mv-voice.com http://www.mv-voice.com If it is local and useful, it is on mv-voice.com. en-us <![CDATA[Caltrain reports fatality at Charleston Road]]> A train struck and killed an adult male at the Charleston Road crossing in Palo Alto on Sunday afternoon, Caltrain has confirmed. ]]> <![CDATA[Striking the right note]]> "2 Pianos 4 Hands" is more than just a show for classical music fans. It's for anyone who loves a good laugh, who appreciates virtuoso acting or who ever watched a childhood dream recede at the cusp of adulthood.]]> <![CDATA[Pharmacy robber sought by police]]> Police are searching for a suspect accused of robbing pharmacies across the Bay Area, including in Mountain View, and threatening the pharmacists with fake bombs.]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week, catch comedian Maria Bamford at Stanford, enjoy a musical tribute to MLK Jr. and check out Ballet San Jose's new Palo Alto kids' program.]]> <![CDATA[Peak flu season hits Mountain View]]> Flu season is in full swing in the Bay Area, leaving four people dead and sending some patients into intensive care. In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, local hospitals are restricting visitors to keep contagious flu-carriers away from patients.]]> <![CDATA[Rash of graffiti reports in MV]]> Police received a rash of vandalism reports over graffiti involving gang symbols -- or "gang tagging" -- in Mountain View earlier this month, one of them leading to the arrest of two juveniles.]]> <![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[Police seek suspect in restaurant assault]]> Police are asking for help from the public to find a suspect that allegedly punched a man in the face following an argument in a downtown restaurant earlier this week.]]> <![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[Office development on active MV bus yard?]]> Mountain View could have a large development built above an active bus yard, thanks to the high price of real estate near Google headquarters.]]> <![CDATA[Council seeks to develop downtown parking lots]]> In the City Council's first substantial public discussion since three new members took office Jan. 6, members said they wanted to ask developers for proposals for a hotel on a pair of parking lots near the downtown train station, and began to discuss the development of housing on the other city-owned downtown parking lots, while adding more public parking in the process.]]> <![CDATA[Cuban photographer's Bay Area exhibit comes at pivotal moment]]> There are many ways to tell the story of a people. For Cuban photographer Raul Canibano, there's no better way than with a camera, some film and his favorite 28-millimeter lens.]]> <![CDATA[Mysterious bird-killing goo found on Peninsula]]> An unidentified substance that has led to the deaths of at least 25 birds in the East Bay has also impacted birds across the Bay in Foster City, a wildlife emergency response official said Tuesday.]]> <![CDATA[Foothill College selected to launch historic four-year degree program]]> Foothill College is officially one of 15 community colleges in the state that, for the first time in California's history, will offer a four-year baccalaureate program.]]> <![CDATA[Burlgary suspect wakes resident]]> Police arrested a burglary suspect early Sunday morning after he was found inside a couples' home claiming to be hiding from pursuers.]]> <![CDATA[Swedish royals visit Mountain View]]> The Computer History Museum in Mountain View took on a distinctively Scandinavian flair Monday night, as Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel took in a demonstration of Nordic start-ups.]]> <![CDATA[Parents upset over growing class sizes]]> Growing enrollment ratcheted up class sizes at Mountain View schools this year, and parents at Huff Elementary say it's high time the district does something to bring student-to-teacher ratios back down to a reasonable level.]]> <![CDATA[Last MLK Day Freedom Train sells out all 1,400 seats]]> Today's 54-mile round trip of the Bay Area's Freedom Train from San Jose to San Francisco to honor the civil rights legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. may be its last after three decades, but all 1,400 seats were sold out.]]> <![CDATA[Nonprofit aims to bring laundry, shower services to homeless]]> People who are homeless in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto could soon have free showers and laundry services through a new initiative that would bring the facilities to them.]]> <![CDATA[The story of Cuba, told on film]]> Next week, an exhibition of black-and-white photographs from Cuba opens at Foothill College. Raúl Cañibano's first solo exhibition in the Western United States coincides with a momentous shift in U.S. and Cuban relations.]]> <![CDATA[Bay Area health officials warn of worsening flu season]]> There have been at least four flu-related deaths in the Bay Area so far, and public health officials warn that while flu-season has been mild so far, it could still become severe.
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<![CDATA[Will the kids be all right?]]> Every morning, Meysi wakes up before 6:30 a.m. in the homeless shelter in San Jose. She makes the traffic-filled trek north, dropping off three of her five kids at schools all around Mountain View -- the city she used to call home before she became homeless just two months ago.]]> <![CDATA[Bay Area home prices, sales on the rise]]> The average price of a home in the Bay Area is up again on a year over year basis, data released today by property information service CoreLogic DataQuick shows.]]> <![CDATA[MV Whisman to redraw school boundaries]]> The Mountain View Whisman School District is taking the first steps toward changing attendance boundaries for its schools, as the city's demographics change and a group of parents pushes to open a new school in the northeastern corner of Mountain View.]]> <![CDATA[Tiny restaurant, huge flavors]]> East Palo Alto's Taqueria La Cazuela serves fresh, flavorful dishes without fanfare. Among the house specialties: enchiladas Michoacanas, menudo and chicken meatball soup.]]> <![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[City's new shuttles make 'car-free' life easier]]> A crowd gathered at the downtown transit center last Friday to celebrate the launch of two new shuttles services that will be free to the public, one to serve residents and one aimed at commuters. ]]> <![CDATA[Police retrieve stolen bikes]]> Police are looking for the owners of four stolen bikes after they arrested a man found with the bikes near Rengstorff Park in Mountain View.]]> <![CDATA[Local events commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day]]> Celebrations honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. are set to begin Friday. Here is a list of events in the Midpeninsula. ]]> <![CDATA[Greening up the dinner table]]> Eat your vegetables.
Like most people, Menlo Park resident Julie Shanson knows that eating healthy is no great mystery.]]>
<![CDATA[Police arrest man suspected of molesting 6-year-old]]> Police arrested a Mountain View man last week for allegedly molesting a 6-year-old child and possessing child pornography.]]> <![CDATA[Sutter Health, Blue Shield in contract dispute]]> UPDATE: The Sutter Health network of doctors and hospitals proposed Monday, Jan. 19, to extend the current transition period with Blue Shield of California through the end of this year — locking in 2014 contract rates and terms — to prevent tens of thousands of patients from being displaced from their doctors.]]> <![CDATA[City to flush water mains after complaints about smelly tap water]]> City officials are responding to complaints from residents who say their tap water smells like rotten eggs. ]]> <![CDATA[Wild woman writer]]> How do you know you've arrived as a writer?
When Nick Hornby decides to adapt your memoir for the big screen -- and Reese Witherspoon stars as you. On Tuesday, Jan. 13, Cheryl Strayed, the author of "Wild" will give a free talk at Stanford University.]]>
<![CDATA[Neighborhood sweet spot]]> The owner of Sweet Shop in Los Altos, Google's "chief culture officer" Stacy Sullivan, aims to create a community gathering place rather than just a run-of-the-mill candy store.]]> <![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[The year in film]]> As the year comes to a close, we look back at 12 months of films: the highlights, the low points and more. This is your invitation to hit the theaters, fire up Netflix, rattle the Redbox or clip and save this article for the next time you're in the mood for a movie.]]> <![CDATA[Luscious kebabs, delicate curries]]> When it comes to kebabs, many think of chewy, marinated squares of meat, grilled on a stick. Yet at Zareen's, a contemporary Pakistani halal and Indian cafe in Mountain View, delicate Pakistani kebabs occupy the opposite end of the spectrum: mildly spiced, ethereally soft patties of finely ground meat with fresh herbs and spices. ]]> <![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[Boba sensation comes to Palo Alto]]> Bubble tea. Boba tea. Pearl tea. No matter which way people say it, they want it. And now they can get it in downtown Palo Alto.]]> <![CDATA[A mecca for meat]]> Sundance The Steakhouse is thriving in its 40th year. The classic American steakhouse on El Camino Real in Palo Alto serves up topnotch food, attentive service, an excellent wine list and decor that exudes old-school charm. ]]> <![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[Games and grub]]> A San Mateo native, Vinny Ferrando has been a Bay Area sports fan for as long as he can remember. Practically raised at Candlestick Park, Ferrando recalls how his father used to drive the family to games in his San Francisco Giants-themed car, which landed them a front row parking spot every time. ]]> <![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[Unpretentious French]]> Menlo Park's loss is Palo Alto's gain, twice over. After closing his haute French restaurant Marche in 2011, Howard Bulka gave us Howie's Artisan Pizza in Town & Country Village. And now, Guillame Bienamé , a former executive chef of Marche, gives us Zola, the best food news in downtown Palo Alto this year. ]]> <![CDATA[Labor and love: Western Ballet sets a high barre]]> For ballet studios, December is a busy month. There are props to be dusted off, costumes to be fitted and finishing touches to be put on the choreography for the end-of-year show. At Mountain View's Western Ballet as with so many other schools around the country, preparations are in full swing for a production of the classical Christmas ballet, "The Nutcracker," which the company will stage Dec. 5 and 6 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. ]]> <![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[Unbeetable eats]]> Where can you find authentic pirozhki, borscht, shuba and pelmeni in Palo Alto? In the lobby of a tech company's office complex, of course. ]]> <![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 Iñárritu'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[No cookie-cutter homes here]]> "A 3-story tower and roof deck emerges among vibrant evergreens, providing a unique vantage point of the surrounding townscape."]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'The Lunch Box']]> The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, so they say. And so says writer-director Ritesh Batra in his debut feature "The Lunchbox." Though considerably more understated than a Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan movie, one might call this wry-at-times romantic drama "You've Got Lunch."]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'Bad Words']]> There's an old showbiz adage that directing is 90 percent casting, and that's also true of casting the directors themselves. Take "Bad Words," the directing debut of actor Jason Bateman.]]> <![CDATA[Artwork to 'chair'-ish]]> Discovery of 60 wooden folding chairs dating back to the 1930s hidden in ancient rolling drawers underneath a stage has inspired The Woman's Club of Palo Alto to give new meaning to recycling and repurposing.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'Muppets Most Wanted']]> A self-aware sequel to the 2011 film "The Muppets," "Muppets Most Wanted" provides more testament to the enduring appeal of the post-Vaudeville likes of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and the Great Gonzo, as well as the love and care they inspire in generation after generation of performers and audiences.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: The Grand Budapest Hotel]]> If there were a valid critique to be given of "The Grand Budapest Hotel" -- writer and director Wes Anderson's latest, highly stylized ode to a place that might have been -- it would be that Anderson has fallen victim to his own tropes. But you won't hear that here.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'Need for Speed']]> Manifestly overlong at 130 minutes, "Need for Speed" includes some eye-popping racing scenes of some very pretty high-performance sports cars. But in a world with thousands of cable channels and six "Fast & Furious" movies (with a seventh on the way), fast cars aren't enough.]]> <![CDATA[Who you gonna call?]]> The perfect utopian home would be something like this: light bulbs that never went out, living room paint that remained forever crisp and vibrant, drains that never backed up and doors that never got stuck.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'Tim's Vermeer']]> Watching paint dry has never been more fascinating than it is in "Tim's Vermeer," a documentary produced by the magicians Penn & Teller.]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: '300: Rise of an Empire']]> Both blood-bathetic and deliriously entertaining high camp, this prequel-sequel-parallel plotline to Warner Brothers' 2006 hit will appeal mainly to meatheads, but those with a tolerance for over-the-top violence may appreciate it on other levels.]]> <![CDATA[Real Estate Matters]]> If last year was any indication, 2014 should be another exceptional year for home sellers across the Bay Area.]]> <![CDATA[Garden Tips]]> What is a garden anyway? Why do gardens make so much difference in our lives and why do we fall in love, raise our children and grow old together in them so much better than if we live our whole lives indoors?]]> <![CDATA[Movie review: 'The Wind Rises']]> "All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful." So said aeronautical engineer Jiro Horikoshi, whose Mitsubishi A5M and A6M Zero served the Empire of Japan during WWII. Amid some controversy, living-legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki has written and directed his own latest "something beautiful," this one a hand-drawn fantasia about Horikoshi: "The Wind Rises."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Pompeii']]> The new action picture "Pompeii" is a bit like its own villain, Mount Vesuvius: massive, full of hot air and brainless.
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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[A winemaker's dream]]> A doorbell decorated with grapes announces visitors to the home of David Bulfer and Kelly Pope. That's fitting, since they recently built a wine workshop and are educating themselves about winemaking.]]> <![CDATA[Custom-made to last a lifetime]]> From the front, not much is different about Aleta Hanna's small mission bungalow at the edge of Crescent Park (what was once called University Park).]]> <![CDATA[Review: The Nut Job]]> OK, so you didn't plan ahead, but don't worry. The new animated flick "The Nut Job" has squirreled away enough lame nut puns to get you through the winter. More than enough.]]> <![CDATA[Higher, lighter and brighter]]> Like many couples with three young kids, Roland Dreier and Bina Bhattacharyya expected space in their house to become an issue.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Lone Survivor']]> One word you won't see used to describe "Lone Survivor," the fact-based movie about a FUBAR Navy SEALs operation: "contemplative."]]> <![CDATA[Review: "August: Osage County"]]> It may be 30 below in Cass County this week, but on screen it's 108 degrees in "August: Osage County." And as the old story goes, when the day is hot, there's no escaping a brawl.]]> <![CDATA[Remodeling: In da Houzz]]> What happens when you combine the words house and buzz? The answer is the online community "Houzz," a website and mobile app for home remodeling and design.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'American Hustle']]> "American Hustle" is a dark-comedy lark with flair, letting the best (con) man win.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty']]> Reborn as a flashy but soppy new adventure directed by and starring Ben Stiller, the film is sentimental claptrap about (to paraphrase a character) "courage and going into the unknown."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Past']]> In 2012, Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation" became the first Iranian picture to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. This is his follow-up.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Wolf of Wall Street']]> "The Wolf of Wall Street" charges out of the gate with immediate evidence of Martin Scorsese's skill, abetted by Terence Winter's whip-crack screenplay and Thelma Schoonmaker's brilliant editing. ]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Her']]> All people in romantic relationships want to know their love is real. But when half of the intelligence involved is artificial, can love be real? ]]> <![CDATA[Real Estate Matters]]> As winter approaches, we typically expect Bay Area and Peninsula home prices to start cooling along with the weather, as buyers replace their house-hunting expeditions with holiday-shopping trips. ]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Inside Llewyn Davis']]> Like a rolling stone, singer-guitarist Llewyn Davis tumbles through the Greenwich Village folk-music scene of the '60s. It's the Coen Brothers' most compelling character study to date.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'American Hustle']]> "American Hustle" is a dark-comedy lark with flair, letting the best (con) man win.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug']]> Peter Jackson's grandiose vision of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth reaches a crescendo with this thrilling second installment in "The Hobbit" trilogy.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Great Beauty']]> It is, perhaps, impossible to make an ode to Rome without invoking Fellini. Though Paolo Sorrentino does so only indirectly in "The Great Beauty," it's impossible not to think of how he pales in comparison to the maestro.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Out of the Furnace']]> What, one might ask, is the point of understated melodrama? It's a bit like decaf coffee or near-beer. But understated melodrama, for the most part, is the stuff of "Out of the Furnace."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Homefront']]> Standard Statham action gets a solid acting boost courtesy of James Franco in the Louisiana-based "Homefront." We can put this in the "co-stars you thought you would never see" category.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Philomena']]> The film "Philomena," starring Judi Dench, takes the perspective of a wronged Irish mother coerced, in 1952, into giving her baby away. Co-producer and co-screenwriter Steve Coogan plays a journalist investigating the story.
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<![CDATA[Review: 'Nebraska']]> It's never too late to play a few grace notes. With Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," this proves true for two septuagenarians: addled heartland grump Woodrow "Woody" Grant and the Hollywood royal who plays him, Bruce Dern.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Delivery Man']]> This tale of an accidental (multiple) father manages to be high-concept and squishy at the same time. At least the star power of Vince Vaughn adds some comedy.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Book Thief']]> There will, of course, never be enough Nazi Germany-set dramas to fill the awards-season maw. Unfortunately, "The Book Thief" is conspicuously phony in its ruthless attempt to manipulate audiences.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire']]> It would be easy to damn "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" with the faint praise of calling it a competent sequel, which it is. But the film gives audiences more to chew on than its predecessor.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Blue Is the Warmest Color']]> This movie is billed as "The story of a young lesbian couple's beginning, middle and possible end." It's also an NC-17 film with a seven-minute sex scene that has made it cinema non grata in Idaho.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Armstrong Lie']]> The title of Alex Gibney's film derives from a 2005 headline in the French paper "L'Equipe." The paper alleged what many had assumed to be true: Banned substances had fueled Armstrong's endurance and speed.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Dallas Buyers Club']]> Yes, "Dallas Buyers Club" is classic "Oscar bait," and falls into some of the common traps of exploiting a true story. But it's also lively, funny and scary.]]> <![CDATA[Review: '12 Years A Slave']]> This is the story of a man: another tale of physical and emotional survival that, unlike "All is Lost" and "Gravity," derives from a true story.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'About Time']]> Though you'll feel like you've seen this movie before, the film's strength is the ensemble cast effortlessly exuding affection for one another.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Last Vegas']]> At first glance, "Last Vegas" seems like "The Hangover" for the 60-and-over crowd (minus the raunch). But the class-act cast and a solid script keep the film fresh and funny.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Kill Your Darlings']]> An oft-overlooked chapter in literary history comes to life in "Kill Your Darlings," a lurid yet penetrating look into Allen Ginsberg's formative influences.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Fifth Estate']]> This slickly edited drama plays like the account of a jilted lover, with the would-be dazzle attempting to misdirect from the ordinariness of the personal melodrama.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'A.C.O.D.']]> "A.C.O.D." stands for "Adult Children of Divorce," a demographic big enough to ensure this dry-witted indie comedy a wide audience.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Romeo and Juliet']]> Call it the "Drunk History" version of "Romeo and Juliet." -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Captain Phillips']]> The "real-life thriller" "Captain Phillips" may be obvious and it may be clumsy, but it's also a little bit thoughtful, and there's never a dull moment. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Gravity']]> Life is one hell of a ride, as George Clooney's character puts it. So is "Gravity." -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Runner Runner']]> What are the odds you'll be satisfied with your movie-ticket purchase? -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Enough Said']]> Two powerhouse performances and some nicely written scenes that, in tandem, provide some of the most enjoyable romantic and comedic moments of the year. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Rush']]> The director of "Frost/Nixon," Ron Howard, brings us in "Rush" another Morgan match-up: 1970s Formula One racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Afternoon Delight']]> Jill Soloway's new comedy-drama about clambering to stay above the yawning pit of middle-aged ennui. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Short Term 12']]> Writer-director Destin Cretton bears witness to the agony and the ecstasy of foster care in "Short Term 12," a fiction film inspired by his own experiences working in a group home. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Riddick']]> The man with the night-vision eyes is back: Vin Diesel's science-fiction anti-hero returns to something like his "Pitch Black" roots in the simply titled -- and R-rated -- "Riddick."]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Grandmaster']]> If there's one thing not to expect from cinematic grandmaster Wong Kar Wai, it's a driving plot. But that's what we love about the languorous director. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Closed Circuit']]> You've seen worse than the new boilerplate legal thriller "Closed Circuit," but you've also seen a lot better. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The World's End']]> You can go home again, but it's going to involve drinking. That's the starting point of "The World's End," the latest from the most exciting team in film comedy. -P.C.]]>