Arts/Life

Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Getting Merrily 'Smashed,' And Then Crashing

Kate and Charlie (Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul), a young married couple, stumble down Kate's path to sobriety.
Sony Pictures Classics

"Hi, I'm Kate, and I'm an alcoholic."

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Even A 'Photographic Memory' Can Be Unreliable

Hoping to better understand his 21-year-old son, filmmaker Ross McElwee journeys to the French town where he spent his own young adulthood as a wedding photographer's assistant.
St. Quay Films

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 8:52 am

Some might characterize what filmmaker Ross McElwee does as navel-gazing. But in the hands of this veteran documentarian, that which might be self-indulgent egomania from a lesser artist is often the stuff of quiet revelation.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

A Dud Of A Comedy, But At Least The Cast Is Explosive

Frank (Charlie Hunnam) and Bruce (Chris O'Dowd) are brothers who have taken sibling antagonism to extremes.
Variance Films/Gravitas Ventures

Beneath a bright blue, near-cloudless sky, a lone aluminum trailer sits amid the sagebrush, the flat amber earth and the forbidding heat of Death Valley. Oddly enough, the trailer's single inhabitant doesn't seem the hermit type: Frank (Charlie Hunnam) is young, well-dressed and extremely handsome, the kind of blond-haired and blue-eyed good-looking that usually comes with easy confidence and a modeling contract.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

'Argo': A Rescue Mission With Real Hollywood Style

John Chambers (John Goodman) serves as a guide to the ins and outs of the movie business for CIA agent Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck).
Claire Folger Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 3:13 pm

Ben Affleck's new thriller, Argo, chronicles a secret CIA rescue mission — a mission that remained classified for years. When details finally came to light, the operation sounded like something only Hollywood could come up with. As we find out, there's a reason for that.

It's 1979, and the Iranian public's hatred for their U.S.-backed shah erupts when he leaves the country. A crowd grows around the U.S. Embassy in Tehran — they're climbing the gates and taking dozens of Americans hostage.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

A 'Big Picture' Intently Focused On The Details

Paul (Romain Duris), an aspiring photographer, assumes another man's identity to escape his job, marriage and dull life.
MPI Media Group

The original French title of The Big Picture — an adaptation of a novel by American expatriate writer Douglas Kennedy — means "the man who wanted to live his life." That's pointedly ironic, since this existential thriller is about a person who seeks personal freedom by becoming somebody else.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

A Hollywood Noir Starring 'Seven Psychopaths' (Or So)

Crazy Funny: Seven Psychopaths centers on Marty (Colin Farrell), Hans (Christopher Walken) and Billy (Sam Rockwell), three Tinseltown oddballs with a sideline in dognapping.
CBS Films

If you do the math, the number of true psychopaths in Seven Psychopaths may not quite add up. Perhaps writer-director Martin McDonagh didn't want to go overboard with the murderous crazies. As it is, he's peopled his whimsically brutal comic thriller with — to name just three — an Amish throat-slasher, a dynamite-packing Buddhist and a serial killer who's fond of white bunny rabbits. That's probably enough.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

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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Monkey See
11:51 am
Thu October 11, 2012

'Mars Attacks' At 50: A Look Back At A Bloody Battle

The card "Watching From Mars."
Abrams Books

Mars Attacks: 50th Anniversary Collection, an anthology of the 1962 trading card series from the Topps Company and Abrams Comic Arts, comes packaged in a jacket made from the same wax paper as '60s bubble gum wrap. The packaging establishes an air of honeyed nostalgia that the cards themselves are mercifully quick to demolish. The 55 violent images of interplanetary slaughter in the "Mars Attacks" series were controversial in their day, but have atrophied in the popular consciousness as kitsch relics of the Kennedy era.

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Book Reviews
11:50 am
Thu October 11, 2012

'May We Be Forgiven': A Story Of Second Chances

Viking Adult

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 2:58 pm

A.M. Homes is a writer I'll pretty much follow anywhere because she's indeed so smart, it's scary; yet she's not without heart. It's been a while since her last book, the 2007 memoir The Mistress's Daughter, which is certainly the sharpest and most emotionally complex account of growing up adopted that I've ever read.

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Author Interviews
10:25 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Is Time The Missing Component In Health Care?

Dr. Victoria Sweet began working at an almshouse more than 20 years ago. She found that the missing component of today's health care system is time — for doctors to care for patients, and for patients to heal. Host Michel Martin speaks with the doctor about her memoir, God's Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital, And A Pilgrimage To The Heart Of Medicine.

Law
10:07 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Who Feels The Scars Of 'Stop And Frisk'?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll hear from a doctor who's worked with the poorest of the poor in San Francisco, opened up insights into health care for everybody. We'll hear from the author of "God's Hotel" in a few minutes.

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Books
9:28 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Mo Yan's 'Hallucinatory Realism' Wins Lit Nobel

Chinese writer Mo Yan is the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in literature. Mo Yan is a pen name that means "don't speak" — a name he adopted because his parents, who raised him during the Cultural Revolution, warned him to hold his tongue.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 9:42 am

Chinese writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday. The Swedish Academy, which selects the winners of the award, praised Mo's "hallucinatory realism," saying it "merges folk tales, history and the contemporary." The award is a cause of pride for a government that disowned the only previous Chinese winner of the award, an exiled critic.

Peter Englund, the academy's permanent secretary, said the academy contacted Mo, 57, before the announcement. "He said he was overjoyed and scared," Englund said.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Mapping The Road 'From The Closet To The Altar'

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 2:20 pm

During a college visit to Colorado in September, Ruth Bader Ginsburg told students that she expects to rule this coming term on the Defense of Marriage Act. The 1996 law is already on its deathbed — since last year, the Justice Department has refused to argue in court for its constitutionality — but it remains on the books. That means the 130,000 or so married gay couples in America receive none of the federal benefits that straight married couples do.

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Afghanistan
1:28 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Afghan Dreams: In New Film, Nation's Untold Stories

American director Sam French on the set of his short film, Buzkashi Boys, which was filmed in Afghanistan.
David Gill Courtesy of Afghan Film Project

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 11:59 am

When you hear the term "film premiere," you are likely to think of Hollywood or New York — not Kabul. But just last week, an award-winning short film was screened in the Afghan capital, and for a good reason: The movie was shot entirely in Kabul and tells the story of two Afghan boys dreaming about their future.

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Author Interviews
1:25 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Emma Thompson Revives Anarchist 'Peter Rabbit'

In Emma Thompson's new book, Peter Rabbit decides he needs a change of scene to cure his mopey mood.
Eleanor Taylor Penguin Young Readers Group

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 9:57 am

Emma Thompson isn't just an Oscar-winning actress; she's also an Oscar-winning writer. Thompson authored the 1995 film adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, and now she's taken on another period project — reviving the classic children's book character Peter Rabbit.

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Author Interviews
11:25 am
Wed October 10, 2012

'Signal' And 'Noise': Prediction As Art And Science

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 11:56 am

No one has a crystal ball, but Nate Silver has perfected the art of prediction. In 2008, he accurately predicted the presidential winner of 49 of the 50 states, and the winners of all 35 Senate races. Before he focused on elections, Silver developed a sophisticated system for analyzing baseball players' potential and became a skilled poker player — which is how he made his living for a while.

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The Salt
8:30 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Too Busy To Peel Garlic? Try The 20-Second Microwave Tip

Garlic's papery skin slips off quick after a little turn in the microwave. Yes, the microwave is back.
khrawlings Flickr.com

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 9:03 am

If I were rich, I might hire a sous chef. But for now, I'm learning to cheat time. And here's a new way I've stumbled upon to save a minute or two every time I use garlic.

Toss it in the microwave. I put the whole bulb in — 15 to 20 seconds will do the trick. It makes peeling much easier. The cloves practically slide -– or pop — out of their skins, though I won't make any promises about stickiness.

But, since I'm on the science desk, I have to ask, how does it work?

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed October 10, 2012

'Skinny' Starts A Conversation For Overweight Teens

Courtesy Point/Scholastic

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 8:59 am

Young Ever Williams hears a negative voice every day in her head, telling her just how fat and disgusting she is. Ever is the heroine of Skinny, Donna Cooner's new novel for young adults — and "Skinny" is the name she gives that awful voice. Navigating high school is difficult for most kids, but Ever has an additional challenge: She weighs 300 pounds. Her classmates taunt her cruelly, and the boy she likes ignores her.

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Kitchen Window
1:20 am
Wed October 10, 2012

'Tis The Season For Savory Tarts

Claire Adas for NPR

This is the most glorious time of year for a cook. Between the forbiddingly hot kitchens of summer and the long, produce-deficient months of winter comes a spell of abundant vegetables and perfect cooking weather — just right for savory tarts.

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Author Interviews
1:15 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Virgin's Richard Branson Bares His Business 'Secrets'

Richard Branson is the founder and chairman of Virgin Group.
Paul Morigi Invision/AP

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 6:53 am

Richard Branson is not your average entrepreneur. He dropped out of school at 15 and, despite suffering from dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, went on to found Virgin Group, a business empire that includes airlines, cellphone companies, banks, hotels, health clubs and even a space travel business.

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Movie Interviews
2:47 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Andrea Arnold Tackles An Iconic Love Story

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

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 3:51 pm

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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Arts
1:30 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

James Clarkston

Music Spotlight 108- James Clarkston

PG-13: Risky Reads
12:51 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Poison And Petticoats: The Incomplete Jane Austen

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 1:13 pm

Rebecca Harrington is the author of the book Penelope.

As a young child, I was very much enamored with romance (my Barbies were subjected to appallingly long balls — Ken was very urbane in his own way). So it was with a kind of relief that I first discovered Jane Austen. I was 9 years old when I stole my mother's copy of Pride and Prejudice and read it very late at night. I didn't really understand much or even who was speaking (old J.A. was never one for attribution) but I knew it was extremely romantic and that was all I needed.

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Commentary
10:32 am
Tue October 9, 2012

One Debate, Two Very Different Conversations

President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney finish their debate at the University of Denver on Oct. 3.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 12:13 pm

When you consider how carefully staged and planned the debates are and how long they've been around, it's remarkable how often candidates manage to screw them up. Sometimes they're undone by a simple gaffe or an ill-conceived bit of stagecraft, like Gerald Ford's slip-up about Soviet domination of eastern Europe in 1976, or Al Gore's histrionic sighing in 2000. Sometimes it's just a sign of a candidate having a bad day, like Ronald Reagan's woolly ramblings in the first debate with Walter Mondale in 1984.

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Book Reviews
8:56 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Bits Of Beauty Amidst The Gloom In 'Building Stories'

Pantheon

For the characters of Chris Ware's astonishingly ambitious comics project Building Stories, leading lives of quiet desperation is surprisingly noisy business. Plaintive, regretful and bitterly self-recriminating thoughts play on shuffle-repeat inside their heads, like a mordant Litany for the (I Wish I Were) Dead:

"Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the end of the world."

"At that point I was starting to get acquainted with the unfairness of life and learning it was better not to expect anything rather than set yourself up for disappointment."

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Author Interviews
12:33 am
Tue October 9, 2012

'Mr. Penumbra' Bridges The Digital Divide

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:25 am

Author Robin Sloan has spent time on both sides of the digital divide, both as a short-story writer and an employee at Twitter — where he described his job as "something to do with figuring out the future of media."

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Shots - Health Blog
12:31 am
Tue October 9, 2012

A Lively Mind: Your Brain On Jane Austen

Matt Langione, a subject in the study, reads Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Results from the study suggest that blood flow in the brain differs during leisurely and critical reading activities.
L.A. Cicero Stanford University

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 8:35 am

At a recent academic conference, Michigan State University professor Natalie Phillips stole a glance around the room. A speaker was talking but the audience was fidgety. Some people were conferring among themselves, or reading notes. One person had dozed off.

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'Another Thing': Test Your Clever Skills
3:38 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

'Another Thing': Singing The Housework Blues

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 7:38 pm

Each week, All Things Considered and Lenore Skenazy, author of the book and blog Free Range Kids, bring you "Another Thing," an on-air puzzle to test your cleverness skills. We take a trend in the news and challenge you to help us satirize it with a song title, a movie name or something else wacky.

This week's challenge: A study out of Norway found that couples who split the chores equally are 50 percent more likely to divorce.

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Three Books...
5:03 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Disaster Strikes! Three Books Where Things Go Awry

iStockphoto.com

Things go wrong in most stories. It would be a dull plot that did not include an upset, a setback or an obstacle.

But it takes a special kind of reversal to turn one of these plots into a black comedy. Often it's a tiny slip that becomes a vortex of disaster; sometimes it's a growing avalanche of humiliation.

But it's always hewn from the stuff of everyday life, which we see transformed into a minefield using only the slightest shift in perspective. And it allows us to laugh while giving thanks it's not happening to us.

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New In Paperback
5:03 am
Mon October 8, 2012

New In Paperback Oct. 8-14

Back Bay Books

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Daniel Woodrell, Christopher Moore, Chuck Palahniuk, Susan Orlean and Wade Davis.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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