Arts

Arts and culture

"I thought you wanted to loosen up," Charlotte (Judith Godrèche) asks Alex (Adam Scott) close to the end of Patrick Brice's The Overnight. "I do," Alex replies warily. "But I guess I'm just wondering what loosen up means at this point."

A subtle portrait of an EDM Adam, Eden is neither a star-is-born fable nor a soul-is-lost parable. In 1992, teenage Paul (Felix de Givry) gives his life to Paris' house-music scene. Two decades later, he reluctantly takes it back.

Pixar's Inside Out is the perfect tool for coming to grips with what has happened to Pixar itself. The film's most valuable insight is that it's natural to feel sad about growing up, which is true even when the thing growing up is a movie studio that has shepherded countless childhoods.

Cam Stuart (Mark Ruffalo), the bipolar father of two at the center of Maya Forbes' amiable domestic comedy Infinitely Polar Bear, comes to us attired in a scarlet swimsuit with matching bandana as he bangs furiously on the window of a car containing his departing wife, Maggie (Zoe Saldana), and small daughters Amelia (Imogene Wolodarsky) and Faith (Ashley Aufderheide). When his family visits soon after, Cam is an institutionalized zombie, medicated to the gills, his weight ballooning from the side effects of Lithium.

For the next few days, two large billboards in New York's Times Square are being given over to art created by the city's public school students. The project highlights students' work that's part of a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

"Art is my favorite subject. It lets me see new things," artist and fifth-grader Sharon Yang told a crowd Wednesday, according to member station WNYC.

NBC has worked out a deal to keep tarnished news anchor Brian Williams at the company, sending him to MSNBC to serve as anchor of breaking news and special reports.

But this brings a new question: How, exactly, can NBC get viewers to trust him again?

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Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Pick up a romance novel and you'll often get more than just a pleasant read – many fans of historical romance say their favorite books have given them a new grounding in history and geography by bringing long-lost people and places to life.

So I'd hazard a guess that few Americans under the age of 30 know much about Napoleon Bonaparte, beyond the fact that he was short and had a complex, unless they study history — or read romance.

There are a hundred writers that I want to have a beer with, but Etgar Keret isn't one of them.

I want to almost have a beer with him — to have plans and a time and a place — and then for everything to go wrong. For trains to break down, cabs to be late; for him to be delayed by a missing wallet or a flood in his hotel, for me to blow a tire and for my cell phone to die so that we miss each other, arriving at the bar at different times to find it actively on fire or already burned to the ground.

On the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte's most celebrated statement about food and warfare — "An army marches on its stomach" — is worth recalling.

Except there is no record of him saying it. Just as there is no record of Marie Antoinette saying, "Let them eat cake."

If he did say it, the words would have been as hollow as the stomachs of his soldiers. Though one of the greatest military generals of all time, Napoleon was surprisingly negligent about feeding his army.

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The notion that action speaks louder than words gets quite a workout in a new movie called The Tribe. It's the often-violent story of a teenager who tries to join the in-crowd at his new school. But on the film festival circuit, what has caused a lot of talk ... is that the film has no talk. Not a single syllable of dialogue.

Last weekend, HBO presented the season finales of its three Sunday night prime-time spring series, Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and Veep. This weekend, HBO unveils its new Sunday night lineup: the all-new second season of True Detective, and two new comedies, Ballers, starring Dwayne Johnson, formerly known as the wrestler called The Rock, and The Brink, starring Tim Robbins and Jack Black.

As a kid, Judd Apatow was obsessed with comedy. "No other kids in my school cared about it at all," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "There was no one to talk about it with."

That's all different now. Today, Apatow says there's a "giant culture of comedy nerds." But as a kid, he was on his own — and in some ways, that worked in his favor. "Back then I was alone and I had a little confidence about it because I felt like: 'This is my thing. This is the only thing that only I know about,'" he says.

Here's one way to attract readers: Spell out your title in Scrabble tiles. It worked for Stefan Fatsis's Word Freak in 2001, though that's not all that worked for that wonderful book, which remains the best about the game of Scrabble and its obsessed competitors.

'Modern Romance:' Love In The Age Of Demography

Jun 17, 2015

Editor's note: There is some adult language in this piece that some readers may find offensive.

They say that all actors really want to direct. That all journalists dream of being novelists. That all babies want to grow up to be cowboys. And that all comedians want to become data analysts. Okay, maybe not all comedians. Maybe just one: Aziz Ansari. And with his new book, Modern Romance, he finally gets his shot at living the dream.

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

Eight Midwestern river men — all jolly fellows — traveled from St. Louis to New York recently on a museum-to-museum voyage. George Caleb Bingham's 1846 painting The Jolly Flatboatmen is the star of a show opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Wednesday, but Bingham's painting belongs to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where it's hung, on and off, for more than 50 years.

Amazon's new romantic comedy Catastrophe begins with a whirlwind tryst that could have been ripped from the latest contemporary romance novel.

Rob is a handsome, witty American advertising executive in London on business. After a chance meeting in a bar, he has an amazing week of romance and sex with a sharp, beautiful Irish schoolteacher named Sharon.

As Israeli writer Etgar Keret waited for his son to be born, victims of a terrorist attack were being brought into the same hospital. "The idea that you bring your son into a world in which he can be hurt and killed by a random and violent act — it's kind of discouraging," Keret tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's scary enough ... assuming the responsibility of being a parent without having that in your face the day that your son is being born."

Audiobooks have traditionally been tricky to get right and even harder to make special. Very often, they're literally just books read aloud, to the best of the ability of a single, usually highly skilled reader. In fiction, you get readers who are asked to provide voices for however many characters the author invented.

Who's That Batgirl? 'Burnside' Charms Despite Stumbles

Jun 16, 2015

"I guess you can't trust any Batgirl these days," Barbara Gordon says roguishly (she does everything roguishly) in Batgirl Vol. 1: Batgirl of Burnside. It's a sly, even subversive line, referring to the fact that the role has been played by many different characters — and in many different ways — over the years. With Barbara's comment, the authors reiterate their cleverly layered theme: Identity, especially in the digital age, is anything but fixed.

Back in the day, this saying applied to pretty much everyone: "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream."

Nowadays, though, one friend is probably screaming for gelato, another for a vegan frozen dessert and yet someone else for sherbet.

But it's gelato, ice cream's Italian cousin, that's keeping more customers coming back. Gelato sales rose from $11 million in 2009 to an estimated $214 million in 2014, which has kept frozen dessert sales afloat, according to the market research firm Mintel.

In "The Miracle Worker," one of the nine stories that make up Mia Alvar's debut collection In the Country, a wealthy Bahraini woman hires a Filipino special education teacher to try to coax some communication from her daughter, a profoundly disabled girl with extensive physical deformities. The mother wants nothing more than for her daughter to be "normal." She explains to the teacher: "Often people do not love difference."

Welcome to the second session of the Morning Edition Reads book club! Here's how it works: A well-known writer will pick a book he or she loved. We'll all read it. Then, you'll send us your questions about the book. About a month later, we'll reconvene to talk about the book with the author and the writer who picked it.

In his stand-up, Aziz Ansari often talks about dating. And while he's now happily in a relationship, he's still fascinated with how people find each other — so fascinated, in fact, that he wrote a book about it called Modern Romance. The comic tells NPR's Audie Cornish, "I didn't want this book to be, you know, just for single people ... who are out there now, but I wanted to kind of do an overview of dating and relationships as a whole."

You may have heard that Jurassic World made more than $500 million worldwide in its opening weekend. That's $500 million, 5-0-0. Its nearly $209 million weekend in the U.S. alone makes it the highest-grossing U.S. opening weekend ever. That's ever, e-ver.

So how's the movie? It's fine. Does it justify having had the biggest domestic box-office opening weekend of all time? That's a pretty tall order for a pretty medium-sized movie, creatively speaking.

The initial "selling point" of Mia Alvar's debut short story collection, In the Country, is its fresh subject matter: namely, Filipinos living under martial law in the 1970s in their own country and in exile, working as maids, engineers, teachers, health care workers and hired hands in the Middle East and the United States.

Richard Nixon's presidency has always been one surrounded by questions and controversy: Why did he wiretap his own aides and diplomats? Why did he escalate the war in Vietnam? Why did he lie about his war plans to his secretary of defense and secretary of state? What were the Watergate burglars searching for, and why did Nixon tape conversations that included incriminating evidence?

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