Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 3:50 pm
A reminder from weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz that Round 9 of our Three-Minute Fiction, our writing contest where our listeners write an original short story, is now open. The story must be based on the following challenge from our judge Brad Meltzer: The story must revolve around a U.S. president, who can be fictional or real and that the short story has to be 600 words or less. Listeners can submit their story online at www.npr.org/threeminutefiction.
Time magazine named author and pastor Brian McLaren one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America.
McLaren has written more than 20 books, and he is a principal figure in the Emerging Church, a Christian movement that rejects the organized and institutional church in favor of a more modern, accepting community.
McLaren's new book is called Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World.
Co-founders of Lynx Exhibits, Michael Churchman and Laurie Paternoster, along with Education Director Deborah Chaney, talk about El Paso's only locally-owned museum specializing in engaging, hands-on traveling exhibits that make learning fun.
Twenty years ago, writer George R.R. Martin left the television industry because TV executives kept telling him his ideas were too expensive to shoot. So he went home and wrote A Game of Thrones. It was the first novel in an epic fantasy series that's now sold millions of copies and has been made into a hit TV series by HBO ... where executives keep telling him his ideas are too expensive to shoot.
Gen. Thomas-Alexandre Dumas was one of the heroes of the French Revolution — but you won't find a statue of him in Paris today.
He led armies of thousands in triumph through treacherous territory, from the snows of the Alps to the sands of Egypt, and his true life stories inspired his son, Alexandre Dumas, to write The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
In Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, Amy Adams plays Peggy Dodd, the spouse of a charismatic spiritual leader, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Adams says her character is smart and educated but feels "more powerful behind a man than in front of a man."
Amy Adams has played a Disney princess, a puckish Amelia Earhart, an innocent young nun and a blogging Brooklynite who wants to follow the recipe for being Julia Child.
But she takes a more steely turn in her latest role in The Master, which has just opened in New York and Los Angeles. The film, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, also stars Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
One night in 1947, an intensely curious 5-year-old boy named Michael McCleery asked his father for a story. So his father, William McCleery, produced a tale that revolved around a wolf named Waldo, a hen named Rainbow, and another little boy, the son of a farmer, named Jimmy Tractorwheel. Over weeks and weeks, William serialized the story, telling it in installments to Michael and his best friend during bedtimes and Sunday afternoon outings.
Challah is a rich, eggy bread baked every week for the Jewish sabbath, or shabbat. But for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year that starts tomorrow at sundown, it gets a few tweaks. There's a little extra honey or sugar, for a sweet new year. And instead of the usual long braid, it's round.
We taped this week's show with half of us in D.C. and half of us — me and Trey, plus NPR's own Bob Mondello — in a studio in Toronto. Why? Because of the Toronto International Film Festival, which provides the front half of the show. Trey, Bob and I talk about a bunch of the films we saw, many of which you can see covered on the blog's TIFF '12 section.
One of the most interesting books I've read so far this year has been This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz. And there's a reason it's such a well constructed read — as NPR's Steve Inskeep pointed out — it took Diaz 16 years to write.
Onstage at the Toronto International Film Festival, Jackie Chan describes his first visit to the United States. "I speak no English at that time — I do not even know how to order breakfast. Everyone know ... you know the story?"
Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master is both feverish and glacial. The vibe is chilly, but the central character is an unholy mess — and his rage saturates every frame. He's a World War II South Pacific vet named Freddie Quell, played by Joaquin Phoenix to the hilt — the hilt above the hilt. We meet him at war's end on a tropical beach where he and other soldiers seek sexual relief atop the figure of a woman made out of sand.
And now, we turn to Faith Matters. That's the part of the program where we talk about matters of faith, religion and spirituality. This Sunday night marks the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the beginning of what are known as the High Holy Days, for observance used, the most spiritually profound time of year.
In the 1990s, a photo historian made a wonderful discovery: In a trove of boxes headed for the trash was a view of American history like he'd never seen it. That is, America in color, as early as 1938.
Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 5:55 am
The opening moments of Francine find Melissa Leo, playing the title role, standing naked, wet and blankly confused in a prison shower. She's on the verge of release after an unspecified crime and an unspecified period of incarceration, and the visual metaphor is an obvious one: a woman in middle age experiencing rebirth, coming into her new world in much the same way she entered at the start.
Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 5:23 pm
Stolen is very different from Pierre Morel's 2008 exploitation megahit Taken: There are six letters in its title, not five. It's set in New Orleans, not Europe. And it stars Nicolas Cage, not Liam Neeson. So any resemblance between these two films about fathers who'll stop at nothing to get their kidnapped offspring back is purely coincidental.
Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 6:08 am
In his first big-screen sitcom, HappyThankYouMorePlease, writer-director-star Josh Radnor emulated Woody Allen. Radnor's second feature, Liberal Arts, is less Allenesque, except for one crucial, and vexing, aspect: It's about an older man's infatuation with a younger woman.
Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 11:12 am
Overheard after a screening of The Master:
"So I guess this is an unfinished print?"
"Nope. This is the one they're rolling out."
And it's true that there are moments, especially toward the end of its meandering 137 minutes, when The Master feels like a series of brainy but disconnected thoughts about 20th-century America. That's how writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson works, and for those who don't insist on coherence or closure in narrative any more than they do in life, it's part of the thrilling madness of his method.
Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 10:55 am
Anyone looking for a moral high ground — or any high ground at all — in Arbitrage will be sorely disappointed. And that's only one of the reasons that Nicholas Jarecki's family-and-finances drama, handsomely photographed by Yorick Le Saux, is so appealingly adult.
At a time when filmmakers might be under some pressure to punish the 1 Percent, Jarecki (who also wrote the script) chooses instead to remind us that making and keeping scads of cash is rarely accomplished by the fainthearted or the foolish.
I was packing up my recording equipment after interviewing TV executive Susanne Daniels — for a different story — when she said, casually, "Have you ever noticed how there's never been a really great TV show about college?"
I looked at her. Then I started unpacking my equipment again. She had just offered me a story.
Last year, the broadcast networks didn't do well at all when it came to new series development. We got ABC's clever Once Upon a Time, which was about it for the fall crop, until midseason perked things up with NBC's Smash. Otherwise, a year ago, all the exciting new fall series were on cable, thanks to Showtime's brilliant Homeland and FX's audacious American Horror Story.
Hanna Rosin's pop sociology work The End of Men, based on her cover story in The Atlantic magazine, is a frustrating blend of genuine insight and breezy, unconvincing anecdotalism. She begins with a much-discussed statistic: three-quarters of the 7.5 million jobs lost in our current recession were once held by men.