Actor Henry Cavill and director Zack Snyder confer on a shot for an early sequence in <em>Man of Steel</em>. Cavill is the first British actor to wear Superman's iconic red and blue — though not the first to play a D.C. comics superhero.
Credit Clay Enos / Warner Bros. Pictures
The film's opening sequences chronicle political clashes and ultimately a planetary cataclysm on Krypton, home world to Superman and his biological father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), and mother (not pictured.)
The quintessential American superhero — the one who forged the genre — returns to the multiplex this weekend: Superman. The latest big-screen iteration, called Man of Steel, explores the birth of the character (played as an adult by British actor Henry Cavill), delving into why he came to Earth, his inner conflicts growing up, and how he resolves them.
Taissa Farmiga (left) and Israel Broussard are key players in the five-person posse (otherwise known as the "Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch") targeting celebrity homes in <em>The Bling Ring</em>, stealing clothes, jewelry and cash from the likes of Lindsay Lohan.
Emma Watson's Nicki is another of the fame-obsessed teens who finds herself stealing from those she supposedly idolizes.
What it came down to in the end were "the beautiful, gorgeous things."
That's how Marc (Israel Broussard) explains the Bling Ring, a gang of teens who, over a span of 10 months in 2008 and 2009, robbed a series of celebrity homes, including those of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom. Along the way, they accrued more than $3 million worth of jewelry, clothing and accessories — not to mention that inevitable tabloid-headline nickname.
Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lived for 27 years in a Tacoma, Wash., shopping mall, chews on his finger at the Atlanta Zoo in 1996. The story was the inspiration for Katherine Applegate's book <em>The One and Only Ivan.</em>
Credit John Bazemore / AP
Katherine Applegate, pictured above at NPR in Washington, D.C., is the author of <em>The Buffalo Storm</em>, <em>Home of the Brave</em> and <em>The One and Only Ivan.</em> Along with her husband, she co-wrote the young adult series <em>Animorphs</em>.<em> </em>
The school year is drawing to a close, but NPR's Backseat Book Club has plenty of reading lined up for the summer. Our June pick is The One and Only Ivan, a Newbery Medal-winning book by Katherine Applegate. It tells the story of a gorilla who spent 27 years in a shopping mall in Tacoma, Wash. — and it's based on a true story.
Jeremy Jackson's grandma Mildred was famous for her strawberry cake. Legend has it that one of the families in her small Missouri town loved the dessert so much, they "commissioned" her to make it for them once a week.
Jackson is the author of Good Day for A Picnic: Simple Food that Travels Well. He shared two versions of his Strawberry Cake for All Things Considered's Found Recipes series.
In <em>More Than Honey, </em>Attica Boa's striking close-up photography helps visualize a story whose urgency needs no amplification: With global honeybee populations threatened, the world's food supply could be seriously endangered.
Credit Kino Lorber
Trucked by the millions across countries and continents in the service of massive fruit-farming operations, honeybees are as essential to the global economy and the food chain as they are to the production of honey.
Credit Kino Lorber
Director Markus Imhoof visits China, Australia, California — and his family's Alpine orchards in Switzerland, all in the name of illustrating the ways bees and beekeeping have changed over the centuries.
An amiably shaggy combination of science lesson, whimsical musing and alarm bell, More Than Honey isn't as urgent as its eco-catastrophic subject — the possible destruction of the world's critically important honeybee populations — might seem to require. But the documentary's most memorable vignette is suitably unnerving: a visit to northern China, where the threatened disappearance of bees has already come to pass, leaving workers to pollinate fruit trees ... by hand.
Henry Cavill plays the title role in Zach Snyder's expensively earnest iteration of our most recognizably American superhero. An "alien" aesthetic — which ironically owes plenty to the Industrial Age and to the metallo-organic curves of art nouveau — informs everything from the film's palette to its interpretation of Superman's iconic costume.
Credit Clay Enos / Warner Bros. Pictures
This telling of the Superman story leans hard on the tension between the fit-in-at-all-costs imperatives of Kal-El's Kansas upbringing, featuring Diane Lane as surrogate mother Martha Kent ...
Credit Clay Enos / Warner Bros. Pictures
... and the fallout from the long-ago space-opera insurrection that landed Krypton's General Zod (Michael Shannon, right, with Antje Traue) and his rebels in the Phantom Zone.
Take heart, ye spandex-haters: Zack Snyder's steroidal yet sensitive Man of Steel is not a superhero film.
Full disclosure: Over the past two years, this reviewer has spent a great deal of time thinking about superheroes in general and Superman in particular. Less than some, perhaps, but more — it's safe to say — than most of you reading these words, as you debate whether or not to duck out of the heat this weekend to take in Snyder's latest summertime smash-em-up.
Born in Israel in 1930, Yoram Kaniuk wrote novels and articles that explored war, the Holocaust, Israel, and the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians. He was an outspoken proponent of the need for Israelis and Palestinians to understand that both groups of people deserve sovereignty.
"Both sides are right, and both sides are so strong about the rightness," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in August 1988. He believed that arguing over "who suffered more" wasn't productive.
As a columnist for the Miami Herald and a prolific novelist of books such as Strip Tease, Lucky You and Star Island, Carl Hiaasen has a subject: Florida. Hiaasen grew up in the state during the 1950s and has lived and worked there his entire life, watching it morph from a rural backwater with abundant natural beauty and resources to one struggling with the effects of development and tourism.
Raised in South Berwick, Maine, and residing in Austin, Texas, Slaid Cleaves is no one's idea of a music-industry insider. He writes and sings songs primarily about working-class people and romantics both hopeful and hopeless. That said, it's also not difficult to hear another element of the fortysomething Cleaves' past: He was an English and philosophy major at Tufts, and his lyrics are underpinned by both a fine sense of meter and moral perspicacity.
NPR correspondent Joseph Shapiro and his daughter Eva spent the weekend at the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Eva, 15, won the "Best in Grade" award, one of two for ninth-grade writers, for a short story. She takes writing classes with Writopia Lab in Washington, D.C.
Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:22 pm
Ever since we launched NPR's Backseat Book Club in 2011, our young listeners have been busy reading — classics like The Wizard of Oz, Black Beauty and The Phantom Tollbooth, and newer tales, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Graveyard Book. If you know a kid age 9-14 who's looking for a great read, look no further: Here are all the books we've read so far. (And here's the list in printable form.)
Borrow from Stephen King a house with a wormhole that somehow allows for time travel, re-create the monstrous chilliness of scenes between a serial killer and his female victims in The Silence of the Lambs, and you could easily end up with a pretty derivative thriller. But talented Cape Town writer Lauren Beukes has managed to turn such borrowing and theft into a triumph in her new novel, The Shining Girls. It's her third book, and a marvelous narrative feat that spans the history of Chicago from the 1930s to the 1990s.
Parents steer their kids to media for all kinds of things: as a distraction so they can make dinner, to teach letters and numbers, and for pure entertainment. There are also times when parents rely on books, TV, museums and other media when they aren't quite sure how to approach a difficult topic by themselves.
So far, the summer's end-of-the-world movies (After Earth, Oblivion) have mostly been provoking unintended yuks, so it's kind of a relief that this week's offerings include one that actually means to be funny.
That This Is the End actually is funny — well, that's even better, especially as it's playing cleverly enough with form to keep your brain occupied, too.
It opens with actor Seth Rogen waiting at the L.A. airport for his comedian buddy Jay Baruchel. And the first thing you hear is a passerby saying "Hey Seth Rogen, what up?"
The documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, which explores the world of rock 'n' roll's backup singers, opens to the soundtrack of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." Reed sings half the refrain — "And the colored girls go, doo do doo do doo" — until a chorus of backup singers pick up the "Do doo" line. At first these women sound far away, but as the chorus progresses, their voices get louder, less produced and polished, more real and intimate.
Wallace Daniel Pennington grew up singing. His father played guitar and his mother played piano, and by the age of 9, the young man had a guitar of his own. The family attended church on Sunday and Wednesday each week, and to this day, Dan Penn says he remembers the entire Methodist congregation belting out hymns.
Ozwald Boateng was the youngest and first black tailor to have a shop on London's prestigious Savile Row, a street renowned for its fine tailoring, where the world's royalty come for their attire.
Boateng also dresses athletic and Hollywood royalty. Actor Laurence Fishburne once said, "When you wear an Ozwald Boateng suit, you become a statesman of cool." Boateng is also a statesman for something else: the future development of Africa.
He joined Tell Me More host Michel Martin to talk about style and diplomacy.
Today, the state of Florida doesn't see much in the way of revolution. The current governor is deeply unpopular, it's true, but the people of the Sunshine State are still pretty far from armed rebellion. This was not always the case. Many years before the West was won and the Monroe Doctrine proclaimed America's shores inviolable, western Florida was an international battleground where newly independent Americans fought with Spanish and French imperialists for control of valuable New World real estate.
Annie Glenn, Rene Carpenter, Louise Shepard, Betty Grissom, Trudy Cooper and Marjorie Slayton attend a luncheon held in their honor by the American Newspaper Women's Club on April 27, 1962, in Washington, D.C. Mercury Seven wife Josephine Schirra is not pictured.
Credit Harvey Georges / AP
Lily Koppel writes for <em>The New York Times</em> and is also the author of <em>The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal.</em>
In the late 1950s, after the Soviet Union successfully put their satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit, American fears over the Communist threat reached a new height. The U.S. was trailing badly in a competition that would come to define the next decade – the race to space.
So on April 9, 1959, the U.S. kicked off its own space age by introducing the country to its first astronauts, known as the Mercury Seven. Their story is well known, but the story of their wives is often overlooked.
Walk into any bookstore or library, and you'll find shelves and shelves of hugely popular novels and book series for kids. But research shows that as young readers get older, they are not moving to more complex books. High-schoolers are reading books written for younger kids, and teachers aren't assigning difficult classics as much as they once did.
Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 11:40 am
I have vivid memories of my mom going out of town one weekend and my dad feeding me fried bologna sandwiches for three nights in a row. He didn't make the sandwiches because I liked them; he made them because he can't cook. He can't get around a kitchen. He doesn't know how to chop an onion. He has no idea how to roast a chicken. But the man can grill.
James Franco (from left), Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride all play versions of themselves in the post-apocalyptic comedy <em>This Is the End,</em> written by Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg.