Arts

Movie Reviews
4:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

A Tournament Of Terror, But It's All About ... Empowerment?

In Raze, stunt performer and actress Zoe Bell plays Sabrina, a woman kidnapped and forced to fight for her life in an underground tournament.
IFC

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:36 pm

Raze may be a term most often associated with buildings, but in Josh C. Waller's debut feature, it's something done to bodies and minds. The film takes the power dynamics and the gladiatorial spectacle of the Hunger Games — the powerful forcing the unsuspecting to fight to the death, mostly for the sick entertainment of the rich — and crosses it with the lurid exploitation of '60s women-in-prison cinema, only without the sex.

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Movie Reviews
4:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

In A Past-Plagued Laos, A Youth Chases A Future

Kia (Loungnam Kaosainam) and Ahlo (Sitthiphon Disamoe) bond when they encounter each other in a Laotian refugee village in The Rocket.
Tom Greenwood Kino Lorber

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:02 pm

To help his struggling family and escape his own status as an outcast, a plucky young boy enters a competition. Yes, The Rocket is a sports movie, with an outcome that's easily foreseen. The cultural specifics of this Laos-set tale, however, are far less predictable.

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Movie Reviews
4:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

A Nation And Its Youth, Struggling To Be 'In Bloom'

In the chaos of post-independence Georgia, 14-year-old Natia (Mariam Bokeria) receives a present from her romantic interest — a gun — in In Bloom.
Big World Pictures

The title of In Bloom refers both to the movie's 14-year-old protagonists, Eka and Natia, and to the burgeoning Georgian nation where the film, set a year after that country's independence, is set. The double meaning becomes clear early on. What takes longer to recognize is the title's bitter irony.

The film takes place in 1992, by which point the newly sovereign Georgia had already started descending into what would become years of civil war, particularly in Abhkazia and South Ossetia, two territories with Russian-backed independence movements of their own.

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Movie Reviews
4:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Mommy Issues Writ Large For A Troubled Teen

Kaya Scodelario plays a melodramatic teenager obsessed with her mother's death in The Truth About Emanuel, the second film from director Francesca Gregorini.
Tribeca Film

What's a domestic melodrama without a mom to kill off, to sicken, to render monstrous or otherwise AWOL?

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The Two-Way
3:38 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Writer And Activist Amiri Baraka Dies At Age 79

Poet and activist Amiri Baraka, seen here during the 1972 Black Political Convention in Gary, Ind., has died at age 79.
Julian C. Wilson AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:26 pm

Amiri Baraka, the writer who was born LeRoi Jones, has died at age 79. Baraka's career spanned art and activism: He was an influential poet and an award-winning playwright who didn't shy away from social criticism and politics.

"Baraka had long struggled with diabetes, but it was not immediately clear what the cause of death was," reports the New Jersey Star-Ledger. The author and activist was a native of Newark.

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It's All Politics
3:16 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Gates Unleashed: Ex-Defense Chief Goes Scorched Earth On Congress

In his new memoir, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is unsparing in his criticism of Congress.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 7:14 pm

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made international news this week with the release of a memoir that serves up a big helping of unvarnished criticism of his former boss, President Obama.

But his scalding of the sitting commander in chief seems practically tame compared to the beat down he delivers to members of Congress.

And that includes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who, Gates asserts, once urged him to have the Defense Department "invest in research on irritable bowel syndrome."

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Book Reviews
2:02 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

'Stringer': Finding Your Feet In The Chaos Of Congo

Image from cover of Stringer

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:19 am

In journalism, a stringer is a freelance reporter or photographer who gets paid on the basis of each story or picture sold. So, much of the time there's no regular salary, no living allowance, and often, no travel subsidy. It's a tough way to make a living; especially since the competition in a major market like New York or London is prohibitively fierce. The trick for a young journalist is to find a location rich in material but light on the competitive side; the more poverty-stricken, dirty, corrupt and dangerous, the better.

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Movie Interviews
1:06 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Not-So-Cheery Disposition: Emma Thompson On Poppins' Cranky Creator

In Saving Mr. Banks, Emma Thompson plays Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, who, Thompson says, hated the whole idea of having her book made into a film.
Francois Duhamel Disney Enterprises

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:13 pm

Emma Thompson grew up in London, the daughter of two actors. She went to Cambridge University, then began performing in sketch comedy on stage and television before getting into dramatic roles.

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Book Reviews
1:00 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Empty Nester In 'The Woods': A Modern Dantean Journey

drbimages iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:27 pm

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Allowing for translation, those are the immortal opening lines of Dante's Divine Comedy. Here, some seven centuries later, are some of Lynn Darling's opening lines from her new memoir, Out of the Woods: "The summer my only child left home for college, I moved from an apartment in New York City, to live alone in a small house at the end of a dirt road in the woods of central Vermont."

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Monkey See
10:44 am
Thu January 9, 2014

'Parks And Recreation': Good For Nerds, Good For America

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope and Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt on NBC's deeply pro-nerd Parks And Recreation.
Colleen Hayes NBC

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 1:56 pm

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Ask Me Another
9:49 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Colorful Names

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:28 pm

What do Vanna White, James Brown, and Ron Burgundy have in common? In this final round, puzzle guru Art Chung asks you to identify famous people or fictional characters who has a color in their name.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Ask Me Another
9:49 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Happy Geek Colors

Potter and designer Jonathan Adler takes to the puzzle podium for his Ask Me Another challenge.
Josh Rogosin NPR

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:28 pm

Host Ophira Eisenberg puts designer Jonathan Adler in the puzzle hot seat for a quiz all about how certain colors got their name. Does the guy who coined the word "chambeige" know which color is named after a desert-dwelling animal that also gives its hair to make overcoats? Find out.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Ask Me Another
9:49 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Homophones To Phone Home About

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:28 pm

What would you call a type of neck-wear worn while participating in a form of exercise founded by Billy Blanks? A "Tae Bo-bow tie"! In this game, host Ophira Eisenberg offers clues to phrases or compound words that change meaning when the words are reversed.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Ask Me Another
9:49 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me What To Do

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:28 pm

Unfortunately, you won't be able to duet with Carl Kasell in this game. But we encourage you to sing along and identify songs with the word "don't" in the title, as performed by house musician Jonathan Coulton. For starters, we're pretty sure that Andrew Lloyd Webber song is not called "Don't Drink That Blue Margarita."

Ask Me Another
9:49 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Random Questions With: Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler in New York City.
Joshua McHugh

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:28 pm

Designer Jonathan Adler's colorful, eye-popping pillows, rugs and vases adorn the interiors of many discerning homeowners, but his dream of creating a home furnishings empire was nearly deferred. Early in his career, discouragement from his pottery teacher at the Rhode Island School of Design and several unfulfilling jobs at talent agencies in New York City left Adler at his wit's end. But these events only fueled his fire to live out the pottery dream. Adler taught night classes at a pottery studio called Mud, Sweat & Tears (potter puns!) and eventually opened his own studio.

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Ask Me Another
9:49 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Indigenous Diligence

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:28 pm

If Neapolitans are people from Naples, where do Sconnies come from? This game, led by house musician Jonathan Coulton, is all about demonyms — words that describe a person who hails from a particular geographic location.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Ask Me Another
9:49 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Brevity Is The Soul Of Wit

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 11:48 am

In keeping with the title of this game, we'll keep this explanation short. All the answers in this game will be two-letter words. That's it!

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Record
7:02 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Loving Morrissey The Way We Used To, Despite Lacerating 'Autobiography'

Morrissey performing in Seattle last March.
Mat Hayward FilmMagic

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 11:31 am

"Loudly and wildly the music played, always pointing to the light, to the way out, or the way in, to individualism, and to the remarkable if unsettling notion that life could possibly be lived as you might wish it to be lived."

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The Two-Way
6:06 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Book News: Cache Of Letters From 'Frankenstein' Author Found

An image of author Mary Shelley, circa 1830.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:40 am

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

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Author Interviews
3:30 am
Thu January 9, 2014

A Former Child Soldier Imagines 'Tomorrow' In Sierra Leone

Orphaned by the civil war in Sierra Leone, Ishmael Beah told his own story in A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. Radiance of Tomorrow is his first novel.
John Madere Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux,

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:21 am

Ishmael Beah was just barely a teenager when his town became engulfed in Sierra Leone's civil war in the mid-1990s. In his 2007 memoir, A Long Way Gone, Beah describes how, after he lost his parents and brothers to the conflict, he wandered the countryside with a band of boys and was recruited as a child soldier by government forces. The memoir describes the hellish atrocities committed by child soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

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Europe
2:37 am
Thu January 9, 2014

No Rain On His Parade: Parisian Preserves Art Of Umbrella Repair

An estimated 15 million umbrellas are thrown away in France each year. Thierry Millet is trying to change that, one umbrella repair at a time.
Lejeune Maxppp /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 9:21 am

When an umbrella breaks, most people just throw it away — and pick up another one, from a street vendor or maybe a drugstore.

But what if you got it repaired instead? Would you even be able to find someone who could do the work?

In Paris, it's still possible, but just barely. What was once a thriving profession has dwindled dramatically. These days, Thierry Millet, 58, says he is the city's last umbrella repairman.

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Author Interviews
6:08 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

In An Age Of Slavery, Two Women Fight For Their 'Wings'

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:29 pm

Sue Monk Kidd's new novel is a story told by two women whose lives are wrapped together — beginning, against their wills, when they're young girls. One is a slave; the other, her reluctant owner. One strives her whole life to be free; the other rebels against her slave-owning family and becomes a prominent abolitionist and early advocate for women's rights.

The book, The Invention of Wings, takes on both slavery and feminism — and it's inspired by the life of a real historical figure.

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The Salt
3:21 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

This GMO Apple Won't Brown. Will That Sour The Fruit's Image?

Soon after being sliced, a conventional Granny Smith apple (left) starts to brown, while a newly developed GM Granny Smith stays fresher looking.
Courtesy of Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:29 pm

If you (or your children) turn up your nose at brown apple slices, would you prefer fresh-looking ones that have been genetically engineered?

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All Tech Considered
3:07 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

TV Makers Look To Pack More Pixels Into Your Home TV With 4K

Hollywood studios are wary of "ultra HD" or 4K TV making people more picky about what they watch in cinemas. But first, the TVs have to become mainstream.
Gero Breloer AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 7:21 pm

Companies from Sony and Samsung to Netflix and Google's YouTube are putting their money into TVs that pack more pixels. Several models are on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

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Television
1:57 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

On TV This Week: 'Babylon' Has Good Fun, 'Detective' Is The Real Deal

IFC's The Spoils Of Babylon follows a sister (Kristin Wiig) and adopted brother (Tobey Maguire) caught up in a passionate romance.
Katrina Marcinowski IFC

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 3:55 pm

Two new miniseries this week are worth special mention — and couldn't be more different.

True Detective, which begins Sunday on HBO, is a combination series and miniseries, kind of like American Horror Story on FX. Each season is designed to tell a different, self-contained story, followed the next year by a new tale with new characters and sometimes even new actors. This first season of True Detective is an eight-hour murder mystery starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, neither of whom is expected to return next season.

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Europe
1:57 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

The 'Pussy Riot' Arrests, And The Crackdown That Followed

Pussy Riot members Yekaterina Samutsevich (left), Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass-walled cage in a Moscow court on Oct. 10, 2012.
Natalia Kolesnikova AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 3:19 pm

Masha Gessen is a prominent journalist who is also a lesbian and an outspoken LGBT rights advocate in Russia. After Russia passed two anti-gay laws in June, she decided it was time for her, her partner and their children to leave. In late December, they moved to New York.

"The only thing more creepy than hearing someone suggest the likes of you should be burned alive is hearing someone suggest the likes of you should be burned alive and thinking, 'I know that guy.' "

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Monkey See
9:56 am
Wed January 8, 2014

'Saturday Night Live' Takes A Very Important First Step

Screenshot

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:03 am

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Kitchen Window
7:14 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Leftover Liquor Finds New Life As Liqueur

Eve Turow for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 6:24 am

Years ago, on an overnight bus ride in Argentina, a waiter poked his head through the drawn curtains: "Whiskey or Tia Maria?" he offered as a post-meal drink. Unfamiliar with the latter, I decided to take a taste. He steadied himself on the rocking walls and poured me a serving of the almond-colored digestif. I could smell the coffee aromatics as I took my first sip. The sweet liqueur popped on my taste buds with flavors of vanilla, coconut and rum. "Good, right?" he asked. I nodded. As the sugar and alcohol settled my stomach, I knew I had to learn more about this dinnertime tradition.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Book News: Biography Of Fox's Roger Ailes Alleges Sexism, Anti-Semitism

Fox News Channel chief Roger Ailes attends a 2012 Hollywood Reporter celebration of "The 35 Most Powerful People in Media" in New York City.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:56 am

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

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New In Paperback
6:02 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Jan. 5-11: A Beer Empire, A Habit Explainer And A New Kind Of Warfare

August A. Busch (center) and his sons, Adolphus III (left) and August Jr., seal the first case of beer off the Anheuser-Busch bottling plant line in St. Louis on April 7, 1933, when the sale of low-alcohol beers and wines was once again legal. Prohibition didn't officially end until Dec. 5 of that year.
AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:31 am

*Some of the language in the summaries above has been provided by publishers.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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