Arts

Book Reviews
3:01 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Power And Violence In Ukraine And Mexico

A woman walks with a child in Kiev's Independence square.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 9:35 pm

This week's headlines have been dominated by the violent protests in Kiev, the ousting of President Victor Yanukovych, and the amassing of Russian troops at the Ukrainian border. Writer Anthony Marra says that if Soviet war journalist Vasily Grossman were alive today, he'd likely be breaking news from Independence Square.

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Movie Reviews
1:11 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

'Kids For Cash,' Or Perhaps Not — But A Broken System For Sure

Sandy Fonzo confronts Judge Mark A. Chiavarella on the courthouse steps after he was convicted in the "Kids for Cash" scandal in 2011. Fonzo's son, who eventually committed suicide, was among thousands Chiavarella had sent to a juvenile detention facility from which he'd received a "finder's fee."
SenArt Films

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:53 pm

There's a moment, toward the end of the documentary that centers on him, when Judge Mark A. Chiavarella breaks down, his voice cracking as he mourns the likelihood that his grandchildren won't have him in their lives.

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Faith Matters
11:30 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Rep. Keith Ellison Wonders Why 'People Care' About His Muslim Faith

Alex Brandon AP

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Movie Reviews
11:09 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Liam Neeson's Action Chops Take Flight In 'Non-Stop'

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 12:24 pm

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Liam Neeson became a bankable action hero in 2008 with the thriller "Taken." Now almost 62, he's still getting out of tight corners with his fists in the new action thriller "Non-Stop," most of which unfolds on a transatlantic flight from New York to London. The film also stars Julianne Moore and Michelle Dockery. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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Barbershop
11:03 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Should The NFL Police The N-Word?

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 11:30 am

The National Football League is considering a 15-yard penalty for players using the N-word on the field. The Barbershop guys weigh in on that and other news of week.

Race
11:00 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Will President's Initiative Be A 'Game-Changer' For Young Men Of Color?

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 11:30 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Monkey See
8:33 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Bob And Linda Read Internet Movie Reviews, Part Nine: '12 Years A Slave'

Bob And Linda Read Internet Movies Reviews
NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:42 am

This year, we wanted to look back at the nine best picture nominees and remind ourselves — and you — that reactions to film are complicated, hilariously varied and wonderfully individual. So we looked over every comment for every nominee at RottenTomatoes.com, and we brought you some of our favorites.

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This I Believe 2014
7:35 am
Fri February 28, 2014

26 Letters

Amelia Paries - Lanphier HS
Credit Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

From the moment we're born, we're bombarded with an endless array of words. Long, short, pretty, ugly—but all meaningless. Until we’re taught to read and write. But, even before then, we have to learn the alphabet. It's amazing, truly, how many ways those 26 little letters can be manipulated; the seemingly endless combinations that make up the language we know and take for granted. I love words. I love how they can take simple bedding and turn it into softly ruffled sheets, bathed in sleepy whispers and sweet dreams.

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Monkey See
7:25 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Oscars Omnibus Of 2014

NPR

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 10:41 am

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

Sunday night, the Oscars will come around once again, and we'll be watching. But before we do, we got together with All Things Considered film critic, silly video partner, emoticon learner and all-around great pal Bob Mondello to talk about all nine of the Best Picture nominees: American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska, Philomena, Her, Wolf Of Wall Street, 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, and Captain Phillips.

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The Two-Way
7:07 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Book News: Author Criticizes S.C. School Funding Cuts Over Gay-Themed Books

Alison Bechdel is the author of the graphic memoir Fun Home and the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For.
Elena Seibert Courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Code Switch
6:03 am
Fri February 28, 2014

The Count Of Many Mistresses: Alexandre Dumas' Lively Life

For this second installment of the NPR Books/Code Switch Black History Month project, we asked the legendary Kyle Baker — his work includes Why I Hate Saturn, and stints on the X-Men, Deadpool and Plastic Man — to illustrate one of his literary inspirations. Baker chose Alexandre Dumas, creator of the Three Musketeers — whose life was almost as eventful as his fiction. We recommend you click on the enlargement to get the full effect of all the detail!

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NPR Story
4:21 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Action Hero Liam Neeson Stars In 'Non-Stop'

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 6:27 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now any day of the week is a good time to watch Liam Neeson play an action hero. He famously chased down bad guys and blew things up in the movie "Taken" and its sequel a few years back. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review of "Non-Stop," Neeson's latest action flick.

KENNETH TURAN: "Non-Stop" is a crisp, efficient thriller that benefits from the intangibles Liam Neeson brings to a role.

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Movies
4:21 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Oscar Swag Bag Valued At $85,000

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 6:27 am

The Oscars are this Sunday, and Hollywood stars will flock to the red carpet with hopes of getting an Academy Award. But even those who don't get a trophy, still get a pretty nice consolation prize.

Oscars 2014: The 86th Annual Academy Awards
2:27 am
Fri February 28, 2014

A Cowboy Stunt Double Who Made The Stars Look Good

Dean Smith, doubling as Maureen O'Hara, with stuntman Lee McLaughlin on the set of McClintock!
Courtesy of the Smith Family

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:25 pm

For 40 years, Dean Smith made his living as a stunt double in Hollywood Westerns — including eight Oscar winners and nominees — like True Grit, The Alamo and How The West Was Won.

"I was able to make all the leading men look good," Dean tells his wife Debby in an interview with StoryCorps. And not just men, he adds.

"One time, I doubled [as] Maureen O'Hara. I got the clothes and I got this big red wig. When I got back on the set, they laughed at me and they said my legs didn't look too much like Maureen's," he laughs.

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Oscars 2014: The 86th Annual Academy Awards
2:20 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Keen Eyes, Uncanny Instincts Keep Films In Sharp Focus

On location for Walk of Shame, camera crew members Larry Nielsen (center) and Milan "Miki" Janicin (right) help set up a crane shot. The wireless focus remote Nielsen will use is hanging from that purple carabiner on his jacket.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 1:41 pm

You won't believe it — I didn't — but the person responsible for keeping each and every shot of a movie in focus never looks through a camera lens.

"No," says focus puller Baird Steptoe. "We do not look through the camera at all."

Steptoe has worked as a first assistant cameraman on films from The Sixth Sense to Thor to last year's Grownups Two. He says he's learned to judge distances — precise distances — with his naked eye alone.

"I mean, I can tell you roughly from you to me right now," he says. "I would say about 2-11."

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Oscars 2014: The 86th Annual Academy Awards
2:19 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Oscar Glow, Today's Tech Help Short Films Find Their Fandom

One of this season's Oscar-nominated shorts is Mr. Hublot, a French-language animated film about a reclusive man who must learn to adapt to a new housemate — a robot dog.
Zeilt Productions

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:53 am

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Movie Reviews
6:39 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Mouse, Meet Bear, And Let's All Make Friends

A bear named Ernest, voiced by Forest Whitaker, befriends the young mouse Celestine, voiced by Mackenzie Foy, even though their societies forbid it.
Gkids

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 12:26 pm

Animated movies excel in bringing to life the impossible stories, the ones drawn from fairy tales and mythology and the ones exploring the imaginary lives of creatures and things. It's an incredibly attractive notion, isn't it, to imagine there's a whole world going about its business, just out of sight?

The French-Belgian animated film Ernest & Celestine takes on that idea twice over, investigating the fictional lives of bears and mice, two societies living side by side, utterly intrigued by and terrified of each other.

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Code Switch
4:46 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

New Academy President Pushes For More Diverse Voting Members

Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the first black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and only the third female president.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:57 pm

For the first time, this year's best director Oscar could go to a Mexican (Alfonso Cuaron, for Gravity) or a black Brit (Steve McQueen, for 12 Years a Slave). That film's lead actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, is also in the running for an award; so is his Kenyan co-star Lupita Nyong'o, who was born in Mexico. This year's nominees are diverse, but the people who vote for the Oscars are not.

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Movie Reviews
4:24 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

'Non-Stop': Liam Neeson, Armed And Dangerous Again

Liam Neeson is a federal air marshal on an imperiled flight in Non-Stop, the latest film to feature the actor as a troubled action hero.
Myles Aronowitz Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:03 pm

"Have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air?" So asks one character in Edgar Wright's excellent 2007 comedic tribute to buddy-cop movies, Hot Fuzz, in a moment meant to highlight the simultaneous ridiculousness and awesomeness of that particular action-movie trope.

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Movie Reviews
4:04 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

A Meet-Cute Romance With A Delicious Twist

Ila (Nimrat Kaur) is a Mumbai housewife who accidentally begins a correspondence with another man when the lunch she packs for her own husband goes astray.
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:57 pm

When people talk about Bollywood movies, they usually mean Indian romances with extravagant musical numbers. But there are smaller Indian films, too, and one that has earned international acclaim at film festivals is opening tomorrow in major U.S. cities. It's called The Lunchbox.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

In 'Stalingrad,' Where The Fog Of War Is Plenty Thick

Teenage civilian Katya (Mariya Smolnikova) shares a ruined apartment with a gang of Soviet soldiers during the battle of Stalingrad in Fedor Bondarchuk's Stalingrad.
Sony Pictures

If you're only going to see one film about the Battle of Stalingrad — and there are many — Stalingrad would be the wrong choice. Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk's treatment of the World War II turning point is shallow and contrived, if sometimes impressively staged. The movie wins points, however, for sheer wackiness.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

A Legacy Of War, Hitting Home Decades Later In Norway

Katrine (Juliane Kohler) has a golden life in Norway — and a dark secret rooted in Eastern Germany, in the dark days of war and division.
Tom Trambow IFC Films

Decades after the end of World War II, the partly burned body of a young woman was found in a wooded area near the Norwegian town of Bergen. Her possible connection to a long-simmering Norwegian scandal, one dating back to the war, became the subject of a novel by Hannelore Hippe — and, in turn, of Two Lives, a new thriller loosely based on that novel.

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Book Reviews
3:07 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Book Review: 'Night in Shanghai'

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Shanghai in 1936 was on the verge of Japanese occupation. Our reviewer Alan Cheuse says it makes a terrific setting for new novel by Nicole Mones. It's called "Night in Shanghai." The book showcases the multicultural and moneyed scene of Shanghai's prewar heyday.

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Monkey See
2:42 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Hurts So Good: Getting A Kick Out Of A Movie Punch

Don't mess with Liam Neeson! He will get you with his phone! Or whatever else is handy! He will beat you up, is what we're saying.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:34 am

My favorite parts of Non-Stop, in which Liam Neeson adds airplane bathrooms to the list of things out of which he has beaten the snot, are the silliest parts. The slow-motion parts. The gravity-defying parts. The parts where everybody in the audience cracks up, but not unkindly.

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All Tech Considered
1:55 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

'Rent It Out': Portlandia Spoofs The Sharing Economy

In one episode of Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen started a grass-roots campaign to prevent the Olympics from ever coming to Portland.
IFC

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 4:16 pm

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Space
1:36 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains Why The Cosmos Shouldn't Make You Feel Small

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts a new TV series called Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey. It's an update of the influential 1980 PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Journey, hosted by Carl Sagan.
Patrick Eccelsine Fox

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:45 am

When it comes to "callings" we usually think of people who feel drawn to religious career paths. But if you ask Neil deGrasse Tyson how he became an astrophysicist he says: "I think the universe called me. I feel like I had no say in the matter."

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Remembrances
1:36 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Remembering Harold Ramis, Master Of The 'Smart Dumb-Movie'

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Harold Ramis, who died earlier this week, was a writer, director and actor who played a key role in several of the most popular comedies of the last half-century. His list of credits includes "Animal House," "Caddyshack," "Meatballs," "Stripes," "Ghostbusters," and of course "Groundhog Day." Our critic-at-large John Powers is a fan and says there was more going on in Ramis' work than you might think.

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Wisdom Watch
11:56 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Dangerous Dad Of 'Scandal' Turns The Tables

Actor Joe Morton has appeared in films like Speed and Terminator 2 and TV shows like Law & Order and The Good Wife.
Matt Sayles AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 3:15 pm

Actor Joe Morton's latest role puts him at the center of the ABC thriller Scandal. He plays Rowan Pope, the commanding and sinister father of Kerry Washington's Olivia.

Morton's Hollywood resume spans four decades and includes hit films like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Speed and the cult classic Brother From Another Planet.

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Movies
11:50 am
Thu February 27, 2014

'12 Years A Slave' Screenwriter Talks Grit, Grace And Survival

12 Years A Slave writer and producer John Ridley joined Michele Norris in NPR's Studio 1 for a wide-ranging conversation.
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 3:53 pm

Was screenwriter John Ridley a bit nervous the night before this year's Academy Award nominations were announced? Absolutely.

How could he not be, when everywhere he went people approached him to say that he deserved an Oscar nod for his work on the film 12 Years a Slave. But those nerves were not evident when he sat down before a live audience at NPR Headquarters just hours before he did indeed get that Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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The Two-Way
9:54 am
Thu February 27, 2014

'Calvin & Hobbes' Creator Pens His First Public Comic In 18 Years

Stripped Film

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:10 am

Almost two decades after publishing his last Calvin & Hobbes comic strip, elusive cartoonist Bill Watterson is back — with a film poster. The documentary, Stripped, is a self-described "love letter to comic strips" that includes interviews with, among others, Jeff Keane of Family Circus, Richard Thompson of Cul de Sac and Watterson himself.

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