Arts

Movie Reviews
3:08 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

'Anna Karenina,' Rushing Headlong Toward Her Train

Karenin (Jude Law) tries to rein in his wife, Anna (Keira Knightley), as she pursues a flirtation and then an affair with a handsome young military officer in a new adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's iconic love story.
Laurie Sparham Focus Features

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 2:24 pm

After he'd finished reading Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, did director Joe Wright scribble on the last page, "Needs more pep?"

Wright is, after all, the man who put the cute little ampersand in Pride & Prejudice and gave us a giggly Lizzie Bennet rendered by Keira Knightley. Knightley is back again in the title role as the Russian chick who loves and loses and throws herself under a train.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Indie Queen Posey Reigns Over Familiar Territory

Posey has been making audiences laugh since the '90s in cult classics like Dazed and Confused and Best in Show.
IFC Films

When Parker Posey was crowned "queen of the indies" in the mid-to-late '90s, the title referred to her Sundance-dominating ubiquity. But it could just as well have applied to the Parker Posey type — powerful and wonderfully imperious, with a habit of cutting her underlings down to size.

That's the Posey who turns up in Michael Walker's tense comedy Price Check, where she plays a relentless corporate climber who shakes up a sleepy regional office. She inspires. She terrorizes. Whatever it takes to get the job done.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Putting Some Awkwardly Adolescent Fun In 'Funeral'

On the days they work funerals, Charlie (Alex Maizus) and his altar-boy friends have a habit of ditching school afterward and finding mischief.
Freestyle Releasing

The titular altar boys would probably enjoy Funeral Kings. The first feature from sibling filmmakers Kevin and Matthew McManus has most everything the average adolescent boy wants: swearing, smoking, swearing, gun violence, swearing and cute girls. And swearing.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

'Buffalo Girls' Fight For Survival In Rural Thailand

Buffalo Girls follows two 8-year-old professional Muay Thai fighters. Pet Chor Chanachai not only fights to support her family, but does so while suffering from a heart defect.
108 Media

It's no secret that, in many parts of the world, children don't experience what affluent Westerners would term "childhood." Still, even the most hardened documentary buffs may be dumbfounded by Buffalo Girls, a look at two 8-year-old Thai girls who support their respective families.

They do so by hitting each other in the head.

Stam and Pet compete in Muay Thai, a form of boxing in which kicking as well as punching is allowed. As depicted in fictional action movies, Muay Thai is both graceful and brutal. Practiced by 8-year-olds, it's neither.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

A Mental Breakdown With Many 'Silver Linings'

Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) and Pat (Bradley Cooper) are damaged souls looking for the kind of stability they shouldn't be able to find in each other.
The Weinstein Co.

If David O. Russell pulls anything off in Silver Linings Playbook -- an almost-comedy about a bipolar high-school teacher who goes off the deep end and isn't sure how to climb back — it's this: He refuses to make mental illness adorable.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Ending The 'Silence' Around Priests' Sex Abuse

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God documents the claims made by four deaf men who accused a Catholic priest of sexual abuse — and in chronicling the response of the church, details the role the current pope played in such scandals earlier in his career.
TIFF

By the time Father Lawrence Murphy died in 1998, it's alleged, he had sexually abused more than 200 children. Many of them must have seemed ideal victims: Students at St. John's School for the Deaf in Milwaukee between 1950 and 1974, they possessed limited ability to communicate with others. Commonly in that period, the boarding school's pupils had hearing parents who didn't know American Sign Language.

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Movie Reviews
12:47 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

The New British Empire: Pop-Culture Powerhouses

The HBO documentary Crossfire Hurricane, about The Rolling Stones, prompts critic John Powers to reflect on the band's five decades of fame.
HBO Films

It seems that every time you turn around, you find another anniversary of some big cultural or historical event. I'm weary of the media's habit of playing all these things up, so I'm abashed to admit I'm about to do just that.

But you see, in the same three-day period I recently saw the new James Bond picture, Skyfall, and Crossfire Hurricane, a new HBO documentary about The Rolling Stones. And because the Bond movies and the Stones both turn 50 this year, I began thinking about how they might fit together.

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The Picture Show
11:54 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Architectural Remnants Of World's Fairs Passed

The Montreal Biosphere is the former United States pavilion from the 1967 expo.
Jade Doskow

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:55 pm

My first thought when I saw Jade Doskow's photo series was: "Wait, are we still doing world's fairs?"

I mean, I guess I kind of knew the answer, since they happen pretty much every year. But still, I never really think about it. And Doskow wasn't surprised; there's been a waning interest practically since World War I.

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Book Reviews
10:56 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Munro Weighs The Twists And Turns Of This 'Dear Life'

Alice Munro is a Canadian writer and the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work.
Derek Shapton Courtesy of Knopf

More than a dozen short-story collections since Canada's Alice Munro published her first book, and she now seems as much an institution as any living writer. We count on her for a particular variety of short story, the sort that gives us so much life within the bounds of a single tale that it nourishes us almost as much as a novel does.

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Books News & Features
10:43 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Award Winning Author Hopes To Highlight Poor

Journalist Katherine Boo won this year's National Book Award for Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death And Hope In A Mumbai Undercity. She talks with host Michel Martin about the award, and the story behind her book.

Books
3:08 am
Thu November 15, 2012

'Round House' Wins National Book Award For Fiction

Eric Miller AP

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:42 pm

The National Book Awards announced Wednesday night honored both longtime writers and new authors, from Louise Erdrich who won for her novel The Round House to Katherine Boo, who was honored for her debut nonfiction work, Behind the Beautiful Forevers.

Erdrich has been a highly regarded author for nearly 30 years. She'd been a finalist twice before but said being honored is "all the more meaningful when you're older ... because you don't know if your years of writing at your very best are behind you."

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The Salt
3:29 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Wake Up Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes With A Touch Of Kimchi

Thanksgiving gets a lift from kimchi, the fermented cabbage found on the Korean table.
TheDeliciousLife Flickr.com

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 5:37 am

Think Mom's same old Thanksgiving mashed potatoes are boring? Jejune? Predictable?

Debbie Lee's are anything but. And they all started with a happy accident.

Lee is the owner and operator of the Los Angeles-based Korean-American restaurant Ahn Joo, and the author of Seoultown Kitchen: Korean Pub Grub To Share With Family And Friends. While Korean by heritage, Lee didn't grow up eating traditional Korean foods.

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Author Interviews
12:41 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

A Young Reporter Chronicles Her 'Brain On Fire'

Susannah Cahalan is a reporter and book reviewer at the New York Post.
Julie Stapen Free Press

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 3:47 pm

In 2009, Susannah Cahalan was a healthy 24-year-old reporter for the New York Post, when she began to experience numbness, paranoia, sensitivity to light and erratic behavior. Grasping for an answer, Cahalan asked herself as it was happening, "Am I just bad at my job — is that why? Is the pressure of it getting to me? Is it a new relationship?"

But Cahalan only got worse — she began to experience seizures, hallucinations, increasingly psychotic behavior and even catatonia. Her symptoms frightened family members and baffled a series of doctors.

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Book Reviews
12:28 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Ian McEwan's 'Sweet Tooth' Leaves A Sour Taste

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 2:49 pm

Ian McEwan's Sweet Tooth is that oddest of literary achievements: an ingenious novel that I compulsively read, intellectually admired and increasingly hated. By the time I got to McEwan's last sneer of a plot twist, I felt that reading Sweet Tooth is the closest I ever want to come to the experience of watching a snuff film. Think that's harsh? Open up Sweet Tooth and find out what McEwan thinks of you, Dear Reader, particularly if you're a woman, as most readers of fiction are.

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Monkey See
9:29 am
Wed November 14, 2012

The Fundamentals Of Battle: 'Star Wars' Versus 'Star Trek'

An original Darth Vader costume from the Star Wars films on display in Christie's auction house in 2010.
Matthew Lloyd Getty Images

When you set out to take on the great battles, it's only a matter of time before you get to this one. The battles. The spaceships. The creatures. The Shatner and Vader of it all.

Yesterday, cats emerged victorious over dogs in our opening round in what was a very hard-fought and close contest. But here, we ought to be able to come to a simple agreement, right?

Pop Culture
9:16 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Has Pop Culture Moved Beyond Cowboys And Indians?

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 10:01 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later, we heard a lot this past election season about the so-called war on women, but if you want to know what I think about one of the real battles women are fighting that politicians don't talk much about, I'll tell you. It's my Can I Just Tell You essay at the end of the program.

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Books News & Features
6:09 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Hear The 2012 National Book Award Nominees

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 10:12 am

Publishers, reporters and authors gathered Tuesday at the New School in New York City to celebrate this year's exceptional nominees for the National Book Awards. In advance of the awards on Wednesday night, NPR recorded the 10 nominated authors for fiction and nonfiction reading from their works.

These 10 books — which tell the stories of a young drug smuggler, lovable philanderers, holograms in the Saudi desert, and more — inspired, informed and entertained readers in 2012.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed November 14, 2012

'Brain On Fire' Details An Out-Of-Mind Experience

Free Press

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 1:14 pm

It's a cold March night in New York, and journalist Susannah Cahalan is watching PBS with her boyfriend, trying to relax after a difficult day at work. He falls asleep, and wakes up moments later to find her having a seizure straight out of The Exorcist. "My arms suddenly whipped straight out in front of me, like a mummy, as my eyes rolled back and my body stiffened," Cahalan writes. "I inhaled repeatedly, with no exhale. Blood and foam began to spurt out of my mouth through clenched teeth."

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed November 14, 2012

A Vengeful Virgin In 'The Testament Of Mary'

Cristina Quicler Getty Images

In the Gospels, the Virgin Mary is the alabaster embodiment of grace and suffering, the mater dolorosa — but also largely voiceless. We know little about her except for her virginity and her grief.

In the grim and lovely Testament of Mary, Colm Toibin gives voice to the mother of Jesus. Elderly and isolated in Ephesus, menaced by the persecutors of her dead son as well as by his followers, Mary narrates her memories of the Crucifixion in cold, vivid detail.

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You Must Read This
5:03 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Death At The Lighthouse: Witless Bay Comes Alive

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 1:41 pm

Da Chen is the author of My Last Empress.

In fiction, setting is a local goddess you must kowtow to before you lift up your pen and attempt to create an authentic fictional world. It is a lofty stage to be erected — an ornate frame within which a masterful painting will be hung.

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Kitchen Window
2:20 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Giving Thanks For Can-Free Cooking

Peter Ogburn for NPR

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 7:21 am

I love Thanksgiving. It is the best food holiday on the calendar. However, one thing has always bothered me. Even the most accomplished cooks take unnecessary short cuts when it comes to preparing the Big Meal.

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Author Interviews
3:00 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

'Antidote' Prescribes A 'Negative Path To Happiness'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 3:20 pm

We're heading toward that time of year when self-help industry publishers rub their hands together in anticipation. The holiday season and the inevitable New Year's resolutions that follow tend to turn our minds toward happiness — getting it, keeping it and maintaining it. But journalist Oliver Burkeman says whatever your plan, you are most likely doing it wrong.

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Monkey See
11:03 am
Tue November 13, 2012

The Fundamentals Of Battle: Cats Versus Dogs

iStockphoto.com

As I'm currently separated from most of my earthly possessions for the rest of this week, some of my cultural intake has been interrupted. (There's this great Hitchcock Blu-ray set I wanted to tell you about, and I will, but it has to come out of storage first.) Also, I don't know if you've noticed, but the news is really weird, and we're coming off a time where it's contentious over very serious things.

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Food
9:06 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Cook Anupy Singla Dishes On Her Diwali Table

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 10:03 am

Hindus from New Jersey to New Delhi are celebrating Diwali. The holiday has its own traditions, customs, and most importantly, food. Host Michel Martin speaks with writer and cookbook author Anupy Singla about the dishes she's bringing to the table for this year's Diwali celebration.

Monkey See
7:14 am
Tue November 13, 2012

'Brief Encounters' With Real Life From A Scene-Setting Photographer

"Untitled (Birth)" from Gregory Crewdson's Beneath The Roses series.
Gregory Crewdson Zeitgeist Films

A woman sits on a bed in a dim, wallpapered room. There's an old rotary phone on a nightstand, a prescription pill bottle by the foot of a lamp. Her long wavy hair is brushed back, and the moonlight peers in from between the curtains, illuminating the flowery pattern of her nightgown and the small tattoo on her fleshy arm. Curled sleeping on the bed is a baby, and the woman's head is turned towards the child. But the expression on her face is unclear. Perhaps it's a look of resentment and exhaustion, of alienation and despair.

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New In Paperback
6:03 am
Tue November 13, 2012

New In Paperback Nov. 12-18

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 6:26 am

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Ann Beattie, Ben Marcus, Jonathan Odell, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein and Ellen Forney.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Book Reviews
5:03 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Delicious Deceit Abounds In McEwan's 'Sweet Tooth'

Ian McEwan's other books include Solar, For You and On Chesil Beach.
Eamonn McCabe Courtesy of Nan A. Talese/Doubleday

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 12:49 pm

Ian McEwan's 15th book of fiction, Sweet Tooth, is a Tootsie Roll Pop of a literary confection — hard-boiled candy enrobing a chewy surprise at its core. The novel is set 40 years ago, when communism was still perceived as a threat, and takes its title from a fictional clandestine mission by Britain's MI5 intelligence service to sponsor writers espousing the Cold Warrior cause.

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Author Interviews
1:44 am
Tue November 13, 2012

'Testament Of Mary' Gives Fiery Voice To The Virgin

Scribner

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 1:36 pm

The Virgin Mary is one of the most familiar icons of Christianity. For centuries, artists have depicted her on everything from backyard statues of a rosy-cheeked innocent to paintings of magnificent Madonnas hanging in museums all over the world. But few writers have taken up her story or tried to create their own version of the events of her life.

Now, Irish writer Colm Toibin does just that. His novella, The Testament of Mary, raises questions about the life of Jesus' mother and the stories that laid the groundwork for the creation of a church.

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Author Interviews
2:41 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Parenting A Child Who's Fallen 'Far From The Tree'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 6:09 pm

When Andrew Solomon started his family with his husband, John Habich, he says, people were surprised that he wasn't afraid to have children, given the topic of the book he was writing. That book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, explores what it's like for parents of children who are profoundly different or likely to be stigmatized — children with Down syndrome, deafness, autism, dwarfism, or who are prodigies, become criminals, or are conceived in rape.

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Monkey See
8:52 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Let's Rush To Judgment: 'World War Z'

Brad Pitt in World War Z.
Jaap Buitendijk Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 6:17 am

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