Arts

Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

'Barbara': An Unbroken Spirit In The Eastern Bloc

Barbara is assigned to work with Andre (Ronald Zehrfeld), who admires her spark even as she keeps him at arm's length.
Adopt Films

Christian Petzold's Barbara, set in 1980 East Germany, is a film about watching and being watched. Its central character, the Barbara of the title — played, in a covertly spectacular performance, by the German actress Nina Hoss — is a doctor who's just been transferred by the government from Berlin to the provinces, as punishment for some undefined but easy-to-guess transgression.

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The Salt
10:53 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Elixirs Made To Fight Malaria Still Shine On The Modern Bar

Shaken with splash of malaria drug, please. The original James Bond martini is made with gin, vodka and Kina Lillet, a French aperitif wine flavored with a smidge of the anti-malaria drug quinine.
Karen Castillo Farfan NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:23 am

This week, our colleagues over at the Shots blog have been talking a lot about malaria. And, here at The Salt, that got us thinking about one thing: gin and tonics.

As you probably know, tonic is simply carbonated water mixed with quinine, a bitter compound that just happens to cure a malaria infection, albeit not so well.

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Monkey See
9:21 am
Thu December 20, 2012

It's A Wonderful (Italian-American) Life

Dean Martin and his pal Frank Sinatra are responsible for delivering some of the most beloved Christmas recordings.
AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:17 am

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Best Books Of 2012
5:03 am
Thu December 20, 2012

5 Young Adult Novels That You'll Never Outgrow

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:05 pm

This was a strange and wonderful year for young adult fiction — but also a confused and divisive one. We learned that 55 percent of young adult fiction was read by adults. Debates raged over what constituted a young adult novel versus an adult novel. Apologetic grown-ups sneaked into the teen section of the bookstore, passing subversive teens pattering into the adult paranormal and literature and mystery shelves.

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Arts & Life
2:31 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Hollywood Execs Shift Programming After Newtown Shooting

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 3:43 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

For decades, Hollywood has been in the business of selling violence. But in the aftermath of Friday's school shooting in Connecticut, it's time to prove it's sensitive, too. NPR's Mandalit Del Barco reports that movie studios, TV networks and radio stations have shifted some programming and high profile premieres.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Quentin Tarantino's new spaghetti western "Django Unchained" stars Jamie Foxx as a freed slave in the Deep South working with a bounty hunter to find his wife.

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Movie Interviews
2:31 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Naomi Watts, Mulling 'The Impossible'

Maria (Naomi Watts) and her family, including her son Lucas (Tom Holland), fight to survive when they are caught in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Jose Haro Summit Entertainment

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 10:55 am

The Impossible, a feature film opening Dec. 21, is about a family swept away by the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. It's based on the true story of a Spanish family.

In the movie, they're British — a couple and their three young sons, on vacation in Thailand. It looks like paradise. Then, the earth trembles, and the ocean roars in, bringing with it catastrophe and heartbreak.

The mother is played by Naomi Watts, who spoke with NPR's Melissa Block about the film and its retelling of a grimly familiar story.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
1:58 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

In 'Red Pyramid,' Kid Heroes Take On Ancient Egypt

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 3:43 pm

If there was a recipe for the best-selling writer Rick Riordan, it would go something like this — start with a love of storytelling, fold in more than a decade of teaching middle school English, combine that with two sons of his own who don't quite share their dad's love of literature, and marinate all of that with a deep passion for mythology.

Riordan has sold tens of millions of kids' books. He hit pay dirt with the Percy Jackson series — it's about an everyday kid who has superhero powers because he's the secret son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea.

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Movie Interviews
9:12 am
Wed December 19, 2012

'Not Fade': Rock 'N' Roll, Here To Stay

Director David Chase and Executive Producer and Music Supervisor Steve Van Zandt on the set of Not Fade Away.
Barry Wetcher Paramount Vantage

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:58 am

In some ways, the film Not Fade Away is an extension of the friendship between the film's writer and director, David Chase, and its executive producer and musical supervisor, Steven Van Zandt.

Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, first encountered Van Zandt on TV, when Van Zandt introduced the Rascals to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. Chase soon cast Van Zandt as Silvio Dante on The Sopranos, and the two became close, bonding in particular over their love of pop music from the 1960s.

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Best Books Of 2012
5:03 am
Wed December 19, 2012

In 2012's Best Mysteries, Mean Girls Rule

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 8:56 am

Mean girls and their ingenious female creators top my mysteries and thrillers list this year. Maybe it takes the special discernment of a female writer (who's presumably suffered through the "Queen Bee and Wannabee" cliques of middle school) to really capture the cruel mental machinations that can hide behind a pair of shining eyes and a lip-glossed smile.

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You Must Read This
5:03 am
Wed December 19, 2012

War Writ Small: Of Pushcarts And Peashooters

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:55 pm

Adam Mansbach is the author of the forthcoming novel Rage is Back.

Stealing my 9-year-old nephew's copy of The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill was the best thing I did last summer. I was his age the first time I read it, and twice his age the last time I went back to it. I'm twice that old again now, but as soon as I dove into this intimate, majestic tale of war writ small — of a battle between the pushcart peddlers and the truckers of New York City — I realized how timeless, and how deeply a part of me, the story was.

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Books News & Features
1:49 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Self-Publishing: No Longer Just A Vanity Project

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

They used to call it the "vanity press," and the phrase itself spoke volumes. Self-published authors were considered not good enough to get a real publishing contract. They had to pay to see their book in print. But with the advent of e-books, self-publishing has exploded, and a handful of writers have had huge best-sellers.

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Movie Interviews
1:49 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Bigelow And Boal, Dramatizing The Hunt For Bin Laden

Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 10:58 am

Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to take home the Oscar for best director for her film The Hurt Locker in 2010. Mark Boal walked away with a statue for writing the film, and the duo shared the honor of taking home the award for best picture later that evening.

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Kitchen Window
11:58 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

A Gluten-Free Holiday Table

Nicole Spiridakis for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 9:39 am

My family's holiday traditions are simple but consistent: Wake up Christmas morning, drink lots of coffee, eat a good breakfast, and wish each other happy happy. If the weather is nice, we postpone the present opening and pile into the car to head directly to the beach for a walk — a sunny December day along the Northern California coast is something to celebrate. Later, we cook a delicious dinner and sit around the table with a fire glowing in the fireplace nearby.

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Movie Reviews
3:58 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Shedding Grim Light On A 'Dark' Story

CIA operative Joseph Bradley (Kyle Chandler) discusses a sensitive operation with Dan (Jason Clarke).
Jonathan Olley Sony Pictures

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 3:43 pm

With the screen pitch-black at the start of Zero Dark Thirty, we hear the confusion and alarm of Sept. 11, 2001: News reports that a plane has hit the World Trade Center, then the voices of a 911 operator reassuring a frightened trade center worker that she'll be OK, though she won't.

When the screen finally brightens, it's for a grim "black site" interrogation half a world away — a nephew of Osama bin Laden (Reda Kateb) strung up from the ceiling, bruised and bloodied, finally cut down only so that he can be waterboarded and stuffed into a tiny crate.

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Movie Reviews
3:27 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

A Touching, Tragic Look At 'Amour' In Autumn

Georges' (Jean-Louis Trintignant) love for his wife, Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), is tested in their old age when her failing health becomes a heavy burden.
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 9:22 am

We know from the outset that there's a death coming in Michael Haneke's Amour, a magisterial study of mortality that carried off the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival — and currently tops best-picture lists all over the world. But when we first meet Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) and Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), retired Paris music teachers in their 80s, they're in the pink and enjoying a piano recital given by one of Anne's former pupils.

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Spirit Of The Season
2:56 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

At A Real-Life Santa's Workshop, Christmas Comes Early

Lou Nasti runs a factory in Brooklyn that makes animatronic Christmas displays. He's been at it for almost 44 years.
Neda Ulaby NPR

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:16 pm

"Everyone calls me Geppetto," announces Lou Nasti. "I mean, look at me: The glasses, the gray hair — and I play with dolls. Come on."

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Movie Interviews
11:50 am
Tue December 18, 2012

'Unchained' Admiration Between Actor And Director

Christoph Waltz (right, with Jamie Foxx) stars in Quentin Tarantino's new film Django Unchained.
Andrew Cooper The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 10:56 am

When Christoph Waltz auditioned for the role of SS officer Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino's 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, he read the passage assigned for the audition, then kept going until he had gone through the entire role as Tarantino himself filled in for the other parts.

"It was partly hilarious, partly just fabulous, partly scary," Waltz tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And we arrived at the end and then we parted and I said to the casting director, 'If this should have been it, it was definitely worth it,' and, well, then they called me back."

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Music
10:11 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Danica McKellar: Billy Joel Helped Teen Stress

You may remember Danica McKellar as Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years. Today, the actress is also a math advocate and the author of Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape. In Tell Me More's 'In Your Ear' series, McKellar talks about the songs that helped her beat stress as a teen and inspire her as an adult.

The Salt
8:11 am
Tue December 18, 2012

In Search Of The Perfect Egg

Rupert Stephenson

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 11:23 am

Just as there are purebred dogs and purebred horses, there is also purebred poultry. Since its founding in 1877, the Poultry Club of Great Britain has been the main organization in the U.K. dedicated to safeguarding "all pure and traditional breeds" of chicken, ducks, geese and turkey.

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Books
7:03 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Don't Hide Your Harlequins: In Defense Of Romance

fortunes of love

Hi, my name's Bobbi. I read romance.

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Best Books Of 2012
5:03 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Romantic Reads From Shakespeare To Steampunk (Heavy On The Steam)

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Sun December 23, 2012 10:41 am

My favorite "best of the year" list is the Bad Sex in Fiction award, even — or perhaps because — it eschews the romance genre. This year's winner was just announced: Nancy Huston's Infrared, whose heroine celebrates the "countless treasures between [her] legs." But I'm not writing a Best Romance of the Year list, because I don't think the idea even works for my genre.

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History
1:20 am
Tue December 18, 2012

WWII 'Canteen Girl' Kept Troops Company From Afar

During World War II, "Canteen Girl" Phyllis Jeanne Creore spoke and sang to the troops and their loved ones for 15 minutes every week on NBC radio.
Courtesy of Phyllis Jeanne Creore Westerman

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 4:07 am

American service members have long spent holidays in dangerous places, far from family. These days, home is a video chat or Skype call away. But during World War II, packages, letters and radio programs bridged the lonely gaps. For 15 minutes every week, "Canteen Girl" Phyllis Jeanne Creore spoke and sang to the troops and their loved ones on NBC radio.

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The Salt
11:26 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Sandwich Monday: The Mighty McRib Returns

NPR

[Note: Every year we celebrate the return of the McRib to McDonald's menus by not eating one. Below, our original review, with some updates.]

Once again, the signs outside McDonald's say "McRib is Back!" My girlfriend pointed out that it is indeed back. And front, and other parts probably best not to mention.

Eva: This reminds me of particleboard, but with meat.

Ian: It's Particlemeat.

Mike: In the Garden of Eden, God made Eve out of Adam's rib. Then he made Grimace out of a McRib.

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Monkey See
10:31 am
Mon December 17, 2012

2012 In Review: 10 Films Worth Going Out Of Your Way For

Dreama Walker in Compliance.
Magnolia Pictures

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Movie Interviews
9:25 am
Mon December 17, 2012

'Guilt Trip': Streisand On Songs, Films And Family

Barbra Streisand is Joyce Brewster in The Guilt Trip. The multitalented performer has won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony — a feat achieved by fewer than a dozen artists.
Sam Emerson Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 10:27 am

If a good voice is genetic, it's likely Barbra Streisand got hers from her mother. Streisand's mother was too shy to ever perform professionally, but she had a lyric soprano and would sing at bar mitzvahs in their Brooklyn neighborhood when Streisand was a girl.

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Three Books...
5:03 am
Mon December 17, 2012

3 Books To Read Before The End Of The World

Getty Images

According to the adherents of the 2012 apocalypse theory, rooted in a controversial reading of ancient Mayan numerology, Earth is going to break into pieces and/or be consumed by a solar flare and/or disappear into a black hole on Dec. 21, right before Christmas.

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Best Books Of 2012
5:03 am
Mon December 17, 2012

True Originals: Biographies That Defy Expectations

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:26 pm

It's probably not true that truth is stranger than fiction, but in the hands of a great biographer, it can be just as compelling. Novelists can create unique and unforgettable characters — there's never been anyone quite like Jane Eyre or Ignatius J. Reilly — but there's no shortage of fascinating literary protagonists who just happened to exist in real life.

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Monkey See
1:30 am
Mon December 17, 2012

No. 1 At The Box Office? Four Reasons Why It Doesn't Matter

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was No. 1 at the box office this past weekend. But a No. 1 ranking means less about whether a movie will be profitable — and more about a fleeting cultural moment.
James Fisher Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 3:19 pm

This weekend, millions of Americans trekked across Middle Earth with Bilbo Baggins. The result? The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was No. 1 at the North American box office. It joins the list of other films that ranked No. 1 one their opening weekends, such as Underworld Awakening, Paranormal Activity 4 and Batman.

But here's the thing: The weekend battle at the box office doesn't necessarily decide the war in Hollywood, says Edward J. Epstein, author of The Hollywood Economist. Epstein says to be skeptical of what you read in Hollywood rags.

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Movie Interviews
4:42 am
Sun December 16, 2012

Hunt For Bin Laden More Than Just One Woman's Fight

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 10:17 am

It is one of the most compelling real-life dramas in recent history — chronicled in documentaries, news stories and books — and now the hunt for Osama bin Laden is coming to the big screen.

Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal are the latest to embark on a Herculean task of summing up the more-than-a-decade-long CIA search for the leader of al-Qaida.

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Sunday Puzzle
4:42 am
Sun December 16, 2012

Sticking With The Sunshine State

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 10:25 am

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with "F" and the second word starts with "LA."

Last week's challenge: Name a major U.S. city in two words. Take the first letter of the first word and the first two letters of the second word, and they will spell the standard three-letter abbreviation for the state the city is in. What city is it?

Answer: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Winner: Mark Sobolik of Newburg, Ore.

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