Arts & Life

12:06 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

'Mama': A Good Old-Fashioned Horror Movie

Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and her sister, Lilly (Isabelle Nelisse), are near-feral orphans in the horror thriller Mama.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 1:29 pm

I was weaned on horror movies and love them inordinately, but the genre has gone to the dogs β€” and to the muscle-bound werewolves, hormonal vampires, flesh-eating zombies, machete-wielding psychos, etc. It's also depressing how most modern horror pictures have unhappy nihilist endings in which everyone dies and the demons pop back up, unvanquished β€” partly because studios think happy endings are too soft, but mostly because they need their monsters for so-called franchises.

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11:44 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Lance Armstrong, Tragic Hero? Not Exactly

Lance Armstrong admits to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs. The first part of the interview aired Thursday night.
Getty Images

Annalisa Quinn is a freelance writer for NPR Books.

Lance Armstrong, in the interview Thursday night with Oprah Winfrey in which he admitted to doping, understood the role that storytelling played in his fall: "You win the Tour de France seven times, you have a happy marriage, you have children. It's just this mythic, perfect story. And it wasn't true."

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Monkey See
10:58 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Globes, Oscars, And Who Are You Calling A Snub?

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

On this week's show, Stephen, Glen and I are joined by All Things Considered movie critic Bob Mondello for a discussion that's knee-deep in the oddities of awards season.

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Author Interviews
10:49 am
Fri January 18, 2013

The Inquisition: A Model For Modern Interrogators

An illustration shows heretics being tortured and nailed to wooden posts during the first Inquisition.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 1:41 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 23, 2012.

The individuals who participated in the first Inquisition 800 years ago kept detailed records of their activities. Vast archival collections at the Vatican, in France and in Spain contain accounts of torture victims' cries, descriptions of funeral pyres and even meticulous financial records about the price of torture equipment.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:22 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

Conductor Andres Orozco-Estrada, who has just been named as the next music director of the Houston Symphony.
Martin Sigmund courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 10:28 am

  • After a five-year search that encompassed some 50 contenders, the Houston Symphony has announced its new music director: AndrΓ©s Orozco-Estrada. The 35-year-old Colombian trained in Vienna and will take over from the retiring Hans Graf, who is departing at the end of this season.
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From The NPR Bookshelves
9:53 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Brush Up For The Inauguration With Books By And About The Obamas

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade on Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C.
Ron Sachs-Pool Getty Images

As the nation gears up for the second inauguration of President Obama, NPR Books dove into the archives to find some of our favorite interviews with biographers of the first family. Here, you'll find profiles of the president's mother and father, an exploration of Michelle Obama's ancestral roots, and a portrait of the president and first lady's relationship. You'll also find books written by the Obamas themselves.

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Arts & Life
3:41 am
Fri January 18, 2013

In A Fragmented Cultureverse, Can Pop References Still Pop?

At Tyler Perry's live performances, his gospel-tinged references aren't meant for everyone in the audience.
Jason Merritt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 9:11 am

On a recent episode of Saturday Night Live when the comedian Louis C.K. played host, one skit parodied his eponymous show on F/X. It riffed on the theme song and the discursive style of his comedy.

But here's the thing: Fewer than 2 million people watch Louie. About 7 million watch Saturday Night Live. That means even optimistically, at least two-thirds of the audience is missing the joke.

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Movie Reviews
6:06 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

'LUV': An Ex-Con Hero With Feet Of Clay

In LUV, Woody (Michael Rainey Jr.) spends a single day tagging along with his ex-convict uncle, Vincent (Common) β€” long enough for a lifetime's worth of lessons.
Indomina Releasing

Few films trying to capture a child's experience of an adult world manage to nail the details. In real life, kids aren't typically the precocious sorts espousing wisdom beyond their years β€” kids fidget, they ask questions, they get scared. They act like kids.

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Movie Reviews
5:11 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Arnold's Lackadaisical 'Last Stand'

Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) faces off with vicious drug smugglers in The Last Stand.
Merrick Morton Lionsgate

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 6:06 pm

He has repeated the catchphrase over and over again, though he really had to say it only once: No one ever doubted for a minute that Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn't be back.

How you feel about the hit-or-miss neo-spaghetti-Western The Last Stand may depend on how much you really missed Schwarzenegger while he was taking time off from acting to serve two terms as governor of California.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

'Mama' Knows Best β€” But She's The Worst

When Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Annabel (Jessica Chastain) welcome his orphaned nieces (Isabelle Nelisse, left, and Megan Charpentier) into their home, they also inadvertently welcome one particularly malevolent spirit.
Universal Pictures

If the movies have taught us anything, it's that when you're lost in the wilderness, an abandoned cabin in the woods may not be the life-sustaining shelter it seems.

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