Arts/Life

Movie Interviews
4:03 am
Sun April 22, 2012

Jason Segel: Creating Comedy With The Tone Of Life

In The Five-Year Engagement, which Jason Segel co-wrote, he plays Tom, the devoted fiance to Violet (Emily Blunt), who agrees to postpone the wedding day as life continues to throw obstacles their way.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 11:25 am

More and more, audiences are getting to know Jason Segel. After featured roles in Judd Apatow projects like Freaks and Geeks and Knocked Up, Segel has gone on to star in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Muppets -- both of which he wrote — and he also plays a lead on the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

But even as Segel is an increasingly leading man, his characters don't exactly fit the leading-man mold. They're more beta than alpha males — tall but unassuming, likeable and understanding.

Read more
Sunday Puzzle
10:03 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

A Puzzle Worthy Of Don Draper

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 2:23 pm

On-Air Challenge: You'll be given classic advertising slogans and catch phrases in which the letters of the last word are scrambled. First, unscramble the word. Then name the product or company that is the advertiser. For example, given "Get a piece of the cork," the answer would be "Get a piece of the rock," which is a slogan of the Prudential Insurance Company.

Read more
Pop Culture
3:00 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

Pop Culture's 40-Year Itch

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

And if you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. And we're going to talk about music, movies and culture now, and in particular, about something known as the 40-year rule. Adam Gopnik is with us now from New York. He's written about it for the latest issue of The New Yorker. Hello, Adam.

ADAM GOPNIK: Hey, Guy. How are you?

RAZ: I'm good. Let's explain this with a pop quiz, Adam. You know the answers. so don't give it away because this is for the listeners.

GOPNIK: All right.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:00 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

'Jumped In': Love, Life And Violence In L.A. Gangs

Jorja Leap has spent time in crisis zones from Bosnia to New Orleans. As an international expert in crisis intervention, she never expected to end up doing most of her work in her own backyard.

Ten years ago, Leap returned to her hometown of Los Angeles to work with some of the toughest gangs around. A UCLA alumna with a Ph.D. in psychological anthropology, Leap works with outreach and intervention programs spanning Los Angeles' most gang-saturated territories.

Read more
Monkey See
12:21 pm
Sat April 21, 2012

In 'Veep,' Washington Is Viewed With A Skeptical Eye

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her staff, including Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky, in Veep.
Bill Gray HBO

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 8:16 am

Read more
Monkey See
9:35 am
Sat April 21, 2012

What Zac Efron's Beard Means For Men And Women In Hollywood

Zac Efron plays Logan, a former Marine with all kinds of feelings, in the new film The Lucky One.
Patti Perret Warner Brothers Pictures

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 7:13 am

This is the weekend they try to make Zac Efron a grown-up movie star.

Read more
Author Interviews
4:25 am
Sat April 21, 2012

'Steinbeck In Vietnam': A Great Writer's Last Reports

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 8:46 am

The last piece of published writing from one of America's greatest writers was a series of letters he sent back from the front lines of war at the age of 64.

John Steinbeck's reports shocked readers and family so much that they've never been reprinted — until now.

Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 for a life's work writing about those who had been roughed up by history — most notably his Depression-era novels, Of Mice And Men and The Grapes of Wrath. Four years later, Steinbeck left for Vietnam to cover the war firsthand.

Read more
Theater
4:25 am
Sat April 21, 2012

Blair Underwood On Stanley, Stella And 'Streetcar'

Stanley (Blair Underwood) and his sister-in-law, Blanche DuBois (Nicole Ari Parker), spar while Stanley's wife, Stella (Daphne Rubin-Vega), sits outside.
Ken Howard

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 8:46 am

There's a lot of juicy material for an actor in Tennessee Williams' landmark drama A Streetcar Named Desire. Sex, booze, class, betrayal — all set in the seething French Quarter of 1940s New Orleans.

A new Broadway revival has added another set of layers to the play: The multiracial production stars Blair Underwood in one of the most iconic roles in American theater — Stanley Kowalski.

Read more
World
12:23 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

'Racist' Cake Episode Cuts The Wrong Way

Swedish culture minister Lena Adelson Liljeroth
Courtesy Asa Andersson

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 2:14 pm

When Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, Sweden's culture minister, cut into a cake last Sunday, she had no idea the act would spark an international incident.

Read more
Arts & Life
9:55 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Pennsylvania Poet Delves Into Metaphors, Myths

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 12:23 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to head into the Barber Shop in just a few minutes. But first, the latest in our series Muses and Metaphor.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Read more
Monkey See
9:04 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Girls' Edition, Women's Edition

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 9:13 am

For a few months now, we've been talking about putting together a special episode where I could sit down with Parul Sehgal, Barrie Hardymon, and Tanya Ballard Brown for what some of the men on the usual panel were referring to as "Gorgeous Ladies Of Pop Culture Happy Hour." It was, believe it or not, a complete coincidence that we finally pulled it together during the week that HBO premiered Lena Dunham

Read more
Poetry
5:03 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Grief In Greenness: Two Melancholy Poems Of Spring

Eldad Carin iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 1:58 pm

Springtime is the season of renewal, but it can also be a season of ambivalence. After all, for something to be made new and fresh, it first has to have gotten old and worn. Perhaps this is why some of the best poets of spring are masters of minor-key feelings like doubt, sadness and regret — every rebirth, as they know, contains a little death.

Read more
Books
1:25 am
Fri April 20, 2012

The St. Cuthbert Gospel: Looking Pretty Good At 1300

The Gospel, buried with St. Cuthbert in 698, was recovered from his grave in 1104. Its beautiful red leather binding is original.
Courtesy of the British Library

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 9:04 am

How much would you pay for a very rare book?

The British Library in London has just paid about $14 million to purchase Europe's oldest intact book, known as the St. Cuthbert Gospel. It's a copy of the Gospel of St. John, thought to have been produced in northeastern England sometime during the seventh century.

Read more
Movies
1:20 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Italian Critics Don't 'Love' Allen's Roman Holiday

Woody Allen at the Italian-language premiere of To Rome With Love, in Rome, April 13.
Andrew Medichini AP

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 4:46 am

After shooting in London, Barcelona and Paris, Woody Allen made his latest European backdrop Rome. To Rome With Love opens Friday in Italy — in Italian.

The movie is a magnificent postcard of the eternal city — a carefree romp along cobblestone streets nestled between ancient ruins and Renaissance palaces. A soft yellow glow pervades every scene. It projects an image of the sweet life with all the charms under the Italian sun, set to the tune of old standbys like "Volare" and "Arrivederci Roma."

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:33 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Documentary Seeks The 'Marley' Behind The Myth

Bob Marley's phenomenal popularity introduced much of the world to both reggae music and the Rastafarian faith.
Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 6:40 am

In the three decades since his 1981 death from cancer, Bob Marley's legacy has only grown. His recordings still dominate reggae sales charts, and his face is still emblazoned on T-shirts and dorm-room walls — an image as ubiquitous and iconic as Che Guevara, with less militant or overtly political connotations.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:08 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

'Goodbye First Love': Heartbreak, Recovery, Relapse

Camille (Lola Creton) and Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky) are caught in a complicated tangle of feelings in Mia Hansen-Love's Goodbye First Love.
Carole Bethuel IFC Films

There's nothing like the intensity of young love, but that descriptor cuts in many ways at once. Feelings so pure and intoxicating can never be repeated, but they cannot be controlled, either, by the wisdom and maturity that enrich and sustain a relationship in the long term. Intensity can curdle just as quickly into jealousy, possessiveness and depression; when a heartsick teenager uses a phrase like "I'll die without him," adults may roll their eyes, but it's just barely a figure of speech.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

'Chimpanzee': Oh, The Humanity!

Nicknamed "Oscar" by Chimpanzee's filmmakers, the young chimp at the center of the film is adopted by an older male chimp — a rare occurrence — after his mother is killed.
Disneynature

It's a classic scenario in sentimental fiction: An adorable orphan humanizes a crusty old codger. "Humanize" might not seem the obvious verb for what happens in Chimpanzee, Disneynature's latest kiddie documentary. But it's dead on; this escape to the planet of the apes is anthropomorphic to a fault.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

'Henry': A Fractured Family, And A Would-Be Savior

In trying to identify his biological father, child prodigy Henry (Jason Spevack) makes life difficult for his mother (Toni Collette) and the researcher (Michael Sheen) he believes may have been his mother's sperm donor.
Entertainment One

Jesus Christ does not actually appear in Jesus Henry Christ except as a frequent expletive, suggesting that the New Testament star's titular shout-out is meant as a provocation.

"Are you shocked yet?" the movie seems to be asking, over and over again. "What if we throw in a carnival of gruesome family deaths, a foreign doctor who mispronounces 'semen' and a jive-talking white man in African garb?" To sell the story of a mature and soft-spoken child prodigy, the filmmakers employ bad taste in a bid for attention. They act out.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

'Darling Companion': Boomer Dramedy, Dog-Tired

Beth (Diane Keaton) and her adopted dog, Freeway, are parted when her distracted, workaholic husband, Joseph, loses Freeway in the woods.
Wilson Webb Sony Pictures Classics

It is said of one well-liked Hollywood purveyor of cheerfully inept romantic comedies that he doesn't actually direct movies — he hosts them. That quip sprang unbidden to mind at a screening of the genially terrible Darling Companion, a therapeutic intervention passing as family dramedy for our times.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

'Glory' Days: Intimate Experiences, But At A Price?

A man eyes some of the women working at the upscale Fish Tank brothel in Bangkok. The documentary Whores' Glory chronicles the experiences of sex workers in relatively clean establishments — and some living in de facto slavery.
Vinai Dithajohn Lotus Films

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 8:30 am

The world's oldest profession is one of cinema's oldest subjects, sometimes employed for pathos or political metaphor, but often glamorized. Austrian documentarian Michael Glawogger's Whores' Glory is no Pretty Woman. But neither does it qualify as an expose.

The movie, which shifts from Thailand to Bangladesh to Mexico, aspires to a cinema-verite style. Yet it's unusually well-lighted and -composed for on-the-fly footage, and includes scenes that appear to be staged.

Read more
Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

'Think Like A Man,' And We'll See What Happens

Mya (Meagan Good), while dating Zeke (Romany Malco), follows the do's and don't's of dating advice from comedian Steve Harvey's real-world self-help book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.
Alan Markfield Sony Pictures

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 4:06 pm

Oy, the things daters have to worry about these days. Not just how to dress, act and turn "no" into "go," but how not to become a chirp-chirp girl.

Read more
Arts & Life
2:44 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Pants Trend Makes A Red-Hot Statement

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 4:34 pm

What is up with all the red pants lately? Audie Cornish turns to Nick Sullivan, fashion director of Esquire Magazine, to find out. Sullivan confirms that red pants are a trend, with roots in the day outfits worn by members of the New York Yacht club.

Monkey See
1:35 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Today's Adorable PSA: 'Book People Unite'

It's not every day that I get a pitch that basically says, "Watch our video; it's so cute!" that actually works.

Read more
Book Reviews
10:28 am
Thu April 19, 2012

'Suddenly': Surreal Stories From A Modern Master

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 10:38 am

My favorite story in Israeli writer Etgar Keret's new collection starts with a hipster trying to make a movie and ends with him being brought back to life by a goldfish after being bludgeoned to death. The story, "What, of This Goldfish, Would You Wish?" features the best of Keret's distinctive style. At barely seven pages long, it's wildly succinct; the premise is absurd and tender; the social perspective is unapologetically irreverent; and the language is spare and vivid, moving like a shot from point A to B.

Read more
Studio Sessions
9:28 am
Thu April 19, 2012

For Rashida Jolley, A Harp To Make More Than Music

Harpist Rashida Jolley sings a tune from her new album Tales of My Heart.
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 11:49 am

Washingtonian Rashida Jolley is known for bringing an unusual instrument into the worlds of pop, R&B and hip-hop: the harp.

Read more
Monkey See
9:13 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'Magic Mike'

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 12:41 pm

The casting of Magic Mike was attention-getting from the start.

Read more
Movie Interviews
9:10 am
Thu April 19, 2012

The Stooges Are Back, And Nyukking Things Up Again

After they leave their orphanage for the first time, Curly (Will Sasso) bears a heavy burden — his fellow Stooges, Moe (Chris Diamantopoulos, left) and Larry (Sean Hayes).
Peter Iovino Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 10:11 am

The Farrelly brothers have long been known for their gross-out humor and their shocking comedies. After writing and directing movies like Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, There's Something About Mary and Shallow Hal -- where agreeable idiots get caught up in all sorts of trouble — Peter and Bobby Farrelly decided to tackle another set of goofy doofuses: The Three Stooges.

Read more
Arts & Life
9:10 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Egyptian-American Poet: Bodies Are Like Poems

As part of Tell Me More's series for National Poetry Month, host Michel Martin shares a poetic tweet from freelance writer and poet Yahia Lababidi. Listeners are invited to tweet original poems of 140 characters or less to #TMMPoetry.

Animals
8:31 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Following The Lives Of Chimpanzees On Screen

Over the course of filming, Oscar (pictured above) learned how to use rudimentary tools and how to get along with the other members of his clan.
Disney

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 9:49 am

The new Disneynature film Chimpanzee started off the way most movies do. Co-producers and directors Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill, who had previously worked together on the documentary film Earth, approached Disney with a 70-page script about a group of chimpanzees living in Western Africa. There was just one problem: Chimps don't take direction — or read scripts.

So Fothergill and Linfield teased out a narrative from more than three years' worth of footage they took in Western Africa while observing a large clan of chimpanzees.

Read more
Three Books...
4:10 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Jargon To Jabberwocky: 3 Books To Jazz Your Writing

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 6:49 am

I'm an English professor, and I spent the first 15 years of my career trying to write like one. You might be surprised by what that's like. We don't emulate the fiction writers we most admire. We too rarely practice what we preach to our composition students — namely that good writing is simple and direct. In fact, we're notorious for maze-y sentences and ugly jargon. The point seems less to attract readers with clear prose than to smack them over the head with a sign that says, "Aren't I smart?"

Read more

Pages