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.

Movie Reviews
6:09 am
Fri July 25, 2014

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

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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

Transcript

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

Transcript

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

Transcript

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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Movie Reviews
11:08 am
Sun February 23, 2014

A 'Tale' That's A Labor Of Love, But Not A Complete Success

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Book fans can be pretty picky about how Hollywood treats their favorite reads. And Hollywood can sometimes disappoint. Marc Helprin's "Winter's Tale" has been a favorite of readers since it was published in 1983. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has a review of how well it works as a movie.

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Movie Reviews
4:24 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Helprin's 'Winter Tale' Brought To Life On Silver Screen

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 11:11 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Book fans can be pretty picky about how Hollywood treats their favorite reads, and Hollywood doesn't always hit the mark. Mark Helprin's "Winter's Tale" has been a favorite of readers since it was published in 1983. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has a review of how well it works as a movie.

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Movie Reviews
6:24 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Lanzmann's 'Last Of The Unjust' A Provocative Holocaust Film

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 10:26 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Director Claude Lanzmann is a known for making long documentaries about the Holocaust. In 1985, he released a nine-and-a-half hour film called "Shoah," about concentration camps in Poland. Now Lanzmann is back with another look at the Holocaust.

Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan says "The Last of the Unjust" is worth your time.

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Movie Reviews
6:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

'American Hustle': Hot Streak Continues For David O. Russell

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's go to the movies now. David O. Russell is a director on a clear hot streak. His last two films, "Silver Linings Playbook" and "The Fighter" pleased critics and also did well at the box office. Our film critic Kenneth Turan says his new film, "American Hustle," is likely to do the same.

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Movie Reviews
4:10 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Dench Makes Resolution In 'Philomena' Worth Waiting For

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 10:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The actress Judi Dench is in the running for an Oscar once again. She's starring in "Philomena," which hits theaters nationwide this week. Here's our film critic Kenneth Turan.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: "Philomena" starts with fun and games, but the more serious it becomes, the more it draws you in. The humor comes courtesy of Steve Coogan, who plays Martin, a British journalist who has lost his job and his bearings, but not his weakness for wisecracks.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "PHILOMENA")

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Movie Reviews
6:19 am
Fri November 15, 2013

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

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:49 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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Movie Reviews
4:07 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Animator Hayao Miyazaki's 'Wind Rises' Is 'Special'

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 9:17 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A legendary Japanese animator has a new film out this week. It's only in select theaters for one week only, just enough to qualify for the Oscars. Our film critic Kenneth Turan says "The Wind Rises" is worth seeking out.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: To see "The Wind Rises" is to both marvel at the work of Hiyo Miyzasaki and regret that this film is likely his last. Inspired by the life of a brilliant aircraft designer, it's quintessential Miyazaki: stunningly beautiful and completely idiosyncratic.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Movie Reviews
4:11 am
Fri November 1, 2013

'Ender's Game' Movie Shows Hero's Lasting Appeal

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 5:46 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Orson Scott Card's science fiction novel "Ender's Game" has been a touchstone for teenage readers for nearly 30 years. L.A. Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan says the new movie version shows why the story's hero is so appealing to young people.

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NPR Story
4:37 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Soulless 'Counselor' Is Terminally Bleak

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 5:43 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
4:06 am
Fri October 4, 2013

'Gravity' Is Out Of this World Twice Over

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:36 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The space shuttle is the vehicle at the center of the new movie "Gravity," which lands in theaters today. The film has been a shining star at this year's fall film festivals, and our film critic, Kenneth Turan, says all the fuss is justified.

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Movie Reviews
2:55 am
Fri September 27, 2013

'Trials' Relives Painful Past Of Muhammad Ali

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:07 am

Three-time heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali has been the subject of many documentaries. But a new one has arrived in theaters: The Trials of Muhammad Ali looks at the former champion's religious and political beliefs.

Movie Reviews
3:51 am
Mon September 23, 2013

'Rush' Gets Points For Style, Doesn't Win Our Hearts

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 9:35 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Formula One racing is having its moment on American movie screens. The documentary "Senna" was a hit a few years back, and now "Rush" is in theaters. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

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Movie Reviews
4:13 am
Fri July 12, 2013

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

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 5:06 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
3:34 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Movie Review: 'Trance'

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 8:14 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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