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.

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3:11am

Tue December 9, 2014
Movie Reviews

Stalked By A Fiend Worse Than Any Elm Street Nightmare

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 10:27 am

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2:57am

Fri October 31, 2014
Movie Reviews

Review: Gyllenhaal's 'Nightcrawler' Is Pulp With A Purpose

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 5:42 am

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And now to a movie review. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal has been in many memorable films - "Brokeback Mountain," "End Of Watch" - film critic Kenneth Turan, though, says "Nightcrawler" is the best work he's ever done.

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2:53am

Fri October 10, 2014
Music Reviews

Journalist Gary Webb's Story Told In 'Kill The Messenger'

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 6:26 pm

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3:12am

Mon September 29, 2014
Movie Reviews

'Equalizer' Devotes Time To Character Development, Graphic Violence

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 5:17 am

Denzel Washington stars as a retired intelligence officer in The Equalizer.
Scott Garfield Sony Pictures

When star Denzel Washington and director Anton Fuqua collaborated on 2001's Training Day, the film won Washington an Oscar and changed the trajectory of his career. Now they are together again.

The Equalizer is unapologetic in its excessive, frequently grotesque violence. But because it's got Denzel Washington as its star, it's more interested in character development than you might guess.

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4:55am

Mon February 24, 2014
Movie Reviews

'Child's Pose' Feels 'Terrifyingly Authentic'

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 5:34 am

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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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5:19am

Fri November 15, 2013
Movie Reviews

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

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 8:49 am

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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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3:12am

Fri October 25, 2013
NPR Story

Soulless 'Counselor' Is Terminally Bleak

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 4:43 am

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. The writer Cormac McCarthy has won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. He has never written an original screenplay produced until now. That film, "The Counselor," opens this weekend. Kenneth Turan has our review.

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2:34am

Fri June 21, 2013
Movie Reviews

Movie Review: 'World War Z'

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 4:05 am

In World War Z, Bradd Pitt saves the world from a zombie apocalypse. When Pitt's character gets stuck in a Philadelphia traffic jam with his family, that's when the apocalypse begins.

3:16am

Fri March 1, 2013
Movie Reviews

Movie Review: 'Jack The Giant Slayer'

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 4:58 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The story of "Jack and the Beanstalk" has been filmed by people as diverse as Gene Kelly, Chuck Jones and the Three Stooges. Now there's "Jack the Giant Slayer."

Kenneth Turan has this review.

KENNETH TURAN: Pity poor Jack. There he was minding his own business in some dusty fairytale book when he was dragooned into active service as the front man for a would-be blockbuster. Jack's been through the Hollywood shuffle before, but there's never been a Jack tale that delivered so little pleasure for so many dollars.

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4:28am

Fri February 1, 2013
Movie Reviews

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

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 9:26 am

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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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2:28am

Fri November 9, 2012
Movies

Daniel Day-Lewis 'Simply Becomes Lincoln'

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 10:46 am

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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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4:21am

Fri August 24, 2012
Movies

Kenneth Turan Reviews: 'Robot And Frank'

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 9:56 am

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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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3:14am

Wed August 15, 2012
Movies

'Odd Life Of Timothy Green' Pushes Too Hard

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 7:12 am

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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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3:30am

Fri August 3, 2012
Movies

Back To The Future With 'Total Recall' Remake

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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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3:03pm

Thu July 12, 2012
Movie Reviews

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

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:57 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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3:19am

Fri June 8, 2012
Movies

Will 'Prometheus' Top 'Alien' Or 'Blade Runner'?

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 1:03 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Ridley Scott has made two of the most acclaimed science fiction films, "Alien" and "Blade Runner." Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review of the director's newest sci-fi effort, "Prometheus."

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: "Prometheus" ends up with less to say than it thinks it does. It's more involving than many of this year's summer blockbuster competition, but by the standards of the director's earlier films, it's a disappointment.

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4:46am

Fri May 4, 2012
Movies

'Avengers' Usher In Summer Blockbuster Movies

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 7:57 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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4:40am

Fri April 20, 2012
Movies

'Marley' Has Great Music, Remarkable Personal Story

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 1:25 pm

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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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2:00am

Fri March 30, 2012
Movies

'Bully' Examines Students Targeted By Their Peers

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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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2:00am

Fri March 16, 2012
NPR Story

'Footnote' Takes On Ambition, Father-Son Rivalry

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 9:58 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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