You can say this for director Paul W.S. Anderson: He gets the basic purpose of 3-D movies. While the current renaissance in cinematic stereoscopy is touted as a method for creating more "immersive" experiences for audiences, the list of movies that achieve that lofty goal can be counted on one hand: Gravity, Hugo, Life of Pi. Most 3-D exists to bilk customers out of a few extra bucks.
Therese (Elizabeth Olsen) and Laurent (Oscar Issac) have a scandalous affair — and some real chemistry. But the unevenness of <em>In Secret, </em>adapted from Emile Zola's novel Therese Raquin, moves their plotline away from center.
Emile Zola was one of the founders of naturalism, and his first major work, 1867's Therese Raquin, is full of precise physical description. The novel's plot is utter melodrama, though, and that's the aspect emphasized by In Secret, the latest in a century-long string of film and TV adaptations.
With its small cast of characters and limited number of locations, the book does lend itself to dramatization. In fact, writer-director Charlie Stratton's retelling of Zola's shocker was derived in part from the stage version by Neal Bell.
Filmmaker David O. Russell first talked with Fresh Air's Terry Gross back in 1994, and two decades later, he tells her: "It's taken me 20 years since I first spoke to you to really make the films that I think I was meant to make, and to be at the level of filmmaking and storytelling and writing that I think I had ever aspired to."
If you're familiar with the Nick Hornby book or the 2002 film of About A Boy, you will find that what has been kept in the new TV adaptation, coming Saturday night in a preview to NBC, is the clichéd skeleton of the story: a lazy, glib bachelor befriending the child of a single mom and learning how not to be such a selfish baby. Child-averse jerk and wisecracking moppet: a well-worn dynamic that animated, among other things, the early stages of Two And A Half Men.
Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 8:17 am
In Young Money, Kevin Roose poses many important questions about the lives of newly minted Wall Streeters, but perhaps none more important than this: "What if Wall Street doesn't just attract pre-existing douchebags, but actively draws normal people into an inescapable vortex of douchebaggery?" For Roose, it's not just a glib rhetorical exercise. Over the course of three years, the New York Times contributor recruits and interviews eight anonymous first-year bankers for details of their experiences in the notoriously opaque, reputedly douchebaggy world of high finance.
James Patterson, the best-selling author of thrillers and romance and young adult novels, has pledged to give away $1 million of his personal fortune to independent booksellers around the country. Today, he announced the names of the dozens of booksellers who are receiving grants in the first round of his big giveaway.
The money is heading toward smaller bookstores, which are under pressure from competitors like Amazon and e-books. Patterson's own books are big sellers everywhere — he doesn't depend on small bookstores to succeed. But his giveaway is driven by a broader concern.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, seen here in 2005, plans a partnership with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University that would see both its large collection and its iconic building taken over.
Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:09 pm
The oldest private art museum in Washington is poised to be taken over by the National Gallery of Art, according to a plan to disperse much of the museum's holdings and turn its art college over to George Washington University. The plan was publicly unveiled Wednesday.
Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 6:42 pm
You'll find Raymond Champs, senior pictographer, seated in Row 8, Pod D, where he draws, day in, day out, instruction manuals for assembling furniture starring Mr. CustomMirth, the mascot of an Ikea-like furniture company called LokiLoki. Raymond may strive to give Mr. CustomMirth's potato shaped body the right amount of whimsy each day. But whimsy, or any type of feeling related to happiness, is what's missing from Raymond's life. And he suspects he's not the only one.
It may have been "mad" as in angry or "mad" as in deranged. Either way, almost 40 years ago, screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky anticipated the future of television news. He envisioned a nasty, profit-oriented industry that would literally kill for ratings. (Network was — after all — satire, not a documentary.) Dave Itzkoff's account of how the brilliant, stubborn and pugnacious Chafesky did his research, wrote his script and, ultimately, imposed his vision on the film is elegantly executed.
Pokemon is the wildly popular Japanese Nintendo video game, first released in 1996. Its goal is to collect wild creatures and battle other trainers to become the Pokemon master. Simple enough, right?
Now imagine trying to play the game with tens of thousands of people looking over your shoulder, telling you which buttons to press. That's the latest social experiment going on in the gaming community. At any given time, thousands of people are controlling a single game of Pokemon Red — the original game of the series — at the same time.
In 1975, <em>Shoah</em> director Claude Lanzmann (left) interviewed Benjmain Murmelstein, the last surviving Elder of the Jews of the Czech Theresienstadt ghetto, at his home in Rome. The resulting film is <em>The Last of the Unjust.</em>
When you're faced with something as heinous as the Holocaust, it's tempting to turn it into a simple morality play. This isn't to say one can't pass moral judgments — Hitler and his cohort were undeniably evil. But judging can become a form of lazy evasion, a way of closing the book on the tricky realities of failure, guilt and complicity.
Why does thunder rumble? Acoustic professor Trevor Cox explains that it has to do with the way lightning is a jagged line. "Each little kink is actually generating the sound, and the reason thunder rumbles is because the sound takes different time to come from different kinks because they're all slightly different distances from you," he says.
Ever wonder why your voice sounds so much better when you sing in the shower? It has to do with an acoustic "blur" called reverberation. From classical to pop music, reverberation "makes music sound nicer," acoustic engineer Trevor Cox tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. It helps blend the sound, "but you don't want too much," he warns.
Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in the Oscar-nominated <em>12 Years a Slave. </em>Director Steve McQueen and film editor Joe Walker took a restrained, formal approach to portraying the "casual nightmare" of American slavery.
Credit Francois Duhamel / Fox Searchlight Pictures
A lot of people believe 12 Years A Slave is the best film yet made about slavery in the United States. That doesn't make it easy to watch.
It also wasn't easy to edit.
"Editing is like a massive, 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle," says director Steve McQueen. He's just arrived from Europe and is relaxing in a suite in a swanky West Hollywood hotel with the film's editor, Joe Walker.
Teen years are sort of a "rehearsal" for adulthood, author Meg Wolitzer tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, and that's particularly true at the performing arts summer camp where her latest novel begins. It's 1974, and the main character, Jules, a newcomer to the camp, is invited into a circle of 15- and 16-year-olds who nickname themselves — with knowing irony — The Interestings.
Opening nights of new incarnations of late-night TV talk shows are good, mostly, for first impressions — or, in the case of Jay Leno, sometimes a second impression. It's not fair to make strong judgments on the content alone, because a first show always is top-heavy with ideas, special guests and nervousness. But it is fair game to judge the set, the environment, the overall mood, and how well the host fits into the history of late-night television.
Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 3:35 pm
I fell into a state of dazed puzzlement at the start of this book, whose first chapter includes a remote century's bitter winter, "sour ale" in an "undercroft tavern," the stink of Newgate Jail, French secret agents, a wild-haired preacher and conversations in Italian and French as well as English.