PaloAltoOnline.com http://www.paloaltoonline.com If it is local and useful, it is on PaloAltoOnline.com. en-us <![CDATA[County mulls hiring 'water conservation enforcers']]> The Santa Clara Valley Water District is set to vote tonight on a staff recommendation to hire up to 10 temporary "water conservation enforcers" to respond to complaints about people wasting water in the county, a district spokesman said.]]> <![CDATA[President arriving in Bay Area for Los Altos Hills event]]> President Barack Obama is scheduled to fly into San Francisco International Airport tonight for a short fundraising visit in the South Bay.]]> <![CDATA[Local athletes competing at World Junior Championships]]> Track and field
Incoming Stanford freshman Harrison Williams will be the first athlete with local ties to compete in the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships that got under way Tuesday in Eugene, Ore. Williams is competing in the men's decathlon.]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford softball takes another hit with Hoover leaving for LSU]]> Cardinal corner
Carly Hoover, who made five starts for the Stanford softball team as a freshman, tweeted that she was officially transferring to Louisiana State University late last week.]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Stanford men's soccer coach Sam Koch passes away]]> Of local note
Former Stanford men's soccer coach Sam Koch, who guided the Cardinal to a 58-53-16 record from 1984-89, has died after a two-year battle with sinus cancer. He was 59.]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford law professor nominated for state Supreme Court]]> Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, a Mexican-born Stanford Law School professor and former White House official, has been nominated for the California Supreme Court, Governor Jerry Brown's office announced Tuesday.]]> <![CDATA[Palo Alto Babe Ruth 15s bow out of NorCal State tourney]]> Youth baseball
The Palo Alto Babe Ruth 15-year-old all-stars were knocked out of the double-elimination NorCal State Tournament on Monday with a 6-1 consolation loss to East Sacramento at the Belmont Sports Complex.]]>
<![CDATA[Palo Alto VA employee alleges retaliation, gag order for flagging errors]]> An inpatient pharmacy technician supervisor at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System's Palo Alto facility said he experienced retaliation and a gag order from his superiors after speaking up about errors and delays in delivery of medication to patients.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford hoop quartet honored for academic success]]> Stanford's Anthony Brown, John Gage, Robbie Lemons and Chasson Randle have been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford wraps up watch list preseason with more nominees]]> Stanford senior wide receiver and kick returner Ty Montgomery and junior offensive tackle Andrus Peat are among the 50 candidates for the Walter Camp Football Foundation's Player of the Year award, the nation's fourth-oldest individual college football accolade.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford grads help NYAC men, women win water polo titles]]> For the second straight year, the New York Athletic Club men and women won gold at the US Open of Water Polo, which finished up Sunday in Southern California.]]> <![CDATA[Dean of Grace Cathedral to join Stanford]]> The dean of San Francisco's Episcopal Grace Cathedral will become Stanford University's new dean for religious life, the university announced Monday. The Rev. Jane Shaw, a historian and theologian who has led Grace Cathedral since 2010, this fall replaces the Rev. William "Scotty" McLennan, who is stepping down.]]> <![CDATA[Nneka gets best of Chiney in the WNBA All-Star Game]]> While the West was battling the East in the 2014 WNBA All-Star Game on Saturday, sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike were having their own little battle. Appropriately enough, experience won out. ]]> <![CDATA[Palo Alto Oaks sweep in final tuneup before West Regional]]> The Palo Alto Oaks tuned up for another run at the AABC West Regional title by sweeping a Western Baseball Association doubleheader from the visiting San Francisco Tides on Sunday at Baylands Athletic Center.]]> <![CDATA[Video, police dog aid Palo Alto police in car burglary arrest]]> Palo Alto police arrested a Mountain View man early Saturday morning after he allegedly tried to steal a car from a driveway, repeatedly backing into another car before being confronted by a resident and fleeing. ]]> <![CDATA[Cardinal grad Gibbs moves closer to US Open with a title]]> Pro tennis
Stanford grad Nicole Gibbs moved another step closer to playing in her third consecutive US Open main draw, capturing the USTA Player Development Women's $50,000 Classic with a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 4-seeded Melanie Oudin on Sunday at the USTA Training Center West at StubHub Center in Carson.]]>
<![CDATA[Two-story classroom building at Duveneck to open next month]]> Duveneck Elementary School fourth- and fifth-graders will occupy a new, two-story classroom building and everybody will get a new library when students go back to school next month.]]> <![CDATA[Calling all Gunn High School alumni, teachers, parents and friends]]> In a 50th anniversary celebration for Gunn High School planned for September, a group of Gunn parents is aiming to recapture the sense of optimism and opportunity of the era in which the high school first opened. ]]> <![CDATA[Palo Alto Babe Ruth 15s bounce back in NorCal State tourney]]> Youth baseball
The Palo Alto Babe Ruth 15-year-old all-stars survived to play another day in the NorCal State Tournament following an 11-1 victory over Northern Solano on Sunday at the Belmont Sports Complex. ]]>
<![CDATA[Stanford grad Gibbs reaches USTA championship match]]> Stanford grad Nicole Gibbs and Melanie Oudin survived sluggish first-set losses to advance to Sunday's singles final of the USTA Player Development Women's $50,000 Classic being played at the USTA Training Center/ West at StubHub Center in Carson.]]> <![CDATA[Palo Alto's journey in Babe Ruth 14s comes to a tough end]]> Youth baseball
The long journey has come to an end for the Palo Alto Babe Ruth 14-year-old all-stars, in so many ways. Not only did the team travel 2-3 hours each way to Woodland (near Sacramento) to play six games over a seven-day period, but the all-stars' final game was stretched to nine innings.]]>
<![CDATA[Palo Alto nonprofit for homeless, low-income residents faces crisis]]> InnVision Shelter Network, the largest provider of services for homeless and needy persons in Palo Alto, is scrambling to find funding for its programs, according to a memo received by the Weekly.]]> <![CDATA[Paly's new girls volleyball coach is former Italian professional]]> When Daniele Desiderio takes over as Palo Alto High's new girls volleyball coach this fall, he will bring with him some European flair and a wealth of experience from the professional indoor and beach volleyball circuit.]]> <![CDATA[Stanford grad Gibbs advances to USTA tourney semifinals]]> Stanford grad Nicole Gibbs is one of four Americans moving into the semifinals of the USTA Player Development Women's $50,000 Classic at the USTA Training Center/West at StubHub Center in Carson.]]> <![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[Gunn High's Zhou wins her fifth career AJGA golf title]]> Gunn High senior Anna Zhou of Palo Alto captured her fifth title of her career on the American Junior Golf Association tour with a wire-to-wire victory at the AJGA Junior at Serrano in El Dorado Hills.]]> <![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[Palo Alto Babe Ruth 14s reach NorCal State tourney finals]]> Getting six singles and four runs in the first inning, the Palo Alto 14-year-old Babe Ruth all-stars advanced to the championship game of the NorCal State Tournament with a 7-3 win over Woodland on Thursday at Clark Field in Woodland.]]> <![CDATA[ShopTalk]]> In this week's ShopTalk column, closures dominate. More downtown Palo Alto restaurants bite the dust, as well as 25-year-old California Avenue tenant Avenue Florist and OfficeMax in Mountain View.]]> <![CDATA[The people behind the puppets]]> TheatreWorks' "The Great Pretender" brings audiences behind the scenes at a long-running children's television show (think "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," "Sesame Street" and "Lamb Chop's Play-Along").]]> <![CDATA[Worth A Look]]> This week in Worth A Look, Stanford Live begins its summer season; "Saving Mr. Banks" gets an outdoor screening; and art, science and nature converge in one beautiful setting.]]> <![CDATA[Pacific Catch makes a splash]]> Besides highly regarded executive chef David Gingrass, the food, ambiance, and prices make Pacific Catch a worthwhile casual destination. However, service was spotty on numerous visits.]]> <![CDATA[Gibbs tops Ahn in a battle of former Stanford teammates]]> Of local note
It was a showdown between former Stanford teammates at the
USTA Player Development Women's $50,000 Classic in Carson, at the USTA Training Center/West at The StubHub Center on Thursday as six Americans advanced to the quarterfinals.]]>
<![CDATA[Three Stanford women named to U.S. U-20 World Cup team]]> Three Stanford soccer players -- sophomores Stephanie Amack and Jane Campbell, and incoming freshman Andi Sullivan -- were among the 21 named Thursday to the final United States roster for the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup, to be played Aug. 5-24 in Canada.]]> <![CDATA[It's all in the family when it comes to this NCAA title streak]]> The next NCAA championship won by a Stanford team will mark the 39th straight year that the Cardinal has won at least one national championship. It is quite a remarkable achievement for any school to have a 38-year streak of titles. ]]> <![CDATA[Ten local chefs to share tips at Menlo Park street fair]]> Ten local chefs will offer cooking tips at the 28th annual Connoisseur's Marketplace, the downtown street festival in Menlo Park that will be held Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20. ]]> <![CDATA[Paly grad Pederson homers in PCL all-star baseball game]]> Of local note
Palo Alto High grad Joc Pederson had a solo home run for the Pacific Coast League during a 7-3 loss to the International League in the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday night in Durham, N.C.
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<![CDATA[Palo Alto Babe Ruth all-stars advance in NorCals]]> Youth baseball
The Palo Alto Babe Ruth 13- and 14-year-old all-star teams are alive for at least one more game in their respective NorCal State tournaments following victories on Wednesday.]]>
<![CDATA[Better with beer]]> The second annual Silicon Valley Beer Week will kick off next Friday, July 25, with brew-centric festivities lasting through Aug. 2. A total of 75 local venues, restaurants and breweries will host more than 200 events from tap takeovers and food pairings to educational forums and more. ]]> <![CDATA[Ogwumike sisters are named to the WNBA all-star game]]> Former Stanford All-American basketball players Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike, who in April became only the second set of siblings ever selected with the top overall pick in an American professional sports draft, have made history again. ]]> <![CDATA[Stanford QB Hogan on watch list for the O'Brien award]]> Stanford senior quarterback Kevin Hogan is among 39 of the nation's best players named to the 2014 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® Watch List today, as announced by The Davey O'Brien Foundation.]]> <![CDATA[RECENT HOME SALES - July 15]]> ]]> <![CDATA[Fruits of their labor]]> A few years ago, when rebuilding her inherited Palo Alto home from the ground up, Kerry van den Haak decided that a vegetable garden should supplant the front lawn.]]> <![CDATA[Downtown space exploration]]> People walking through downtown Mountain View might find space shuttles, robots and astronaut suits popping up in the windows of popular businesses. That's because the NASA Ames Research Center is celebrating its 75th anniversary with 17 exhibits sprinkled throughout Mountain View and Sunnyvale.]]> <![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[The creativity of 'karma']]> For 50 years, Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics has been researching and developing new and novel avenues of musical expression. At the annual CCRMA Summer Workshops, the doors of CCRMA -- or "karma" -- are opened to the community.]]> <![CDATA[Summer 2014 Home & Garden Design]]> This edition of Home & Garden Design features remodels that added style and pizzazz to dated spaces, updated a mid-century modern home and phased in remodeling for livability today while planning for future additions.]]> <![CDATA[RECENT HOME SALES - July 7]]> ]]> <![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 15 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[Real Estate Matters]]> If you've been in or around the homes market in Palo Alto during the past couple years, you've probably heard about the intense bidding wars brought on by too many buyers and too few homes up for sale.]]> <![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[Water-conscious landscaping]]> Catherine Perman could only describe her lawn as "ugly," a dry yard full of dying shrubs. After trying a long time to keep her lawn somewhat alive, she finally decided to replace it.]]> <![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[School documents and source materials]]> In addition to documents and other original source material linked within news stories, other material obtained from the Palo Alto school district in the course of our reporting that may be of interest the public is posted here.]]> <![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.]]>