BEST OF 2016: MOVIES

Many films are well-made, but the ones that land on my own personal Top 10 each year have something more: some memorable element, some unique quality or emotional connection that reverberates down deep -- a special something that was in fairly short supply this year, with the following  ...

Victoria– PBS Masterpiece

Yes! Another fab English costume drama to savor over the long winter nights. Fans of “Downton Abbey” will relish the seven episodes of “Victoria,” with its captivating story, appealing historic personalities, excellent performances and first-rate production values. Who doesn’t love the gorgeous get-ups and resplendent castle settings? “It’s  ...

A Non-Equity Tour of “42nd Street”

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- It’s a safe bet to assume many people see “42nd Street” to “come and meet…those dancing feet.” Current non-equity national tour director Mark Bramble doesn’t disappoint in a mostly commendable production that played a one-night stand in West Palm Beach on New Year’s Eve.  ...

Fire at Sea (2016)

Lampedusa is a Mediterranean island midway between Sicily and the coast of Africa. Those who live there are fishermen of Italian extraction. Considering that their lives are only as secure as the next catch, life on Lampedusa is ordinary. The women fry peppers in olive oil for a mid-day meal,  ...

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,  ...