Arts & Life

Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Bilbo's Back, With More Baggage Than Ever

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is back for the second installment of the Hobbit trilogy, this time actually spending some time with Smaug the dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch).
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:49 pm

Peter Jackson's decision to turn the single volume of The Hobbit into a three-film epic — with a total running time nearly as long as his adaptation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy — was met with considerable skepticism. Did Tolkien's relatively slight book really have enough story to justify stretching it out that much?

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Making 'Mary Poppins,' With More Than A Spoonful Of Sugar

Saving Mr. Banks chronicles Walt Disney's (Tom Hanks) long campaign to persuade Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to allow his movie-musical adaptation of her books.
Francois Duhamel Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 3:42 pm

"We tell ourselves stories in order to live."

That endlessly quoted line from Joan Didion's The White Album echoes with more than the usual resonance for the two adversaries duking it out for control over the movie adaptation of Mary Poppins in Saving Mr. Banks.

For 20 years Walt Disney, reportedly on his young daughters' say-so, had tried to wrestle a green light from P. L. Travers, who wrote the original novels about the discipline-minded governess who flew in through a London window to save a troubled family from itself.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
4:36 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

'Mr. Terupt' Shows What A Difference One Teacher Can Make

Because of Mr. Terupt cover.

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:41 pm

Not to judge a book by its cover, but just take one look at the jacket of Because of Mr. Terupt and you'll see it is the perfect book for December. It shows two mittened hands holding a snowball — a snowball responsible for a life-altering accident.

Mr. Terupt is a popular fifth-grade teacher at Snow Hill elementary school. And for seven students in particular, he is the center of their universe — a sage who gives them advice and confidence and helps them overcome obstacles and rivalries.

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The Two-Way
4:35 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

So Much For The 'Mozart Effect'

Researchers could not find a link between exposure to music and improved IQs in preschoolers.
Dmitry Naumov iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 7:02 pm

Music makes the heart grow fonder, but scientists are not so sure that it boosts IQ.

The Boston Globe notes:

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All Tech Considered
3:41 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Take A Look At The Top Tweeted Moments Of The Year

Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 5:02 pm

We're preparing to bid adieu to 2013, which means it's time for the ever-reliable year-end lists. NPR's Book Concierge lets you explore the best books of the year. NPR Music chronicled the best albums. And Twitter is out with the biggest tweets and most-tweeted moments of 2013.

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Movie Interviews
2:05 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

At 77, Robert Redford Goes Back To His Roots

In All Is Lost, Robert Redford plays an unnamed sailor, stranded at sea on a badly damaged yacht.
Daniel Daza Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:23 pm

Robert Redford isn't merely the star of the movie All Is Lost — he plays the only character. He plays a man stranded alone on a small yacht in the Indian Ocean, and New York Times film critic A.O. Scott says it's "the performance of a lifetime."

We don't know the man's name, why he's there, or anything about his background — but when disaster strikes, we learn that he's resourceful and doesn't succumb to panic. After a stray shipping container rams his vessel and leaves a gaping hole in the hull, he must make the boat seaworthy again in order to survive.

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Music Interviews
11:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Original 'Dreamgirl' Jennifer Holliday: 'I'm Not Going Nowhere'

Jennifer Holliday at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:29 pm

Jennifer Holliday won fame by turning a Broadway show tune into an anthem. With her performance of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" in the musical Dreamgirls, she became a star on Broadway. But Holliday's life and career offstage slipped out of control as she battled obesity and depression. After years out of the recording studio, Holliday is back with the album The Song is You. It's due out in January.

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Monkey See
9:21 am
Thu December 12, 2013

I'm Your Lawyer, Mr. Grinch

The Grinch puts a scare into his dog, Max, in the 1966 CBS special How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
CBS/Photofest

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:58 pm

To: Mr. Grinch
From: Who Who & Who
Re: Possible defamation claim

Thank you for visiting our offices to explore the possibility of a defamation claim regarding statements recently made about you.

Potentially defamatory statements

We will first take some of the statements you mention in turn to explain their possible relevance to a successful claim.

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch

Under the laws of defamation in effect in Whoville, this would most likely be considered a statement of opinion and not actionable.

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Book News: Americans Love Their Public Libraries (But Will It Matter?)

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:10 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Movie Interviews
5:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

At 90, Disney Animation Nowhere Near Drawing To A Close

When it premiered in 1937, Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first feature-length animated movie to hit theaters. This year is the 90th anniversary of Disney animation.
PRNewsFoto/Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 9:50 am

This year marks a milestone in the world of make believe.

Walt Disney Animation Studios is celebrating its 90th anniversary, a history spanning scores of classic films and a menagerie of beloved characters.

Walt Disney's world has grown a bit larger since it acquired Pixar — the company behind hits like Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc.

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