Arts and culture

Fury, David Ayer's brutal, reflective, wholly absorbing World War II movie, is about tank-to-tank combat and the way war degrades everyone it touches, but for about a minute it looks like a Western. A rider on a white horse crosses a misty field in no great hurry, gradually filling the frame. Ayer's patient camera tracks him into a metal thicket of burning American Shermans and their superior German counterparts, Tigers.

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The former International Space Station commander achieved Internet stardom with his in-space rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." After three missions and a total of six months in space he shares what he's learned in a new book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.

Originally aired Oct. 30, 2013.

In the heart of London's Soho sits a gleaming new restaurant — Tincan. The premise is simple: No kitchen, very few staff, and the menu all comes out of a can. Specifically, canned fish.

To many people, canned food conjures up images of stocking up for winter, emergency rations, or — for Brits — the deprivations of World War II.

'Accidental Highwayman' Stands And Delivers

Oct 17, 2014

The unfortunate thing about The Accidental Highwayman is that it looks too much like something it's not. From the gorgeously designed cover and elaborate title to the apologetic editorial front matter and interior illustrations, it looks like a book aware of its place in a specific history: namely, 18th century England's high demand for stories about real, live highwaymen, stories about their dreadful deeds and doleful demise, packaged in layers and layers of moralizing justification for the muckraking glee in which the reader was about to indulge.

Birdman's opening shot has a meteor flaring across a twilit sky — a dying star falling to earth being an apt first image for a movie about a film superhero who has flamed out.

Alex Ross Perry has a knack for writing male characters with deep reservoirs of literary arrogance, and he has taken his talent to a new level with his intricately crafted film, Listen Up Philip.

For a couple of lovely weeks in October, our dear pal Ari Shapiro — who has long since forgiven us for making him watch the VMAs and Olympus Has Fallen for a prior episode — was back at NPR HQ to host Weekend Edition. While we had him here, we grabbed him up for a conversation about Transparent and pop culture debuts.

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

John Grisham has backpedaled from his recent comments regarding child pornography, which were made in an interview published Thursday. The best-selling writer apologized in a statement posted on his Facebook and on his personal website, saying he "in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children."

Not every dancer can be a ballerina, and not every ballerina gets to dance with the New York City Ballet. So when one makes it, and then stays with the company for three decades, it's a big deal.

Wendy Whelan is that ballerina. And on Saturday night, at 47 years old, she'll give her final New York City Ballet performance before she retires.