Arts & Life

H.G. Wells' eerie writing brought us time machines, aliens and a submarine, long before a real one was seen in the world. Still, one of his short stories spent decades unseen by his avid readers. Until now, that is. His long-unpublished story "The Haunted Ceiling" is making its way into print for the first time. In its new issue, The Strand Magazine is publishing the story — which features a man driven mad by the image of a dead woman, with her throat slit, appearing on his ceiling. The...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST: When NPR last visited with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, she was fresh off a starring role as Belle, the title character the movie is named for. She played Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of a Royal Navy captain and an African slave entrusted to a powerful English lord. Gugu Mbatha-Raw has since played roles in some seven films at the box office and in an episode of the acclaimed TV series "Black Mirror." We...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST: Now that the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers are nearly done and the Black Friday crowds are subsiding - or sort of, there's one thing left to do this holiday weekend. It is time to head out and catch a flick. To get the latest on what movies to watch this weekend, we spoke with Washington Post Express arts and culture columnist Kristen Page-Kirby. We talked to head of the holiday starting with a film that's highly...

Here Comes Christmas!

Nov 26, 2016
bigpresh (David Precious) [Flickr]

That cute little face peeking out between the limbs of the Christmas tree is trouble in the making. Taking care to keep your pets safe around the holiday trimmings will help to make all the seasons of the year happy ones. ******************

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: We're hearing reaction today to the death of Fidel Castro. He overthrew a dictator in 1959 and was hailed as a national hero. But he held on to power with repression and brutality, jailing former friends, sentencing dissidents to forced labor. He turned countless Cuban families upside down and created two generations of exiles. Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Cuba in 1962. He wrote a...

Jack London, who died 100 years ago this week, occupies a space in which few writers can set foot. Although it's not especially unique for writers' lives to be marked by sickness and excess, London was prolific despite these constant threats to his productivity. Even as illness loomed, he managed to publish over 50 books and hundreds of articles in the last 16 years of his life. At a young age, London developed a hard discipline for writing — often jotting down as many as 1,000 words a day...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. (SOUNDBITE OF TV THEME, "THE BRADY BUNCH") PEPPERMINT TROLLEY COMPANY: (Singing) Here's the story... ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Today we're remembering a lovely lady who was bringing up three very lovely girls. You know the rest. (SOUNDBITE OF TV THEME, "THE BRADY BUNCH") PEPPERMINT TROLLEY COMPANY: (Singing) All of them had hair of gold, like their mother, the youngest one in curls... SHAPIRO: One of the most beloved TV moms of all time...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Here's an almost unbelievable journey - a 4-year-old boy swept thousands of miles from home who 25 years later struggles to find his way back. A few years ago when writer Saroo Brierley spoke to NPR about his early life, it sounded like the plot of a movie. Today, it is a movie, and critic Bob Mondello says "Lion" is quite a trip. BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Saroo is 5 when we meet him, a kid who dashes confidently...

In this season of indulgence (and overindulgence), some people will turn to the treadmill, while others turn to the Pepto-Bismol. Author Brad Thomas Parsons will reach for the bottle — specifically, a bottle full of a liqueur called amaro, which people have used as a digestive aid for centuries. It's an herbal recipe, and "it's actually bittersweet," Parsons says. "The bittering agents in it are actually helping your digestive system," he explains. "Four out of five doctors may not agree with...

On a recent fall morning, a large crowd clogged the steps at one of Venice's main tourist sites, the Rialto Bridge. But on this day, there was a twist: it was filled with Venetians, not tourists. "People are cheering and holding their carts in the air," says Giovanni Claudio Di Giorgio, who helped organize the march with a grass-roots organization called Generazione '90. The carts he refers to are small shopping carts — the symbol of a true Venetian. "It started as a joke," he says with a...

You know it from the first few notes of Thurl Ravenscroft's barrel-chested performance — singing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" with the same flair he brought to playing Tony the Tiger in Kellogg's cereal commercials — Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a holiday classic. The animated film turns 50 this year, airing on NBC about three weeks before its actual birthday. And it is, admittedly, a little weird to call a 26-minute cartoon about a green guy who learns not to steal...

Most television shows arrive accompanied by the question, "Is it good?" Revivals of old shows, however, often arrive with the question, "Is it necessary?" The four new 90-minute installments of Gilmore Girls that arrived Friday on Netflix under the title Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life fare better by that adjusted standard than most. Gilmore Girls , which ran from 2000 to 2007, was a good show, and because creator Amy Sherman-Palladino left before the seventh and final season following a...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWthj0v9VCo A "conversation" between two major artists — Henri Matisse of France, and Richard Diebenkorn of the U.S. — is taking place on the walls of the Baltimore Museum of Art . The two artists never met, but Matisse influenced Diebenkorn's work, across decades and continents. Matisse's great-granddaughter and Diebenkorn's daughter got to see the exhibition before it opened to the public; Gretchen Diebenkorn Grant, 71, and Sophie Matisse, 51, met for the...

In his defining moments on screen, Toshiro Mifune was glowering and silent, as if careful not to let slip a hint of his next move. To judge by Mifune: The Last Samurai , he was much the same off screen. Of the surviving friends, colleagues, and family members interviewed for this instructive but staid and unsurprising documentary, none has anything startling to reveal. That's not because the subject is Mifune, of course. Japanese culture doesn't encourage people to disclose their deepest...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Among the many things to be thankful for today, let's include Hollywood, which has been working hard to distract us from real life. Movies featuring superheroes and animated animals set box office records in 2016. And still to come to a theater near you - haunted real estate, droids and lightsabers and dad jokes. NPR's movie critic Bob Mondello has our holiday preview. BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Someone say droids and...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: We could give you some tips on how to properly cook your Thanksgiving meal, but frankly, it may be too late for that at this point in the day. So we're going to talk about the science behind cooking those traditional dishes with our friend Alton Brown. Welcome to the program. ALTON BROWN: Thank you, Ari, for having me. Nice to talk to you again. SHAPIRO: So you are currently on tour with a show called "Eat Your...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: We know some of the foods that people tasted at the very first Thanksgiving in 1621, but what did it sound like in Plymouth Colony when Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered together? Was there music? NPR's Neda Ulaby met some historical re-enactors who have explored that question. NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: In the year of our Lord 2016, the Native Americans wore hawk feathers and soft brown deerskins. The pilgrims -...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Imagine digging through decades of Thanksgiving menus stretching back to the 1800s. What do you think you would find? Turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, sure. When journalist Hilary Sargent performed this feat of culinary archaeology, she found that two foods were more common than almost any others. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST) HILARY SARGENT: Celery and olives. SHAPIRO: Yup, celery and olives. For nearly a...

Zombies, I'll admit, bore me. Kitsch, dopey, stumping around all smelly, zombies lack the machinations, the stealth, and the whiff of sex that make other creatures of the night — vampires, say — appealing. They are, however, pure body, and thus an apt choice for a fantasy novel that deals with the corporal realities: periods, sweat, masturbation, the trials of going to the bathroom in the woods, and the way thighs chafe in the heat when their owner hides out from flesh-eating corpses. Dust...

As families gather for home-cooked food this Thanksgiving, there's one acclaimed Los Angeles chef who expresses her gratitude for local flavors by getting out in nature. On a recent day, we find chef Niki Nakayama and her wife, Carole Iida-Nakayama, in the mountains of the Angeles National Forest. They trudge through the dry vegetation with master forager Pascal Baudar , gathering unexpected ingredients to use at their restaurant, N/Naka . At one point, they come across a black mustard plant,...

'Allied' Revives The Old-Fashioned Wartime Thriller

Nov 23, 2016

They don't make 'em like they used to, except when they do. Allied, a journey to the past from Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis, isn't just a period picture — it's an anachronism. It's an unabashedly starry-eyed World War II thriller that thrives on the chemistry between actors so beautiful it hurts to look at them too long. It's so old-fashioned it actually originated as a screenplay (from Steven Knight, the British writer of Eastern Promises, Locke, and many others). It's so old...

You would be forgiven for getting so lost in the world of Moana that the story itself becomes merely a distant hum. Disney's newest animated extravaganza takes as its inspiration the crystal blue waves and lush green island mountains of Polynesia, making the landscape into a 3-D storybook. The computer animation, so much crisper and more vibrant than the all-white X-Y planes of Frozen , turns the film into a celebration of (bio)diversity. And not a moment too soon for a world that keeps...

For yuletide misanthropes nationwide, Bad Santa has become a kind of alternative holiday tradition, the shot of Wild Turkey spiking the eggnog. What's forgotten is that Terry Zwigoff's delectably nasty 2003 comedy was a hit despite a bitter post-production struggle between Zwigoff and the studio, Miramax, which decided the film needed "heart," did reshoots (some without Zwigoff's participation), and released the film as a parent might release a soiled diaper. Plenty of American children have...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: Whether you're counting votes, counting your blessings or counting olives for your martini, tomorrow is a big day. (SOUNDBITE OF ALBUM, "BEYOND THE PALE") JIM GAFFIGAN: Thanksgiving, you know - Thanksgiving - it's like we didn't even try to come up with a tradition. The tradition is we overeat. (LAUGHTER) GAFFIGAN: Hey, how about at Thanksgiving we just eat a lot. (LAUGHTER) GAFFIGAN: We do that every day. ...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: All right, so you've got the turkey or the Tofurky and all the sides for Thanksgiving. Now get ready to talk about flying mashed potatoes. It's been less than three weeks since Election Day, and we have heard from a lot of people who are worried about talking politics at Thanksgiving. Don't worry. We are here to help, and we called reinforcements. Comedian Ali Wong came into the studio and she told me her 1-year...

Disney's latest movie, Moana , tells the story of a young girl living on an island in the South Pacific. She's the daughter of the chief, which means she's supposed to lead her people and stay on the island, but she finds herself drawn to the sea. When coconuts start rotting and fish start dying, she sails out to save herself and her people by finding the demigod named Maui. "There's an imbalance between man and nature at the start of the film," says John Musker, who co-directed and co-wrote...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Book critic Maureen Corrigan has a review of the new novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon. It's called "Moonglow," and it's loosely based on his grandfather's life. Chabon's other novels include "The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh," "Wonder Boys" and "The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay." MAUREEN CORRIGAN, BYLINE: The deathbed scene. Literature provides no greater opportunity for...

Almost a year ago, via a seemingly innocuous tweet , the very funny comedian and very funny actor Kumail Nanjiani and I discovered a shared enthusiasm for, and very deep feelings about , the romantic comedies of the 1990s. At our recent tour stop in Los Angeles at the Regent Theater, Kumail was in our fourth chair, and the topic was ... romantic comedies. We had Stephen and Glen catch up a bit on this genre so that we could bring both casual and committed perspectives to the table, and it's...

In most ways, Of Fire and Stars treads over very familiar ground. We find ourselves in a fantasy kingdom where magic is feared, and a princess must hide her powers in order to fulfill her destiny as a future king's bride. There are schemes and plots and romantic agonies aplenty, especially when the princess begins to fall in love with the wrong person. All of this would make an enjoyable enough read, but then Audrey Coulthurst elevates the story with a refreshing twist: The princess doesn't...

It's Thanksgiving, which means you'll be seeing Aunt Martha's sweet potato casserole encased in a marshmallow cloud that has drifted too close to the sun. Cousin Joe, who's just here for the game, will bring his famous can-shaped cranberry sauce that looks like it's been attacked by a Slinky. Then your sister will arrive with her sad concoction of green beans drowning in cream-of-mushroom soup, flecked with floating onion strings that have been flung like debris from the Titanic. There's a...

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