Apollo Robbins may be one of the few people in the world to proudly identify as a professional pickpocket. He shows off his skills in Vegas and elsewhere, and works as a consultant to help all kinds of organizations protect themselves from people like him.
We've invited Robbins to play a game called "Try to pick this pocket, hot shot!" He may know all about picking pockets, but what does he know about Hot Pockets? Three questions about microwavable turnovers.
F. Scott Fitzgerald first saw his future wife from across a crowded room at a country club dance in Montgomery, Ala., where he was in basic training and she was waiting to be discovered by the world. They wed in 1920, and the two went on to have a famously turbulent marriage — tarnished by personal and professional jealousy, alcohol abuse and mental illness — which they both immortalized in their writing.
In <em>The Sapphires</em>, an R&B-loving musician helps turn four Australian aboriginal women into a soul act. From left: Julie (Jessica Mauboy), Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell), Gail (Deborah Mailman) and Kay (Shari Sebbens).
Credit The Weinstein Company
Tony Briggs' <em>The Sapphires</em> screenplay was inspired by his mother, Laurel Robinson, who regularly sang with her sisters and cousins in the '60s and '70s.
Credit Mike Coppola / Getty Images
In the film, as in real life, The Sapphires travel from Australia to Vietnam to entertain American troops.
In the late 1960s, an all-girl singing group hit it big. But they didn't come from Detroit or Memphis — the four young aboriginal women hailed from the Australian Outback.
At the time, aboriginal people were just gaining basic civil rights, like voting and being counted as Australian citizens. The girls faced intense racism at home, but they took their act all the way to Vietnam to entertain American troops.
Philip Roth turned 80 years old this week, and his hometown of Newark, N.J. — a city he left long ago, but often returns to in his books — honored the man often acclaimed as America's greatest living novelist with a marching band, a birthday cake in the shape of books piled high and lots of symposia.
A woman who moves from Boston to be near the grave of her lover; the widow of a judge who keeps a scrapbook of murder and crime; an 85-year-old who has always seen the sunnier side of life; an old man feigning dementia. In the fictional Pine Haven retirement center, together and separately, these characters face the ends of their lives. They're the stars of Jill McCorkle's new novel, Life After Life, which balances humor and sorrow as it explores the moment of death.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:30 pm
Chinua Achebe, the prominent Nigerian novelist and essayist who died on Thursday, said in a 1994 interview with the Paris Review, "There is that great proverb — that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter."
What surprises me about the ongoing discussion of violence in cinema and whether it influences violence in the real world is how people fail to engage with the male fantasy behind these films. There's a template for them, a theme; it hinges on violation and vengeance. A seminal action picture of the last 50 years is 1988's Die Hard, in which a lone male cop operates behind the scenes after an ingeniously orchestrated foreign attack on American soil. He's symbolically emasculated — he has no gun or even shoes, his wife is now going by her maiden name.
Chinua Achebe, widely considered the grandfather of modern African literature, has died at the age of 82. His popular book, Things Fall Apart, tackled the effect of colonialism on Africa, and has sold more than 10 million copies. Host Michel Martin is joined by NPR Africa Correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton to look back on his life and work.
Tina Fey stars as Princeton University admissions counselor Portia Nathan in the new comedy <em>Admission</em>. Fey says the movie's frankly manic depiction of the college application melee appealed to her.
Credit David Lee / Focus Features
Lily Tomlin plays Susannah, the ardently feminist mother of Fey's character, in <em>Admission</em>.
Writer, actor and producer Tina Fey stars in a new movie out today called Admission, a film that's nominally about getting into college. Fey plays an admissions officer at Princeton University, one of those diligent bureaucrats who cull thousands of applications in search of a small cadre of brilliant young people who will be the freshman class.
Ask Me Another goes Hollywood with an hour of games and puzzles inspired by Tinseltown. Ever think that Gone With the Wind should really be a TV series, and each episode should start with Rhett, Scarlett and friends at a coffee shop? If so, play along as host Ophira Eisenberg leads "Small Screen Adaptation." Plus, we rework some movie theme songs in the style of Randy Newman in "Let's Get Randy," with a cameo appearance by music duo Paul and Storm.
We continue the hour of our favorite games about the silver screen. Can you think of a movie that does not star Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, or Anthony Hopkins? Go on, name one; or just play along with "He Was In That?" Then guess the titles of mashed-up movie plots in "Double Feature." Plus, it seems even movie monsters have a hard time finding love — so we make Godzilla an online dating profile in a game called "E-Horror-Mony." Join host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton as they lead the show.
It's the final act of Ask Me Another's collection of favorite movie games. Find out what gets lost in translation when American movies go global. We wonder if it's true what they say: is there really no such thing as an original idea? And we wrap things up by examining films with hilarious subtitles. Air Bud: Golden Receiver, anyone? Ophira Eisenberg and puzzle gurus Art Chung and Will Hines take you through "Movies In Other Languages," "All Movies Are The Same" and "Electric Boogaloo."
The makers of the animated Vikings comedy How to Train Your Dragon have come up with an animated caveman comedy that might as well be titled How to Train Your Father. Instead, they've called it The Croods, and centered it on a cavegirl named Eep (Emma Stone) who has a dad she sees — entirely accurately, let's note — as a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal.
High-strung Princeton University admissions counselor Portia (Tina Fey) finds old love — and a surrendered child — when she visits the Vermont prep school where old schoolmate John (Paul Rudd) is a teacher.
Credit David Lee / Focus Features
Portia's mother, Susannah (Lily Tomlin), is an ardent feminist and seems to have ignored her struggling daughter for years.
Half an hour into Paul Weitz's new comedy, Admission, it dawned on me that I was watching an Americanized About a Boy -- which admittedly was also directed by Weitz. Both movies are adapted from other people's novels; both cobble together families out of the waifs and strays of modern life.
But where About a Boy was both funny and wise about urban alienation, Admission settles for skin deep.
The girls of <em>Spring Breakers </em>(from left, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Korine and Selena Gomez) live in the kind of fluorescent world where skimpy bathing suits fit within court appearance dress codes.
Wanna-be gangsta rapper and drug lord Alien (James Franco) takes the vacationing college students under his wing after they get arrested during their spring break.
In the '70s and even into the '80s, exploitation movies used to come to us naked and innocent, rarely pretending to be anything more than what they were. Now, pictures intent on delivering cheap thrills tend to arrive dressed in art-house costumes, much like the ones Harmony Korine's killer college girls wear in his arch little sociological study, Spring Breakers.
For the Bronx graffiti artists of Gimme the Loot, Adam Leon's sweet, vibrant debut feature, "Bombing the Apple" is the holy grail of tagging achievements.
"The Apple" in question is the protuberance that emerges from behind the center-right wall in Shea Stadium — they refuse to acknowledge the corporate name Citi Field — every time a New York Mets player hits a home run.
Brothers Rash and Mo (James Floyd and Fady Elsayed) live in the rough working-class London neighborhood of Hackney — but which sibling is the titular designee in <em>My Brother the Devil</em> gets harder and harder to determine as the film goes on.
Shot entirely in Hackney — a mostly ungentrified London borough — My Brother the Devil has a strong odor of authenticity. The main characters are of Egyptian origin, but their friends include people rooted in West Africa and the Caribbean. All are linked by poverty, alienation and a gangsta worldview popularized by American movies and hip-hop.
The HBO movie Phil Spector is a production that demands attention because of the heavyweight names attached. First, of course, there's the subject of the drama: Spector himself, the man who invented the "wall of sound," and recorded hits for everyone from the Crystals, Darlene Love and Ike & Tina Turner to the Beatles and the Righteous Brothers. Oh, and who also went on trial, in 2007, for the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson.
In director Antoine Fuqua's new action thriller, Olympus Has Fallen, the White House — code-named "Olympus" — is invaded by North Korean terrorists. The president and his staff are held hostage in an underground bunker, and their only hope of coming out alive is a disgraced Secret Service agent.
In theaters March 22, the film opens at a politically sensitive time, perhaps by coincidence. North Korea is much in the news for its nuclear threats and its rocky relationship with South Korea.
It's like this: Makeda is trying to make a clean break from her old life by getting a super's gig in a bohemian Toronto warehouse of artsy up-and-comers. And it won't be easy — she's still riddled with guilt and uncertainty, after having struggled for years to care for her bedridden father and to get out from under the shadow of her twin sister, Abby, who's kind of a diva and has a lot of pull in the family.
Elizabeth Strout's newest book begins with crime. Zach, the youngest member of the Burgess family, throws a severed pig's head through the front door of a mosque in his quiet, rural Maine town. The mosque is run by a recently arrived community of Somali immigrants, who have already faced some hostility from the town. Everyone is shocked, but no one more so than Zach himself.