Ella Taylor

Ella Taylor is a free-lance film critic, book reviewer and feature writer living in Los Angeles.

Born in Israel and raised in London, Taylor taught media studies at the University of Washington in Seattle; her book Prime Time Families: Television Culture in Post-War America was published by the University of California Press.

Taylor has written for Village Voice Media, the LA Weekly, The New York Times, Elle magazine and other publications, and was a regular contributor to KPCC-Los Angeles' weekly film-review show FilmWeek.

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5:03pm

Thu November 8, 2012
Movie Reviews

Romance, Scandal And 'A Royal Affair' Of The Heart

The titular affair takes place between the Queen of Denmark (Alicia Vikander) and her ailing husband's physician (Mads Mikkelsen).
Magnolia Films

The Oscar race for best foreign-language film rarely comes without a helping of muslin-and-bonnet dramas stuffed with misbehaving royals, masked balls and burgeoning job opportunities for food stylists. As heritage cinema goes, however, the year's Academy Award entry from Denmark is a firecracker.

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5:03pm

Thu November 1, 2012
Movie Reviews

Amid Discord, A 'Quartet' Strives For Harmony

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 12:56 pm

Members of a famous string quartet (Mark Ivanir, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener) fight to stay together despite internal conflict.
RKO Pictures

It's rare these days to see an old-fashioned, elegant chamber-piece movie about life and art — let alone one with Christopher Walken as, of all things, a steadying influence.

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5:03pm

Thu October 25, 2012
Movie Reviews

Mothers' Love Transcends Security Checkpoints

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 9:50 am

Jews Alon and Orith Silberg (Pascal Elbe and Emmanuelle Devos) and Palestinians Leila and Yacine Al Bezaaz (Areen Omari and Mehdi Dehbi) find out that their sons have been switched at birth.
Cohen Media

What if you woke up one day to find that you were someone other than whom you thought you were? Upping the ante, what if that someone belonged to the tribe you'd been raised to think of as Enemy No. 1?

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5:03pm

Thu October 18, 2012
Movie Reviews

Life, And Something Like Love, In An Iron Lung

Mark (John Hawkes), a disabled man who has spent most of his life in an iron lung, decides to lose his virginity to a sex surrogate, Cheryl (Helen Hunt).
Fox Searchlight

Disability biopics, especially the kind that bring audiences to their feet at Sundance, rarely have anywhere to carry us but on a linear journey from pity via empathy to tearful uplift.

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5:03pm

Thu October 11, 2012
Movie Reviews

Two Films, Two Takes On Living With Genocide

Simon and the Oaks serves as a rather too cozy consideration of Nazi sympathies in Sweden during the early years of World War II.
The Film Arcade

Simon and the Oaks, a handsomely upholstered Swedish drama about two troubled families trying to survive World War II, is based on a runaway best-selling novel by Marianne Fredriksson. The film was made with money from several Scandinavian countries once occupied by the Nazis, as well as from Germany itself. It won a truckload of Swedish Oscars, and in the accolades heaped upon the movie, the word "epic" is thrown around with abandon.

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4:47pm

Tue October 9, 2012
Movie Interviews

Andrea Arnold Tackles An Iconic Love Story

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:51 pm

Filmmaker Andrea Arnold won the Cannes Film Festival's Jury Prize for her 2006 film Red Road; her short film Wasp earned her an Oscar the year before.
Oscilloscope Pictures

Not counting Twilight, Emily Bronte's 1847 novel, Wuthering Heights, has been plundered, adapted and remade to death, including, it's not commonly known, by Luis Bunuel and Jacques Rivette. Most people know the book through movies, television miniseries, or even from the hilarious Monty Python semaphore version.

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5:03pm

Thu October 4, 2012
Movie Reviews

'Oranges' Appeal: Not Your Average Suburban Holiday

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 6:22 pm

The Ostroffs (Allison Janney and Oliver Platt) and their good friends, the Walling family (Hugh Laurie and Alia Shawkat), are shaken when the Ostroffs' daughter comes home for the holidays.
Myles Aronowitz ATO Pictures

Dang if Home for the Holidays season hasn't rolled around again — that jolly time of year when screenwriters dust off childhood memories of mildly distressed families and distress them further for our sentimental education. Yet if it seems a little early-autumn yet for that sort of thing, please welcome a surprisingly superior specimen of the genre, courtesy of the best indie ensemble money can buy.

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9:03am

Wed September 26, 2012
Movie Reviews

'Won't Back Down' Takes A Too-Easy Way Out

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 11:49 am

Nona (Viola Davis), a well-meaning teacher, teams up with warrior mom Jamie (Maggie Gyllenhaal) to fix the education system that failed their children.
Kerry Hayes Twentieth Century Fox

Among the many remedies we have flung at our foundering inner-city schools is a force we have reckoned without: Maggie Gyllenhaal, raising hell in the feistily titled Won't Back Down as a harried single mother eking out a living selling cars in a proletarian city, nobly represented under lowering skies by Pittsburgh.

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5:03pm

Thu September 20, 2012
Movie Reviews

Teen Rebellion, Written On The Body In '17 Girls'

Inspired by events in Gloucester, Mass., 17 Girls focuses on a gaggle of French high schoolers who make a pregnancy pact — in large part to exercise control over their lives.
Strand Releasing

The idea for 17 Girls, a woozy fever dream about a bunch of French provincial high-school girls who make a pact to get pregnant together, came from a similar, well-publicized 2008 event in Gloucester, Mass.

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5:03pm

Thu September 20, 2012
Movie Reviews

A Modern 'Plague,' And The Heroes Who Tamed It

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 12:26 pm

How to Survive a Plague features Peter Staley and others who fought to bring attention to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.
William Lucas Walker IFC Films

Late in How to Survive a Plague, a fair-minded, careful history of the AIDS-activist movement ACT UP, comes an affecting montage that bears witness to the triumph and the tragedy of the New York-based group's radical crusade — a push to get affordable treatment for a disease that, at its peak in the late 1980s, was killing millions worldwide.

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