Arts

Monkey See
3:30 am
Mon December 17, 2012

No. 1 At The Box Office? Four Reasons Why It Doesn't Matter

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was No. 1 at the box office this past weekend. But a No. 1 ranking means less about whether a movie will be profitable — and more about a fleeting cultural moment.
James Fisher Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 5:19 pm

This weekend, millions of Americans trekked across Middle Earth with Bilbo Baggins. The result? The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was No. 1 at the North American box office. It joins the list of other films that ranked No. 1 one their opening weekends, such as Underworld Awakening, Paranormal Activity 4 and Batman.

But here's the thing: The weekend battle at the box office doesn't necessarily decide the war in Hollywood, says Edward J. Epstein, author of The Hollywood Economist. Epstein says to be skeptical of what you read in Hollywood rags.

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Sunday Puzzle
6:43 am
Sun December 16, 2012

Sticking With The Sunshine State

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 12:25 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with "F" and the second word starts with "LA."

Last week's challenge: Name a major U.S. city in two words. Take the first letter of the first word and the first two letters of the second word, and they will spell the standard three-letter abbreviation for the state the city is in. What city is it?

Answer: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Winner: Mark Sobolik of Newburg, Ore.

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Movie Interviews
6:42 am
Sun December 16, 2012

Hunt For Bin Laden More Than Just One Woman's Fight

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 12:17 pm

It is one of the most compelling real-life dramas in recent history — chronicled in documentaries, news stories and books — and now the hunt for Osama bin Laden is coming to the big screen.

Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal are the latest to embark on a Herculean task of summing up the more-than-a-decade-long CIA search for the leader of al-Qaida.

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NPR Story
5:14 pm
Sat December 15, 2012

'Rock Me, Mercy': A Poem Written In Mourning

Originally published on Sat December 15, 2012 7:04 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

We leave you tonight with a poem by Yusef Komunyakaa. He wrote it last night after hearing about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. And we asked him to read it for us tonight. It's called "Rock Me, Mercy."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Arts
1:41 pm
Sat December 15, 2012

The Hillside School on Take Charge of Your Life

Host Eleanor Bobrow talks with David Mendlewski, head of The Hillside School in Macungie. The school is dedicated to serving students who have language-based learning disabilities and is designed to provide a structure to develop a sense of self-worth and self-respect, along with preparing students for college and beyond.

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Around the Nation
6:45 am
Sat December 15, 2012

No Orcs Allowed: Hobbit House Brings Middle Earth To Pa.

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Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's descriptions and drawings, Lord of the Rings fan Vince Donovan built a hobbit-hole to house his collection of Middle Earth memorabilia.
Emma Lee NewsWorks

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 1:43 pm

In rural Chester County, Pa., about 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia, thick fog swirls around the trunks of knotty trees. This piece of 18th-century farmland could, by all outward appearances, be one of the misty forests of Middle Earth, the setting of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings fantasy novels.

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Movie Reviews
6:45 am
Sat December 15, 2012

Hathaway, Jackman: No Complaints From These 'Miserables'

In the first act of Les Miserables, factory worker Fantine (Anne Hathaway) loses her job and is forced first to sell her hair and then become a prostitute in order to support her daughter, Cosette.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 3:29 pm

You may have heard of a little movie called Les Miserables, coming to many, many theaters on Christmas Day. It's based on a 27-year-old musical that was in turn based on Victor Hugo's classic 150-year-old novel about a man, Jean Valjean, who stole a loaf of bread and served 19 years on a chain gang. After his parole, he takes on a new identity and finds happiness and prosperity — until he's tracked down by his old jailer. The epic story plays out over decades, eventually peaking against the backdrop — and the barricades — of the French student rebellion of 1832.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
6:42 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

NIH Director Francis Collins Plays Not My Job

NIH

Originally published on Sat December 15, 2012 11:25 am

Dr. Francis Collins is the director of the National Institutes of Health, which among other things means he's going to outlive us all. We've invited him to play a game called "OWWW!" Three questions about athletes and the surprising ways they find to injure themselves, inspired by Bleacher Report's list of The 50 Weirdest Injuries in Sports History.

Movie Reviews
2:52 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Looking For Bin Laden In 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Stationed in a covert base overseas, Maya (Jessica Chastain) is a member of the elite team of spies and military operatives who secretly devote themselves to finding Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty.
Jonathan Olley Sony Pictures

Kathryn Bigelow's kill-bin-Laden thriller Zero Dark Thirty is cool, brisk and packed with impressively real-sounding intelligence jargon. It presents itself as a work of journalism — just the facts, ma'am — but there's no doubting its perspective. It's the story of America's brilliant, righteous revenge.

The prologue is a black screen with sounds of Sept. 11: a hubbub of confusion and then, most terribly, the voice of a woman crying out to a 911 operator who tries vainly to assure her she'll be OK. The recording is genuine.

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Movie Reviews
1:49 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Behind The Scenes Of The Beatles' 'Magical Mystery Tour'

The Beatles look out of the Magical Mystery Tour coach skylight, on location in England in September 1967.
Apple Films Ltd Channel Thirteen

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 3:01 pm

On Friday night on PBS, Great Performances presents a documentary about the making of a Beatles TV special from 1967 — Magical Mystery Tour — then shows a restored version of that special. Magical Mystery Tour has the music from the U.S. album of the same name, but it's not the album. It's a musical comedy fantasy about the Beatles and a busload of tourists taking a trip to unknown destinations.

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