mv-voice.com http://www.mv-voice.com If it is local and useful, it is on mv-voice.com. en-us <![CDATA[City toughens up water restrictions]]> Keeping your lawn alive just got a little more difficult. Following state-mandated requirements to reduce water use, Mountain View City Council voted 5-1 Tuesday night to adopt a plan that would reduce the city's water usage by restricting, among other things, landscape irrigation to only two days per week.]]> <![CDATA[Claim filed against county office of education over alleged molestation at outdoor ed-camp]]> A claim was filed Thursday, May 21, against the Santa Clara County Office of Education alleging it hired a person who molested a 10-year-old boy at a science camp earlier this year.
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<![CDATA[Tennis tournament returns to MV]]> The 2015 Mountain View Open Tennis Tournament is set for Memorial Day weekend at the Cuesta Tennis Center at Cuesta Park. Returning tournament director John Togasaki will be leading this four-day tournament. ]]> <![CDATA[Google to roll out new self-driving cars in MV]]> The sight of Google's self-driving cars navigating the road is nothing new for Mountain View residents, but national tech media got whipped into a tizzy last week over news that a new fleet of auto-piloted cars will soon be hitting local streets. ]]> <![CDATA[More charges brought against camp counselor in child porn case]]> A former science camp counselor in Santa Clara County who allegedly possessed hundreds of child pornography photos and videos is facing additional charges alleging that he manufactured child pornography, a deputy district attorney said Wednesday.]]> <![CDATA[Days numbered for city's small RV park]]> Dozens of residents living in a North Whisman RV park fear that they could be forced out of Mountain View now that the property is being sold to a residential developer. ]]> <![CDATA[In living color]]> There is nothing drab about Judith Content's world.]]> <![CDATA[Woman arrested for suspected Kohl's theft]]> A Menlo Park woman was arrested last week after she was caught allegedly trying to steal more than $1,000 in jewelery from the Kohl's on Showers Drive.]]> <![CDATA[Local mental health program receives WASC accreditation]]> El Camino Hospital's After School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education (ASPIRE) program for local teenagers with significant mental health conditions has received a six-year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the hospital announced Wednesday.
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<![CDATA[MV council declines to revisit El Camino bus plan]]> A proposal to dedicate lanes of El Camino Real for bus traffic continues to be a lightning rod of controversy in Mountain View, but council members indicated they weren't inclined to revisit the issue in the coming weeks. ]]> <![CDATA[Tennis tournament at Cuesta Park this weekend]]> The 2015 Mountain View Open Tennis Tournament is set for Memorial Day weekend at the Cuesta Tennis Center at Cuesta Park. Returning tournament director John Togasaki will be leading this four-day tournament. ]]> <![CDATA[MV veteran inducted into French Legion of Honor]]> It's safe to say that there aren't too many residents of Mountain View who belong to the French Legion of Honor. Alfonso Barreras, an 80-year-old Mountain View resident, is the latest to receive the honor. ]]> <![CDATA[Cantor digitization to wrap up this fall]]> Since launching its digitization and inventory project in May 2010, the Cantor Arts Center has photographed the majority of works in its permanent collection. These images can be searched publicly on its website.]]> <![CDATA[Luring kids back to hot lunch]]> School officials in Mountain View have been pushing for what they call "21st century learning" in the classroom for years. But back in the kitchens, every elementary and middle school in the city is stuck in the 20th century, with aging equipment used to cook up food that fewer and fewer kids are finding palatable.]]> <![CDATA[Wednesday: El Camino hosts panel of women innovators in health care fields]]> Los Altos Women's Caucus and El Camino Hospital are teaming up to host a panel of local women innovators in healthcare on Wednesday, May 20, at the hospital. Panelists include Surbhi Sarna, Piya Sorcar, Dr. Erica Weirich, and El Camino CEO Tomi Ryba. ]]> <![CDATA[Palo Alto pilot was arrested prior to disappearance]]> A flight instructor who allegedly stole a plane from the Palo Alto Municipal Airport and vanished over the Pacific Ocean was arrested two weeks prior to his disappearance, according to court records in Florida's Orange County Superior Court.]]> <![CDATA[Bill eliminating personal belief vaccination exemption clears state Senate]]> A bill that would eliminate the personal belief exemption allowing parents to opt out of vaccinating their children has passed the California Senate and is now being considered by the state Assembly.]]> <![CDATA[Parcel tax renewal on the horizon for MV Whisman schools]]> Election season is still comfortably far away, but Mountain View Whisman school board members are looking to get a head start on drafting a new parcel tax to hit the ballot box as soon as March of next year.]]> <![CDATA[New MVLA superintendent promises to play 'big role' in community]]> Healdsburg Superintendent Jeff Harding will take over as superintendent of the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School district this summer, following the board's approval of his contract Monday.]]> <![CDATA[Return to 'Silicon Valley']]> A graduate of JLS, Gunn and Stanford, actor Joshua Chang was thrilled to land a role on season 2 of the Golden Globe-nominated HBO comedy, "Silicon Valley."]]> <![CDATA[Google to roll out new self-driving cars in MV]]> Self-driving cars could soon be a much more common sight on Mountain View streets as part of Google's plan to roll out a new fleet of prototype vehicles this summer. ]]> <![CDATA[Task force dumps new school plan]]> Plans for a new school in the Whisman and Slater neighborhood area of the city may be on the ropes after members of Mountain View Whisman School District's Boundary Advisory Task Force agreed last night that a new school would siphon too many students from existing schools and threaten a school closure in the future.]]> <![CDATA[Housing dealt setback in North Bayshore decision]]> Through last year's election and a string of subsequent policy decisions, Mountain View officials signaled they wanted to transform North Bayshore's office parks into a viable mixed-use neighborhood a village where tech workers could live, work and shop. By adding thousands of new homes, city officials reasoned they could clamp down on traffic congestion as well as ease the citywide housing shortage.
But is that vision of tech-ville still feasible? Last week's council decision to divide up bonus development rights in North Bayshore could be seen as a big setback to that goal. In a 4-3 vote, council members threw their support behind splitting 2.2 million square feet in office expansion between four sites, none of which were marked for further residential study by the city.
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<![CDATA[Four suspects arrested after cop hit by car]]> Four suspects are in custody after a suspected financial fraud incident at an AT&T store in Mountain View in which two of the suspects drove their vehicle into an officer.]]> <![CDATA[Vintage World War II aircraft on display at Moffett Field]]> A collection of rare World War II aircraft touched down at Moffett Federal Airfield and they'll be available the public to admire, hop inside or even take up for a ride through Friday, May 22. ]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week, catch Courtney Love and Lana Del Rey on stage together, check out creativity of all kinds at Midpeninsula High School, hear a Dave Eggers short story read aloud and more.]]> <![CDATA[Keen for controversy]]> Author and entrepreneur Andrew Keen is more than comfortable with controversy. The author of "The Internet Is Not the Answer" seems to relish any opportunity to puncture the pretensions of the digital elite. ]]> <![CDATA[Book Talk: Migrant memoirs, life after retirement and more]]> This month, hear award-winning author Francisco Jiménez discuss his latest memoir, hear the story of Los Altos residents who recreated themselves after retirement and more.]]> <![CDATA[No amore in the kitchen]]> Delicious sandwiches seem to be Café Vitale's métier, but other dishes fall short of the mark.]]> <![CDATA[Three suspects sought for credit card fraud]]> Police are asking for the public's help in identifying three suspects who tried to purchase $5,000 in goods from a store last month using a fraudulent credit card account.]]> <![CDATA[Pedestrian threatened, PA man arrested]]> A Palo Alto man was arrested in Mountain View near the Safeway on San Antonio road last week after he threatened to harm someone, and later returned to the same area where police arrested him.]]> <![CDATA[Want a cash prize? Create an app for that]]> Mountain View officials launched a contest this week to come up with ideas for a smartphone app to improve the town, with the top three ideas to win cash prizes.]]> <![CDATA[County camp employee charged with child molestation]]> An employee at the Walden West Science Camp in Saratoga is facing molestation charges following an investigation that found hundreds of images and videos of child pornography on his computer, according to the press release Santa Clara County Office of Education.]]> <![CDATA[A&E Digest: Creative Ecology program launches, and more]]> Menlo Park-based national arts nonprofit launches a comprehensive study, Palo Alto Art Center and Junior Museum & Zoo team up to offer Creative Ecology program to kids, and more.]]> <![CDATA[Books: The horrifying, and wonderful, complexities of parenthood]]> Chara Burnett and Helen Waters are close friends, professionals, Palo Alto mothers and authors of the new book, "If Only Someone Had Told Me: Wickedly straight talk about parenting kids 0-5."]]> <![CDATA[Voice wins in statewide journalism competition]]> The Mountain View Voice was honored at a statewide journalism competition on Saturday, winning first place for the best news photo. At the Better Newspaper Contest, the Voice took also took home two second-place awards for education coverage and feature photo.
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<![CDATA[Dancing across borders]]> The Silicon Valley is an international folk-dance epicenter, with no less than seven groups meeting on a weekly basis in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and beyond.]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week, catch some Beatlemania in Redwood City, hear humorist Firoozeh Dumas read at Stanford, celebrate all things Irish in Mountain View and more.]]> <![CDATA[War and peace]]> In his latest book, "War! What is it Good for?: Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots," Stanford professor Ian Morris argues that war is the surest path to peace.]]> <![CDATA[Taco shop with a twist]]> Worlds collide at Valencia Asian Market, which serves Mexican classics like burritos and tacos alongside Chinese BBQ pork and boba milk tea. The food is good, and the prices are outrageously affordable.]]> <![CDATA[Modern -- all the way]]> Eichler purists should be delighted to visit a largely untouched, original Bob Anshen and Steve Allen-designed home in Palo Alto, which is featured on this year's Silicon Valley Modern Home Tour on May 16.]]> <![CDATA[Star of the valley]]> The Peninsula's only Michelin two-star restaurant, Baume is a true splurge. Chef-owner Bruno Chemel shows off his exquisite craftsmanship in complex, delicate works of culinary art.]]> <![CDATA[Adventures in the art world]]> Silicon Valley Open Studios invites the public to visit the working studios of more than 350 artists based in the South Bay. The free event runs May 2-17 at sites throughout the region.]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week, celebrate all things literary as part of Independent Bookstore Day, peruse art vendors and sample cuisine at Mountain View's A la Carte & Art festival and catch 700 kids singing at 2015 Choralfest.]]> <![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[Superb silliness]]> The cult classic TV series featuring a cast of comically macabre characters hits the stage in the 2010 musical, "The Addams Family." Palo Alto Players puts on a stylish production with an inspired cast. ]]> <![CDATA[Spring 2015 Home & Garden Design]]> This edition of Home & Garden Design features an updating of a 1960 Atherton home; a revamp of an Eichler incorporating a previously roofed-in atrium; a Tudor with trade-offs; and a small home that stays true to its roots.]]> <![CDATA[Worth a Look: Bay Area Dance Week, technological artifacts and more]]> This week, dance your heart out as part of Bay Area Dance Week, check out technological artifacts at Palo Alto's Museum of American Heritage and catch Western Ballet's original production of "Snow White."]]> <![CDATA[No excuses]]> Director Kirby Dick's new documentary on sexual assault, "The Hunting Ground," should be required viewing for every current and incoming college student. ]]> <![CDATA[The happiest of hours]]> Check out this roundup of some of the top happy hours in the region, from the stiffest cocktails and most appealing appetizers to a bar where the drinks are so affordable it doesn't even need a happy hour.]]> <![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[Wiener takes all]]> At Chez Franc on California Avenue in Palo Alto, the house-made franks are top notch. The double-cheeseburger's great, too.]]> <![CDATA[Tips for saving water]]> Wondering how much water the average household function consumes? Read on to find out and also for tips on saving water. ]]> <![CDATA[Love and War]]> Los Altos Stage Company's impressive production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" play is a bracing reminder of the dark side of marriage.]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week, catch work by emerging playwrights at the Planet Earth New Play Festival, learn floral arranging from a master of the trade and see a film about how dance transformed the lives of people with Parkinson's disease.]]> <![CDATA[Inspiration galore on Gamble Garden tour]]> There are few places quite like the woodlands garden that's one of five private gardens featured in this year's Gamble Garden Spring Tour on April 24 and 25.]]> <![CDATA[A high-octane 'Hairspray']]> Ram's Head Theatrical Society's infectiously energetic "Hairspray" features a 40-foot wall of color-changing LEDs, a cast of true triple threats and subtle references to modern-day civil rights struggles.]]> <![CDATA[Spring 2015 Home & Garden Design]]> This edition of Home & Garden Design features an updating of a 1960 Atherton home; a revamp of an Eichler incorporating a previously roofed-in atrium; a Tudor with trade-offs; and a small home that stays true to its roots.]]> <![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[Better beans]]> Started in 2004 by coffee lovers Rekha Shivapa and Vikram Shrivastava, Moksha is a customized roasting company that helps customers find the right bean and blend, and works to bring business to small-scale sustainable coffee growers.]]> <![CDATA[Kepler's aims to start national conversation]]> Starting on Wednesday, April 8, well-known radio journalist Angie Coiro will host "In Deep," a two-hour talk show recorded live at Kepler's in Menlo Park. The first hour will be dedicated to current issues and the second spent on arts and culture.]]> <![CDATA[Reclaiming California's natural aesthetic]]> California's native plants are giving the classic lawn a run for its money.]]> <![CDATA[Back-to-basics burgers]]> No milkshakes. No drive-thru. No breakfast, chicken, fish or coffee. Five Guys is tightly focused on burgers and fries. ]]> <![CDATA[The American scene]]> The late American painter Jacob Lawrence is considered one of the most influential black artists of the 20th century. "Promised Land: Jacob Lawrence at the Cantor" gives viewers the opportunity to enjoy the full arc of the artist's work, from paintings and drawings to an illustrated book.]]> <![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[Real Estate Matters]]> Although the practice is completely legal and widely accepted in California, it seems impossible for one real estate agent to zealously represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction, even when the situation is properly disclosed.]]> <![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[Spring into the arts]]> From an emerging contemporary dance company based in Mountain View to a visit from an innovative folk-punk band from Ukraine, we've sorted through hundreds of happenings to bring you some of spring's hottest arts events. ]]> <![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[Culinary crazy quilt]]> Mixx, the newish restaurant entity next to über-popular Cascal on Castro Street in downtown Mountain View, is just what its name implies: a crazy quilt of casual fusion dishes from around the world.]]> <![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[Instant help for garden design]]> People come to garden shows looking for inspiration, ideas and sometimes solutions to a nagging problem.]]> <![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[Real Estate Matters: Mountain View's year in review]]> Two of the clearest trends in the Mountain View homes market during 2014 were the speed at which homes sold and the consistent increase in initial asking prices. We'll look at these two statistics and some others to learn how the market fared during the last calendar year.]]> <![CDATA[Rent Watch]]> Because the utility costs are so high, I am thinking of increasing the rent on my apartments by $80 per person. My wife, however, is concerned that we might get in trouble under the Fair Housing laws for doing this. Are we allowed to institute such a policy?]]> <![CDATA[Exotic proteas come to local markets]]> Reading under a gas lamp on a Santa Barbara winery, Mike Astone had no idea that one book from the shelf would soon redirect the course of his life.]]> <![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[Beauty lures the beasts]]> As a boy growing up in Phoenix, like many 10-year-olds, Drew Martinez was fascinated by carnivorous plants. Today, his backyard is filled with greenhouses containing nearly 20,000 of them.]]> <![CDATA[Real Estate Matters]]> Mountain View ended 2014 with a median for-sale price on single-family homes that pushed into the $1.5 million bracket for the first time in more than two years. The median price for homes in December was $1,516,500.]]> <![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[Keeping the home fires burning]]> Bay Area temperatures dipped below freezing on New Year's Day and remained frigid during the first week of the year, which allowed fireplaces to take up their original mantle of turning refrigerated homes into warm sanctuaries.]]> <![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[Rain, rain, don't go away]]> Acterra Senior Ecologist Claire Elliot takes advantage of torrential storms by catching rainwater in barrels. She says it's a great way to keep her yard green while conserving water.]]> <![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[Dramatic decrease in Mountain View's housing inventory]]> In an article in late November, we looked at the increasing speed at which homes listed in Mountain View were being bought. At that time, there were 13 homes available in this fast-moving market. A review of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in late December showed only five.]]> <![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[Deck the mantels: Set a festive mood with DIY decorating ideas]]> People often associate the fireplace and mantel with warmth, and during the holidays the fireplace is likely the focal point of the room that brings families together. So decking out the mantel for the holidays is just as important as dressing up the Christmas tree, but who has extra cash to splurge on holiday decor? ]]> <![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[Pet doors: the ins and outs]]> At her owner's request for a demonstration, the energetic pup bounded through the little built-in rectangle escape. She circled the backyard and reappeared at the side door where she barked to get back inside]]> <![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[Holiday centerpieces, naturally]]> The trick to creating interesting holiday flower arrangements is to walk around your garden and see what you've got, UC Master Gardener Roberta Barnes advised during a recent stroll through the Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, adjacent to Eleanor Pardee Park.]]> <![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[Mountain View home listings continue their downward trend]]> It's unlikely that you'll wake up 12 years from now and discover that there are no homes for sale in Mountain View -- that's assuming the current three-year trend in new listings numbers doesn't continue.]]> <![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[Positively Green]]> On a daily basis, I am still awestruck with the beauty and bounty of the world we live in with its deliciously moderate weather year-round, and gorgeous hills beautifully covered with lovely native landscaping and trees for as far as the eye can see.]]> <![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[A bright light on a cool garden]]> How could Gamble Garden enhance its fundraising efforts while showcasing its value as a community asset?]]> <![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[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[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[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[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[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[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[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[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.]]>