ENTERTAINMENT

Betsy Sharkey

ColumnistWriter

Former Los Angeles Times film critic Betsy Sharkey is an award-winning entertainment journalist and bestselling author. She left the newsroom in 2015. In addition to her critical essays and reviews of about 200 films a year for The Times, Sharkey’s weekly movie reviews appeared in newspapers nationally and internationally. Her books include collaborations with Oscar-winning actresses Faye Dunaway on “Looking for Gatsby” and Marlee Matlin on “I'll Scream Later.” Sharkey holds a degree in journalism and a master’s in communications theory from Texas Christian University.

Recent Articles

  • 'The Gunman' with Sean Penn a misfire that wastes strong cast

    'The Gunman' with Sean Penn a misfire that wastes strong cast

    At one point in "The Gunman," a pack of well-armed assassins is in hot pursuit of Sean Penn's sniper and his beautiful distressed damsel when suddenly she stops, refusing to go one step farther until he explains what the heck is going on. My sentiments exactly. Part of the contract that movies...

  • 'Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter' chases her 'Fargo' dream

    'Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter' chases her 'Fargo' dream

    "Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter" is a moody comic allegory about desperation, disconnection and dreams that uses "Fargo," the Coen brothers classic, as a touchstone to examine modern life. The film stars the talented Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi, Oscar-nominated for her stirring portrayal of a deaf...

  • Critic's pick: Oscar-nominated 'Wild Tales' conjures revenge fantasies

    Critic's pick: Oscar-nominated 'Wild Tales' conjures revenge fantasies

    Indulging in a vicarious experience is one of the central pleasures of movies, and "Wild Tales" provides more than its share. Writer-director Damian Szifron conjures up six revenge fantasies in the tragicomical extravaganza from Argentina that earned a foreign-language Oscar nomination this year....

  • 'Cymbeline' in the Instagram age; an intriguing idea that misses

    'Cymbeline' in the Instagram age; an intriguing idea that misses

    Surreal and au courant to a fault, "Cymbeline," starring Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, Milla Jovovich, Dakota Johnson and Penn Badgley, is a mash-up of social media shortcomings and Shakespearean tragedy that becomes as much a tale of cinematic ambition gone awry as anything the Bard intended. Writer-director...

  • In 'Cinderella,' no sly asides. Goodness and romance rule

    In 'Cinderella,' no sly asides. Goodness and romance rule

    As pure of heart as its heroine, "Cinderella" floats across the screen like a gossamer confection, full of elegant beauty and quiet grace. No sly asides, no double entendres and nary a hint of modern-day gender politics dilute this poetically, if not prophetically, imagined storybook fable embraced...

  • 'The Salvation' a western that gets lost in the genre

    'The Salvation' a western that gets lost in the genre

    The simplicity of an old-school western with one good loner facing down a relentless outlaw can fool you into thinking these films are easy to make. From classics such as "High Noon" and "Shane" to Sergio Leone's bloody spaghetti westerns, they tend to be short on dialogue and long on mood, with...

  • Will Smith and Margot Robbie sizzle in the irresistible 'Focus'

    Will Smith and Margot Robbie sizzle in the irresistible 'Focus'

    "Focus," the new rom-com-con — as in romantic comedy-con artist caper — is an irresistible reminder of all the reasons we first fell for the Fresh Prince so many years ago. Will Smith comes back from the "After Earth" sci-fi fiasco of 2013 leading with his heart, more vulnerable than we've seen...

  • Oscars 2015: Julianne Moore and the art of effortlessness

    Oscars 2015: Julianne Moore and the art of effortlessness

    As beautiful as Julianne Moore is, that cascading red hair, those flashing green eyes, that killer smile, there is an earthiness and an edginess about the actress and her performances that define the woman she is and the women she becomes on-screen. Hard work forges her way, with an emotional openness...

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