Critics’ Picks: March 24 - March 30, 2017

Los Angeles Times entertainment, arts and culture critics choose the week’s most noteworthy openings, new releases, ongoing events and places to go in and around Southern California.

At the movies there’s an understated Japanese family drama, and in Art, a new exhibition at MOCA is not to be missed. And Chef Danny Godinez makes a statement in Old Pasadena with a new restaurant.

Click through to explore more and, where applicable, find directions to venues.

Yoko Maki and Hiroshi Abe. (Film Movement)

After the Storm’

A sublimely simple family drama from the Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda, a filmmaker assured enough to hide his mastery in plain sight. Nothing is overemphasized, and nothing escapes his attention. (Justin Chang) Read more

Justin Chang

Los Angeles Times Movie Critic

Ashton Sanders, left, and Mahershala Ali. (David Bornfrien/A24)

Moonlight’

Superb filmmaking and an exceptional level of emotional honesty universalize a very specific coming-of-age experience, that of a gay black man growing from child to adult starting in 1980s Miami’s crack cocaine epidemic years. Read more

Kenneth Turan

Film critic

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in "La La Land." (Dale Robinette/Lionsgate)

La La Land’

Starring a well-paired Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, writer-director Damien Chazelle’s tuneful tribute to classic movie musicals is often stronger in concept than execution, but it’s lovely and transporting all the same. (Justin Chang) Read more

Justin Chang

Los Angeles Times Movie Critic

My Life as a Zucchini’

As unexpectedly wonderful as its title is initially perplexing, this fine Swiss stop-motion animation feature is short but oh so satisfyingly bittersweet, an example of pure movie magic on more than one level. Read more

Kenneth Turan

Film critic

Personal Shopper’

Kristen Stewart gives her most accomplished screen performance to date in Olivier Assayas’ shivery paranormal thriller — a haunted-house movie, a murder mystery and, in many ways, Assayas’ most surprising film yet about the anxieties of modern life. (Justin Chang) Read more

Justin Chang

Los Angeles Times Movie Critic

Other recommendations:

'The Founder'

Michael Keaton gives a performance of ratty, reptilian brilliance as Ray Kroc, the American salesman who turned a California burger stand into the global fast-food behemoth that is McDonald’s, in John Lee Hancock’s shrewd and satisfyingly fat-free biopic. (Justin Chang) Read more

'I Am Not Your Negro'

The best thing about February as a moviegoing month is that films that played for a week in December for Oscar consideration return for extended runs, including the superlative documentary “I Am Not Your Negro,” which is in fact one of the five docs up for the big prize. As directed by Raoul Peck, this trenchant examination of the life and thought of James Baldwin uses the entire spectrum of film language, not only spoken words but also sound, music, editing and all manner of visuals. They’re all employed with a formidable cinematic intelligence to create a film essay that’s powerfully and painfully relevant today even though its subject died almost 30 years ago. (Kenneth Turan) Read more

'Raw'

A gross-out that goes down like a delicacy, Julia Ducournau’s exquisitely grisly writing-directing debut finds a ripe pubescent metaphor in the tale of a French teenager who develops an unexpected taste for human flesh. (Justin Chang) Read more

'The Women’s Balcony'

An Israeli box-office hit about a Jerusalem clash of religious cultures, this is an unapologetically warm-hearted comedic drama, a fine example of commercial filmmaking grounded in a persuasive knowledge of human behavior. (Kenneth Turan) Read more

Nicholas D'Agosto, left, John Lithgow and Krysta Rodriguez. (Tyler Golden / NBC)

‘Trial & Error’

In the new NBC comedy “Trial & Error,” the mockumentary sitcom as once practiced by “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” meets the true-crime legal procedural, as lately exemplified by “The Jinx” and the podcast “Serial.” It was bound to happen. John Lithgow plays Larry Henderson, a poetry professor whose wife has died after somehow crashing or being forced through a glass window. Did she fall? (Robert Lloyd) (NBC, Tuesday) Read more

Robert Lloyd

Television critic

Other recommendations:

'The Missing' Second Season

An excellent sequel to the excellent 2014 limited series of the same name, linked by a theme — the obsessive search for a missing person — and the character of French detective Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo). Like its predecessor, it runs on multiple chronological tracks, distinguished by a haircut, a hair color, weather, behavior and details that are not quickly explained, leaving a mystery in the middle whose solution proceeds alongside that of the mystery at the end: double the mystery, double the vertigo. Sole screenwriters Harry and Jack Williams, who also scripted the first series, do not hurry to fill in the blanks, as the older timeline advances toward the newer, and the newer timeline moves toward its conclusion. (Starz, Sunday) Read more

'QB1: Beyond the Lights'

Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights”) is the executive producer of this oddly sweet, casually poignant fly-on-the-wall documentary series, produced by Complex Networks for the mobile platform Go90, about three talented high school quarterbacks in their senior year. As a person with no interest in football — if anything, some negative feelings toward it — I am not its likely audience, but I am interested in people, the places they live and the things they do, not distorted by the sensational demands and judgments of garden-variety reality television. The quarterbacks in Berg’s lens are extraordinary talents who have their collegiate near futures set and bear the unusual weight of their position and talent — they’re local stars, interviewed and photographed. But they’re also still-evolving teenagers stumbling into adulthood, with parents who support and worry over them. (Go90, Anytime) Read more

'Becoming Warren Buffett'

Peter Kunhardts’ intimate, cheery, cheering, charming biographical documentary on the ukulele-playing Omaha billionaire reminds us that not all moguls are cut from the same cloth. We find Buffett active and alert in his late 80s, cheerleading his company’s festive stockholder meetings, driving through a McDonald’s on the way to work to pick up one of three habitual breakfasts, depending on how prosperous he’s feeling: “$3.17 is a bacon and cheese biscuit, but the market’s down this morning, so I think I’ll pass up the $3.17 and go with the $2.95.” (HBO) Read more

'The Witness for the Prosecution'

Streaming from the Anglo-centric subscription service Acorn TV, this new BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie’s short story and play stars Toby Jones (“Detectorists”) as a subsistence-level London barrister defending a young man (Billy Howle) from a charge of murdering the rich woman who kept him (Kim Cattrall, putting on an accent). Complicating matters, emotionally and practically, is the accused’s wife (Andrea Riseborough), a destabilizing Soho showgirl. (Acorn TV) Read more

Alessandra Baldacchino in the musical "Fun Home." (Joan Marcus)

Fun Home’

Based on the graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel about growing up as a lesbian with a closeted gay father, this deeply moving musical drama combines textured character psychology and nuanced storytelling with the enchantment of a score that can go from melancholy to zany in a heartbeat. Fun but never frivolous, this Tony-winning show by composer Jeanine Tesori and playwright Lisa Kron shimmers with a Proustian glow. Ends Saturday, April 1. Read more

Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A.

Charles McNulty

Theater critic

Demian Bichir as El Pachuco in "Zoot Suit." (Craig Schwartz)

‘Zoot Suit’

The landmark 1978 play by Luis Valdez that put the struggles of Mexican Americans front and center is back where it originated at the Mark Taper Forum in an exhilarating revival that couldn’t have come at a more politically opportune time. If the play (centered on racially charged events that followed what the tabloids dubbed the “Sleepy Lagoon murder” of Aug. 2, 1942) occasionally stalls, the kinetic production (bursting with music and the camaraderie of a cast led by Demian Bichir) never loses momentum. Ends Sunday, April 2. Read more

Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A.

Charles McNulty

Theater critic

Other recommendations:

'33 Variations'

Brimming with intellectual heft and an equal amount of heart, Moisès Kaufman’s Tony-nominated drama vaults back and forth in time as it treats Beethoven’s years-long obsession composing the Diabelli Variations and a present-day academic’s struggle to complete her monograph on the Variations before she dies of a wasting disease. In an intimate reassessment of the play, director Thomas James O’Leary and his superb cast, buoyed by a dream design team, capture the fulminations of genius. (F. Kathleen Foley) (Ends Sunday, March 26) Read more

Actors Co-op, David Schall Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., Hollywood

'Hansel & Gretel Bluegrass'

Imaginatively integrating video, animation and live performance, Bryan Davidson’s new adaptation set in Depression-era Appalachia links the fairy tale horrors of child abandonment with real-world dire poverty. (Philip Brandes) (Ends Sunday, May 21) Read more

24th Street Theatre, 1117 W. 24th St., L.A.

Justin Ryan. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Perfect American’

“The Perfect American” is the operatic portrait of an idealist American artist as a less-than-perfect old man, which is to say a blend of sunshine, supremacy and insecurity. In Philip Glass’ most recent portrait opera (a great lives series that has included Einstein, Gandhi, Akhnaten, Columbus, Galileo and Kepler), Walt Disney takes stock as he confronts a virulent lung cancer. Read more

Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach

Mark Swed

Music critic

Fred Eaglesmith. (Harry Scott / Redferns / Getty Images)

What to listen to now: Ryan Adams, Fred Eaglesmith and Nikki Lane

This week’s picks include the latest from veteran singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, under-the-radar Americana artist Fred Eaglesmith and the outspoken country of Nikki Lane. Read more

Times Music Staff

Critics and staff writers

The Los Angeles Master Chorale in "Tears of St. Peter." (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

The best classical music performances of 2016

Yuja, Mirga, Mahler, Lenny, Louis, Luis and more. A year of the naked, the dead and the saved. The young and old and forgotten. A year in which 10 won’t do… Read more

Mark Swed

Music critic

Other recommendations:

Album: 'Bob Dylan — The Cutting Edge'

Among the many things Thomas Edison famously said, he remarked that "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration," and he also insisted that "I have not failed once. I have simply found 10,000 ways that do not work." Both precepts are clearly evident in "1965-1966: Bootleg Series Vol. 12," the revelatory latest release of Dylan archival recordings that comes out Nov. 6. Culling a mind- and ear-boggling wealth of outtakes, alternate versions and rehearsal snippets during sessions over the 14 months of an astonishingly fertile period for Dylan, which yielded three of the most influential albums in rock history — "Bringing It All Back Home," "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blonde on Blonde" — the new set throws open a panoramic window into the creative process of one of the 20th century's greatest artists. (Randy Lewis) Read more

Album: '25'

When Adele sings on her new album, "25," about an emotional experience so vivid that "It was just like a movie / It was just like a song," she's probably thinking of a tune by one of her idols: Roberta Flack, say, or Stevie Nicks. But for fans of this 27-year-old British singer, such a moment could only be captured by one thing: an Adele song. With her big hair and bigger voice, Adele broke out in 2008 as part of the British retro-soul craze that also included Duffy and Amy Winehouse. Her debut album, "19," spawned a hit single in "Chasing Pavements" and led to a Grammy Award for best new artist. Yet she outgrew any style or scene with the smash follow-up, "21," which presented Adele as a great crystallizer of complicated feelings, an artist writing intimately about her own life (in this case about a devastating breakup) in a way that somehow made the music feel universal. Clearly, the pressure is on to duplicate that commercial success with "25," which comes after a long period of public quiet in which Adele recovered from throat surgery and gave birth to a son (and tweeted no more than a few dozen times). "Hello," the record's brooding lead single, set a record when it was released last month, racking up 1.1 million downloads in a week. But the song's enthusiastic embrace only underscored the other, more pressing demand on the singer as she returns: that her music still provide its trademark catharsis. Put another way, Adele's fans have been waiting for years for new Adele songs to explain their experiences to them. And they get a worthy batch on "25." (Mikael Wood) Read more

Album: 'Blackstar'

There's something delightfully perverse that David Bowie waited until he was 69 to release what's being described as his first jazz album. It was at that age too when veteran rock stars who include Rod Stewart and Paul McCartney took up with big bands or reached for the Great American Songbook to demonstrate their taste and hard-won stature. Even Bob Dylan got in on the act last year with "Shadows in the Night," his lovely (if desolate) tribute to Frank Sinatra. So when you hear that Bowie hooked up with a New York saxophonist and his crew for “Blackstar,” out Friday (just two days before his death from cancer), you think perhaps that Bowie has joined the club — that after cycling through countless styles and personas over his half-century career, he’s finally become a finger-snapping crooner with Count Basie on his mind. Ah, no. (Mikael Wood) Read more

Single: 'A Living Human Girl'

Out of the gate, teen band the Regrettes aren't holding back. The group's first major single, "A Living Human Girl," takes aim at the patriarchy in one verse and societal expectations of beauty in another, with lead singer Lydia Night rattling off perceived faults as if they're cause for celebration. Pimples? Check. Stretch marks? Bring 'em on. "I can dress how I want, not looking for a show of hands," she snarls over a snappy, '60s-inspired groove. Although the 15-year-old says the song was inspired by her first few days of high school in downtown Los Angeles, the tune's worldview transcends adolescence. (Todd Martens) Read more

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Maestro

The morning after my last meal at Maestro, Danny Godinez’s new Mexican restaurant in Old Pasadena, I pulled the leftover barbacoa out of the refrigerator to see if I could salvage enough for a taco. There were still a few scraps of lamb left, but the container seemed half-filled with a mysterious goo. I was about to abandon the project – congealed lamb fat is no fun. I dipped in a spoon to see whether it might be worth reheating. And I was flabbergasted to discover that what I’d thought was grease was in fact beautifully jellied consommé, clear and as richly flavored as a demi-glace, without a speck of fat. This was Mexican food with a different point of view. And while I’m not sure I don’t prefer the magnificent hangover barbacoa from the beloved Aqui es Texcoco in Commerce or the dense, oily barbacoa from My Taco in Highland Park, Godinez’s version is very, very good — more delicate than its counterparts, slightly stringy, and without the insanely delicious pockets of fat that burst on your tongue, but still lovely and substantial. Read more

Maestro, 110 E. Union St., Pasadena

Jonathan Gold

Restaurant critic

Assorted Appetizer plater at Shunji Japanese Cuisine (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Where to dine in Southern California if you love tasting menus

You can call it a tasting menu. You can call it omakase. You can call it dégustation, a banquet menu or modern kaiseki. What it tends to be is a meal made up of dozens of small tastes, served in exquisite rhythm, where the courses, their order and their precise composition has been determined for you the second you walk in the door, so that your only choice is really whether you want to gut it out with a bottle of Lodi Verdelho or submit to a relentless wine pairing. The chef is the artist and your belly is her canvas. And when a tasting menu is done well, it can be the summit of cuisine. Read more

Jonathan Gold

Restaurant critic

Other recommendations:

The Tsujita

Have you, by chance, tasted tonkotsu ramen? Because the Kyushu-style noodles may be at their peak in Los Angeles at the moment: thin, straight noodles served in a pork broth of maximum intensity. Tonkotsu ramen is often layered with slices of soft braised pork, garnished with simmered bamboo shoots and served with a soft-boiled egg. It is invariably a gut bomb that will stay with you longer than a double chili-cheese from Tommy’s. A Tokyo-based friend claimed that he once dropped 20 pounds just by cutting tonkotsu ramen out of his diet, and I believe him. The king of tonkotsu ramen in Los Angeles is probably Tsujita, a branch of a well-regarded Tokyo noodle shop that has clotted traffic on Sawtelle Boulevard since it opened half a dozen years ago. And now there is the Tsujita in Glendale’s Americana at Brand mall, a severely modern restaurant that gleams like a Tokyo dessert parlor, a place of long banquettes, long tables and coffered ceilings; theatrical lighting and a waitstaff that seems slightly stunned by the crowds. Read more

The Tsujita, 769 Americana Way, Glendale

6 Great Restaurants for Spicy Food

Spicy food is glorious stuff, particularly in times of duress or when the weather is unreasonably chilly or when you’ve misplaced that bottle of Double Chicken Brand Sriracha you still keep in your bag. So which restaurant to head for when the need for a dose of chiles calls? Here are a half-dozen places around town where what’s on the menu can blow both your mind and the Scoville scale. Read more

Here’s Looking at You

Here’s Looking at You is a corner bistro from Jonathan Whitener and Lien Ta on the site of a former cheesesteak shop, all Edison bulbs, neo-midcentury cabinetry and a blend of post-punk and old-school hip-hop that has become to this kind of restaurant what Sade and David Byrne’s Brazilian compilations were to the last generation. Whitener comes to Here’s Looking at You from a stretch as chef de cuisine at Animal, the meaty, eclectic restaurant that redefined Los Angeles cuisine. And it is easy to see traces of Animal in Whitener’s cooking. Read more

Everson Royce Bar

Everson Royce Bar isn’t really a restaurant. To be fair, it doesn’t even try to be a restaurant – the word Bar is in its name. When you glance at the menu, the food takes up slightly less real estate than its shortlist of shots, and if you are a drinker of a certain bent, your attention is likely to linger on the sherry-cask Japanese whiskey than it is on the shrimp roll and the chicken thighs. Beard Award-winning chef Matt Molina is more or less serving regular bar snacks here, but superbly well, like the kitchen equivalent of a band like Metallica doing a covers set just because it can: steamed buns with pork belly, smoked potato taquitos, shrimp rolls and flaky, extra-rich biscuits with maple butter that happen to be about the best things it is possible to eat with bourbon. Read more

Everson Royce Bar, 1936 E. 7th St., Los Angeles

Gus’s Fried Chicken

You’re probably going to want to try Gus’s Fried Chicken. Because it’s pretty remarkable stuff, even in chicken-obsessed Los Angeles: a burnished red-gold, pieces bigger than they are small, whose peppery heat at first seems mild, even nonexistent, until it starts creeping up a few bites in, a heat that makes you glad you have a pint of sweet iced tea by your side. You may be thinking of Nashville hot chicken, the kind you can stand in line for at Howlin’ Ray’s in Chinatown, but this isn’t that — you don’t worry whether you’ve renewed your life insurance after a wing or two, and the crunch, although considerable, is of a completely different sort. Classic Nashville chicken has a complex, multilayered crunch that maintains much of its integrity even after a day or two in the fridge. Gus’s chicken is more of a batter-fried phenomenon, with a thin, fragile crust that shatters under your teeth, releasing a flood of scalding juice. Read more

Gus’s Fried Chicken, 1262 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles

Favorite Asian fried chicken joints

Does Los Angeles live by Nashville hot chicken alone? No — not as long as there’s a universe of Asian fried chicken too. Read more

Kettle Black

Kettle Black is a new Italian restaurant from Beau Laughlin and his team, who also own Sawyer and the juice bar Clover on the block. The chef is Sydney Hunter III, who has been cooking in Los Angeles for 15 years or so, many of them at the right hand of Ludovic Lefebvre. Hunter’s Italian cooking is sure but eccentric, hewing to no particular regional cuisine and slightly edgy in its way, favoring a sweet-sour flavor palette, lots of crunch, and chiles used as much for fragrance as they are for heat: pizza, good handmade pastas, and fat purple slices of Japanese eggplant passed through the fire just long enough to add a bit of smokiness. Read more

Kettle Black, 3705 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles

Tempura Endo

There has never been a tempura restaurant in Los Angeles quite like Tempura Endo, the first American branch of a Kyoto, Japan, institution that dates to 1910. The restaurant occupies a modest storefront next door to a Japanese knife shop and right by a rental car yard. The location, although it is in the Beverly Hills triangle, has never been noted for fine dining – I remember a sushi bar that seemed really to specialize in sukiyaki. Tempura Endo is the other kind of tempura bar – an exquisitely expensive place that exists to serve intricate omakase dinners, well-calibrated multi-course meals presented with the detail and attention to seasonality of kaiseki, the lightness and purity you might not associate with two hours of deep-fried food. Read more

Tempura Endo, 9777 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills

Nersses Vanak

It is cold in Los Angeles. Rain is in the air. What you want to be eating is dizi, an Iranian lamb and chickpea stew, flavored with turmeric and dried lime — a popular street food dish from Tehran that seems to have a tonic effect against the chill. And for dizi, you should probably be at Nersses Vanak, a slightly faded restaurant in an industrial district of Glendale, where dizi, served with long-pickled garlic, platters of fresh herbs, and hot slabs of flatbread snatched smoking from the grill, is always the thing. Read more

Nersses Vanak, 6524 San Fernando Road, Glendale

(Museum of Contemporary Art)

Kerry James Marshall: Mastry

The show, which includes 78 works, was organized by Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and MOCA, under curators Dieter Roelstraete, Ian Alteveer and Helen Molesworth, respectively. “Kerry James Marshall: Mastry” is the first time in a long time that MOCA’s exhibition program has felt essential. Don’t miss it. Through July 3. Read more

MOCA, 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles

Christopher Knight

Art critic

U.S. District Courthouse. (Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times)

Architecture’s top 10 for 2016

This was a year in which Los Angeles shook off some ambivalence about its own status as a dense, tall, post-suburban city — and in which the profession of architecture continued to embrace, reassess and excavate its own history. It was also a year in which architecture critics, thankfully, saw enough completed high-profile buildings — after several years in which the aftereffects of the 2008 crisis kept that supply low — to consider putting more than one on their year-end lists. Read more

Christopher Hawthorne

Architecture critic

Untitled (Stacked Cubes). (Richard Telles Fine Art)

Jim Isermann

New sculptures by the artist look like the crates that the sculptures might have been shipped in, albeit here given free rein to perform like circus acrobats. The offbeat mix is typical for Isermann, whose distinctive fusion of high art, handicraft and commercial design has fueled an exceptional body of work over three decades. Ends Saturday, March 25. Read more

Richard Telles Fine Art, 7380 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles

Christopher Knight

Art critic

U.S. Courthouse Downtown

The $350-million, 633,000-square-foot federal courthouse, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, between Hill Street and Broadway, across the street from The Times, is an unusually polished work of civic architecture — especially by the standards of Los Angeles, where well-wrought public buildings have been comparatively rare in recent decades. Ten stories high, with broad shoulders and careful posture, it takes the form of a cube sheathed in walls of glass. Read more

Christopher Hawthorne

Architecture critic

Lucas Cranach the Elder, "The Pharaoh's Hosts Engulfed in the Red Sea (detail)," 1530. (LACMA)

Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach’

LACMA’s show does an excellent job of translating 16th century German culture into a revealing 21st century exhibition. The museum has a reputation for organizing important shows of German art, mostly from the modern era, and “Renaissance and Reformation” impressively extends the range. Ends Saturday, March 26. Read more

LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.

Christopher Knight

Art critic

Other recommendations:

Thomson & Craighead: Wake Me Up When It’s Over

Thomson & Craighead have myriad ways of getting under the skin and staying there. They draw material for their audio and video installations, sculptures and posters from Flickr, YouTube, websites, blogs and data streams, enacting shifts in context and structure to trigger a sense of instability. Much here will linger and haunt. (Leah Ollman) (Ends Saturday, April 15) Read more

Young Projects at Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood.

Bouchardon: Royal Artist of the Enlightenment

His work nudged the visually delightful excesses of Rococo art toward the more sober gravity of Neo-Classicism.The only fragment of the artist’s extravagant monument to Louis XV that remains intact is the last object at the end of this enlightening exhibition. (Christopher Knight) (Ends Sunday, April 2) Read more

The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles

Michelle Fierro: New Paintings

Step into this exhibition and it’s clear that the Los Angeles artist is a first-rate noodler. Each of her 17 paintings at c.nichols project in Mar Vista comes off as casual, comfortable in its own skin and blissfully unburdened by the idea that art’s job is to keep up appearances. (David Pagel) (Ends Saturday, March 25) Read more

c.nichols project, 12613 1/2 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles

Charles Garabedian and His Contemporaries

This five-room, 18-artist exhibition pays homage to Garabedian, who died last year at 93 after a 60-year career as a painter of profoundly original imagery. A dozen pieces the artist made from 1964 to 2015 form the heart of the exhibition, which ranks among the most inspiring in years. (David Pagel) (End Saturday, April 1) Read more

Los Angeles Louver, 45 N. Venice Blvd., Los Angeles

John McLaughlin Paintings: Total Abstraction

McLaughlin’s painting retrospective is the most moving and viscerally beautiful exhibition to be installed in BCAM since the building opened eight years ago. This is the first time a major institution has mounted a proper, full-scale retrospective. That such an indispensable painter didn’t merit one until 40 years after his death tells you all you need to know about how passed over this brilliant artist has been. In fact, I’ve been waiting those same 40 years for it. Ends Sunday, April 16. (Christopher Knight) Read more

LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles

Ron Nagle: Ice Breaker

Risk and possibility are Nagle’s stock in trade. He serves them up in abundance at Matthew Marks Gallery, where 15 pint-size pieces are enshrined inside 15 glass cubes, each perched atop its own pedestal. Four more similarly scaled sculptures stand in four space-saving cubbyholes, each of which has been cut into the middle of each of the four walls. (David Pagel) (Through April 8) Read more

Matthew Marks Gallery, 1062 N. Orange Grove Ave., Los Angeles

Non-fiction

The small exhibition is an elegiac tone poem, spoken in visual shades of black. With just 10 works by eight artists, it presents no defined thesis but resonates beyond its modest scale. (Christopher Knight) (Through March 31, 2017) Read more

The Underground Museum, 3508 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles

Artwork from 'The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.' (Nintendo)

The Nintendo Switch

Not since the debut of its original Nintendo Entertainment System has the Japanese company released a home video game console with as much potential to shake up how we play as the Nintendo Switch, which is out Friday. Thirty years ago, Nintendo reinvented the video game medium. Not only did the NES lead to such genre-defining interactive entertainment as “Super Mario Bros.” and “The Legend of Zelda,” but it also liberated games from the arcade and brought them to the American living room. Where they could increasingly be played for hours, days, weeks, months. Rather than intense, cliffhanger-like action that demanded the next 25 cents, home games had pace, tempo and rudimentary stories. They were also accessible — no obscenely pricey home computer or trip to a teenage-infested arcade needed. The Switch takes that livability to another level. It is a home video game console that’s connected to a television. But it’s also a hand-held device designed for ultimate mobility. And at least one of its games barely requires the use of a screen at all. Read more

Todd Martens

Video game critic

"Virginia" (MCT)

Virginia’

The opening screen of the new Variable States video feature “Virginia” welcomes players to a small town named Kingdom. It’s laid before us as if it were a board game, with little trails leading to a cave or a gas station, a schoolyard or an observatory, all presented with the simple, cheery look of a brightly filled-in coloring book. Come in, stay awhile and bask in the beauty of small-town life, it seems to say. Press play, however, and things get twisted, and not with the typical things-are-not-what-they-seem subversion. Read more

Todd Martens

Video game critic