NPR: Ella Taylor

Ella Taylor is a free-lance film critic, book reviewer and feature writer living in Los Angeles.

Born in Israel and raised in London, Taylor taught media studies at the University of Washington in Seattle; her book Prime Time Families: Television Culture in Post-War America was published by the University of California Press.

Taylor has written for Village Voice Media, the LA Weekly, The New York Times, Elle magazine and other publications, and was a regular contributor to KPCC-Los Angeles' weekly film-review show FilmWeek.

6:52pm

Thu March 27, 2014
Movie Reviews

'Vivian Maier' Brings Nanny-Photographer's Life Into Focus

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 11:53 am

In their new documentary Finding Vivian Maier, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel profile a reclusive photographer and her undiscovered photo archive.
Vivian Maier Courtesy of IFC Films

Is an artist's life relevant to her reputation as an artist? Not so much, perhaps, but many of us want the bio anyway, especially when the artist in question is as tantalizingly elusive as Vivian Maier (or Mayer, or Meyer, as she variously spelled it to confound the curious), a reclusive Chicago nanny whose posthumously discovered trove of street photographs swelled into a cause celebre after her death in 2009.

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5:03pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Movie Reviews

Fighting For Their Family, One Day At A Time

When a boy with Down syndrome (Isaac Leyva) is abandoned by his mother, a neighbor couple (Garret Dillahunt and Alan Cumming) takes him in.
Music Box Films

It would take a heart of stone — or zero tolerance for soap — to resist Any Day Now, a full-throttle weepie about a West Hollywood gay couple trying to adopt a neglected boy with Down syndrome.

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10:27pm

Thu May 19, 2011
Movie Reviews

For Inspiration, Allen Always Has 'Paris'

Owen Wilson is a writer with a block — and a fiancee (Rachel McAdams) who may be part of the problem — in Woody Allen's latest romance.
Sony Pictures Classics

In Woody Allen's new movie, the only woman over 20 who's neither a harpy nor a groupie is the very late Gertrude Stein. But here's the thing: Having suffered through at least two decades of the director's celluloid shrews and floozies, I got a big kick out of seeing an elderly lesbian literata play den mother to the film's inevitable kvetchy Allen stand-in.

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6:30pm

Thu May 12, 2011
Movie Reviews

In 'Bridesmaids', A Divorce From Chick-Flick Norms

Bridal Partiers: Lillian (Maya Rudolph, second from right) recruits best friend Annie (Kristen Wiig, right) as maid of honor, forcing Annie to herd an unruly bunch of attendants including a nuclear engineer (Melissa McCarthy, left), a naive newlywed (Ellie Kemper), an upper-class snob (Rose Byrne) and a bored housewife (Wendi McLendon-Covey).
Suzanne Hanover Universal Pictures

Kristen Wiig is a very pretty, very funny woman with reassuring crow's feet etched around her surprisingly anguished blue eyes. Saturday Night Live fans know Wiig can act out (Target Lady!), but if you've been paying attention, she can also act — she played, of all things, a steadying force in Drew Barrymore's underrated roller derby movie, Whip It. The warring impulses within Wiig set a wonderfully skittish tone for the painfully hilarious new movie Bridesmaids, a screwy tale of female friendship and wedding planning from hell.

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10:09pm

Thu May 5, 2011
Movie Reviews

'The Beaver': Working On Issues, With A Furry Friend

In The Beaver, a stately family drama with a black comedy struggling to break free from within, Mel Gibson deploys a seemingly magical hand puppet — plus more charm than he's allowed out in public in years.

Gibson plays Walter Black, a toy-company executive (hold that thought) whose professional and family life have gone exponentially south as his long-festering depression hits rock bottom.

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5:00pm

Thu April 28, 2011
Movie Reviews

'Prom': A Teen Comedy, Hold The Sex And Rebellion

From the Walt Disney Company's wholesome-produce department, the pleasantly retro teen movie Prom comes bearing no offense. Which is nice for parents seeking healthy alternatives to, say, Glee or, worse, Pretty Little Liars — if slightly worrying to those of us who grew up on the necessity of youthful rebellion.

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6:44pm

Thu April 21, 2011
Movie Reviews

Under The Big Top, With An Elephant In The Room

For all I know, the actor Robert Pattinson may be hell on wheels onstage, where he's done Shakespeare and Cole Porter. But thus far in his film career, he's mostly demonstrated uncommonly lovely bones and a thorough mastery of looking tenderly down upon the desolate damsels nestled in his arms. No one has yet asked him to do any serious screen acting — with or without sparkly sprinkles on the preternaturally pale skin that, along with his apparent reluctance to play celebrity, has proved so alluring to American teenage girls.

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6:50pm

Thu April 14, 2011
Movie Reviews

A Guy With Mommy Issues, And The Lady In Question

Bruno, the peevish sad sack at the center of the charming Italian comedy The First Beautiful Thing, has all the fixings of a decent life, including a stable job teaching at a vocational school and a faithful live-in girlfriend who seems more entertained than annoyed by his stubborn eye for the half-empty glass.

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