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
4:18 am
Fri December 12, 2014

To Enjoy 'Exodus,' Don't Take It As Seriously As It Takes Itself

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 6:02 am

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The director Ridley Scott - his films include classics like "Alien," "Blade Runner," "Gladiator" - now turns his attention to ancient Egypt in a movie called "Exodus: Gods and Kings." Film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

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Movie Reviews
4:11 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Stalked By A Fiend Worse Than Any Elm Street Nightmare

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 12:42 pm

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Movie Reviews
4:48 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Mathematician's Story Is Dramatic Enough For The Big Screen

Originally published on Fri November 28, 2014 6:16 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Now, a mathematician of that era was hardly glamorous in his day. But the story of Alan Turing is dramatic enough to find its way to the silver screen. Kenneth Turan has our review.

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Movie Reviews
4:31 am
Fri November 21, 2014

'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' Opens Where 'Catching Fire' Ended

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 7:16 pm

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The debate will continue during Thanksgiving week and beyond, but some people will give themselves a break with a movie that makes our political debates seem tame. Kenneth Turan reviews the latest in "The Hunger Games" series.

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Movie Reviews
4:11 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Jon Stewart's 'Rosewater': The Serious Side Of Comedy

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 1:45 pm

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Movie Reviews
5:48 am
Fri November 7, 2014

'Interstellar' Is Christopher Nolan's Space-Time Epic

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 3:27 pm

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Earlier generations of science-fiction films fretted about nuclear radiation or alien invasion. What powers Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" is a more up-to-date concern. Film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

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Movie Reviews
3:57 am
Fri October 31, 2014

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

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 6:42 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

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Movie Reviews
3:53 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Message From Documentary 'Citizenfour': Be Afraid (Of Surveillance)

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 6:03 am

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A new documentary, "Citizenfour" takes us, the audience, inside one of the biggest new stories of the past few years. Kenneth Turan has this view.

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Movie Reviews
3:43 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Starring In 'Fury': The Horrors That People Are Capable Of In War

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 6:21 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's talk about a different kind of power - the brutal power of an army at war. The movie "Fury" topped the box office over the weekend, and our critic Kenneth Turan has a review.

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Music Reviews
3:53 am
Fri October 10, 2014

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

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 7:26 pm

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Movie Reviews
4:24 am
Mon September 29, 2014

'Equalizer' Devotes Time To Character Development, Graphic Violence

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

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 6:17 am

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

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

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Movie Reviews
4:04 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Movie Review: 'Last Days In Vietnam'

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 6:57 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

So we tried to get into a movie the other night but couldn't get a ticket for the one we wanted. "Last Days In Vietnam" was sold out, which probably does not surprise LA Times and MORNING EDITION critic Kenneth Turan.

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Movie Reviews
4:26 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Movie Review: 'God Help The Girl'

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 9:58 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DON GONYEA, HOST:

Stuart Murdoch is best known as the lead singer and songwriter of the Scottish band Belle and Sebastian. But now he's written and directed a movie which, no surprise, is a musical. Our film critic Kenneth Turan has this review of "God Help The Girl."

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Movie Reviews
4:03 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Romance Fans Will Fall For Characters In 'If I Stay'

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 6:53 am

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Book Reviews
6:11 am
Mon August 18, 2014

'Giver' Fans Likely To Be Disappointed By Movie's Pace

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 3:44 pm

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Movie Reviews
4:26 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Movie Review: 'The Hundred-Foot Journey'

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 10:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Food and romance. That's the recipe in the new film "The Hundred-Foot Journey." Here's Kenneth Turan's review.

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Movie Reviews
6:14 am
Fri August 1, 2014

James Brown Biopic 'Get On Up': Heroic Acting In A Disjointed Film

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Movie Reviews
6:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

'Most Wanted Man' A Worthy Addition To Le Carre's Film Adaptations

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 7:14 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Movie Reviews
4:13 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Movie Review: 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes'

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 7:01 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It was 1968 on the calendar - or some future date in movie time - when Charlton Heston first told those dirty apes to keep their stinking paws off him. Out in theaters today is "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," the latest film in the epic saga of interspecies conflict. Critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

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Movie Reviews
4:35 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Carney's 'Begin Again' Doesn't Match His Hit 'Once'

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 6:59 am

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

John Carney is an Irish writer and director. He brought us the landmark film, "Once" - a small independent movie that became a Broadway musical blockbuster that won eight Tony's. Carney now has a new movie out and Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

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Movie Reviews
4:21 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Clint Eastwood Takes 'Jersey Boys' From Broadway To Movie Theaters

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 6:29 am

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the musical based on the songs of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, "Jersey Boys," is one of the longest-running plays on Broadway. Today, the movie version arrives in theaters, and its director may come as a surprise. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

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Movie Reviews
5:53 am
Wed June 18, 2014

'Rover' Blends Quiet Character Moments Amid Societal Collapse

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 6:09 am

The Rover is a bleak film set in a very particular future. It's 10 years after a world-wide economic collapse, and the Australian outback is populated by unhinged people exhausted by heat and despair.

Movie Reviews
4:19 am
Fri May 16, 2014

'Million Dollar Arm' Delivers Ball-Park Size Enjoyment

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 11:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Next on this Friday morning, our film critic Kenneth Turan has this pitch for a baseball movie.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: You can see the stuff "Million Dollar Arm" throws at you from miles away, but that doesn't stop it from being genially enjoyable. It's an example of the pleasant things that happen when a better class of people work on Disney family films.

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Movie Reviews
4:11 am
Thu May 1, 2014

'Ida': A Young Woman's Search For Identity In 1962 Poland

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 8:37 am

Ida is a Polish film about a young woman who was raised as an orphan in a convent. She's planning to take her vows as a nun when she discovers she's Jewish and her parents were killed by the Nazis.

Movie Reviews
4:03 am
Fri April 25, 2014

'Locke' Is More Involving Than Recent Hollywood Extravaganzas

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 7:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A new movie called "Locke" lists a dozen actors in its credits, but only one of them appears on screen. Our film critic Kenneth Turan says that's what makes this film special.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: "Locke" sounds contrived, and it is. It may even sound boring, but that it is not. "Locke" is a real-time drama that takes place inside a moving BMW during the 85 minutes it takes construction foreman Ivan Locke, played by Tom Hardy, to make a nighttime drive from Birmingham to London.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "LOCKE")

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Movie Reviews
4:14 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Erroll Morris Makes Rumsfeld Story Film Friendly

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 7:22 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's compare two documentary films about two wartime Secretaries of Defense. Errol Morris directed "Fog of War," about a Pentagon leader in the Vietnam-era. And Morris's new film focuses on Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary during the war in Iraq.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE UNKNOWN KNOWN")

DONALD RUMSFELD: There are no knowns. There are known unknowns. There are unknown unknowns. But there are also unknown knowns. That is to say, things that you think you know that it turns out you did not.

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Movie Reviews
4:10 am
Fri March 28, 2014

'Vivian Maier' Zooms In On Nanny Who Was An Amazing Photographer

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 11:12 am

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The photographs of Vivian Maier first entered the public eye five years ago, and the art world was astounded. Her midcentury street scenes captured vivid portraits of city life. But it was difficult to get a portrait of Maier herself; she was almost unknown. Now there's a new documentary, called "Finding Vivian Maier."

Kenneth Turan has this review.

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Movie Reviews
4:09 am
Fri March 21, 2014

'Divergent': A Film About A Risk Taker That Plays It Safe

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:45 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, Shailene Woodley's character in the movie "Divergent" is part of a huge trend in books and films these days: a young risk taker who's unafraid to break the rules. From Harry Potter to "Twilight's" Bella Swan to Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games." Film critic Kenneth Turan says even though "Divergent" is about a risk taker, the film takes no risks at all.

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Movie Reviews
3:58 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Documentary Reveals A Different Side Of Elaine Stritch

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 10:39 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The performer Elaine Stritch began her career on stage decades ago in New York. Now nearing 90 years old, she's left the Big Apple for Michigan, to be near family. She's been on Broadway, TV and she's known for her voice. To understand her legend, Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan recommends a new documentary. He has a few words to describe this legend.

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Movie Reviews
5:23 am
Mon February 24, 2014

'Child's Pose' Feels 'Terrifyingly Authentic'

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 6:34 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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