PaloAltoOnline.com http://www.paloaltoonline.com If it is local and useful, it is on PaloAltoOnline.com. en-us <![CDATA[Breaking the 'Hobbit']]> Hobbits put their trust in simple pleasures: a nice meal (or two, or six), a cup of tea, a social call. So it's ironic that writer-director-producer Peter Jackson has proven determined to complicate "The Hobbit," J.R.R. Tolkien's relatively humble volume, into three, two-hour-plus films, culminating in "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies."]]> <![CDATA[Cure for the uncommon code]]> Rising star Benedict Cumberbatch, best known for making intellect sexy on the BBC's "Sherlock," inhabits WWII codebreaker and computer innovator Alan Turing's social anxiety, fierce determination and keen intellect in this feature film based on a true story.]]> <![CDATA[Celebrating the race to space]]> The Cantor's latest exhibition draws together collages, prints and archival materials that pay tribute to the historic Apollo 11 mission of 1969, when man first set foot on the moon. "Loose in Some Real Tropics: Robert Rauschenberg's 'Stoned Moon Series'" will be on view from December 20 through March 16. ]]> <![CDATA[Chow mein for Christmas Eve]]> Comedian Cathy Ladman will be the featured performer at "Chopshticks," a Christmas Eve event at the JCC that combines stand-up comedy with a buffet-style Chinese dinner from Hunan Garden Restaurant. ]]> <![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[Stanford women fall in NCAA volleyball semifinals]]> The top-ranked and top-seeded Stanford women's volleyball team came up short once again, dropping a disappointing 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21 decision to No. 5 Penn State in the national semifinals of the NCAA tournament Thursday night in Oklahoma City.
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<![CDATA[Ming's Restaurant to close Dec. 28]]> The absolute last serving of Ming's famous Chinese chicken salad will be Dec. 28. That's the day that Ming's Restaurant, Palo Alto's oldest and largest Chinese restaurant, will close its doors to make way for an extended stay hotel and a newer, smaller Chinese restaurant. ]]> <![CDATA[Stanford women's tennis signs three top national players]]> Stanford women's tennis coach Lele Forood has announced the signing of three incoming student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. The group will join the Cardinal for the 2015-16 campaign.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford's Sullivan named national freshman of the year]]> Women's soccer
Stanford midfielder Andi Sullivan has been named national Freshman of the Year for women's soccer by TopDrawerSoccer.com. Her play was crucial to Stanford's 20-2-3 record, No. 3 final ranking, and run into the NCAA College Cup semifinals.]]>
<![CDATA[2014 Boys All-PAL Bay Division water polo team]]> Most Valuable Player: Nick Bisconti (Menlo School) Sr.
Most Valuable Goalie: Spencer Witte (Menlo School) Sr.
First Team
John Knox (Menlo-Atherton) Sr.; Matheus Santos (Menlo-Atherton) Sr.; Andreas Katsis (Menlo School) Sr.; Chris Xi (Menlo School) Jr.; Ryan Koel (Mills) Sr.; Jack Beasley (Menlo-Atherton) Jr.; Malcolm Feix (Half Moon Bay) Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford's Ajanaku among Honda finalists for volleyball]]> Stanford middle blocker Inky Ajanaku is among the four nominees for the Honda Sports Award for volleyball, joining Wisconsin's Lauren Carlini, Micha Hancock of Penn State and Washington's Krista Vansant.]]> <![CDATA[Transportation chief's outside job raises concerns]]> Since he became Palo Alto's chief transportation official in 2009, Jaime Rodriguez has been an energetic, assertive and at times polarizing advocate of bike boulevards, amenities for pedestrians and lane reductions like the one about to take effect on California Avenue.]]> <![CDATA[Palo Alto: School district settles construction lawsuit]]> Less than a week before a scheduled case meeting at which Taisei Construction Company planned to seek a trial date in its lawsuit filed against Palo Alto Unified, the school district announced it will pay a $570,000 settlement to the construction firm that built two new Palo Alto High School facilities. ]]> <![CDATA[Sean Parker pledges $24 million to launch Stanford allergy research center]]> Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Parker has gifted $24 million over the next two years to establish the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford University, the university announced on Wednesday, Dec. 17.]]> <![CDATA[Randle scores 31, has free-throw streak end in Stanford win]]> Senior point guard Chasson Randle scored a season-high 31 points, two off his career best, as Stanford beat visiting Loyola Marymount, 67-58, Wednesday night, for its third win in four games.]]> <![CDATA[Shooting woes lead to another loss for Cardinal women]]> Lili Thompson managed to score nine points as No. 7 Stanford's leading scorer in Wednesday's 54-46 loss to host Chattanooga in a nonconference women's basketball game.]]> <![CDATA[Rash of auto burglaries hits Palo Alto]]> Seven vehicles were broken into and items stolen in the span of a little more than an hour in Palo Alto on Monday, Dec. 15, according to the Palo Alto Police Department.]]> <![CDATA[RECENT HOME SALES - Dec. 17]]> ]]> <![CDATA[Greenmeadow]]> Glass walls, open floor plans and geometric design characterize the iconic subdivision that emerged in South Palo Alto in the early 1950s.]]> <![CDATA[Worth a Look: This week's A&E events]]> This week, revel in the magical story of "The Snow Queen" in a performance by the Bayer Ballet Academy, join the San Francisco Choral Artists for a round-the-world musical journey and catch TheatreWorks' production of the Peter Pan prequel: "Peter and the Starcatcher."]]> <![CDATA[Land use tops Palo Alto council members' concerns for 2015]]> Names and faces will change but Palo Alto's official priorities should remain largely fixed when the new City Council convenes for its first meeting in January, with land-use and transportation leading the way.]]> <![CDATA[Train strikes car in Atherton]]> A southbound Caltrain struck a car on the train tracks at Fair Oak Avenue in Atherton at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16. The driver was able to escape the car before the collision.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford's Bowen, Bonanni among finalists for Cutino Award]]> Stanford's Alex Bowen and Bret Bonanni were named two of three finalists for the prestigious Peter J. Cutino Award, it was announced Tuesday. A group of female finalists will be named at the close of the women's collegiate season, with one male winner and one female winner named at a ceremony in June 2015 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford women have six named to AVCA All-American team]]> The Stanford women's volleyball team had six players recognized when the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced its All-America selections today. Juniors Inky Ajanaku, Madi Bugg and Jordan Burgess all were named to the first team.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford's Ipsen wins 1-meter diving title at Winter Nationals]]> Cardinal corner
Peat an All-American again
Stanford's Kristian Ipsen won the men's 1-meter gold medal to help open the 2014 USA Diving Winter National Championships on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio. With his victory, Ipsen earned a berth on the 2015 World Championships team. ]]>
<![CDATA[Minority students speak to challenges they face in Palo Alto school district]]> A group of Palo Alto middle and high school students of color spoke Tuesday night about the good, the bad and the ugly inherent to their academic and social experiences in the school district, from essential support programs to struggling with social and cultural stigmas.]]> <![CDATA[Palo Alto bans smoking in shopping districts]]> Palo Alto continued its crusade against cigarette smoke this week by expanding its existing ban to commercial districts, though the City Council also decided that it needs more time to consider whether e-cigarettes should also be covered by the new law.]]> <![CDATA[City ups contribution for Palo Alto History Museum]]> How much money should Palo Alto spend in the present and the future to establish a museum that would tell the story of the city's past? That's the question that the City Council agonized over Monday night, as it considered a request for public funds to make the new museum a reality.]]> <![CDATA[PASA splashes to second overall at winter national swim meet]]> Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics came away from the 2014 Speedo Winter Junior Nationals with a second-place finish in the combined standings, a runner-up finish in the boys' meet and a third place by the girls.]]> <![CDATA[Eastside Prep boys quietly compile a 7-0 hoop mark]]> Prep roundup
Perhaps the best-kept secret in local basketball circles is the Eastside Prep boys, who have quietly compiled a 7-0 preseason record while flying completely under the radar.]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford's Johnson earns national freshman hoop honor]]> Cardinal corner
Already a two-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, Stanford forward Kaylee Johnson picked up her first national honor on Tuesday, earning Women's National Freshman of the Week accolades from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford has four receive All-America honors from SI.com]]> Four Stanford student-athletes earned SI.com All-America football honors, as announced Tuesday. Andrus Peat headlined the group with his selection to the first team.]]> <![CDATA[Menlo College football has four competing in all-star game]]> Menlo College football will have Cam Grad, Brandon Soohoo, Keith Bowman and Ray Roach take part in the D2-NAIA Challenge on Saturday at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in Myrtle Beach, S.C.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford's Johnson is Pac-12 Freshman of the Week in hoops]]> Stanford forward Kaylee Johnson was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for her performance in the Cardinal's 82-43 victory over Santa Clara on Sunday evening, the conference announced today.]]> <![CDATA[Hewitt helps keep Bengals atop the AFC North]]> Rookie Ryan Hewitt from Stanford had the best day of his young career, catching three passes for 34 yards, as Cincinnati stormed past rival Cleveland, 30-0, on Sunday in Week 15 of the National Football League season and stayed atop the AFC North.]]> <![CDATA[Top Oregon high school running back commits to Stanford]]> Of local note
Portland's Central Catholic High senior running back Cameron Scarlett, ranked among the top 30 players at his position in the nation, announced his decision to attend Stanford on the Oregonian website Monday morning.]]>
<![CDATA[Palo Alto girls will take 5-0 soccer mark into the new year]]> Weekend prep roundup
Christmas has come early for the Palo Alto girls soccer team, which has presented itself with a 5-0 record heading into 2015 following an 8-0 nonleague romp over visiting South San Francisco on Saturday.]]>
<![CDATA[Orrange leads Stanford women past Santa Clara, 82-43]]> Amber Orrange scored a season-high 20 points, Kaylee Johnson matched her season-best with 22 rebounds and No. 7 Stanford beat visiting Santa Clara, 82-43, in a nonconference women's basketball contest Sunday.]]> <![CDATA[Palo Alto's Catherine Debs offers ideas on practical, creative gifts for hosts]]> Palo Alto resident Catherine Debs knows a thing or two about finding the appropriate gift for a host. As San Francisco's former assistant chief of protocol under Mayor Willie Brown, she traveled the world with gifts for dignitaries: Tiffany crystal; cuff links; scarves woven with city landmarks; and polished redwood urns.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford women sweep Florida to advance to Final Four]]> NCAA volleyball
Morgan Boukather and Jordan Burgess each had 12 kills as the top-ranked Cardinal secured a spot in the Final Four in Oklahoma City on Thursday with a sweep of Florida, 25-17, 25-22, 25-21, Saturday in Ames, Iowa. ]]>
<![CDATA[Brown wakes up in time to lead Stanford men past Denver]]> Anthony Brown came off the bench to score 17 points and grab six rebounds, leading Stanford to a come-from-behind 49-43 victory over Denver in a nonconference men's basketball contest.]]> <![CDATA[Menlo's Lacy finishes 10th in national cross-country finals]]> Menlo School senior Lizzie Lacy didn't run to victory at the 36th annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National Finals on Saturday, but she did come away with at least a moral triumph at Balboa Park in San Diego.]]> <![CDATA[Sowards scores 15 points as Menlo women win third straight]]> Aaliyah Sowards scored 15 points, one of four players to reach double figures, and the Menlo College women's basketball team dispatched visiting Cal State San Marcos, 88-56, in a nonconference game on Saturday.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford women beat Oregon State to reach Elite Eight]]> College volleyball
Junior middle blocker Inky Ajanaku recorded 16 kills, one of four Stanford players to reach double figures, as the top-ranked Cardinal women's volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Elite 8 with a 25-20, 25-14, 22-25, 25-15 victory over Pac-12 rival Oregon State on Friday in Ames, Iowa.]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford men's soccer duo named to All-American team]]> Stanford sophomore forward Jordan Morris and junior defender Brandon Vincent were named 2014 NSCAA/Continental Tire First Team All-Americans when the National Soccer Coaches Association of America announced the latest of its individual player awards on Friday morning.]]> <![CDATA[PUBLIC AGENDA: College Terrace grocer, Avenidas property, short-term rental regs]]> A preview of Palo Alto government meetings for the week of Dec. 15.]]> <![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[Suffering and suffrage: 'Women and the Great War' on view at Stanford's Hoover Institution]]> One hundred years ago this year, World War I began. On the centennial of such a significant event, museums across the world are turning to their archives to offer historical and contemporary perspectives on The Great War.]]> <![CDATA[Delightfully daft, wonderfully whimsical: 'Peter Pan' prequel takes flight in Palo Alto]]> "Peter and the Starcatcher" earned a record number of Tony nominations and five awards when it played Broadway in 2012, cementing it in the pantheon of popular new plays and proclaiming its appeal for both youth and adults. TheatreWorks now brings it to life on the Lucie Stern Theater stage with vigor and verve and a boatload of talent, creating a lively, laugh-filled and heartfelt gift for the holidays.]]> <![CDATA[Worth a Look]]> This week, check out Peninsula Youth Theater, the New Century Chamber Orchestra and a traditional German market, Weihnachtsmarkt.]]> <![CDATA[Games and grub: Mountain View's Sandwich Spot hopes to make a fan out of you]]> 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[Shop Talk: Business openings, closings and more]]> Rejuvenation puts finishing touches to its general store before its grand opening in Palo Alto while David's Tea looks to shake things up with its tea and accessories.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford's Peat named All-American on two other teams]]> ESPN.com honors Peat
Stanford offensive lineman Andrus Peat earned his second All-America honor in as many days on Thursday as the left tackle was named to the Walter Camp All-America second team. ESPN.com named him an All-American on Friday.]]>
<![CDATA[Top-ranked Stanford women's volleyball opens the Sweet 16]]> The third round of the NCAA women's volleyball tournament will match the veteran against the newcomer when Stanford takes on Oregon State in the Ames (Iowa) Regional on Friday.]]> <![CDATA[SHP's 13-0 football season is certainly worth celebrating]]> Sacred Heart Prep football coach Pete Lavorato was in need of some holiday cheer earlier this week and headed over to a small Christmas party on campus to perhaps find it. ]]> <![CDATA[SHP boys bounce back with hoops win in tournament]]> Wednesday's prep roundup
With Corbin Koch pouring in 25 points, the Sacred Heart Prep boys bounced back from a season-opening loss on Tuesday to defeat Irvington, 83-75, in the consolation semifinals of the Burlingame Lions Club Tournament on Wednesday.]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford men's soccer honored on All-Far West Region Team]]> Four Stanford men's soccer players, the program's most since 2000, were named to the 2014 NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Men's All-Far West Region Teams it was announced Wednesday.]]> <![CDATA[RECENT HOME SALES - Dec. 10]]> ]]> <![CDATA[Eco-friendly, festive parties]]> In Palo Alto, you can reduce, reuse, recycle -- all while partying in style.]]> <![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[RECENT HOME SALES - Dec. 3]]> ]]> <![CDATA[A Fresh Look]]> Is your home too small for a bushy Christmas tree? Do you object to cutting down a perfectly healthy tree? Well, "Ho, ho, ho!" If you want an inexpensive, environmentally friendly Yule tree, try one of these alternatives. ]]> <![CDATA[Holiday cheer: Concerts and gatherings to make spirits bright]]> As temperatures drop, the days grow shorter and the nights longer, it's harder to rely on sunshine for warmth and light. Instead, it's the time of year for drawing together to generate our own brilliance. There's no better way to celebrate the season than by gathering to enjoy live music, dance and theater: our most radiant expressions of what it means to be human. ]]> <![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[All's not well in Panem]]> No doubt about it: "The Hunger Games" has captured the imagination of American moviegoers. Yet action is sparse in this lumbering sequel, which splits Suzanne Collins' novel into two, two-hour-plus films.]]> <![CDATA[Holiday giving: How you can help]]> A number of nonprofit organizations are working to make this holiday season brighter for those in need, and they depend on donations and volunteers from the community to make it all possible. You can make a difference by contributing to the following programs.]]> <![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[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[Super-ego superhero]]> Alejandro González Ińárritu'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]]> 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[You talking to me?]]> 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[The tortured artist]]> 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[Fury]]> Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman shine in "Fury," a throwback combat movie that offers vivid performances and a decidedly anti-war sentiment.]]> <![CDATA[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[Fall 2014 Home & Garden Design]]> This edition of Home & Garden Design features remodels that beautifully renovated an historical home, that added space set among the trees, that created a seamless second-story addition and that showed how a do-it-yourselfer can do quite a lot.]]> <![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[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[Gone Girl]]> David Fincher's film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's runaway bestseller goes from intriguingly puzzling to downright alienating.]]> <![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[The Equalizer]]> Denzel Washington's commanding performance slightly elevates the immoral message and boilerplate plot of this violent vengeance fantasy.]]> <![CDATA[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[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[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[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[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[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: '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: '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[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: 'The Expendables 3']]> A week ago, director and producer Menahem Golan died, but his spirit is alive and well in "The Expendables 3."]]> <![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[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']]> James Brown's life was so darkly rich that it would take someone like Martin Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola in his prime to come close to fully capturing it. Rather than let itself get bogged down in a pretentious display of over-ambition, however, "Get On Up" succeeds in providing an entertaining representation of Brown's rise to stardom.]]> <![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).]]> <![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: '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: '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: '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[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[Review: 'How to Train Your Dragon 2']]> 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: '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[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: '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: '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: '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[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[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: '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: '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: 'Belle']]> In much the same way films based on novels often send moviegoers to bookstores, films "based on a true story" often send moviegoers to historical accounts to find out what really happened, and perhaps that's the best that can be said for the simplifications of "Belle."]]> <![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[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[Review: 'Fading Gigolo']]> John Turturro's new film, "Fading Gigolo," has a lot going for it and "almost gets by on its idiosyncrasies," according to Weekly reviewer Peter Canavese. However, "the film never quite rises above a base curiosity value."]]> <![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: '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: 'Transcendence']]> "Transcendence" is as silly as it is sinister. But with 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 named Vivian Maier.]]> <![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: 'Captain America: Winter Soldier']]> 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[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: '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[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: '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[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[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: 'Gloria']]> Audiences are programmed to expect escapism in movies about romantic relationships, whether they be foregone happily-ever-after comedies or doomed-to-death tragedies. But Sebastián Lelio's "Gloria" — Chile's official Oscar submission — insists upon unsettling realities without either stomping on its hero's indomitability or tacking on a deus ex machina.]]> <![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: '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[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: '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: '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[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[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[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[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: '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[Review: 'Saving Mr. Banks']]> There's enough spin at work in "Saving Mr. Banks" -- a Walt Disney Pictures account of the making of the 1964 Disney musical "Mary Poppins" -- to make audiences dizzy, which is essential to the film's design.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'American Hustle']]> "American Hustle" is a dark-comedy lark with flair, letting the best (con) man win.]]> <![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: '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: '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: '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: '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: '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 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: 'Dallas Buyers Club']]> Classic "Oscar bait," this film falls into some of the common traps of exploiting a true story. But it's also lively, funny and scary, bristling with the most compelling drama of all: the grasping will to live and make it count.]]> <![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: '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: '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: '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: '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: 'Muscle Shoals']]> There must be something in the water. That cliche gets taken seriously in "Muscle Shoals," the documentary about two legendary recording studios nestled near the Tennessee River.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'All Is Lost']]> Batten down the hatches for the unusual new sailing drama "All Is Lost." The only actor on screen for 106 minutes is Robert Redford, and words are pared down to a bare minimum, but all is riveting.]]> <![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: '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: '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: 'Runner Runner']]> Sadly, there's no actual running here -- or anything else that might raise your pulse. -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: '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: '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: 'Prisoners']]> An array of A-list talent tries its best to elevate a flawed screenplay into a work of moral complexity. -S.T.]]> <![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 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. -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 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: 'Austenland']]> The new romantic comedy "Austenland" casts a skeptical eye on the fantasy of romantic comedy itself, dating all the way back to the divine Miss Jane. -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.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'The Spectacular Now']]> A mature film tenderly performed by its young leads and skillfully adapted from Tim Tharp's YA novel. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Jobs']]> This biopic about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs gets the look right in design and casting. But even Jobs, a dedicated aesthete, knew looks weren't everything. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'We're the Millers']]> Nothing to see here -- please move along. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Elysium']]> Matt Damon gives a galvanizing performance that reminds us why he's a movie star. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: '2 Guns']]> By not being instantly dismissible with a comparison to some other movie, "2 Guns" wins some audience goodwill right out of the gate. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Blue Jasmine']]> Cate Blanchett is a force of nature: the beating heart that keeps the conspicuously schematic picture alive and kicking, and a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Still Mine']]> Like its aging hero, the straightforward "Still Mine" has its integrity. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[Review: 'Fruitvale Station']]> Writer-director Ryan Coogler wants us to know BART shooting victim Oscar Grant III as more than a victim frozen in time. -P.C.]]> <![CDATA[VIDEO/MULTIMEDIA: Palo Alto Online archive]]> A compilation of video content from the Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Online staff.]]>