mv-voice.com http://www.mv-voice.com If it is local and useful, it is on mv-voice.com. en-us <![CDATA[Farmers are making it count]]> California is years into its latest drought, but a stroll through the Palo Alto Farmers Market doesn't show it. Chard, broccoli, kale, potatoes and apples fill tables and crates at dozens of vendors' stalls. Yet a longer conversation with vendors yields a more complete picture of the state of California agriculture.]]> <![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[Google unveils new HQ, aims to rethink office design]]> Google has unveiled plans for an office campus that will undoubtedly be called extraordinary.]]> <![CDATA[Pedestrian killed in crosswalk was Los Altos engineer]]> Robert Schwehr had dropped off his car at the Mountain View Costco's tire center and was walking across the street when he was struck by a car at Charleston Road and Independence Avenue on Monday, Feb. 16. He died of his injuries at the hospital on Wednesday.]]> <![CDATA[New school could close down Stevenson PACT]]> Drawing new lines for school attendance boundaries can be a tricky task that always leaves someone dissatisfied, and that proved true Tuesday night when the Mountain View Whisman School District laid out likely scenarios for new boundaries that could trigger the closure of the district's parent-participation school.]]> <![CDATA[Suspects steal $2k in candy, soda]]> Two men were captured on video sweeping up candy and beverages into grocery carts at a Smart & Final in Mountain View and leaving without paying, according to police.]]> <![CDATA[MV man accused of torture, sex abuse to stand trial]]> A Mountain View man who allegedly tortured and beat his girlfriend's teenage brother for months will stand trial on four felony charges, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Barnum ruled on Friday, Feb. 20.]]> <![CDATA[LinkedIn and Google to submit big office plans]]> In what has been described as a "beauty contest" between the world's hottest tech companies and real estate developers, Google, LinkedIn, and others are expected to submit major expansion plans for Mountain View's North Bayshore by 5 p.m. this Friday, Feb. 27.]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week, book a walking tour of site-specific sculptures, see an ancient form of classical Indian dance and take a workshop with some of Spain's rising flamenco stars.]]> <![CDATA[A painting comes to life]]> The current production of "Sunday in the Park with George" by Foothill Music Theatre is a welcome and ambitious undertaking, sure to please Stephen Sondheim fans as well as those new to the particular joys of his oeuvre.]]> <![CDATA[Still in the race]]> Six years after the publication of his international bestseller "Racing in the Rain," Garth Stein has come out with "A Sudden Light," a family saga about the Pacific Northwest lumber industry, intergenerational secrets and spectral presences.]]> <![CDATA[Sheriff wins OK of cell-phone tracker]]> The Santa Clara County sheriff and a member of the Board of Supervisors clashed Tuesday before the board approved the purchase of a controversial mobile phone tracking device.]]> <![CDATA[New city priorities: housing, transportation and the environment]]> In an exercise that happens once every two years, on Tuesday, City Council members drafted a list of new goals.]]> <![CDATA[MV burglary suspect nabbed]]> Menlo Park Police arrested a man in connection to a string of commercial burglaries in Mountain View and other local cities, police said in a press release Tuesday.]]> <![CDATA[Supervisors OK $1.8 million to help undocumented immigrants]]> The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved $1.8 million for undocumented immigrants eligible for administrative relief in the immigration process.]]> <![CDATA[Woman injured by train in Palo Alto]]> A woman struck by a northbound train at the Palo Alto Caltrain station on University Avenue this morning is still alive and has been taken to Stanford Hospital for treatment, according to Caltrain officials.]]> <![CDATA[Tonight: City Council to set new goals for the year]]> With three newly elected members, the Mountain View City Council is about to begin setting a new course for the year in a study session scheduled for tonight.]]> <![CDATA[Hewlett-Packard executive to lead InnVision Shelter Network]]> A Hewlett-Packard senior vice president with extensive management experience will be InnVision Shelter Network's new CEO as of March 30, the nonprofit organization has announced.]]> <![CDATA[Woman dies after train strikes car in Menlo Park]]> A woman in her 30s died Monday night from injuries sustained when her silver Acura SUV was struck by a southbound train at around 4:45 p.m. at the Ravenwood Avenue crossing in Menlo Park. ]]> <![CDATA[MV pedestrian struck by car dies]]> A pedestrian struck by a car in Mountain View last week has died, his family and Santa Clara County medical examiner's officials said today.]]> <![CDATA[VTA opens new transit innovation center]]> The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has opened an innovation center to develop, test and show off transportation innovations. ]]> <![CDATA[Teens prepare for robot season]]> While most students were itching to get out of school last Friday to kick off their long-anticipated winter break, dozens stayed behind, knowing they would likely stay deep into the night. Stationed in a classroom near the back of the campus, they worked fervently to finish a six-week-long effort to create a 6-foot tall robot that they believe will earn them a top prize.]]> <![CDATA[Fine-dining comfort food]]> BFD isn't an old-fashioned diner with blue-plate specials. It's more like San Francisco's Fog City Diner in concept, with Lark Creek Inn cuisine, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients and superior talent in the kitchen. ]]> <![CDATA[Unleashing creativity]]> At the brand-new School for the Performing Arts at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, drama instructor Kay Kleinerman aims to let her students' imaginations run wild. ]]> <![CDATA[A gem of an opera]]> In the creative hands of Palo Alto's West Bay Opera, this rarely performed forerunner of all of Mozart's greatest theatrical works proves to be a little gem of an opera.]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week, catch San Francisco's hottest cross-disciplinary performance art collaborative, hear author Issa Rae discuss her YouTube sensation 'Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl' and check out digital prints at the Pacific Art League.]]> <![CDATA[Scammer dupes family out of $500 for Disneyland passes]]> Police have arrested a man who allegedly took $500 from a local family for what turned out to be worthless passes to Disneyland. ]]> <![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[Students challenge their brains with math]]> Teaching students that their mind can grow and learn more effectively through "brain exercise" has become a focal point for Bay Area educators and researchers at Stanford. The nonprofit Mountain View-based Khan Academy has been supporting the idea through its You Can Learn Anything campaign, and now seeks to up its game through a new math event.]]> <![CDATA[EPA zeros in on sewer line polluters]]> In the investigation of the toxics found under homes on Evandale Avenue in 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency has narrowed the list of suspected polluters to three companies that had manufacturing plants in early 1960s Mountain View. ]]> <![CDATA[Concerns raised over superintendent severance]]> The Mountain View Whisman school board is facing scrutiny over the resignation agreement with former superintendent Craig Goldman, signed late last year, which granted him $231,567 in severance pay.]]> <![CDATA[Downtown grocer still struggling, quietly]]> The owners of Mountain View's only downtown grocery store say it's been no easy task to stay in business since setting up shop in 2011.]]> <![CDATA[Man in critical condition following traffic collision]]> A man is in critical condition at a hospital after he was struck by a vehicle while walking in a crosswalk at an intersection in Mountain View on Monday morning, Feb. 16.]]> <![CDATA[Rash of burglaries hits Waverly Park]]> Police are urging residents to lock their doors and be vigilant following numerous home burglaries in the normally quiet Waverly Park neighborhood over the last few weeks.]]> <![CDATA[High schools to allow PE exemptions]]> Citing a need to accommodate jammed student schedules and academic stress, the Mountain View-Los Altos school board voted on Feb. 9 to allow exemptions from physical education class for ninth-grade student athletes.]]> <![CDATA[Supervisors OK summer jobs program for youth]]> Up to 500 paid internships and jobs will be available this summer to at-risk and low-income youth in Santa Clara County, county officials said.
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<![CDATA[President Obama signs executive order on cybersecurity at Stanford]]> President Barack Obama signed an executive order at a Stanford University summit encouraging the private sector to share cybersecurity threat information with other companies and the U.S. government. ]]> <![CDATA[Police release sketches of bathroom groper, peeper]]> Palo Alto police released Saturday a sketch of a man who allegedly groped another man using a urinal inside a Macy's restroom on Feb. 11 and another man who photographed a woman using a public restroom two days before.]]> <![CDATA[Pinter's 'Betrayal' bares affair's underpinnings]]> In nine short scenes, English playwright Harold Pinter traces the evolution of a seven-year affair, but in reverse order: from two years after it ends to its spontaneous beginning.]]> <![CDATA[This week's A&E highlights]]> This week, catch Latin funk sensation Ozomatli in Redwood City, go on a tour of public art in Palo Alto and take your sweetheart to the symphony for Valentine's Day.]]> <![CDATA[Shop Talk: The Menu closes, BHuman to open]]> Organic Indian restaurant The Menu shutters, Vintage Empire thrives in Mountain View and unusual new business BHuman heats up in Palo Alto.]]> <![CDATA[New council allows non-citizens to be advisors]]> On Tuesday night the City Council voted to create advisory bodies that are more reflective of the city's population by allowing residents who aren't United States citizens to serve on bodies that make recommendations to the City Council, like the city's human relations commission. ]]> <![CDATA[Me and my shadow]]> What does a job with the city of Mountain View look like? Pretty much anything, said City Manager Dan Rich to 50 high school students before they split up across the city Wednesday morning to shadow city employees and get a feel for what it's like working for local government.]]> <![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[Love is sweet]]> Forget that sad heart-shaped box of chocolates you were thinking about buying for Valentine's Day and head straight to Tout Sweet Patisserie at Town & Country Village to step up your sweets game.]]> <![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[Wizards on six-strings]]> Award-winning middle and high-school guitarists are headed to the San Francisco this weekend to demonstrate what a lifetime of guitar-playing, practicing and hard work can achieve.]]> <![CDATA[Hospital's expansion plans trigger traffic concerns]]> The growing Bay Area population is putting the squeeze on El Camino Hospital, maxing out parking and pushing maternity and outpatient services to the limit. The cure, according to hospital officials, is a new seven-story medical building and two new parking garages.]]> <![CDATA[Landlords' hidden spending may trigger new election law]]> Responding to the Voice's story that a landlord advocacy group hid $85,000 in late election spending from voters in November, Mountain View's City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to have the city attorney investigate a way to speed up disclosure of such spending. ]]> <![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[Inspiring women, rare prints and more]]> This week, get inspired by passionate female leaders with TheatreWorks, catch a drama about love and lies at the Pear and see rare botanical prints at Filoli.]]> <![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[A giant leap for humankind]]> This weekend, the curtains rise on "HumanKIND," a dance production put on by the students of Castilleja School. The show benefits Ada's Cafe, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit that employs adults with disabilities. ]]> <![CDATA[Cantonese comfort food]]> Cooking Papa, now in Mountain View, conjures the pace and Cantonese comfort foods of busy restaurants in Hong Kong. With close to 200 menu items, the restaurant has something for everybody.]]> <![CDATA[At Stanford, a singing tradition thrives]]> A cappella singing has become a vibrant part of the Stanford University culture, from the zany antics of the Fleet Street singers to the world-music focus of Talisman, there is a group for just about every taste. ]]> <![CDATA[Pacific Art League director Seth Schalet resigns]]> The director of the Pacific Art League, Seth Schalet, has announced his resignation, and has accepted a leadership role with a national nonprofit based in San Francisco.]]> <![CDATA[All aboard the pastry train]]> Los Altos bakery and cafe Voyageur du Temps, located in the city's former train station, offers high-quality pastries and bistro cuisine made the old-fashioned way.]]> <![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[Beyond the veil]]> Now on view at the cantor Arts Center, "She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World" is the first exhibition of its kind in the United States: a collection of images of women, by women from across the Middle East. ]]> <![CDATA[Reubens and brews]]> Menlo Park's Refuge specializes in an unlikely but tasty duo: pastrami and Belgian beer. The vibrant night spot is a welcome addition to downtown's quiet Crane Street.]]> <![CDATA[Worth a Look: Encaustic paintings, a trip to the 1950s and more]]> This week, catch a dark comedy about 1950s nostalgia, check out encaustic wax paintings on the Stanford campus and revel in an orchestral performance of Holst's "The Planets" accompanied by NASA images of the solar system.]]> <![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[The gay heart of San Francisco]]> With "The Days of Anna Madrigal," the ninth book in his "Tales of the City" series, beloved San Francisco writer Armistead Maupin has penned his last novel starring the motley cast of characters from 28 Barbary Lane. Tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 28, Maupin will appear at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park to discuss the cult series and talk about what comes next for him as a writer.]]> <![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[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[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[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[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[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[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.]]>