BEST OF 2016: TELEVISION

1. "THE PEOPLE VS. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY" (FX) & "O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA" (ESPN) These equally masterful narrative and journalistic deep dives into the "Trial of the Century" were painfully resonant given their focus on the same threads of bigotry, sexism, media manipulation, celebrity  ...

20th Century Women (2016)

The statement-making title, 20th Century Women, belies how small a film this is despite its ambitiousness. This is the story of a liberal 55-year old divorced mother Dorothea (Annette Bening) in 1979 Santa Barbara who is having trouble figuring out how to parent her seemingly normal 15-year old son Jamie  ...

Toni Erdmann (2016)

To call Winfried Conradi (Peter Simonischek) an eccentric would be an understatement. Toni Erdmann opens with him answering the door to a postman, only to say he'll fetch his ex-con brother to receive the package, which Winfried implies might be a bomb. He returns dressed differently to  ...

The Mad Woman in the Volvo

Sandra Tsing Loh, performer, writer and comedian, is a bright, gutsy woman whose newest on-stage memoir, “The Madwoman in the Volvo,” reveals much more about a person’s private life than an audience is accustomed to learning. But we are lucky to be able to experience such a courageous,  ...

La La Land (2016)

If you’re looking for a feel-good movie for the holiday season, La La Land is absolutely it. If you’re looking for a uniquely, great film with wonderful performances, once again you need go no further than La La Land. And if you don’t like musicals and think you could not  ...

946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips

The Kneehigh Theatre of Cornwall (“The Wild Bride,” “Tristan and Yseult,” “Meow, Meow”) in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre is back in Berkeley for the holidays, before traveling to Los Angeles and New York City. This time they’re presenting the lively, inventive and  ...

Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight is both intense and sometimes hard to watch, as well as brilliant, haunting and not to be missed. This film by Barry Jenkins is a coming of age story of sorts about a young, black, gay boy, Chiron, growing up in the South surrounded by abject poverty and raised  ...

Pygmalion

Remy Bumppo Theatre’s new production of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion" is a sparkling, proto-feminist version of the classic 1912 script. Director Shawn Douglass makes sure we capture every word of the linguistic interplay in scenes where Henry Higgins (Nick Sandys) practices the “science of speech” and “phonetics.” Like the  ...