Kenneth Turan

Kenneth Turan is the film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR's Morning Edition, as well as the director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. He has been a staff writer for the Washington Post and TV Guide, and served as the Times' book review editor.

A graduate of Swarthmore College and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, he is the co-author of Call Me Anna: The Autobiography of Patty Duke. He teaches film reviewing and non-fiction writing at USC and is on the board of directors of the National Yiddish Book Center. His most recent books are the University of California Press' Sundance to Sarajevo: Film Festivals and the World They Made and Never Coming To A Theater Near You, published by Public Affairs Press.

6:23am

Mon February 24, 2014
Movie Reviews

'Child's Pose' Feels 'Terrifyingly Authentic'

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 7:34 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film will be handed out in a couple weeks. And though Romania's "Child's Pose" is not one of the finalists, film critic Kenneth Turan says its as good as any of them.

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7:19am

Fri November 15, 2013
Movie Reviews

Bruce Dern's 'Transcendent Performance' In 'Nebraska'

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 10:49 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Back in May at the Cannes film festival, Bruce Dern won the best acting award for "Nebraska." That movie is now opening in theaters in the U.S. and here's film critic Kenneth Turan with a review.

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5:13am

Fri July 12, 2013
Movie Reviews

'Pacific Rim' Is Filled To The Brim With Special Effects

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 6:06 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Another movie opening is "Pacific Rim." Critic Kenneth Turan says it has plenty of explosions and special effects, but he says there's actually more to it than most of the other blockbusters this summer.

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4:34am

Tue April 9, 2013
Movie Reviews

Movie Review: 'Trance'

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 9:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The director Danny Boyle is best known for the Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire." His latest film is called "Trance," but Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan was not put under its spell.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: "Trance" begins with the auction of a painting by Goya.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TRANCE")

JAMES MCAVOY: (As Simon) Telephone bidder now, $26 million; 26 on the telephone, 27 to the lady on the aisle. Selling, 27 million, 500 thousand pounds - sold...

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4:43am

Fri March 29, 2013
Movie Reviews

Movie Review: 'Gimme The Loot'

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 11:14 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

"Gimme The Loot" is a new independent film that's had a charmed life, including winning the Best Narrative prize at South by Southwest and an appearance at the Cannes Film Festival. Los Angeles Times and Morning Edition film critic Kenneth Turan says it's worth the fuss.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: We meet Malcolm and Sofia as they're stealing spray paint from a hardware store.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GIMME THE LOOT")

TASHIANA WASHINGTON: (Unintelligible)

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6:28am

Fri February 1, 2013
Movie Reviews

How 'Sound City' Changed The Face Of Rock 'N Roll

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 11:26 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

One of the most entertaining documentaries to come out of this year's Sundance Film Festival is "Sound City." The rock musician Dave Grohl, of the band Foo Fighters, is the director - a first for him. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: "Sound City" is a mash note to a machine - not just any machine, however, but one that helped change the face of rock 'n' roll.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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4:28am

Fri November 9, 2012
Movies

Daniel Day-Lewis 'Simply Becomes Lincoln'

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:46 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This year, we've had not one, but two movies about the sixteenth president of the United States. This spring, "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter" slashed its way into theaters. This week, a more historically accurate Lincoln shows up onscreen.

Kenneth Turan has this review.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: Daniel Day-Lewis is a two-time Oscar-winning actor, but he surpasses himself and makes us see a celebrated figure in unanticipated ways in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln."

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6:21am

Fri August 24, 2012
Movies

Kenneth Turan Reviews: 'Robot And Frank'

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 11:56 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, the summer blockbuster season at the movies is nearly over, which means some smaller and more independent films are making their way into theaters. Film critic Kenneth Turan saw "Robot and Frank."

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5:14am

Wed August 15, 2012
Movies

'Odd Life Of Timothy Green' Pushes Too Hard

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 9:12 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A new movie in theaters today is titled "The Odd Life of Timothy Green." And film critic, Kenneth Turan, found the movie, itself, odd.

KENNETH TURAN: "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" is a when you wish upon a star fable in the old school Disney style. It's just the kind of inspirational family-friendly comfort food it feels churlish to rebuff. But though the film's heart is pure, its execution is so cloying and contrived it brings on tears of frustration.

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5:14am

Fri August 3, 2012
Movies

Back To The Future With 'Total Recall' Remake

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 5:30 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Look for a review of the new science fiction epic "Total Recall" and you'll see headlines ready Total Makeover. You might recall the 1990 original starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. With our review of the remake, here's Kenneth Turan.

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5:03pm

Thu July 12, 2012
Movie Reviews

Whatever The Country, No Such Thing As 'Easy Money'

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic) is the enforcer for a Serbian drug cartel that controls business in Sweden, and one of three characters who clash in Easy Money.
Weinstein Company

Easy Money is a fine title for a film, but to truly savor the tang of this top-drawer Scandinavian thriller, try rolling its original Swedish title off your tongue. Say hello to Snabba Cash.

Director Daniel Espinosa starts his splendid crime story all in a rush, throwing us right into the middle of a trio of chaotic situations.

Introduced first is Jorge, a Chilean living in Sweden — in fact in a Swedish prison. Making his escape, Jorge promptly goes into hiding, as much from other local bad guys as from the police.

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6:28am

Fri May 4, 2012
Movies

'Avengers' Usher In Summer Blockbuster Movies

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 9:57 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, so it's still officially spring, but the movie world is kicking off the summer blockbuster season this weekend with a whole lineup of superheroes in Marvel's "The Avengers." Here's film critic Kenneth Turan's review.

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5:12am

Fri April 27, 2012
Movies

Stop Motion Animation Brings 'Pirates! Band Of Misfits' Alive

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:24 am

Stop motion animation, where physical objects are manipulated literally frame by frame to give the illusion of movement, is one of the oldest movie techniques, but it's being used in a brand new film called The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

6:46am

Fri April 20, 2012
Movies

'Marley' Has Great Music, Remarkable Personal Story

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 3:25 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Any documentary about a singer-songwriter can provide great music, but with "Marley" you also get a remarkable personal story. We have a review from our critic Kenneth Turan.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: Bob Marley, who was only 36 when he died in 1981, could be a dusty musical footnote by now. Instead, the enormous popularity of this transcendent reggae superstar shows no sign of going away, and "Marley," a moving and authoritative new documentary, explains why.

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4:00am

Fri March 30, 2012
Movies

'Bully' Examines Students Targeted By Their Peers

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

A documentary that has been stirring up headlines for weeks finally opens today. "Bully," from producer Harvey Weinstein, has made news for its controversial R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. Weinstein argues the R rating prevents the movie's intended audience - children - from seeing it, and so he decided to release "Bully" unrated.

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4:00am

Fri March 16, 2012
NPR Story

'Footnote' Takes On Ambition, Father-Son Rivalry

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 11:58 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Israeli film "Footnote" has racked up a pile of awards - Best Screenplay at Cannes, nine awards at Israel's Oscars, and a nomination for Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards.

Film critic Kenneth Turan says it's all deserved.

KENNETH TURAN: "Footnotes"'s subject matter sounds dry, unlikely, even obscure. The film is set in Jerusalem's Hebrew University and deals with the implacable rivalry between two scholars of the Talmud, the complex and sacred text of the Jewish religious tradition.

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4:26pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Movie Reviews

Tintin's 'Adventures' Take Him To Hollywood

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 1:31 pm

Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis, left) and Tintin (Jamie Bell) chase fortune and treasure in The Adventures of Tintin.
WETA Digital Ltd.

Tintin — star of a series of vintage Belgian comics that have sold hundreds of millions of copies in dozens of languages — is a crime-fighting boy journalist who specializes in solving riddles with the assistance of his intrepid dog, Snowy.

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4:00am

Fri December 16, 2011
Movies

'Mission Impossible' Review

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The title doesn't have the number in it, but anyone who cares knows "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" is really "Mission: Impossible 4." The movie is opening this weekend on huge IMAX screens only. Next week it will be in regular theaters. Film critic Kenneth Turan says sit back and enjoy the ride.

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4:00am

Fri December 2, 2011
Movies

'Shame:' Difficult To Watch, Hard To Turn Away From

A new film called Shame arrives in theaters with several honors, including the best actor award from the Venice Film Festival. It also arrives with a rare NC-17 rating. Michael Fassbender plays Brandon, a New Yorker who's addicted to sex.

4:00am

Tue November 22, 2011
Movies

Scorsese Brings 'Hugo' To The Big Screen

Hugo is the latest film directed by Martin Scorsese. It's based on a children's book, and is decidedly less dark and violent than the films he's most known for.

4:00am

Fri November 18, 2011
Movies

'Happy Feet Two' Lacks Satisfying Story

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 6:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And it is always fun to be in the audience for Susan's cranberry relish sequels. Kenneth Turan says there's a sequel opening in theaters today that's not as much fun as the first. Five years ago "Happy Feet" won the Oscar for best animated feature. Now the penguins are back.

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4:00am

Fri November 11, 2011
NPR Story

Clint Eastwood Takes On FBI Legend 'J. Edgar'

Originally published on Fri November 11, 2011 6:08 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And let's talk now about a man who served his country out of uniform for generations. J. Edgar Hoover created the Federal Bureau of Investigation as we know it today. In his lifetime, he built up an image as a hero. His career went from the end of World War I to the 1970s. Since death in 1972, many have reevaluated Hoover as a menace. Now, Hoover is the subject of a movie in which he is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, in a film directed by Clint Eastwood. Kenneth Turan has a review.

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4:00am

Fri October 21, 2011
Movies

Margin Call Review

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, host: The global financial crisis of 2008 has a lot of dramatic potential. It propelled the Oscar-winning documentary "Inside Job" and HBO's movie "Too Big To Fail." Now comes "Margin Call," in theaters this weekend. Kenneth Turan has a review.

KENNETH TURAN: "Margin Call" brings us into the inner sanctum of a top Wall Street investment banking firm in peril. The film opens on what everyone in the firm thinks – erroneously, as it turns out - will be the worst part of their day. A team from human resources arrives intent on terminating folks.

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6:55am

Fri October 14, 2011
Movies

The Dancing Is Hotter In 'Footloose' 2011

As long as daughters pout when fathers proclaim, "I don't want you to see that boy," Footloose will endure. As long as kids want to dance and Hollywood wants to profit from that passion, it will do more than endure. It will be remade.

4:00am

Fri September 23, 2011
NPR Story

'Moneyball' Revolutionizes How Baseball Is Played

The new film Moneyball opens in theaters this weekend. It is a rare sports movie that deals with more than wins and losses. It follows the entertaining, real-life quest of a sports revolutionary who wanted to rethink how baseball is played.

4:00am

Wed August 17, 2011
Movies

'Senna' Captures Racing Legend's Personality

Brazil's Ayrton Senna was the boy genius of Formula One racing. He won three world championships before he died in a crash in 1994 at age 34.

6:39am

Thu July 14, 2011
Movies

Last 'Potter' Movie Is One Of The Best

Harry Potter has headlined seven films over 10 years, and brought in $1 billion in domestic box office sales. The eighth film opens at midnight, and it already has sold more than $32 million dollars in tickets.

4:00am

Fri July 1, 2011
Movies

'Larry Crowne' Is 'Hollow And Unconvincing'

Larry Crowne stars Tom Hanks, who also directed and co-wrote the movie. It co-stars Julia Roberts. This movie's love connection between student and teacher is one of the most unconvincing in memory.

4:00am

Fri June 24, 2011
Movies

'Cars 2' Uses 3D Better Than Most Live Action Films

It's the 25th anniversary of Pixar Animation and the studio is marking the occasion with a new Cars film. The original came out five years ago and was very successful. Cars 2 is so close to the heart of John Lasseter that he carved out time from being the creative czar of both Pixar and Disney animation to direct it himself.

4:00am

Fri June 3, 2011
Movies

'Submarine' Examines Teenage Boy's Coming Of Age

In Hollywood, now is the time summer blockbusters start being released. But some good smaller films work their way into the mix too. The coming of age story, Submarine, may be one of the best.