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Movie Reviews
3:21 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

A Wall Street Predator With An Appetite For Excess

Leonardo DiCaprio plays a profoundly corrupt stock-market manipulator in The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the real-life story of convicted fraudster Jordan Belfort.
Mary Cybulski Paramount Pictures

Several times during The Wolf of Wall Street, the wolf himself turns to the camera and offers to explain some stockbroker term or strategy. But then he stops himself and says it doesn't really matter.

It sure doesn't — not in this exuberant but profitless bad-behavior romp. It's based on the career of former penny-stock magnate Jordan Belfort, but might as well be about Keith Richards in the '70s or Robert Downey Jr. in the '90s.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

In 'Osage County,' A Family Consuming Itself

Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Julianne Nicholson are three of the warring Weston women in a blistering film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County.
Claire Folger The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 5:34 pm

"We shouldn't be here."

That's the sense you get watching August: Osage County -- that you're peering in on moments so intimate and painful that no one should witness them, perhaps not even those who are a part of it.

In fact, that's what many characters in the movie — an adaptation of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play — decide for themselves. They don't want to be part of it, either. In this story of an uncomfortable family reunion, time is marked by cars pulling out of their dusty Oklahoma driveway at regular intervals, never to be seen again.

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Movie Reviews
2:58 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Orbiting Dickens, An 'Invisible Woman' Or Two

Felicity Jones plays Nelly Ternan, longtime mistress of author Charles Dickens, in The Invisible Woman.
David Appleby Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 5:40 pm

The Invisible Woman is slow to build — but worth its wait in gold. A little over halfway through, this terrific drama bears fiercely down on the steep cost of being two of the significant women in the gilded life of Charles Dickens.

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Parallels
2:23 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

As World Cup Looms, Qatar's Migrant Worker System Faces Scrutiny

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 8:02 pm

Over the past decade, Qatar's population has soared from 660,000 to more than 2 million. Here's the catch: Qataris themselves number only around 260,000.

The rest, more than 85 percent of the population, are not citizens. As Professor Mehran Kamrava, an American scholar at Georgetown University's campus in Qatar, says, they are all migrant workers of varying types.

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Arts & Life
2:06 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

How Blind Voice Over Artist 'Reads'

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 10:30 am

Pete Gustin has voiced over national ads but he can't read scripts - he's legally blind. As he tells Tell Me More guest host Celeste Headlee, he didn't let his disability deter his talent.

Health
2:06 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

After A Cancer Diagnosis, Lessons In Priorities

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 10:30 am

Teaching high school English came naturally to David Menasche but a terminal brain cancer diagnosis forced him to leave the classroom. So he visited some of his former students to see what impact he's had on them. He writes about the experience in his forthcoming book, The Priority List.

Movie Reviews
2:01 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

In A 'Miraculous Year' For Movies, Edelstein Picks His Favorites

In the sci-fi romance Her, a lonely man (Joaquin Phoenix) finds love in a rather unexpected place — with a computer operating system named Samantha.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 4:44 pm

"It was a miraculous year," film critic David Edelstein tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. At a time when Hollywood is churning out Blockbusters and superhero movies that are guaranteed to make money at home and overseas, "it's really great when so many interesting movies, somehow or other, manage to bleed through," he says. " ... You really feel as if directors are taking chances in their storytelling. They are creating a new syntax for every story."

Here are his favorite movies this year:

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The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Highway In Iceland May Be Sidetracked By Elves

New Line Cinema Reuters /Landov

Here's a sentence we didn't expect to read today:

"Elf advocates have joined forces with environmentalists to urge the Icelandic Road and Coastal Commission and local authorities to abandon a highway project building a direct route from the Alftanes peninsula, where the president has a home, to the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer."

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Parallels
12:55 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

A Portuguese Tradition Of 'Healing' Dolls For Christmas

At a hospital tucked away off one of Lisbon's main cobblestone squares, Manuela Cutileira does triage on incoming patients.
Lauren Frayer NPR

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 8:02 pm

At a hospital tucked away off one of Lisbon's main cobblestone squares, Manuela Cutileira does triage on incoming patients.

"First we do a checkup, create a chart and assign a bed number — like you would in an ordinary hospital," Cutileira, the hospital's owner, explains. "Then we try to figure out what the treatment should be. If it's a simple procedure, we'll inform the family right away of the cost. And if it's something more complicated, they may have to leave the patient here overnight for more tests."

But this is no regular hospital.

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Television
12:54 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

David Bianculli's Top 10 Shows: 2013 Was A 'Good Year For TV'

Kevin Spacey (left) and Robin Wright star in House of Cards, directed by David Fincher. The Netflix series, which follows a Machiavellian politician, is an adaptation of a BBC series of the same name. Hear an interview with Spacey and Fincher.
Patrick Harbron Netflix

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 4:44 pm

This was a good year for TV, says critic David Bianculli, and that had a lot to do with two new shows from Netflix: House of Cards, the American adaptation of the BBC political thriller series, and Orange Is the New Black, a dramatic comedy which takes place in a women's federal prison. "I was very impressed with the overall quality of what Netflix gave us," Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "... That was quite a string of good shows."

So, without further ado, here's Bianculli's top-10 TV list for 2013:

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