Arts/Life

Movie Reviews
12:12 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

'Flying Swords': Fast, Furious And Now In 3-D

Yu Hua Tian (Chen Kun) and Chow Wai On (Jet Li) battle it out in Flying Swords, which translate's wuxia films' physics-defying action into 3-D.
CAO Kai Ping, Jupiter Wong, YIN Nan Indomina Releasing

A Tsui Hark movie in 3-D — not to mention the first wuxia film to be shot in the format — ought to serve up three times the spectacle of the usual Tsui affair. And damned if Flying Swords of Dragon Gate doesn't almost deliver.

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Book Reviews
6:26 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Haves And Have-Nots In 'NW' London

Zadie Smith is the author of White Teeth and On Beauty.
Dominique Nabokov Penguin Group

Some postal codes encapsulate a socioeconomic profile in tidy shorthand: 10021 for Manhattan's tony Upper East Side, NW6 and NW10 for London's racially mixed, resolutely ungentrified northwest quadrant. Zadie Smith's London birthplace — a major wellspring of her work — is the setting of NW, her ambitious though somewhat dilatory fourth novel, which tackles issues of fortune and failure, class and ethnicity, and the often guilt-inducing and sometimes blurry lines between them.

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New In Paperback
5:03 am
Thu August 30, 2012

New In Paperback Aug. 27-Sept. 2

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Bernard Cornwell, Hisham Matar, Madeline Miller, Sally Jacobs and Jim Steinmeyer

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

Destination Art
1:16 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Hannibal, Mo.: Art Abounds In Twain's Hometown

Twain's boyhood home in Hannibal, pictured circa 1955, is now a museum.
Three Lions Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 3:56 am

Samuel Clemens, who is said to have taken his pen name Mark Twain from the cries of riverboat crewmen, found the inspiration for his classic works while growing up in the river town of Hannibal, Mo. Today, more than 125 years after the first pressing of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there's a new set of artistic characters in Twain's boyhood home.

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Author Interviews
12:08 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

A Linguist's Serious Take On 'The A-Word'

Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg says he wants people to take his new book, Ascent of the A-Word, seriously.
Nicole Katano

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 12:04 pm

Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg wants people to take his new book, Ascent of the A-Word, seriously.

"I'd meet people when I was working on the book, and even academics — they'd say, 'What are you working on?' and they'd giggle. Or they'd say, 'You must have a lot of time on your hands,' " Nunberg tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Author Interviews
10:40 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Victor LaValle On Mental Illness, Monsters And Survival

Victor LaValle is also the author of Slapboxing with Jesus, The Ecstatic and Big Machine.
E. Robateu Random House

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 11:58 am

In Victor LaValle's new novel, The Devil in Silver, a man is mistakenly committed to a mental hospital where a buffalo-headed monster stalks patients at night.

The plausibility of a monster roaming the hospital's halls made sense, says LaValle, who has a personal connection to the mentally ill.

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Wisdom Watch
10:03 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Brooklyn Mack, From Ball Player To Ballet Star

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, as we've kicked off our coverage of the Republican National Convention this week, we've asked a number of our guests what a successful country looks like to them. I'll explain why I'm asking that in my Can I Just Tell You essay. And that's coming up in a few minutes.

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Monkey See
10:03 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Entirely Real Photos: Model Or Headless Disney Mascot?

A model walks down the runway during the Maria Sofia Bahlner S/S 2013 Fashion Show from the Swedish School of Textiles during the Mercedes-Benz Stockholm Fashion Week.
Andreas Rentz Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 10:49 am

This is a model walking during a Maria Sofia Bahlner fashion show from what I am told is the "Swedish School Of Textiles," during Mercedes-Benz Stockholm Fashion Week.

This is undoubtedly an example of avant-garde design, fashion as art, exploration of textile possibilities ... I have no doubt, it is artistically driven.

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Monkey See
9:18 am
Wed August 29, 2012

The Eternal Leonard Maltin: The Movie Guide That Gives And Gives

Seen here in 2010, film critic Leonard Maltin has been dishing out his reviews in capsule form since 1969.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images for AFI

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 3:00 pm

When I was a kid, I awaited the annual publication of Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide with the awe and dread of a Parent/Teacher interview. Sure, film criticism is a subjective thing, but to my young eyes, the 16,000+ capsule reviews in Maltin's yearly reference book carried the weight of absolute truth. Each year, with the austerity of a poet and the precision of a diamond-cutter, Maltin and his army of cowriters pass swift, one-to-ten-paragraph judgment on hundreds of new films, and a small part of me will always believe the Guide is blessed with objectivity.

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Kitchen Window
5:43 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Zucchini You Actually Can't Resist

T. Susan Chang for NPR

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 9:56 am

"Ugh," my sister exclaimed one evening as we were making dinner. It was supposed to be an easy poached chicken with a ginger-scallion sauce, eaten with cold cucumber wedges, and we had just discovered that what we had bought at the store was not cucumber, but zucchini. It was an easy mistake to make — they were the precise same shade of green. But where the zucchini's skin was mostly smooth, the cucumber's was lumpy. We were not happy.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Martin Amis' 'State of England': Anomie In The U.K.

Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Too much is made of literature's ennobling qualities. There are those of us who come to books for the debasement and danger, for Hannibal and Humbert. For Faulkner's Popeye and Hedda Gabler. We want to meet the monsters.

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First Reads
4:03 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Exclusive First Read: Zadie Smith's 'NW'

Zadie Smith is the author of White Teeth and On Beauty, among other books.
Dominique Nabokob

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 1:26 pm

  • Listen to this selection from 'NW'

The title of Zadie Smith's newest novel might be enigmatic for Americans. NW is short for northwest London — an area of particular racial and class diversity. It's the birthplace of the novel's two main characters, Leah Hanwell and Keisha Blake.

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Movie Reviews
3:09 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

For Bootlegger Brothers, A Twisty Path To Profit

Jack Bondurant (Shia LeBeouf) finds escape from the brutality of his family's bootlegging business in the company of the radiant Bertha (Mia Wasikowska).
Richard Foreman Jr., SMPSP The Weinstein Co.

John Hillcoat's Lawless opens with a scene in which two farm boys urge their younger brother to pull the trigger on a pig that's ready to be transformed into bacon. The boy, whose name is Jack, hesitates and then misfires; one of the older boys finishes the job, neatly and dispassionately.

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Movie Reviews
2:04 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

An 'Ambassador' Of Sorts, But Hardly Diplomatic

Mads Brugger, in character as diplomat Mads Cortzen, conferences with various members of the Central African Republic's government.
Drafthouse Films

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 2:42 pm

"If the Congo was the heart of darkness, this is the spleen."

That's how Danish guerrilla filmmaker Mads Brugger introduces the Central African Republic, the focus of his hidden-camera documentary The Ambassador.

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Author Interviews
12:34 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

'Real Romney' Authors Dissect His Latest Campaign

Michael Kranish (left) is the deputy chief of the Washington bureau of The Boston Globe. Scott Helman is a staff writer at The Globe. Both have covered politics, presidential campaigns and Congress.
courtesy of the authors

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 10:17 am

In The Real Romney, Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman examine Mitt Romney's political rise since 1994, when he ran for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. They explain how Romney shifted from supporting abortion rights to heavily courting social conservatives in the 2008 Republican primary.

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The Picture Show
11:51 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Drinking, Dancing, Dolly Parton: Photos Of The '70s Country Music Scene

Last Call, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Nashville, Tenn., 1974
Henry Horenstein

It may come as a surprise that the photographer who shot these country stars — and their fans — is from Massachusetts. But, Henry Horenstein explains, country music "was a rural music, not necessarily a Southern music."

As a young photographer, Horenstein spent a good part of the 1970s and early '80s at bluegrass festivals, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, New England honky-tonks and elsewhere, documenting what he believed was an "era that was going to go away."

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Monkey See
10:12 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Nobody, Not Even Your Mom, Has Such Small Hands: 10 Other Products 'For Her'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 2:04 am

Okay, so Bic has been taking a lot of flack for selling this pen "for her." (As it says on its web site, it is "a ball pen essentially for women," although that seems to invite a caveat, such as, "although there may be certain men to whom it appeals and we don't judge.")

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Monkey See
6:37 am
Tue August 28, 2012

YouTube Trends: Politics And Pop, Yes, But Education And Science, Too

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 7:32 am

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue August 28, 2012

Broken Hearts And Dirty Minds In 'Fundamentals'

The first and most important thing you need to know about Jonathan Evison's heartbreaking, maddening novel The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving is that one of its two main characters is a paralyzed teenage boy, named Trevor. The other is a grown man, Ben, who frequently acts like a teenage boy. Your enjoyment of the book — the follow-up to Evison's well-regarded West of Here — will be largely predicated on how much you like listening in on can-you-top-this, gross-out sex talk, and ruefully self-demeaning descriptions of the female of the species.

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Games & Humor
3:30 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

How Madden NFL's Business Lineup Helps It Win Big

According to the NFL's Peter O'Reilly, fans are drawn to the Madden NFL video game franchise because it lets them experience the NFL year-round in a realistic way.
EA Sports

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 1:52 pm

The Madden NFL video game franchise has sold close to 100 million copies, a number that will only go up on Tuesday when Madden NFL 13 hits shelves. Madden is the biggest franchise of its kind in North America, and big business for an enormous, tangled web of interested parties. Just ask Tommy Mullings — he craves football.

"After the football's done, like, I can't get enough football," he says. "So I'll go watch football all day and then end my Sunday with a couple of games of Madden."

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Book Reviews
10:30 am
Mon August 27, 2012

In 'The Brontes,' New Details Of Family's 'Strange World'

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 1:13 pm

In the new, updated edition of her landmark biography The Brontes, Juliet Barker tells a sad story about Branwell, the infamous brother of Charlotte, Emily and Anne.

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BRICSion: Powerful Stories, Powerful Nations
10:03 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Stories Reach Below The Surface Of China's Growth

Ye Rin Mok

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 6:00 pm

The word "haunting" could be used to describe many of the short stories in Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. The collection is by Yiyun Li, who emigrated from Beijing to the United States in the 1990s, and received the prestigious MacArthur "genius" grant in 2010.

With the backdrop of a nation moving from isolation to openness, Li's characters deal with universal struggles such as loneliness, regret, love and loss. And often, they're not who they may appear to be.

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Three Books...
5:03 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Fanciful Fauna: 3 Tall Tales Of Clever Critters

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 10:45 am

Some people suffer from recurring nightmares about being naked on stage, or not having revised for their exams. My bedtime terror is different — I'm gripped with fear that I haven't fed or watered my childhood budgie, with potentially devastating consequences. I loved that bird, Joey, so much, despite the fact that she unmasked herself as female after I'd named her, I still have a tiny box filled with her discarded green feathers. I've never owned a pet as an adult. I prefer animals in novels to avoid the horror of finding two cold, clutched feet in the air.

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Crime In The City
1:24 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Michigan Author Dreams Up A Deadlier Ann Arbor

In Very Bad Men, Seva is Sen. John Casterbridge's favorite restaurant. Dolan won't say if he's a good guy or not, because "that would be giving it away."
Vasenka via Flickr

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 9:32 pm

Ask Harry Dolan to take you for lunch at a restaurant he's written about, and he won't disappoint. In downtown Ann Arbor, Mich., on Liberty Street, the vegetarian restaurant Seva serves mushroom sliders and yam fries that both the crime writer and his characters are quite fond of. With any luck, you'll also catch the perfect song playing in the background — "Psycho Killer" by the Talking Heads.

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Author Interviews
12:44 pm
Sun August 26, 2012

'A Contest Of Wits': A Former Forger Recalls His Art

After John F. Herring by Ken Perenyi, circa 1989.
Courtesy of Pegasus Books

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 8:11 am

Next time you're admiring a 19th century American master painting at a museum or auction house, take a closer look. What looks like an authentic creation complete with cracks and yellowing varnish could actually be the work of forger Ken Perenyi.

Perenyi made millions of dollars over 30 years with more than 1,000 forgeries, allowing him to jet set around the world. His highest earning work was a Martin Johnson Heade forgery that sold for more than $700,000.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
12:37 pm
Sun August 26, 2012

The Movie Regina King Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Patrick Renna as Hamilton 'Ham' Porter in 1993 sports film, The Sandlot.
John Bramley The Kobal Collection / 20th Century Fox

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 3:04 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 actress Regina King, whose credits include Jerry Maguire and Ray, and who currently stars on the TNT TV show Southland, the movie she could watch a million times is The Sandlot.


INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

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Monkey See
6:07 am
Sun August 26, 2012

It's Who You Know: Predicting How 'The Newsroom' Will Get Its Next Scoop

Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy on HBO's The Newsroom knows people who know people, fortunately for him.
Melissa Moseley HBO

If there's one thing that HBO's The Newsroom is especially good at, it's portraying journalists who aren't especially good at journalism.

Well, maybe that's not fair. The fact is, they haven't had much opportunity to engage in journalism, since every major story that's come their way has been cracked not through know-how, persistence and telephonic grunt work but through the fortuitous involvement of people with whom the fictional News Night staffers happen to already be good buddies.

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Books
4:24 am
Sun August 26, 2012

Faith, Family, And Forgiveness In 'We Sinners'

Author Hanna Pylvainen based We Sinners on her own childhood experiences.

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 10:32 am

Hanna Pylvainen's debut novel, We Sinners, is about a large — very large — family that belongs to a small religious sect in Finland originating in the dim distant past. The sect, Laestadianism, calls for very strictly regulated behavior — think Amish, with possible overtones of Lutheran, purified by a schism or two. The novel is told from the point of view of family members, each of whom get a chapter, and the story goes forward in time with each person.

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Author Interviews
4:24 am
Sun August 26, 2012

'The Ethicist' Explains How To 'Be Good'

Randy Cohen served as "The Ethicist" for The New York Times Magazine for 12 years.
Courtesy Chronicle Books

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 10:32 am

After 12 years writing a column on ethics, Randy Cohen is convinced ethics is not a moving target, unique to time or place.

"I believe there are a set of principles that are so profound and so essentially moral that if I were just slightly smarter and slightly more eloquent, I could travel everywhere and persuade everyone that they should apply," he tells Weekend Edition guest host Linda Wertheimer.

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Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

What Hat Holds The Answer?

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 10:32 am

On-air challenge: Every answer is a two-word phrase in which one of the words starts with W and the other word is the same with the W removed. For example, if you were given the clue "desires scurrying insects," the answer would be "wants ants."

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