular character afflicted with early-onset Alzheimer's.]]> <![CDATA[Oil and blood do mix]]> "We Set the Standard" goes the motto of Standard Heating Oil, the fictional small business at the center of urban drama "A Most Violent Year." The motto slyly announces the allegory writer-director J.C. Chandor is after, but could just as well describe the rising auteur's mature filmmaking style.]]> <![CDATA[Ready ... aim ... mire]]> Iraq warrior biopic "American Sniper," about the late Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, affords director Clint Eastwood another opportunity to wrestle with violence. Yet the film gets mired in military hero worship.]]> <![CDATA[King for the day]]> "Selma" isn't a Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic, something that has still eluded Hollywood. But it is the first feature film to put King front and center as protagonist, and it stands an excellent chance of educating a generation about the hard work and imagination required for political change. ]]> <![CDATA[The 'Vice' is right]]> Set in 1970 Los Angeles, "Inherent Vice" captures a moment of disillusionment at the end of the swingin' sixties. The plot is a sideshow to the film's luxuriant atmosphere, cracked sense of humor and idiosyncratic characterization. ]]> <![CDATA[Hackers, meet hackwork]]> How did we get here? Never in the history of movies has there been a situation like the one surrounding "The Interview," the action comedy scripted by Dan Sterling, directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and starring Rogen and James Franco.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'Unbroken']]> Angelina Jolie directs this flatfooted recounting of the life of Louis Zamperini, the Italian-American Olympic runner whose Army Air Forces service found him adrift in the Pacific Ocean, then trapped in a Japanese P.O.W. camp.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'Into the Woods']]> The 1987 Broadway musical "Into the Woods" -- with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim ("Sweeney Todd") and book by James Lapine is a multilayered work. Luckily, Walt Disney Pictures and director Rob Marshall ("Chicago") haven't broken it with their cinematic adaptation.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'The Gambler']]> Mark Wahlberg as a verbose literature professor isn't exactly likely casting, but the star walks away a winner with "The Gambler," Rupert Wyatt's remake of Karel Reisz's 1974 drama "The Gambler."]]> <![CDATA[Let my people 'Whoa!']]> Ever since the 2004 megahit "The Passion of the Christ," Hollywood has been open-minded to faith-based entertainment, and 2014 has seen both economic true-believer productions ("Left Behind," "God's Not Dead," and "Heaven is for Real") as well as would-be blockbusters "Noah" and now, Ridley Scott's $140 million Moses epic "Exodus: Gods and Kings." There's gold in them thar sand dunes, or so 20th Century Fox hopes.]]> <![CDATA[Like a rock]]> When it comes to comedy, funny always wins, and Chris Rock's third directorial effort does run on engagingly amusing riffs. But "Top Five" also steers hard into undisciplined storytelling, damning the comic's overhyped awards-season comedy with the faint praise of being better than (though just as cannily commercial as) the typical Adam Sandler vehicle.]]> <![CDATA['Wild' woman blues]]> Kübler-Ross' "Five Stages of Grief" aside, the conventional wisdom goes that everyone grieves differently, the devil being in the details. For Cheryl Strayed, author of the Oprah-approved memoir "Wild," those details included binging on sex and heroin before hitting rock bottom and committing to a soul-cleansing, 1,100-mile, 94-day solo hike.]]> <![CDATA[Crazy like a fox]]> From the stranger-than-fiction department comes the true-crime story "Foxcatcher," a disturbing meditation on madness enabled by money to run rampant.]]> <![CDATA[Black and white and ... all over]]> "Comic relief" isn't quite the phrase for the quartet of penguins in the "Madagascar" franchise, though the words capture the characters' absolute buffoonery. Now thrust into the spotlight in "Penguins of Madagascar," the aquatic birds prove that they're better in small doses.]]> <![CDATA[Solitary man]]> With "Rosewater," Stewart makes comprehensible for a broad audience the contemporary political situation in Iran.]]> <![CDATA[Quantum mechanical]]> The film relies on convention and mawkish melodrama, keeping the deeper implications of Hawking's disease and his research submerged. Only Redmayne's performance overcomes to elevate "The Theory of Everything" to something special: an actor's showcase.]]> <![CDATA[Let's get metaphysical]]> "Interstellar" compellingly posits what life could look like in the last days of the American Empire, but the film's strengths are undercut by its seriously sappy tone.]]> <![CDATA[Late bloomer]]> In "Laggies," Keira Knightley plays 28-year-old Megan, a woman who's trying not to feel the burn of a quarter-life crisis.]]> <![CDATA[Super-ego superhero]]> Alejandro González Ińárritu's "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" may be something less than the sum of its dazzling parts, but it is a sight to behold and an entertaining farce of life as an actor in the time of Marvel Studios.]]> <![CDATA[Incendiary Revelations]]> But Laura Poitras' exemplary documentary "Citizenfour" shares the privileged access NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden granted to her and Guardian reporters, thereby humanizing a man previously seen mostly in iconic terms.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Dear White People']]> At this point in American history, we'd like to believe we've come a long way on the subject of race. But viewers of this engaging satire will have to confess we've still got a long way to go.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Whiplash']]> What does it take to be "one of the greats?" That's the question at the dark heart of "Whiplash," an indie "Amadeus" set in a New York City music conservatory.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Fury']]> Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman shine in "Fury" a throwback combat movie that offers vivid performances and a decidedly anti-war sentiment.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Boxtrolls']]> "The Boxtrolls" falls into the category of classical fairy tale, with its shadowy world inhabited by innocents in contention with monstrous adults.]]> <![CDATA[Kill the Messenger]]> This weak-tea drama follows San Jose Mercury News senior investigative reporter Gary Webb as he investigates the CIA's involvement in domestic crack cocaine sales that are funding the rebels in Nicaragua. ]]> <![CDATA[The Judge]]> Here comes "The Judge." It's been a while since we've seen a movie so…Grisham-y. But here we are again with big movie stars and character actors facing courtroom cases converging with personal crises -- including, crucially, one of conscience.]]> <![CDATA['Pride']]> In telling the little-known story of how gay and lesbian activists in 1980s England supported striking miners, Matthew Warchus' "Pride" pays heartwarming testament to the many faces of solidarity.]]> <![CDATA[Gone Girl]]> David Fincher's film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's runaway bestseller goes from intriguingly puzzling to downright alienating.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Equalizer']]> Denzel Washington's commanding performance slightly elevates the immoral message and boilerplate plot of this violent vengeance fantasy.]]> <![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[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[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[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[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[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: '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[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[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[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[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[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[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[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[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[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[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[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[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.
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<![CDATA[Review: 'RoboCop']]> Word leaked two years ago that José 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[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[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[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[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.]]>