Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon prepare to take off for a U.S. tour on Aug. 13, 1965. Fourteen days later, they'd find themselves in a much-anticipated but very awkward meeting with Elvis Presley.
There are roughly 21 funerals a day at Arlington National Cemetery. The majority are simple graveside burials. But for those soldiers who have earned "full honors," the casket is brought to the grave by a team of horses pulling a caisson.
These horses are the subject of a new series of portraits by 35-year-old Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas now on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The horses seem sad, and Dumas says that's what drives her work.
Stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia gained fame with his wry and witty monologues on This American Life. Now, along with TAL host Ira Glass, he's made one of his stories into a new movie called Sleepwalk with Me.
Molly Ringwald made her name as one of the "Brat Pack" of actors who appeared in John Hughes' teen films in the '80s. She starred in <em>The Breakfast Club</em> and <em>Sixteen Candles</em>, among others.
Most people know Molly Ringwald from her star turns in John Hughes' signature teen comic dramas from the 1980s, including Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink.
And Ringwald is still acting — she currently plays the mother in the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. But she's also turned her hand to writing. Her new book — and first novel — is called When It Happens to You.
When we first meet Nasser Ali, the protagonist of Chicken with Plums, he's a mess. He loves his children, but doesn't support them. He has never really loved his wife — though he likes a dish she makes, chicken with plums. He was an accomplished violinist, but his wife shatters his violin to hurt him; she believes his instrument is the only thing that he truly loves.
As Nasser Ali peels back his life, in 1958 Tehran, we begin to learn about the broken heart that's beneath his sadness, madness and flights of genius.
Cambodian author Vaddey Ratner was just a child when the Khmer Rouge came banging on the doors of her aristocratic family's compound in Phnom Penh. She's fictionalized that experience — and the years of hardship that followed — in her new novel, In the Shadow of the Banyan.
She survived — and so does her heroine, Raami — in part because she remembered the poems and stories her father loved.
This interview was originally broadcast on July 26, 2011. Donald Ray Pollock's The Devil All the Time is now out in paperback.
Knockemstiff, Ohio, is a tiny hamlet in southern Ohio. In the 1950s, Knockemstiff had three stores, a bar and a population of about 450 people. Most of those people, says fiction writer Donald Ray Pollock, were "connected by blood through one godforsaken calamity or another."
This interview was originally broadcast on May 21, 2012. Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator is now out on DVD.
Actor and writer Sacha Baron Cohen is famous for taking his characters — Ali G., Borat, Bruno — into the real world, interacting with people who have no idea that they're dealing with a fictional character. But his new movie, The Dictator, is a scripted comedy about a tyrant on the loose in New York.
Sixteen-year-old Arik (Tuval Shafir) becomes an apprentice to Yankele Bride (Adir Miller), a matchmaker with eccentric practices. Among their clients is Sylvia (Bat-El Papura), a little person who runs the local cinema.
Credit Eyal Landesman / Menemsha Films
Bride (Adir Miller), Clara (Maya Dagan) and Meir (Dror Keren) are all part of <em>The Matchmaker</em>'s world of quirky love and barely repressed trauma.
Arik, the 16-year-old Israeli at the center of The Matchmaker, doesn't get why everyone keeps talking about love. It's the summer of 1968 in Haifa, and though the American summer of love is just a recent memory, Arik (Tuval Shafir) couldn't care less — he finds war immensely more interesting.
The "know your farmer" concept may soon apply to the folks growing your coffee, too.
Increasingly, specialty roasters are working directly with coffee growers around the world to produce coffees as varied in taste as wines. And how are roasters teaching their clientele to appreciate the subtle characteristics of brews? By bringing an age-old tasting ritual once limited to coffee insiders to the coffee-sipping masses.
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 10:31 am
What's an American family these days? Many different things, but while television — a domestic medium to its marrow — has an affectionate finger on the pulse of the changing modern family, movies often seem stuck in a sorry dysfunction held over from the late 1960s, when we awoke to find that jolly Beaver Cleaver had morphed into miserable Benjamin Braddock, and while Mrs. Robinson tippled discreetly in the bedroom, Father, far from knowing best, went clueless or missing.
The words "inspired by true events" are the first things to appear on screen in Compliance, Craig Zobel's queasy thriller of discomfort. I knew that this was the case going in, and had heard the basic facts of the "strip-search prank-call scam" that serves as the movie's inspiration. But I didn't know the full details — and as an ever-increasing load of humiliation and indignity was piled on the teenage fast-food worker at its center, I found myself getting angry with the film, assuming that Zobel was amping up the severity of real events for dramatic effect.
Irane (Golshifteh Farahani) is the one who got away from violinist Nasser Ali (Mathieu Amalric) — and her loss consumes the musician in <em>Chicken with Plums,</em> a new film from Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud.
Credit Patricia Khan / Sony Pictures Classics
When he returns to Tehran after his touring days are over, Nasser Ali is pushed by his mother into a marriage with a woman (Maria de Medeiros) he doesn't love.
A parable of art and love, and a political allegory to boot, Chicken with Plums centers on an Iranian musician who wills himself to die. Yet the story that then unfolds, mostly in flashback, could hardly be more vital and engaging.
A matinee idol for the age of HDTVs and "retina displays," Robert Pattinson has a face that seems to require a higher resolution — glossy and ghostly pale, all sleek lines and alabaster skin. As Edward Cullen, the emo vampire in the Twilight saga, Pattinson plays a creature so immaculately inhuman that he literally sparkles in the sunlight. Edward may be over a century old, but Pattinson has become a thoroughly modern, even futuristic teen heartthrob, looking at all times as airbrushed as his many Entertainment Weekly covers.
The monosyllables fly fast and furious in The Expendables 2. It's the joints that are a little creaky, but what would you expect from this sequel to the 2010 blockbuster in which a cadre of aged action stars, led by Sylvester Stallone, gathered to fire guns, blow things up and beat the living daylights out of assorted baddies?
Even if most fans of hand-drawn animation have made peace, to a degree, with digital technology, the pleasures of old-school stop-motion animation are still rare and precious. There's something elemental about watching a movie that's been made by moving small figures around and filming them, frame by frame; even though there's always some digital technology involved in the making of a contemporary stop-motion film, the human touch always sings through the finished product.
Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 10:53 am
With Love Songs, his 2007 musical, French writer-director Christophe Honore updated such 1960s bonbons as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg for our age of expanded erotic frankness and possibility. Beloved, Honore's second musical, goes even farther, layering death, AIDS and Sept. 11 among the merry melodies.
This stylish film is enormous fun, whirling and warbling across four decades of amour. But it stumbles a few times in its last half-hour and ultimately seems a little too frisky for the graver issues it addresses.
In <em>Robot & Frank</em>, a robot cares for an aging ex-burglar who has dementia. Frank Langella, who plays the burglar, says his character "becomes fond of the robot only because it is a tool for his wicked, wicked ways."
Credit Samuel Goldwyn Films and Stage 6 Films
Frank Langella, who earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Richard Nixon in <em>Frost/Nixon</em>, stars in the new film <em>Robot & Frank,</em> about an aging ex-burglar. He says he was drawn to the unsentimental role.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 9:25 am
If lately you've noticed the farmers' market flooded with signs that say "donut," "cling," "whiteflesh" and "freestone," you won't be surprised to learn that August is National Peach Month. Though the juicy fruits pack the produce aisles now, in a few short months a good peach might be hard to find.
Many fruits, though harvested in other parts of the world, are available in the United States all year long. So why are peaches so seasonal, and in the winter, either difficult to find or hard as a rock?
In a memorable (and much-parodied) 1983 television ad for a brand of instant, decaffeinated coffee, a gravel-voiced announcer asked: "What kind of people drink Sanka? People like Joe Zebrosky, underwater welder." The ad, one of a series featuring manly men in a variety of high-stakes professions, featured the aforementioned Zebrosky intoning: "Too much caffeine makes me tense. And down here, I can't afford that."
Beyond bratwurst, we generally don't think of German food as summertime food. In fact, many of us don't think about German food much at all. But one delicious German tradition is catching on this barbecue season — schwenker.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 9:27 am
It seemed normal enough when President Obama chatted with a coffee shop patron about beer in Iowa Tuesday. The president has shown he's a fan of beer — and it's the most politically expedient, "everyman" beverage a candidate can drink. But then the president told a man at Knoxville, Iowa's Coffee Connection cafe that he travels with his own home-brew — and gave him a bottle to prove it.
The longing for children is fertile literary ground; from it, authors have brought forth everything from satire to tragedy. In his new novel, Breed, Chase Novak goes for black-comic body horror, liberally splashed with blood. Alex and Leslie Twisden are a rich couple desperate to fill their Upper East Side townhouse with children. After years of failed fertility treatments, they learn from Alex's friend Jim about a mysterious, miracle-working doctor.
Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 1:15 pm
This year, some of the biggest names in cartooning offered major releases in genres ranging from alternative science fiction to historical fiction to memoir. Through a masterful blending of words and images, these five titles reveal the vast storytelling possibilities of the graphic-novel medium. Each book is created by a singular writer/artist, and offers a wholly unique point of view in both narrative and illustration.