Arts/Life

Movies
6:01 am
Sun February 22, 2015

In Oscar Nominations For Best Score, Some Hear Sour Notes

Michael Keaton is up for an Academy Award for his performance in Birdman. The movie's original score, despite receiving critical acclaim, was declared ineligible for Oscar consideration.
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 4:46 pm

The movie Birdman is favored to pick up several major Academy Awards Sunday night, but it will not be taking home the Oscar for best original score. That's because it was declared ineligible for Oscar consideration.

Birdman has one of the year's more distinctive musical scores, propelled by the unaccompanied jazz drumming of Antonio Sanchez, a bandleader and longtime drummer for guitarist Pat Metheny.

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Goats and Soda
5:03 am
Sun February 22, 2015

Director Of Oscar-Nommed 'Timbuktu' Found A Star In A Refugee Camp

In the movie, the cattle herder Kidane (center, played by Ibrahim Ahmed) and his family live in a tent in the mountains near Timbuktu.
Courtesy of Cohen Media Group

On July 29, 2012, a couple in northern Mali, who had two children, were stoned to death by Islamist militants. The reason: The mother and father were not married.

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The Salt
3:41 am
Sun February 22, 2015

Visual Feast: If The World's Major Cities Were Made Of Food

BrunchCity's take on Morocco: The markets of Marrakech are cooled by an oasis of the country's famous mint tea.
Courtesy of Bea Crespo and Andrea G.Portoles

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 2:42 pm

In America, the word "brunch" conjures up visions of eggs benedict and bagels and lox. But, broadly speaking, "brunch" — as a word and a concept — is a literal blend of breakfast and lunch. And around the world, there's a wide variety of culinary delights that people choose to graze on between late morning and midafternoon.

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All Tech Considered
3:10 pm
Sat February 21, 2015

Adobe Photoshop: 'Democratizing' Photo Editing For 25 Years

"Jennifer In Paradise," a photo of Jennifer Walters in Bora Bora in August 1988, was the first color image to ever be Photoshopped. John Knoll used the image of his then-girlfriend (now wife) to demo Photoshop to potential users.
John Knoll

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 7:48 pm

This week, the photo editing software Adobe Photoshop turned 25 years old. The program is an industry juggernaut — so famous that the word "Photoshop" has come to be synonymous with image manipulation.

But when the software started, says co-creator Thomas Knoll, it was a personal project. He and his brother John started working on the program in the late 1980s.

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Author Interviews
3:10 pm
Sat February 21, 2015

Exploring The Solar System Through The Eyes Of Robotic Voyagers

This NASA file image shows a true color photo of Saturn assembled from images collected by Voyager 2.
HO AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 7:06 am

The Voyager spacecraft have revolutionized our understanding of our solar system since their launch in 1977. After decades of sending back data on our planetary neighbors, Voyager 1 and 2 are entering new territory: interstellar space.

In a new book, The Interstellar Age: Inside The Forty-Year Voyager Mission, planetary scientist Jim Bell shares the amazing human stories behind the machines' mission.

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Movies
2:25 pm
Sat February 21, 2015

The Woman Behind The Oscar-Nominated Sound Of 'Unbroken'

The raft sequences in Unbroken were filmed on a giant tank of water in Australia, near a highway and an amusement park. All of the dialogue had to be re-recorded on a sound stage.
Vince Valitutti NBCUniversal

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 4:25 pm

Like many of the "technical" Academy Awards, the sound editing category has long been dominated by men.

But a woman was nominated this year — just the fifth woman ever in the 30 or so years the sound editing award has been a competitive contest.

She's nominated for the WWII biopic Unbroken, based on the best-selling biography of Louis Zamperini, the Olympic runner and prisoner of war who turned to alcoholism after the war and eventually became a born-again Christian. (She shares the nomination with her co-editor, Andrew DeCristofaro.)

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Movie Interviews
2:08 pm
Sat February 21, 2015

1 Film, 6 Stories On The 'Pleasure Of Losing Control'

In "Road to Hell," Wild Tales' third story, Walter Donado plays a man who gets in a fight with a driver on an empty highway. The film opened last year in Argentina and is the country's highest-grossing movie ever.
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 11:56 am

The six stories in Relatos salvajes, or Wild Tales, are unrelated adventures — but the Spanish-language anthology, which is up for best foreign language film at the Oscars Sunday, is united by rage.

In each twisted tale, characters become consumed with anger after relatable experiences like getting cut off on the highway, having a car towed or learning of a husband's infidelity. "They cross the line that separates civilization from barbarism," Argentine director Damián Szifron tells NPR's Arun Rath.

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Middle East
6:03 am
Sat February 21, 2015

After An Education In American Jazz, A Musician Tackles The Turkish Songbook

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 2:52 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Movie Interviews
6:03 am
Sat February 21, 2015

Meet John Sloss, The Man Behind Some Of Your Favorite Indie Films

Sloss, pictured here at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, has been a key figure associated with independent films including The Fog of War, Little Miss Sunshine and Banksy's Exit Through The Gift Shop.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 4:19 pm

It's not easy to get financing for independent films. And it's not easy to get them into movie theaters. But over the past few decades, John Sloss has succeeded in doing both, and has been a key player for indie filmmakers. He's an entertainment lawyer, a talent manager, a film sales agent and a producer of films including Boys Don't Cry, The Fog of War and Boyhood, which is up for a best picture Oscar on Sunday.

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Book News & Features
6:03 am
Sat February 21, 2015

Through 10 Years Of Mining His Grief, A Novelist Makes 'Nice'

Matt Sumell's fiction has appeared in Electric Literature, The Paris Review and McSweeney's, among other outlets.
Courtesy of Henry Holt and Company

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 7:20 am

It's Friday afternoon in the back room of the Wharf, a fisherman's watering hole on the south shore of Long Island, N.Y. The bar looks out across the Great South Bay towards Fire Island. It's a special place for writer Matt Sumell.

"This is the first bar I got into," he says. "I've been in bar fights here. This is sort of where I cut my teeth a little bit. This is my place. This is my spot."

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat February 21, 2015

A Lot Of Sound And Fury In 'The Infernal'

I feel that it would be appropriate here to discuss Mark Doten's novel, The Infernal, in fragments, incomplete sentences, blocks of text walled off by line breaks, and nonsense. I want to do this because that's what he did in the writing of it — a trick that (maybe) looks clever at first glance, but isn't.

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Movies
3:16 am
Sat February 21, 2015

King Of Condensed Films: Meet Chuck Workman, The Oscars' Montage Master

Chuck Workman at his editing station in Beverly Hills in 2010, the last year he created montages for the Oscars. Workman says montages today have a less highly edited style.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 7:20 am

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Code Switch
3:14 am
Sat February 21, 2015

Korean Tailors Try To Keep The Lunar New Year Hanbok Ritual Alive

Models present the traditional costume known as hanbok during the 2010 Korea Hanbok Festival in Seoul.
Ahn Young-joon AP

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 9:06 pm

Getting ready for the Lunar New Year once meant buying a new set of clothes for many families of Korean ancestry.

For centuries, the costume known as hanbok – a two-piece outfit traditionally made of embroidered cotton or silk worn by men and women – has played a central role in the new year's wardrobe.

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Goats and Soda
3:12 am
Sat February 21, 2015

Tibetan Villagers Pose Before Backdrops, Earn Oscar Nomination

A family of Tibetan nomads — they're real, not actors — poses before an Asian backdrop in a new fictional short film.
Courtesy of London Flair

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 6:53 am

Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Snow White all peer from behind as an elderly Tibetan woman sits in front of the camera. "Do you have any other background?" asks the man who led her to her seat.

"Of course, bring the catalogue," says the weary photographer. He's already taken dozens of portraits that day.

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Monkey See
4:21 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Our Oscars Omnibus 2015

In Birdman, Michael Keaton (a real-life former Batman) plays a former movie superhero who's trying to get a grasp on his career.
Atsushi Nishijima/ Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 8:29 am

We didn't get to tape our Oscars Omnibus live the way we planned (stay tuned for a make-up date for ticketholders), but we did get to sit down with our friend Bob Mondello to talk about all eight contenders in the Best Picture race.

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Movies
3:23 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

'I'll Take Insanely Hard Oscar Trivia For 400, Alex'

This year's Oscars will be given out at the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday night. At O'Brien's Pub in Santa Monica, Calif., pub trivia regulars — including many former game show champs — had their own competition, answering harder-than-average questions about Academy Awards past and present.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 6:57 am

Here's a tough Oscar trivia question: Who is the only person to twice achieve the feat of receiving nominations for acting, writing and directing on the same film?

Wait. Was that not hard enough? Try naming the four worst-performing best picture winners from the past 10 years.

Trivia champions live for questions like this. That's why they flock to O'Brien's Pub in Santa Monica, Calif. Regulars such as Brad Rutter (Jeopardy!'s leading all-time money winner) and Daniel Avila (a game show staple since 1984) compete over a $75 bar tab.

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Monkey See
3:06 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

The Oscars Are Coming, With 1 Big Hit And Few Close Contests

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 8:43 pm

On today's All Things Considered, NPR film critic Bob Mondello and I have a chat with Audie Cornish about the inevitable, inscrutable Oscars.

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Movie Reviews
11:34 am
Fri February 20, 2015

In These Six 'Wild Tales,' Humans Morph Into Destructive Forces Of Nature

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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Monkey See
11:06 am
Fri February 20, 2015

The Comedy And Good Conversation Of Harris Wittels

Along with Colton Dunn (L), Harris Wittels (R) played a bumbling member of the Pawnee animal control team on the show he co-executive-produced, Parks And Recreation.
Ben Cohen NBC

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 12:24 pm

Harris Wittels died Thursday. He was a stand-up comic, a television writer/producer, a musician, a frequent and dependably hilarious guest on comedy podcasts, and an author who unleashed the concept of the #humblebrag upon the cultural landscape.

He was 30 years old.

When anyone dies, our sadness is tinged with something darker and more selfish; we resent the time we'll never get to spend with that person, the days and months and years that will pile up without their presence.

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Michel Martin, Going There
5:33 am
Fri February 20, 2015

An American Dream, A Cuban Soul: Poet Richard Blanco Finds 'Home'

Poet Richard Blanco says that appearing at President Obama's second inauguration made him feel as if, for the first time, he "had a place at the American table."
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 3:05 pm

It's said that every writer spends his or her entire life working on a single poem or one story. Figuratively, of course, this means that writers are each possessed by a certain obsession. As such, their entire body of work, in one way or another, is generally an attempt to dimension some part of that obsession, ask questions about it, answer them and then ask many new questions.

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Hollywood Jobs
1:29 am
Fri February 20, 2015

As 'Hollywood Jobs' Turns 10, We Follow Up With The Folks In The Credits

Costume designer Julie Weiss in her studio in Southern California.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 6:48 am

It's been 10 years since we launched the annual Hollywood Jobs series, in which we explore odd movie jobs — you know, the ones you see in the closing credits. In the last decade, producer Cindy Carpien and I have talked to key grips, animal wranglers, focus pullers, foley artists, shoemakers, slate operators, loopers, food stylists and many more. Today we check back with some folks we've profiled in the past, to ask how their jobs have changed since we last met.

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Author Interviews
4:06 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

From Iran To Comedy Central: Maz Jobrani's Path To 'Middle Eastern Funny Man'

Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani performs in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2014.
Kamran Jebreili AP

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:16 pm

After Sept. 11, President George Bush made a speech about America's enemies — Iran, Iraq and North Korea — in which he referred to them as the "Axis of Evil." At first, that name worried Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani. But then he decided to do what he always does: laugh about it. He and some friends even started the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, which featured comedians of Middle Eastern descent.

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Goats and Soda
3:21 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Will The Next 'MacGyver' Be An Indian Woman?

Richard Dean Anderson portrayed MacGyver with the perfect combination of cool and nerdy.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 8:33 am

With all his homemade gadgets and cool scientific tricks, MacGyver is an engineering superhero.

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Movie Reviews
2:16 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Argentine Oscar Nominee 'Wild Tales' Lives Up To Its Title

Wild Tales is crammed with gallows humor, says NPR film critic Bob Mondello.
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:13 pm

Argentina has been in the news lately for the bizarre circumstances surrounding the death of a special prosecutor. So perhaps it makes sense that the country's Oscar nominee for best foreign language film is called Relatos salvajes, Spanish for Wild Tales. The film is an anthology — a collection of six separate and unrelated stories — every one of which lives up to that title.

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Television
12:25 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

For Host Larry Wilmore, A Year Of 'Extraordinary' Highs And 'Humbling' Lows

Larry Wilmore debuts Comedy Central's The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore on Jan. 19.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images for Comedy Central

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 1:12 pm

Larry Wilmore has been consumed with making his new late-night show prime viewing. And he wants to make one thing clear: He has "no desire" to host The Daily Show when Jon Stewart leaves later this year.

"I'm doing my show right now," Wilmore tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm very happy doing it."

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Monkey See
11:22 am
Thu February 19, 2015

As CBS' 'Two And A Half Men' Ends, Questions On How It Lasted So Long

Jon Cryer, left, and Ashton Kutcher in a scene from Kutcher's 2011 debut on CBS' "Two and a Half Men."
DANNY FELD ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 2:12 pm

As CBS' Two and a Half Men airs its final episode tonight, capping its 12th season, critics like me are stuck trying to answer a single, niggling question:

How did a show like this end up as the longest-running multicamera comedy in television history?

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Book News & Features
8:03 am
Thu February 19, 2015

In These New Comics, Getting Your Wish Isn't Always Great

In Scott McCloud's The Sculptor, a young artist discovers that having the ability to sculpt anything doesn't mean he has the vision or the drive to turn that ability into success.
First Second

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 11:26 am

At heart, mainstream superhero comics are about adolescent wish-fulfillment, "a power fantasy for people who feel powerless," as Astro City author Kurt Busiek once put it. Heroes like the ones in Busiek's comics overcome obstacles and break down barriers. They revel in great power and deal with great responsibility. They fight villains as colorful and outsized as themselves. And they represent a form of escapism from the mundane world.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Creepy, Brilliant 'Touch' Will Possess You

Courtesy of Hachette Book Group

There are at least two reasons why I should hate this book.

One: I have a horror of impersonation narratives. The idea of someone looking like me but running around being a jerk to my friends and family is so profoundly unsettling that I still haven't watched more than the pilot of Orphan Black.

Two: I hate stories about memory loss.

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Hollywood Jobs
1:22 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Never Seen And Sometimes Barely Heard, Loopers Fill In Hollywood's Soundtrack

Loopers (from left) Nathalie Ciulla, Lanei Chapman, Aaron Fors and Catherine Cavadini walk through the studio lot after a looping session.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 4:33 pm

When the Oscars are handed out on Sunday, the red carpet, the ceremony, the films and people who are honored, will be all about being seen. But there's a group of actors who will never be seen on screen. They're only heard — and barely.

Loopers are voice actors whose work begins after the show or film is shot and edited. Their job is to record what people in the background of a scene could be saying. Their dialogue is never really heard at full volume — and it's mostly ad-libbed.

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Media
1:00 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

David Remnick Looks Back On Tough Decisions As 'The New Yorker' Turns 90

David Remnick has been the editor of The New Yorker since 1998.
Courtesy of The New Yorker

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 4:21 pm

When David Remnick took the job as editor of The New Yorker in 1998, he learned quickly to make firm decisions about contentious stories. Just a few months into the position, Remnick called Si Newhouse, the magazine's owner, to tell him about a piece he was running that was accusing "all kinds of high-level chicanery."

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