Arts & Life

Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

In 'Stalingrad,' Where The Fog Of War Is Plenty Thick

Teenage civilian Katya (Mariya Smolnikova) shares a ruined apartment with a gang of Soviet soldiers during the battle of Stalingrad in Fedor Bondarchuk's Stalingrad.
Sony Pictures

If you're only going to see one film about the Battle of Stalingrad — and there are many — Stalingrad would be the wrong choice. Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk's treatment of the World War II turning point is shallow and contrived, if sometimes impressively staged. The movie wins points, however, for sheer wackiness.

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Book Reviews
4:07 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Book Review: 'Night in Shanghai'

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm



Shanghai in 1936 was on the verge of Japanese occupation. Our reviewer Alan Cheuse says it makes a terrific setting for new novel by Nicole Mones. It's called "Night in Shanghai." The book showcases the multicultural and moneyed scene of Shanghai's prewar heyday.

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Monkey See
3:42 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Hurts So Good: Getting A Kick Out Of A Movie Punch

Don't mess with Liam Neeson! He will get you with his phone! Or whatever else is handy! He will beat you up, is what we're saying.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 9:34 am

My favorite parts of Non-Stop, in which Liam Neeson adds airplane bathrooms to the list of things out of which he has beaten the snot, are the silliest parts. The slow-motion parts. The gravity-defying parts. The parts where everybody in the audience cracks up, but not unkindly.

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All Tech Considered
2:53 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

'Rent It Out': Portlandia Spoofs The Sharing Economy

In one episode of Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen started a grass-roots campaign to prevent the Olympics from ever coming to Portland.

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 5:16 pm

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2:36 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains Why The Cosmos Shouldn't Make You Feel Small

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts a new TV series called Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey. It's an update of the influential 1980 PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Journey, hosted by Carl Sagan.
Patrick Eccelsine Fox

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 9:45 am

When it comes to "callings" we usually think of people who feel drawn to religious career paths. But if you ask Neil deGrasse Tyson how he became an astrophysicist he says: "I think the universe called me. I feel like I had no say in the matter."

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Music News
2:09 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

And The Oscar Goes To ... Mr. 'Star Wars' Or Arcade Fire?

William Butler of Arcade Fire: not the most typical contender for Best Original Score.
Jason Oxenham Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 2:13 pm

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Wisdom Watch
12:56 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Dangerous Dad Of 'Scandal' Turns The Tables

Actor Joe Morton has appeared in films like Speed and Terminator 2 and TV shows like Law & Order and The Good Wife.
Matt Sayles AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 4:15 pm

Actor Joe Morton's latest role puts him at the center of the ABC thriller Scandal. He plays Rowan Pope, the commanding and sinister father of Kerry Washington's Olivia.

Morton's Hollywood resume spans four decades and includes hit films like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Speed and the cult classic Brother From Another Planet.

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12:50 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

'12 Years A Slave' Screenwriter Talks Grit, Grace And Survival

12 Years A Slave writer and producer John Ridley joined Michele Norris in NPR's Studio 1 for a wide-ranging conversation.
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 4:53 pm

Was screenwriter John Ridley a bit nervous the night before this year's Academy Award nominations were announced? Absolutely.

How could he not be, when everywhere he went people approached him to say that he deserved an Oscar nod for his work on the film 12 Years a Slave. But those nerves were not evident when he sat down before a live audience at NPR Headquarters just hours before he did indeed get that Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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The Two-Way
10:54 am
Thu February 27, 2014

'Calvin & Hobbes' Creator Pens His First Public Comic In 18 Years

Stripped Film

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:10 pm

Almost two decades after publishing his last Calvin & Hobbes comic strip, elusive cartoonist Bill Watterson is back — with a film poster. The documentary, Stripped, is a self-described "love letter to comic strips" that includes interviews with, among others, Jeff Keane of Family Circus, Richard Thompson of Cul de Sac and Watterson himself.

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Ask Me Another
10:37 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Sarah Janssen: It's In The Book

Sarah Janssen.
Stephen Lovekin/ Mark Von Holden

If you're in need of a one-stop shop for facts, like the world's fastest roller coaster (Formula Rossa in Abu Dhabi) or the winning word at the 1984 Scripps National Spelling Bee (luge), Sarah Janssen would recommend consulting The 2014 World Almanac and Book of Facts (which spent 8 weeks on the NPR Paperback Nonfiction Bestseller List).

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