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Articles by Theda Kleinhans Reichman

Martin Scorsese read Shusaku Endo’s historic novel about 17th century Jesuit missionaries in feudal Japan in 1989. As a Roman Catholic he was deeply moved by the story and optioned it, but it has taken nearly thirty years for him to fulfill his spiritual and cinematic quest. The end result is a masterwork and well worth the wait.

Writer/director Damien Chazelle won a Golden Globe for his original movie musical, “La La Land,” an inventive tribute to song, dance and dreams. By the end of the evening the film garnered six additional Golden Globes, which included honors for both Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in the acting category. The seven Golden Globe sweep may also portend golden potential when Oscar nominations are handed out in the near future.

Three decades ago the compelling, enduring franchise known as “Star Wars” burst into our earthly realm from a galaxy far-far away, It began with episodes IV, V and VI which introduced us to Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), the oh, so handsome Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). They were terrorized by Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones), helped by Obi Wan Kenobi and inspired by “The Force” which was always with them. Years later there was the prequels, Episodes I, II and III. This trio of films, however, was not as compelling.

The year 2017 has arrived, and already one week has passed by. Let’s hope it doesn’t slip away as quickly as 2016 did. But no matter how fast time flies, it’s always fun to spend quality time with the family, so here are a few entertaining suggestions for the new year

It’s not often that Angelenos get to see a new musical production before it opens on Broadway, so enjoy the opportunity to experience the winsome, imaginative “Amelie” at the Ahmanson before it opens on Broadway in March 2017. Other musicals, prior to “Amelie,” that moved from the Ahmanson to Broadway are “Curtains,” “9 to 5: the Musical” and “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

“Fences,” a Pulitzer Prize winning play by August Wilson, is one of 10 dramas Wilson wrote for the stage as part of his American Century Cycle. Each of his plays chronicles the black experience in America during ten different decades in the 20th century. James Earl Jones originated the role of Troy Maxson when “Fences” opened in 1985. Denzel Washington took on the role in the 2010 Broadway revival of “Fences” and both he and Viola Davis, who also stars in the film, won Tony Awards for their performances.

The holidays are just around the corner — in fact Christmas and Chanukah arrive on the same day this year.  It’s a time to be happy, give gifts to loved ones and share good times with family and friends. It’s also a time to come up with a special present for every on your gift list — and what could be better than a gift of entertainment.

Fall has fallen and cooler weather is just around the climate corner, so it‘s also time to stock up on cool DVDs to watch in your warm, cozy family room. For starters, check out the classic Frank Capra comedy “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.”

But if you prefer a chiller thriller, take a look at “Lights Out” from Warner Bros. If you scare easily, you may want to watch this flick with the lights on. And you can never go wrong with a PBS title. For animal lovers and armchair travelers, there’s “India: Nature’s Wonderland.”

The American Theatre Community joins the Center Theatre Group (Ahmanson, Taper and Kirk Douglas Theatres) in mourning the loss of Gordon Davidson who passed away on Sunday Oct. 2.

So many films in recent years are based on comic book heroes and villains or robots and futuristic fantasy. But often a movie is at its very best when it tells true stories about real people who are able to overcome obstacles in their lives.