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.

Pages

Movie Reviews
5:03 am
Fri April 25, 2014

'Locke' Is More Involving Than Recent Hollywood Extravaganzas

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 8:09 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")

Read more
Movie Reviews
5:14 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Erroll Morris Makes Rumsfeld Story Film Friendly

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 8:22 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.

Read more
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

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
11:57 am
Sun February 23, 2014

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

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 12:08 pm

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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
5:24 am
Mon February 17, 2014

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

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 12:11 pm

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
4:47 am
Fri November 8, 2013

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

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 10:17 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)

Read more
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.

Read more
NPR Story
4:51 am
Mon September 23, 2013

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

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 10:35 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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
4:58 am
Fri September 13, 2013

'Wadjda' Is First Feature Film Shot In Saudi Arabia

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 10:39 am

Wadjda tells the story of a 10-year-old Saudi girl determined to have a bicycle in a culture that frowns on female riding. Writer-director Haifaa al-Mansour says she wanted to put a human face on the situation of women in Saudi Arabia, where driving is not permitted.

NPR Story
5:27 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Movie Review: 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 6:30 am

The new movie Lee Daniels' The Butler stars Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey in a story that took five years and 37 producers to bring to the screen. The film is inspired by the real life career of a White House employee who served eight presidents.

NPR Story
5:21 am
Fri July 26, 2013

'The Wolverine' Grumbles All The Way

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 7:33 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In Hollywood, studios are always crunching numbers at the box office. And the popular X-Men series is back in movie theaters. "The Wolverine" stars actor Hugh Jackman playing the superhuman role for the sixth time. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

Read more
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.

Read more
Movie Reviews
5:34 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Movie Review: 'Oblivion'

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 6:59 am

Oblivion just might be the most expensive episode of The Twilight Zone ever made. The movie is a throwback to the days when on-screen science fiction was about speculative ideas rather than selling toys to tots.

Movie Reviews
4:29 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...

Read more
Remembrances
5:11 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Roger Ebert: More Than A Thumbs-Up, Thumbs-Down Guy

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 7:30 am

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert died Thursday. He was known for his thumbs-up, thumbs-down TV reviews that influenced moviegoers across the nation. On Wednesday, he had announced on his blog that he was undergoing radiation treatment after a recurrence of cancer. Ebert was 70.

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)

Read more
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)

Read more
NPR Story
4:23 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Ben Affleck 'Smartly Directs' His New Movie 'Argo'

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 5:36 am

Argo tells an incredible true story: How a CIA agent rescued six Americans from the jaws of the Iranian Revolution with a little help from the good folks of Hollywood. Besides directing it, Affleck also stars in Argo.

Pages