Arts

NPR Story
10:14 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Sharpen Your Wits (And Your Pencils)

Guest musician John Roderick, of the band The Long Winters, addresses the crowd at The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY.
Steve McFarland NPR

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 6:43 pm

"Shake it like a polar bear ninja!" If you suspect that these are not the correct lyrics to Outkast's "Hey Ya!", then this week's game of mondegreens (misheard lyrics) is for you. We'll also visit the world of late-night infomercials and root for our favorite gluttonous, envious, lustful basketball team--the Phoenix Sins. Plus, V.I.P. David Rees teaches us how to sharpen pencils the artisanal way.

The Salt
9:43 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Chinese New Year: Dumplings, Rice Cakes And Long Life

Year cakes made of sticky rice are among the traditional Chinese New Year foods.
Ju-x Flickr.com

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 4:37 pm

About 3,000 years ago, give or take a couple of decades, the Chinese people began celebrating the beginning of their calendar year with a joyful festival they called Lunar New Year. They cleaned their homes, welcomed relatives, bought or made new clothes and set off firecrackers. And there was feasting and special offerings made to the Kitchen God for about two weeks.

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The Two-Way
7:57 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Book News: Should Ayn Rand Be Required Reading?

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 3:37 pm

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

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Movie Reviews
5:40 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Sheen's 'Swan' Is One Ugly Duckling

Charles (Charlie Sheen) is a none-too-likeable ladies's man in A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III.
A24 Films

There's no separating Charlie Sheen from Charles Swan, the titular representation of the male id at its most self-obsessed in Roman Coppola's uneven A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. But for better and decidedly worse, that's the point.

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Movie Interviews
5:33 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

'Warm Bodies' Director: Teen Romance, Undying

Nicholas Hoult, Rob Corddry and Teresa Palmer lurch through a scene in Levine's zombie romantic comedy.
Jonathan Wenk Summit Enterainment

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 7:50 pm

This past weekend, a surprising little movie topped the box office over pop-action juggernaut Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and the Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook.

Warm Bodies is a zombie romance brought to you by the man behind the recent cancer comedy 50/50; clearly, director and screenwriter Jonathan Levine has an interest in genre bending, and this latest flick is equal parts Night of the Living Dead and Romeo and Juliet. It's told through the eyes of R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie living in an airport.

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Movie Reviews
5:04 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

A '70s 'Playroom,' Without Much Room For Fun

Donna (Molly Parker) is the drunk, distracted matriarch to Maggie (Olivia Harris) and her nervous siblings in The Playroom.
Freestyle Releasing

There's a sequence early in the laughable drama The Playroom that epitomizes everything wrong with it: With her parents out of the house, 16-year-old Maggie Cantwell (Olivia Harris), the eldest of four latchkey kids, sneaks into the garage with her boyfriend on a determined quest to lose her virginity. While the two fumble around clumsily on the floor, Maggie's youngest brother, Sam (Ian Veteto), sits outside the garage door, trying to sew a merit badge onto his shirt but struggling to thread the needle.

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Movie Reviews
5:04 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

A Sorcerer, A White Snake, And Lots Of CGI Magic

The demon snake sisters (Charlene Choi and Eva Huang) disguise themselves as beautiful women in The Sorcerer and the White Snake.
Magnet Releasing

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 8:14 pm

In the opening sequence of The Sorcerer and the White Snake, two monks step through a giant gate and find themselves in a new world — one made entirely of computer-generated images. Only Fahai (Jet Li) and his disciple Neng Ren (Zhang Wen) are human.

"Don't believe everything you see," the older man warns.

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Movie Reviews
5:04 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

'Lore': After Hitler, An Awakening For The Reich's Children

A band of virtually orphaned children (Nele Trebs, Mika Seidel, Andre Frid and Saskia Rosendahl) trek through southern Germany seeking shelter — and answers — at the end of World War II.
Music Box Films

It took years for our fictions to consider the Holocaust narrative. And for an even longer time, a stunned silence hovered over the fate of "Hitler's children" — ordinary Germans during and after World War II. That embargo, too, is lifting, with a significant trickle of novels, movies and television dramas that imagine what it felt like to be the inheritors of the worst that humans can do to other humans.

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Movie Reviews
5:04 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Warning: 'Side Effects' May Include Eye-Rolling

In Steven Soderbergh's medical thriller Side Effects, Emily (Rooney Mara) goes through an emotional crisis — and then a psychopharmacological one — after her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) is released from prison.
Eric Liebowitz Open Road Films

It's the drug's fault, man. That's the defense offered by the perpetrator brought to trial in Side Effects, a stylish, vaguely Hitchcockian dud. But what excuse does this fatally silly movie have?

The film, reportedly the final big-screen effort for prolific director Steven Soderbergh, begins in a New York apartment where something bad has happened. Blood on the floor, smeared and tracked by footprints, suggests murder, suicide or extreme clumsiness.

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Movie Reviews
5:04 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

'Identity Thief': Nearly Two Hours, Stolen

An overextended Sandy (Jason Bateman) must prevent the raunchy Diana (Melissa McCarthy) from continuing to use his identity as a financial crutch in Identity Thief.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 7:09 pm

The new road-trip comedy Identity Thief — about a guy who confronts a woman who's wrecking his credit rating — is such a catalog of missed opportunities, it probably makes sense just to list them.

The setup: Sandy Patterson, who works in a Denver financial firm (and is not supposed to be mentally challenged), blithely hands over his Social Security number to a stranger on the phone who says his accounts have been compromised, at which point his accounts get compromised. No tricks, no subterfuge, no laughs — he's just stupid.

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