David Oyelowo gives a virtuoso performance as Martin Luther King, Jr. in a biopic the great leader deserves Biopics can be a little bland. No matter who it’s about, or how fascinating his or her life and accomplishments, the movie itself tends to follow the same pattern: troubled childhood, early success, marital problems, a spectacular […]

A faithful, crowd-pleasing adaptation of a Broadway classic What makes a great movie musical? A top-notch book and songs, competent cast, good production value and above all, only deviations from the original show when necessary for improving it for the screen. Into the Woods delivers on all counts. Stepen Sondheim’s fairy tale classic is imagined […]

(Originally published by USC Shoah Foundation) I expected to feel an intimate and profound connection to Auschwitz after touring the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum for the first time late last month. After three consecutive days visiting and working at the museum, I was indeed moved. But the insight I was hoping for came from beyond the […]

(Originally published by USC News) On a bitter cold day in January 1945, the Soviet Army – pushing across Nazi Germany as the Allies drew closer to victory in Europe and the end of World War II – arrived at a Nazi concentration and extermination camp in southwestern Poland called Auschwitz-Birkenau. Inside, they found people […]

(Originally published by USC Shoah Foundation) I recently emailed a teacher to ask if he was willing to be featured in a profile story on the USC Shoah Foundation website about his experiences using IWitness in his classroom. I had never been introduced to him and he had not been expecting to hear from me. […]

(Originally published by USC Shoah Foundation) Lyndell Higgins wanted to teach people about the Holocaust. So, she started to dance. Higgins is the founding director of the Los Angeles-based Stretch Dance Company, which she created in 2010.  The company recently debuted its first full-length dance production, I Have Lived A Thousand Years, based on the […]

(Originally published in LA Weekly) A teenager tries to connect with her amnesiac, homeless father in this underwhelming little film entirely ill-equipped to deal with its serious and important themes. Seventeen-year-old Amy (Jenny Leona di Gennaro) has just been dumped by her boyfriend, who is also her teacher and twice her age, and is struggling […]

(Originally published in LA Weekly) You want to like A Strange Brand of Happy. After the hand-drawn, animated opening credits, there’s hope it may be a kind of Juno-esque, quirky-but-poignant indie comedy that arthouse audiences love. But try as it might, A Strange Brand of Happy is never as funny or compelling as it seems […]

(Originally published in Village Voice) Great news, ladies: If you want to find the perfect man, never leave your apartment and he’ll just show up at your door! At least, that’s what happens to the unnamed Woman in Sparrows Dance. When a plumbing emergency strikes our heroine’s cozy, self-imposed prison of an apartment, which she […]

(Originally published in Village Voice) Inch’Allah is one of those films that strives to be Important—at the expense of moving us. Chloé is a Canadian obstetrician working in a Palestinian refugee camp who becomes swept up in the lives of those around her: pregnant Rand and her brothers, Faysal and young Safi; the local boys […]