Arts/Life

Europe
3:39 am
Sun September 9, 2012

Istanbul, A City Of Spies In Fact And Fiction

Though not the capital, Istanbul is the cultural, economic and financial heart of Turkey. Situated on the Bosporus strait, this metropolis spans Europe and Asia — and has a storied history as a gathering place for spies.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 11:43 am

Headlines today in Turkey feature stories of alleged Iranian spies, gathering information about Kurdish militants who are responsible for many deaths in Turkey this summer.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

Drawing A Blank (Or Two)

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 11:50 am

On-air challenge: You are given sentences with two blanks. Put a word starting with R in the first blank. Then move that R to the end to make a new word that goes in the second blank to complete the sentence. For example, given the sentence, "The door of the Indian ___ was left slightly ___," the answers would be "raja" and "ajar."

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
3:04 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

The Movie Jon Favreau Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Robert De Niro leaning against a wall in a scene from Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 6:55 pm

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

For actor-writer-director Jon Favreau, whose credits include Swingers, Rocky Marciano, The Replacements and Iron Man, the movie he could watch a million times is Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets.


INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

On when he first saw the film

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Monkey See
12:03 pm
Sat September 8, 2012

TIFF '12: Stomp Your Feet For 'The Sapphires'

Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Shari Sebbins, Jessica Mauboy, and Miranda Tapsell in The Sapphires.
Toronto International Film Festival

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 3:13 pm

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) through the middle of next week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

Film festival fare can be thrilling and moving and challenging and gorgeous, but here's the thing: it can also be dark and depressing. There's nothing more welcome, then, than a very good film that also happens to incorporate a lot of soul music and dancing, and The Sapphires is that very good film.

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Monkey See
9:43 am
Sat September 8, 2012

TIFF '12: Sex, Kindness, And Polio In 'The Sessions'

John Hawkes and Helen Hunt star in The Sessions.
Red Camera Pulls Toronto International Film Festival

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) through the middle of next week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

I'll say this: The Sessions is probably the most lighthearted movie about sex and polio you'll see this year.

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Monkey See
7:33 am
Sat September 8, 2012

TIFF '12: 'The Central Park Five' Revisits A Storm Of Fear

Yusef Salaam is escorted by police.
New York Daily News Archive NY Daily News via Getty Images

Do you remember the case of the Central Park jogger, from 1989? Do you know who was convicted, what the evidence was, what supposedly happened? Do you know how long they served, or whether and when they were released? Do you know what eventually became of their convictions?

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Author Interviews
6:16 am
Sat September 8, 2012

'Yankee Miracles': Rising Through Baseball Ranks

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Author Interviews
4:00 am
Sat September 8, 2012

An Invitation To Join 'The Dangerous Animals Club'

Stephen Tobolowsky is an actor and writer. He also hosts the podcast The Tobolowsky Files.
Jim Britt Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Sat September 8, 2012 6:16 am

Stephen Tobolowsky calls his book, The Dangerous Animals Club, a group of "pieces." They are partly essays, partly short stories, partly memoir. They are anecdotes, stories and insights that are shuffled in and out of order, like cards in a deck.

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Three-Minute Fiction
10:04 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Three-Minute Fiction Round 9: Pick A President

Best-selling author Brad Meltzer is our judge for Round 9 of Three-Minute Fiction. His books include The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate and The Millionaires. His latest book, The Fifth Assassin, is due out in January.
Eric Ogden

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:49 pm

This election season, Three-Minute Fiction is getting political. Weekends on All Things Considered has a new judge, a new challenge and a new prize for Round 9. For this contest, submit original, short fiction that can be read in about three minutes, which means no more than 600 words.

The judge for this round is writer Brad Meltzer. He's the author of seven novels, including the best-seller The Inner Circle. His newest thriller, The Fifth Assassin, will be out in January.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:39 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Singer-Songwriter Bonnie Raitt Plays Not My Job

Marina Chavez

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 1:10 pm

Back in the early 1970s, a young woman at Radcliffe College faced a choice: Stay in school and get her degree, or drop out and become a legendary blues singer and guitarist. It's pretty clear Bonnie Raitt made the right choice.

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The Two-Way
5:20 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Wikipedia Irks Philip Roth With Reluctance To Edit Entry About His Novel

Author Philip Roth resorted to an open letter to Wikipedia when his efforts to correct an error on the site were rebuffed. The entry in question was about his book, The Human Stain.
AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 6:24 pm

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Monkey See
2:03 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

TIFF '12: On Spectacle, Scenery And Swoonery

Keira Knightley is Anna Karenina, whose life as a respectable wife and mother is shattered when passion flares between her and the charismatic cavalry officer Count Vronsky.
Laurie Sparham Focus Features

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 4:32 pm

With three TIFF screenings under my belt as of midmorning Friday, I've begun to realize that I've been picking my films based on a few highly personal likes: narrative intensity, rich visuals, inventive compositions and maybe a few other variables. Here's what I mean:

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Summer Nights: Funtown
1:02 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

A Slamming Good Time On The Jersey Shore

Keith Van Brunt (left) and Tom Mgerack, known as the "Bumper Car Psychos," go for a ride July 27 at the Keansburg Amusement Park in Keansburg, N.J.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 4:31 pm

The "Bumper Car Psychos" are easy to spot. While the other bumper cars at New Jersey's Keansburg Amusement Park spin wildly from one collision to the next, the Psychos cruise gracefully around the track, grinning from ear to ear as they slam their targets into the wall.

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Book Reviews
12:04 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Safe Landing For 'Stag's Leap'?

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 4:18 pm

What do you do when, after 30 years, your husband tells you he is leaving you for someone else? If you're poet Sharon Olds, you grab your spiral-bound notebook and write about it. And though the marriage ended in 1997, she has waited 15 years to tell us about it — half as long as her marriage lasted.

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Monkey See
12:03 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

TIFF '12: 'Children Of Sarajevo' Spotlights A Sister And Brother Hanging On

Marija Pikic plays Rahima, who's trying to keep her brother safe in Children Of Sarajevo.
Toronto International Film Festival

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 4:32 pm

Rarely will you see a film that spends as much time looking at the back of its lead's head as Children Of Sarajevo, which won a special award from the jury at Cannes earlier this year.

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Monkey See
11:23 am
Fri September 7, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: How Long Is Too Long?

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

Half of the Pop Culture Happy Hour crew is scattered to the four winds — if, by "the four winds," you mean "an assortment of movie theaters in Toronto" — but before parting ways, the old gang met up to discuss a question that's been vexing me. What are the tipping points, I vex, that push various forms of entertainment over the line between "long enough" and "too long"?

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Movie Reviews
11:21 am
Fri September 7, 2012

'Bachelorette' Sounds Dark Comedic Depths

Party Animals: Lizzy Caplan (from left), Isla Fisher and Kirsten Dunst play the brazen bridesmaids who make trouble for bride-to-be Becky (Rebel Wilson) in Bachelorette.
Radius-TWC

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 11:55 am

Long before Bridesmaids convinced studio executives that a raunchy, female-centric comedy could find a huge audience, Leslye Headland was busy adapting her play Bachelorette into a movie. So this isn't a copycat rom-com, but the themes do overlap. Each film turns on a female rivalry: In Bridesmaids, it's between the maid of honor, Kristen Wiig, and the bride's rich friend, played by Rose Byrne. In Bachelorette, the rivalry is more complicated, more ... ugly. It's between the three, 30-ish, unmarried central characters and the bride.

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Monkey See
10:03 am
Fri September 7, 2012

TIFF '12: 'On The Road' Presents The Young Writer And His Travels

Sam Riley plays Sal in the new adaptation of Jack Kerouac's On The Road.
Toronto International Film Festival

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 4:32 pm

It's perhaps a testament to my resistance to this material that I've never felt moved to read Jack Kerouac's On The Road, but I have to suspect it's better than this disappointing adaptation, or at least more interesting.

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Monkey See
7:03 am
Fri September 7, 2012

TIFF '12: 'West Of Memphis' Finds New Spaces In Well-Covered Territory

Lorri Davis, the wife of Damien Echols, looks at a map of the neighborhood where the "West Memphis Three" were accused of killing three boys in 1993.
Toronto International Film Festival

The story of the Arkansas murder trials of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley — the men known as the "West Memphis Three" — has already been the topic of the three well-known documentaries in the Paradise Lost series made for HBO by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. Those films, in fact, helped the case come to the attention of many of the people whose work ultimately resulted in the three defendants' release from prison in 2011.

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Monkey See
5:03 am
Fri September 7, 2012

TIFF '12: 'Rust And Bone,' A Gorgeous Meditation On The Physical Body

Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard star in Rust & Bone.
Toronto International Film Festival

[Monkey See will be at the Toronto International Film Festival through the middle of next week. We'll be bringing you our takes on films both large and small, from people both well-known and not.]

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Dead Stop
1:07 am
Fri September 7, 2012

'Gatsby' Author Fitzgerald Rests In A D.C. Suburb

The grave of The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald lies next to a major thoroughfare for commuters between Rockville, Md., and Washington, D.C.
Jess Gitner NPR

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 12:55 pm

Every weekday, thousands of commuters to the nation's capital drive past the grave of a celebrated American author, and it's a good bet they don't realize it.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby, was born in St. Paul, Minn.; he's associated with that city, as well as Paris, the Riviera and New York. But he's buried in Rockville, Md., outside Washington, D.C., next to a highway between strip malls and train tracks.

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Movie Reviews
3:28 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

'The Words': Serious Questions, Meet Sappy Romance

Frustrated author Rory (Bradley Cooper) and his wife, Dora (Zoe Saldana), come into possession of a manuscript that Rory decides to pass off as his own.
Jonathan Wenk CBS Films

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 3:33 pm

Bradley Cooper has the wolfish grin and raffish charm of a cardsharp — or a baby hedge-fund manager. So at first you may find him a tough sell as a writer of prose so sensitive and "interior" that even an admiring old-school editor tells him it's unpublishable.

Hold on, though. The writer has moral flaws, and a name, Rory Jansen, that's better suited to a designer of racy swimwear than a crafter of lambent sentences about the inner workings of the psyche.

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Movie Reviews
3:12 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

'Richard' Serves Up Cannibalistic Horror, Sans Scares

Everett (Jude Ciccolella) and his brainwashed wife Glory (Susan Priver) lure potential meals-on-legs through an ad for a vintage Mustang.
Dance On Productions

Cannibalism and comedy are strange but remarkably compatible bedfellows. Paul Bartel's cult classic Eating Raoul (1982) set the standard, lampooning prudish post-sexual-revolution values with a chaste couple whose repression leads them to murder — and eventually to serving human flesh. Bob Balaban's considerably darker 1989 Parents used it to examine the underbelly of 1950s wholesome prosperity, with wickedly funny results.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

'For Ellen,' With Something Distantly Like Love

Joby (Paul Dano) is increasingly detached from the rest of humanity as he travels to sign divorce papers with his soon-to-be-ex-wife.
Carolyn Drake Tribeca Film

The centerpiece of For Ellen is the long-postponed meeting between a rock-band singer, Joby Taylor, and the 6-year-old daughter whose name is in the title. But writer-director So Yong Kim's wintry character study is primarily a solo act, punctuated by the occasional duet.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Hard Of Heart, But Terribly Easy On The 'Eye'

Son Basil (Geoffrey Rush) and daughter Dorothy (Judy Davis) tend to fading yet still viciously vital matriarch Elizabeth Hunter (Charlotte Rampling).
Matt Nettheim Sycamore Entertainment

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 3:50 pm

Fred Schepisi knows how to make the kinds of movies almost no one makes anymore. The tragedy is that they don't make audiences like they used to — and Schepisi's latest, The Eye of the Storm, will feel to many viewers like a movie lost in time and space.

That's no reflection on its craftsmanship, which is superb, or on its performances, which are sterling. But this multigenerational character study, based on a novel by Patrick White, requires a little patience: Its rhythms are slack in places, and its pace is definitely leisurely.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

A Sensitive Raunchfest In 'The Inbetweeners'

The four ne'er-do-wells of British comedy series The Inbetweeners, fresh out of high school, disembark to the isle of Crete for some tourism and, ultimately, sexual humiliation.
Nicola Dove Wrekin Hill Entertainment

Film adaptations of TV shows long off the air have proven hit-or-miss at the box office. But in recent years, the practice of continuing the story of a popular, recently concluded TV series in a feature film has made for easier business — even when the results are mixed creatively. There's a lot to get wrong in translating a successful series, and therefore a lot to consider: How much of an introduction will a wide audience need to a show's world and characters?

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

'Bachelorette': Mean Girls Make A Sport Of Spite

Party Animals: Lizzy Caplan (from left), Isla Fisher and Kirsten Dunst are the brazen bridesmaids who make trouble for bride-to-be Rebel Wilson in Bachelorette.
Radius-TWC

The three protagonists of Bachelorette do some pretty terrible things: They talk trash behind a fourth friend's back, kvetching bitterly about having to be bridesmaids at her wedding. They publicly leak her old high school nickname, which happens to be "Pigface."

And just hours before the wedding, as the bride-to-be is getting her beauty sleep, two of them try to cram into her wedding gown as a gag — she's a plus-sized cupcake of a woman — and rip it seemingly beyond repair.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

'Keep The Lights On': Nuanced Take On Doomed Love

Erik (Thure Lindhardt) and Paul (Zachary Booth) meet through a phone hookup service, but end up moving in together and pursuing a passionate, long-term relationship.
Music Box Films

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 4:18 pm

Hot-weather Hollywood blockbusters have now cooled off, so the cineplex will be a quieter place for the next few months. But there can be intensity even in intimate films, as evidenced by the relationship drama Keep the Lights On.

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Author Interviews
2:49 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Getting Around To Writing 'Art Of Procrastination'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 9:12 am

At the end of July, when NPR's Robert Siegel set off on the longest vacation since his honeymoon 39 years ago, he packed a few books, including the new book The Art of Procrastination by John Perry, emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford.

After two weeks in Delaware, two weeks in Iberia and a week of work in Tampa, Fla., Siegel finally finished it Wednesday night. He says his timing is fitting: The book is 92 small, double-spaced pages.

It expands on a short confessional essay Perry wrote in 1996 called "Structured Procrastination."

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Television
2:49 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

TV Writers Script Safe Sex 'Product Placement'

The FOX show Raising Hope follows young father Jimmy Chance (Lucas Neff) who conceived his daughter Hope (Baylie/Rylie Cruget) in a one-night stand. The show has worked with The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy to write messages about safe sex into the script.
Greg Gayne 2012 Fox Broadcasting Co.

Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 5:09 pm

For an egregious example of a silly product placement, look no further than the CW show The Vampire Diaries, where a character actually says "I Bing'd it" of a search online. But believe it or not, product placement can actually be serious and socially conscious.

Take the Fox comedy Raising Hope. Earlier this year, the show's main character, who'd been a teen mom, caught a high school girl in bed with her boyfriend. "I'm gonna show you where this can lead to!" she screeched. "I'm your ghost of teen pregnancy future!"

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