by Kenneth Turan
Book Review by Jason King
Never Coming to a Theater Near You is a collection of film reviews by LA Times critic Kenneth Turan as he explores some of the films that have been forgotten along the way side in Hollywood. Everyone has that list of films that you say you will watch someday. It’s those little films that popped up on preview reels that you vowed you would watch once they hit the DVD shelves. But blockbuster after blockbuster came out and before too long, you had forgotten they existed. Turan tries to bring those titles back to the forefront of your mind in Never Coming to a Theater Near You.
Turan takes the time to re-hash a large collection of foreign and domestic titles that have slipped through the cracks over the years. Some of the titles are things you have heard of before, and others are a little lesser known. Turan takes great care in explaining why in his opinion these movies are some of the cinematic greats that you need to check out.
Turan continues with two to two and half pages of review per film and tries to keep the review of each film short and sweet. In many cases Turan takes the position that you already are more than familiar with the title he is speaking of. I had heard of most of the films that Turan claimed were noteworthy, or at least known enough about them to follow him from point to point with ease. However, I question if someone who doesn’t have a huge knowledge of film would follow him with such an ease. In fact, much of the time Turan’s reviews come off as stuffy, “art” snob-esque reviews of the film in question. This should really come as no surprise though if you have ever read any of Turan’s LA Times reviews over the years. Essentially that is what this book is, a large collection of past newspaper critic reviews, compiled for your reading pleasure.
For fans of Turan’s work in the LA Times this may be a great read for you. However, if you aren’t always on board with the traditional newspaper critic, you will most likely find little enjoyment here. Turan’s book becomes a tiresome chore as you continue to flip from page to page. As I neared the end of the book the only joy I was finding was seeing the next film title appear at the top of the page. When it was all said and done, there are a ton of books out there that give you list upon list of films you should watch. Turan’s is just another version that just brings nothing new to the table.