Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 9:45 am
Whenever the military rolls out some revolutionary new robot, folks are quick with the Skynet jokes. But in recent years, some robotic-evolution experiments suggest that robotic rebellion might end in applause rather than annihilation.
Take, for example, the robot KUKA — the hulking star of a French nouveau-cirque performance, Sans Objet, which premieres at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Friday. It's no special effect; it's a real robot, developed by the automotive industry in the 1970s.
As the old saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. In other words, the child takes after the parent; the son is a chip off the old block.
Of course, that's often not the case. Straight parents have gay children and vice versa; autistic children are born to parents who don't have autism; and transgender kids are born to parents who are perfectly comfortable with their gender.
Istanbul: Somebody's stolen a hard drive with info sensitive enough that ... oh, who cares? Bond is giving chase, and that's all that matters — cars careening through bazaars, motorcycles flying across rooftops until Daniel Craig's 007 lands atop a speeding train.
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 9:54 am
This election season, pundits have been fond of pointing out the near-50/50 split of the electorate and talking about how the American people are as deeply divided as at any other time in our history. The opening moments of Lincoln put those hyperbolic claims in perspective, as Steven Spielberg — with his usual flair for highlighting how truly ugly war really is — shows a nation so divided that its opposing factions are killing one another in numbers so extreme that the bodies are literally piling up on top of one another.
In two of her most prominent early roles — as Woody Allen's teenage girlfriend in Manhattan and as Dorothy Stratten, the slain Playboy centerfold in Bob Fosse's Star 80 — Mariel Hemingway played young women under the sway of older, more powerful men. Both characters are objects of beauty, and Hemingway's soft voice and hazy eyes reinforced their passivity, even as they hid a more introspective side. The overall effect is an innocent, almost childlike openness, like a blank slate ready for imprinting.
In Another Country is structured as three different stories around three women named Anne — all played by Isabelle Huppert. Moon Seong-keun plays Munsoo, a filmmaker with whom one of the Annes has an affair.
Credit Kino Lorber
The stories echo each other through similar events, themes and characters, including a lifeguard played by Yu Jun-sang.
It's never quite safe to trust your eyes — or your memory — when it comes to In Another Country, the latest effort from the playful and idiosyncratic Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo. Isabelle Huppert appears as three different characters, all apparently named Anne; she's thrice the star of a hypothetical movie within the movie, a screenplay coming together on the notepad of a young Korean woman living away from home.
Relocating Dangerous Liaisons, the 18th-century French erotic intrigue, to 1930s Shanghai is a bold move. And yet it's not especially surprising. In Chinese movies, that city in that decade frequently serves as shorthand for decadence. And what could be more decadent than two debauched ex-lovers cold-heartedly planning to destroy the innocence of not one but two virtuous women?
The Oscar race for best foreign-language film rarely comes without a helping of muslin-and-bonnet dramas stuffed with misbehaving royals, masked balls and burgeoning job opportunities for food stylists. As heritage cinema goes, however, the year's Academy Award entry from Denmark is a firecracker.
Two decades ago, James Balog was one of the people who couldn't wrap his head around the prospect of global warming. The threat seemed too abstract, and the science too linked to the sort of computer-model analysis he disdained.
But the geographer-turned-photographer (principally for National Geographic) doesn't think that way any more. Neither will most of the viewers of Chasing Ice, the documentary that observes Balog's efforts to chronicle the planet's shrinking glaciers.
If you read Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain as a manual on how to take over a state and turn it totalitarian, the first lesson, she says, would be on targeted violence. Applebaum's book, which was recently nominated for a National Book Award, describes how after World War II, the Soviet Union found potential dissidents everywhere.
"It really meant anybody who had a leadership role in society," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "This included priests, people who had been politicians, people who had been merchants before the war, and people who ran youth groups."
On Monday morning at about 5:30 (I'm an early riser), I woke up, swung my legs out of bed, and stepped into water.
I live in a basement apartment where I've been for four years, and almost exactly a week after I was blessedly lucky to avoid the superstorm — and at a time when some of my New York and New Jersey friends were still in the dark — a freaky plumbing/heating mishap wound up filling my entire apartment with about an inch of water.
Marbles, cartoonist Ellen Forney's excellent graphic memoir about being bipolar, opens with her in the middle of a 5 1/2-hour session in a tattoo parlor. Every time the needle traces a line, Forney writes, she can "see the sensation — a bright white light, an electrical charge." Those opening words are a perfect description of her book. From the very first page, Forney allows us to see sensation — to inhabit, as closely as possible, her bipolar world, from its manic, exhilarating highs to its oceanic, debilitating lows.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 1:39 pm
If you're a coffee drinker, chances are the cup of java you drank this morning was made from beans that were produced or harvested by women. Women's handprints can be found at every point in coffee production.
In fact, on family-owned coffee farms in Africa, about 70 percent of maintenance and harvesting work is done by women, according to an analysis by the International Trade Centre, but only rarely do women own the land or have financial control.
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 10:10 am
Leigh Bardugo is the author of Shadow and Bone.
Frank Herbert's Dune was the first coming-of-age story that resonated with me: drugs, destiny, messiah complexes — it had everything. But what really shook me was its scale. At age 12, my life was the tiny, miserable cycle of home, school and the mall. Dune cracked it all open. There was a hell of a good universe next door, several in fact, and that made my little world a lot more bearable.
In Oliver Sacks' book The Mind's Eye, the neurologist included an interesting footnote in a chapter about losing vision in one eye because of cancer that said: "In the '60s, during a period of experimenting with large doses of amphetamines, I experienced a different sort of vivid mental imagery."
He expands on this footnote in his new book, Hallucinations, where he writes about various types of hallucinations — visions triggered by grief, brain injury, migraines, medications and neurological disorders.
Barbara Kingsolver's commitment to literature promoting social justice runs so deep that in 1998 she established the Bellwether Prize (now the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction) to encourage it.
Lincoln's life has been adapted for the screen so often that there's room for the artistic liberties of films like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Credit Terry Chambers / Getty Images
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more omnipresent president than Abraham Lincoln. With his face on the penny, Mount Rushmore and a larger-than-life memorial, he's a fascinating and familiar figure for moviemakers to tell stories about.
Credit David James / DreamWorks Pictures
Daniel Day-Lewis stars as the 16th president in Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated Lincoln.
Credit Alexander Gardner/Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
The historical Lincoln, circa 1863, and Day-Lewis at the Academy Awards in 2008.
He's a statue in many a monument, a profile on the penny, a face on the $5 bill, and an animatronic robot at Disneyland. He's even carved into a mountain in South Dakota. So, of course, Abe Lincoln has been a character in the movies — more than 300 of them, in fact.
Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 1:26 pm
Burger King's Angry Whopper is a burger with bacon, jalapenos and something called Angry Onions, topped with something called Angry Sauce. It's got the best name of the three new items on the BK menu now appearing "for a limited time" to celebrate the Whopper's 55th Anniversary.
Something must have been in the tap water in Gloversville, N.Y., during the 1950s when Richard Russo was growing up there — something, that is, besides the formaldehyde, chlorine, lime, lead, sulfuric acid and other toxic byproducts that the town's tanneries leaked out daily.
But one day, a droplet of mead must have fallen into the local reservoir and Russo gulped it down, because, boy, does he have the poet's gift. In a paragraph or even a phrase, Russo can summon up a whole world, and the world he writes most poignantly about is that of the industrial white working class.
Louie talks with Lupe Campos, a student at the UTEP Department of Theatre & Dance. Campos is director of "The Fever Chart: 3 Visions of the Middle East," a play by Naomi Wallace based on true events. Campos talks about the training the actors undertook in preparing for their roles, and about her move as an actor in front of the stage to director behind the scenes.
"The Fever Chart" will be performed Nov 14-17 at 8 p.m., and Nov 18 at 2:30 & 7 p.m., at the UTEP Fox Fine Arts Studio Theatre (1st floor). Information: 915-747-5118.
Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 8:38 am
Aatish Taseer is the author of Stranger to History.
It is late at night in Delhi, and hot. In New York, my class is about to start. We will begin reading a new poem today, a fifth-century court epic by the greatest of all Sanskrit poets, Kalidasa. I'm drinking black coffees, eating peanuts and fighting to keep awake.
Among the areas hit hard by Superstorm Sandy were Manhattan neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and Chelsea, home to many of the city's art galleries, jazz clubs, dance venues and off-Broadway theaters. Jeff Lunden spoke with some of those making plans to get back to work now that power has returned.
The story of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden has captured the imagination of authors and film directors.
Just this year, the mission carried out by Navy SEAL Team Six has already been re-told in three books, including one written by a former Navy SEAL. Acclaimed film director Katherine Bigelow, who directed the film The Hurt Locker, is getting ready to release her treatment of the bin Laden raid in December.
On Sunday night, the National Geographic Channel will air its film about the raid, SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden.
On-air challenge: Every answer today consists of the names of two famous people. The last name of the first person is an anagram of the first name of the last person. Given the nonanagram parts of the names, you identify the people.