My Name Is Asher Lev

  Asher Lev is an artist, a round-faced, cherubic artist whose paintings horrify his deeply religious Hasidic parents and community. “My gift is demonic and divine. It has the power to hurt and the power to heal,” he says at the end of this eloquent 90-minute rumination on the challenges  ...

A Letter to Momo (2011)

The award-winning children’s anime film, “A Letter to Momo,” delicately explores the emotional struggles of an eleven year-old girl, Momo Miyaura, who ultimately conquers adversity and gains strength and courage. Mr. Okiura uses beautiful, elegant pastel hand-drawings with a soft touch that match the mood of the film and help  ...

“Happy Valley” (2014, Netflix Original)

  Is the title ironic?  Because many unhappy things happen in “Happy Valley.”  And many unhappy people live in “Happy Valley.”  Even the economy is depressed. Keeping the peace is police sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), who lets pass few opportunities to remind those in need of reminding—be it juvenile  ...

Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning (PBS)

Art, scholarship and family combine in two wonderful interlocking features about the renowned American documentary photographer, Dorothea Lange (1895-1965). Most famous for her heartrending portraits of Dust Bowl migrants, notably, the internationally famous “Migrant Mother,” Lange stands alone in the realm of women photographers, and for that matter, photographers in  ...

The Two Gentlemen of Verona, San Diego

Let’s just come out and say it. “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” is the amuse-bouche of Shakespearean comedies. It doesn’t have the cutting dialogue or villainy of “Much Ado About Nothing” or the many facets of “As You Like It,” but it’s fun and it feels good on the palate.  ...

A Master Builder (2014)

  Sometimes it’s best to ignore the source of an adaptation and let the new work stand on its own. That works well with this excellent new adaptation of the 1893 Henrik Ibsen play “The Master Builder,” converted to film in modern dress as “A Master Builder” by Wallace Shawn  ...

Pygmalion, Cal Shakes

Once upon a time there was a Greek sculptor who, so legend has it, created a statue so beautiful that he fell madly in love with it and, with the help of the omnipresent gods, infused her with life. Trouble is, the living Galatea — for so the lovely creature  ...

Ed Paschke Art Center, Chicago

  The work of a Chicago artist who won national and international fame is settled in at a small museum on the far northwest side of Chicago, the neighborhood where he grew up. Ed Paschke, whose vividly colored and brilliantly grotesque paintings are part of the collections of major American  ...

Quartet, San Diego

The premise for "Quartet" seems custom-made for a hilarious evening. Four former opera stars, with long histories, come together to spend their final years in an artist’s home. They share lost glories, simmering resentments and dark secrets. Unfortunately, "Quartet" promises more than it delivers, offering tantalizing mysteries that ultimately underwhelm.  ...