Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 2:22 pm
Audiences for Thor: The Dark World may initially be confused as to whether they accidentally wandered into a preview screening of the next installment in the Hobbit series.
The opening prologue â a solemn Anthony Hopkins narrates an epic tale of ancient wars between the forces of good and a race of evil elves â feels like pure Tolkien, and with good reason: the Norse mythologies that inspired the Lord of the Rings author also informed Marvel Comics' Stan Lee and Larry Lieber as they went about developing their godlike superhero.
Because it serves up Armageddon with a side order of teen romance, How I Live Now is not always credible. But as a portrait of a surly 16-year-old whose internal crisis is overtaken by an external one, the movie is persuasive.
For that, credit goes partly to director Kevin Macdonald, but mostly to his star, Saoirse Ronan. Playing a neurotic urbanite who learns to survive in a war-ravaged landscape, the actress is, appropriately enough, a force of nature.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish, this week at NPR West in California.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block in Washington, D.C.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL RINGING)
BLOCK: Ringing the bell to open trading on the New York Stock Exchange today, @SirPatStew, @vivienneharr and @CherylFiandaca - all of them big users of Twitter - to mark the day the social networking site became a publicly traded company.
New public opinion polls show distaste for National Security Agency surveillance does not break cleanly across party lines. Despite the administration's attempts otherwise, one new study finds that the more people know about the NSA, the more they dislike it.
If the Food and Drug Administration has its way, an era of food technology will soon end. The agency announced Thursday it is aiming to ban partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from all food products.
Margaret Hamburg, the FDA commissioner, said at a press conference that her agency has come to the preliminary conclusion that the oils "are not generally recognized as safe for use in food."
If the agency makes this decision final, it will mean a complete ban on this ingredient.
In California's Silicon Valley, there will soon be a new source of water for residents. That may not sound like big news, but the source of this water â while certainly high-tech â is raising some eyebrows.
With freshwater becoming more scarce in many parts of the country, the public may have to overcome its aversion to water recycling.
Ah, The Stench Of Drinking Water
If text could transmit odor, you'd know where this water is coming from.
For six decades, in her light-filled studio on top of New York's Carnegie Hall, portrait photographer Editta Sherman photographed celebrities from Leonard Bernstein to Yul Brynner to Joe DiMaggio. She was a legend â and she'd tell you that herself. Sherman died Friday at 101.
A note on her website reads: "Editta Sherman's vibrant sparkling life faded from this earth on November 1st, All Saints Day. She is at peace now and she is clothed in her ballerina dress with her diamond shoes dancing her way home to our hearts."