Hey, thanks for sticking with us. It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Smith.
Opening this week in New York City, you can see a musical that demands a little something extra from its audience: endurance. The show is called "Life and Times," and it is more than 10 hours from start to finish. It's a production of Soho Rep at the Public Theater. And before the musical starts, the audience has that focus that you only see in marathon runners, preparing for the long haul.
Theweekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.
For actor Jeffrey Wright, whose credits include Basquiat, Syriana, W. and Broken City (currently playing in theaters) — the movie he could watch a million times is Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now.
Thirty years ago, Guy Kawasaki went to work for a computer company that was trying to change the business with a product named after a fruit. Since helping launch the Macintosh computer, Kawasaki has been a venture capitalist, an author and a business consultant.
It wouldn't do to call Insane City "a typical Dave Barry novel." What kind of thing is that to say about a book? The story begins with a bachelor dinner that goes off the rails, then brings in Russian mobsters, the fourth-place finisher in the Miss Hot Amateur Bod contest, a goodhearted escort and her "sales representative," if you please, an albino Burmese python — or is that a Burmese albino python?
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 1:26 pm
In the strictest terms, Jason Statham isn't the perfect candidate to play Parker, the single-minded career criminal created by the late Donald E. Westlake (working under the pseudonym Richard Stark). Statham, despite having built a career playing rough-and-tumble skull-busters, is just too much of a big pussycat.
As Westlake himself explained, Parker is angry: "Not hot angry — cold angry." Statham, with those inquisitive, cautious eyes and that slow-burning purr of a voice, can act cold, but he can never be cold. Even at his coolest, he's all heat.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 12:32 pm
Don't fear the haggis. Just think of it as a big, round sausage. That's what it is anyway.
Haggis is Scotland's national dish and every year on (or near) Jan. 25, it plays the starring role in Burns Suppers held around the world in celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns on his birthday.
The fact that President Obama's second inauguration took place on the same day as the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday felt right to many people, but some critics say the comparison is all wrong. Host Michel Martin and the Barbershop guys weigh in on that and other news.
Tell Me More remembers Ebony Magazine's former managing editor, Hans Massaquoi. He arrived in America as an outsider, after growing up black in Nazi Germany. Host Michel Martin speaks with his former colleague, Lynn Norment about his career and legacy.
Tina Fey's impersonation of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin helped draw record audiences to Saturday Night Live in the fall of 2008. The former head writer for SNL opens up about politics, satire and her Emmy Award-winning sitcom, 30 Rock, which will have its series finale on January 31.
Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 11:22 am
Back in the day – the 17th century – Vermeer, Rembrandt and the rest of the Dutch Golden Age crew blazed a trail for realism in art. Their work wasn't just technically dazzling; it was also distinctive. Instead of fat baby cherubs and saints, they painted the stuff of every day life. Often, that meant food.
In their hands, grapes popped with juiciness. Lobsters steamed, ready for cracking. Milk practically splashed the viewer as it poured from the jug.
We were all struck last week by Noel Murray's A.V. Club piece "The changing face of'nerds' (and autism) in popular culture," so we spent this week's first segment talking about the separate but related matters it raises of how popular culture deals with nerds and how it deals with autism, not to mention how it deals with the messy and imprecise crossover between the two.
Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 7:18 am
In the decade since Israeli director Eytan Fox made Yossi & Jagger, the precursor to his sublimely tender new drama Yossi, Israel has undergone two significant changes. A tacit and active homophobia has given way, at least in the open cultural climate of Tel Aviv, to a matter-of-fact acceptance of gay rights. At the same time, Israeli cinema has bloomed, becoming a thriving international presence in just about every genre.
The Gatekeepers is an Israeli documentary based on long interviews with the six surviving heads of the Shin Bet — that's Israel's domestic security service. These six "gatekeepers" were in charge for more than 30 years.
Time now for a home-viewing recommendation from NPR movie critic Bob Mondello. A quiet recommendation — because Bob is touting the Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection, a 14-disc set of classic silent comedies.
Silent film had three great clowns. Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp is the one everyone remembers; all-American daredevil Harold Lloyd is the one who made the most money; and Buster Keaton was the genius.
Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 10:11 am
There's a fine line between a genre filmmaker with an offbeat sensibility and a maker of prefab cult movies — someone who appeals too aggressively to a cult audience that doesn't yet exist. Don Coscarelli's career has inched too far across that line.
The creator of the Phantasm series, which developed a dense and satisfying (if fan-oriented) mythology, and the prime fantasy cheese The Beastmaster, Coscarelli has lately been a cult alchemist, mixing up quirky elements aimed at winning a following that his previous films won effortlessly.
Staging a one-on-one intervention with a drug-addicted friend carries certain risks. At the very least, the long-term survival of your friendship is in jeopardy. If the friend is a gun-obsessed meth head living in an abandoned shack in the middle of nowhere, your own survival may be in question.
But surely, whatever the other dangers of staging a forced detox, at the very least you don't usually have to worry about malevolent and potentially supernatural forces stalking you.
Framed for television and photographed in faded panels of astonishing blahness, Knife Fight is a dull political dramedy that ping-pongs between caustic misanthropy and soapy sentiment. Playing like a mashup of tropes from far superior small- and large-screen entertainments (Scandal, House of Lies, Ides of March), this clunky feature from Bill Guttentag is satire at its most soft-bellied and toadying.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:29 pm
To Mainers, cold-water shrimp pulled from the Gulf of Maine in midwinter by a shrinking fleet of fisherman are many things: fresh, sweet, delicious, affordable, precious.
"The absolute best thing about them is that they are almost exclusively ours," boasts Portland-based architect and Maine shrimp lover Ric Quesada. He revels in the fact that Maine shrimp don't travel well out of state. "You don't run errands with these in your car. They want to go right home and be eaten," he says.
In the introduction to his new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, Lawrence Wright writes, "Scientology plays an outsize role in the cast of new religions that have arisen in the 20th century and survived into the 21st."
The book is a look inside the world of Scientology and the life of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, who died in 1986. A recent ad for Scientology claims to welcome 4.4 million new converts each year.
All right everybody, this is what we've all been waiting for, our Ask Me One More final round. Our final elimination round will determine the grand champion of this week's ASK ME ANOTHER. Let's bring back the winners from all of our previous rounds. From Bingo: Tony Hightower.
EISENBERG: From Breakfast Cereal Haiku: Karl Devries.
EISENBERG: On with their heads: Tom Kelso.
EISENBERG: And Small Screen Test: Julieanne Smolinski.
Ali Smith's superb new book, Artful, began as a series of talks on comparative literature that were delivered at St. Anne's College, Oxford, in January and February of last year. It must've been one hell of a show. "The second week, the students had tripled," Smith told The Independent, and by the final week you couldn't find an open seat in the back row.