The Whaleship Essex

  Tales of the whale—the commercial treasure and leviathan of the sea—and the sailors who set out in wooden ships to hunt them, are endlessly fascinating. Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” stands as one of the great adventure stories of world literature. A story that inspired Melville is being staged now  ...

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  ...