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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Examining The Legacy Of A Legend In 'Wagner & Me'

Stephen Fry takes in the view from Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, one of the stops on a pilgrimage to explore his complicated feelings about the life and work of Richard Wagner.
First Run Features

British actor, writer and bon vivant Stephen Fry has loved the music of Richard Wagner since he first heard it played on his father's gramophone.

"It released forces within me," he explains early on in Wagner & Me, an exuberant and deeply personal documentary about the allure and the legacy of the German composer's work.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

A Sin City Comedy That Comes Up Snake Eyes

Jeremy (Joshua Jackson) and Beth (Rebecca Hall) enjoy the sun and sin of Las Vegas.
Frank Masi Radius, TWC

Based on Beth Raymer's memoir, Lay the Favorite has a cheeky, double-meaning title that sets up the story and the irreverent tone with impressive efficiency; the reference is both to the gambling practice of betting for the favorite and to the heroine's generous sexual proclivities.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

'Fitzgerald Family' Does Dysfunction A Disservice

Nora (Connie Britton) and Gerry (Edward Burns) pursue a fledgling romance amid a chaotic holiday homecoming in The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, another home-for-the-awkward-holidays film.
Tribeca Films

There's nothing particularly special about Edward Burns' wry family drama The Fitzgerald Family Christmas –-- but that makes it something of a relief amid the avalanche of overlong, big-ticket prestige films that comes tumbling into theaters this time of year.

You've probably seen some version of this story before: A crotchety and unreliable old man, long estranged from most of his family, attempts desperately to reconnect with them on Christmas Day. It's urgent, because he's harboring a Secret with a capital S.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

'Playing For Keeps,' But Without Much Panache

In Gabriele Muccino's romantic comedy, a former pro soccer player (Gerard Butler) starts coaching his son's soccer team — and reconnects with his ex-wife (Jessica Biel).
Film District

As Hollywood movies increasingly strive for immaculate blankness, they have come to resemble Rorschach ink blots. For example, Playing for Keeps, a new movie about a divorced couple who just might reunite: Is it a heartwarming romantic drama? Or a cynical sex and sports comedy? There is no wrong answer, dear ticket buyer.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

A Relationship Drama That's A Little Too 'Cheerful'

On the day of Dolly's (Felicity Jones) wedding, a former flame returns to stir up doubts about her decision.
IFC Films

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 10:24 am

Something like deja vu takes hold during the opening shots of Donald Rice's debut feature, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding. With the insistent, urgent push of orchestral strings in the background, he offers up establishing shots of a bucolic English country manor, early 20th-century automobiles, and a bell ringing down in the servants' hall. That feeling of anticipation rising in many viewers' chests may be their hearts readying themselves for the tense post-Victorian drama of the popular TV series Downton Abbey, which is what that opening rather too directly recalls.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

'Deadfall': Sibling Mischief In The Michigan Woods

Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) run for the Canadian border after a casino heist gone wrong.
Jonathan Wenk Magnolia Pictures

Everyone gets roughed up pretty bad in Deadfall, a pop-Freudian thriller set in Michigan's north woods. But nobody comes off worse than the out-of-towners: Australian star Eric Bana and Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky.

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Economy
5:02 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Businesses, Not Consumers, Sour On Economy

Shoppers carry bags during Black Friday sales at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, Mass. Right now, consumers are feeling positive, but the mood among businesses is at recession levels.
Allison Joyce Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

When it comes to the economy, consumers and business owners have very different takes right now. Consumers are feeling positive, but the mood among businesses is at recession levels.

In a word, business owners are bummed.

"What we've found is that a lot of that optimism is not there right now," says Dennis Jacobe, chief economist for Gallup, which polled these small-business types just after the election.

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Africa
5:02 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Morsi Calls For Consensus Amid Escalating Protests

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi is on the defensive. He went on state television late today and appealed for an end to the violence between supporters and opponents of his government. Last night, the two sides clashed outside the presidential palace. Six people were killed and hundreds more wounded.

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Middle East
4:54 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

U.S., Russia Try To Find Common Ground On Syria

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a speech at Dublin City University in Ireland on Thursday. She also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss Syria.
Kevin Lamarque AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

As Syrian fighting intensifies in Syria, diplomatic efforts are also heating up.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the main international envoy to Syria were all in Dublin for an international gathering Thursday. The meeting came as Syria's opposition tries to get better organized to offer a real alternative to President Bashar Assad's regime.

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Middle East
4:54 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Syrian Militia Leaders Depend On A Terrorist Faction

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 6:40 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This week, we're taking a broader view of the Syrian conflict, asking if the Assad regime has reached a tipping point, and if so, what might follow. Yesterday, I talked with Syria expert Andrew Tabler, and today we'll hear from Joshua Landis, who directs the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Professor Landis, welcome back to the program.

DR. JOSHUA LANDIS: It's a pleasure being with you.

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