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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Movie Reviews
6:23 am
Mon February 24, 2014

'Child's Pose' Feels 'Terrifyingly Authentic'

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

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Movie Reviews
7:19 am
Fri November 15, 2013

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

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

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NPR Story
5:29 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Soulless 'Counselor' Is Terminally Bleak

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 6:43 am

Transcript

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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Movie Reviews
5:13 am
Fri July 12, 2013

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

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

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Movie Reviews
4:34 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Movie Review: 'Trance'

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "TRANCE")

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

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Movie Reviews
4:43 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Movie Review: 'Gimme The Loot'

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

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

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GIMME THE LOOT")

TASHIANA WASHINGTON: (Unintelligible)

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Movie Reviews
5:16 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Movie Review: 'Jack The Giant Slayer'

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:58 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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NPR Story
6:09 am
Fri February 1, 2013

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

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Movies
4:28 am
Fri November 9, 2012

Daniel Day-Lewis 'Simply Becomes Lincoln'

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

Kenneth Turan has this review.

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

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Movies
6:01 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Kenneth Turan Reviews: 'Robot And Frank'

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

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Movies
5:14 am
Wed August 15, 2012

'Odd Life Of Timothy Green' Pushes Too Hard

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

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

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Movies
5:14 am
Fri August 3, 2012

Back To The Future With 'Total Recall' Remake

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

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

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

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

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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Movies
6:46 am
Fri May 4, 2012

'Avengers' Usher In Summer Blockbuster Movies

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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

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Movies
5:12 am
Fri April 27, 2012

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

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

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

Movies
6:46 am
Fri April 20, 2012

'Marley' Has Great Music, Remarkable Personal Story

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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

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Movies
4:00 am
Fri March 30, 2012

'Bully' Examines Students Targeted By Their Peers

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

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

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NPR Story
4:00 am
Fri March 16, 2012

'Footnote' Takes On Ambition, Father-Son Rivalry

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

Film critic Kenneth Turan says it's all deserved.

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

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Movie Reviews
4:26 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Tintin's 'Adventures' Take Him To Hollywood

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

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

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

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Movies
4:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

'Mission Impossible' Review

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

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