Arts & Life

The premise and poster of The Family Fang promise a dynasty of twee eccentrics with maladjusted children, like the Tenenbaums, or the Bluths of Arrested Development. But though the Fangs share the latter's Jason Bateman, here directing as well as once more playing the put-upon son, this is a different failed family, and they strike a different tone onscreen: one more principled and intimate than mannered or mocking.

With Monty Python as the exception that proves the rule, the big screen has been historically unkind to sketch comedy teams hoping their offbeat sensibility will survive the leap from five-minute bits to 90-minute features — and from cult fervor to mainstream success. Some fail outright, like Mr. Show's Run Ronnie Run or The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy, while others are embraced by fans after tanking, like The Lonely Island's Hot Rod or The State's Wet Hot American Summer.

Clocking in at a hefty 155 minutes, a film about Bulgaria's transition from Communism to capitalist democracy might in principle be a tough sell outside the former Soviet Union. But Maya Vitkova's Viktoria, a handsome, formally adventurous family saga, tells that tale through a powerful maternal melodrama spanning three generations of implacable women bound by blood, spilled milk and the tumult of a world in transition.

Set amid Sicily's stark volcanic landscape, L'Attesa (The Wait) is a visually powerful, impeccably acted mood piece. But the movie is not for the literal-minded — a group that, at times, includes director and co-writer Piero Messina.

The newest apiary inspector at the Maryland Department of Agriculture has four legs, golden fur and a powerful sniffer.

Mack, a 2-year-old yellow Lab, joined the team last fall to help his mom, chief apiary inspector Cybil Preston, inspect beehives for American foulbrood — AFB — a highly contagious bacterial disease that infects honeybee brood and, eventually, kills the colony.

When comic Jerrod Carmichael moved from his hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C., to Los Angeles in 2008, he was 20 years old and without any stand-up experience. Still, that didn't stop him from jumping into the city's comedy scene.

"What I believe in more than anything is my ability to figure something out," Carmichael tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "So I moved to LA with the intention of figuring out stand-up comedy. ... I wanted to work on stand-up; I wanted to be great at stand-up."

As America's population ages, we're going to be seeing a lot more of these kinds of books: I'm talking about memoirs, written by adult children, about the extreme adventures of caring for and reconnecting with their elderly parents.

3 Generations Of Trauma Haunt 'Ladivine'

Apr 28, 2016

Fair warning: Guilt, shame, grief, cruelty — the denser flavors of the human dynamic — make for intense reading. Not handled well, such heavyweight emotions easily turn to stone. But the sharp-edged writing in Marie NDiaye's second novel, Ladivine, warrants spending time with her bleak vision of reality. Committed readers may find unexpected rewards in the harrowing twists and turns this gloomy family drama takes.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Harriet Tubman, who will soon be the first African-American to grace a U.S. currency note, spent her whole adult life raising money either to rescue slaves or help them start life afresh on free soil. While her abolitionist friends in the North were generous contributors to the cause, Tubman also self-funded her heroic raids through an activity she enjoyed and excelled at: cooking.

Tubman's role as a professional cook, which provided her with a much-needed source of money in her long and poverty-stricken life, has often been overlooked.

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the drummer and leader of The Tonight Show's house band The Roots, says he's obsessed with the creative process. His new book, somethingtofoodabout, is a collection of his interviews with chefs about how art and creativity apply to their preparation and presentation of food.

The Mardi Gras Indian Of 'Lemonade'

Apr 27, 2016

Beyonce's new visual album Lemonade is chock full of images begging to be unpacked, from the Yoruba face paint to the baseball bat named Hot Sauce to the brief shot of a kintsuji bowl.

So now we know who Beyonce's favorite poet is: 27-year-old Somali-Brit Warsan Shire.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that narratives about witchcraft — whether real or imaginary — are usually narratives about women surviving under circumstances that entirely justify the practice. That is, whether embracing the lush thrum of nature or signing one's name in the devil's book, it is never idle, never not-warranted.

VIDEO: Chocolate Bars With A Political Bite

Apr 26, 2016

It's often said that Washington, D.C., is a town obsessed with politics. Apparently, that obsession extends to its chocolatiers.

In his new film, A Hologram for the King, Tom Hanks plays a middle-aged American businessman who is sent to Saudi Arabia, where the king is planning to build a new city in the middle of the desert. Hanks' character, Adam Clay, must persuade the Saudis to let the company he works for provide IT technology and support for this new city.

On Tuesday, April 19, the news broke that Michael Strahan would leave Live with Kelly and Michael to join Good Morning America. Strahan, who had been with Live since 2012, had been doing some work for GMA for a while, but now was making the switch full-time for good. A week later, the titular Kelly and Michael did their first show together since the announcement.

'Sleeping Giants' Kicks Off A New Series In Style

Apr 26, 2016

A kid who finds something incredible in her backyard: It's not quite the most original setup imaginable for a science fiction story. What Sylvain Neuvel does with that setup, though, is nothing short of masterful. His debut novel, Sleeping Giants, begins when 11-year-old Rose Franklin falls into a hole that has opened up near her home in South Dakota. She's found soon after — sitting on top of a mechanical hand that's over 20 feet long from wrist to fingertip.

Writer Michael Schulman conducted 80 interviews for Her Again, his new biography of Meryl Streep. He talked with her friends and colleagues, read articles, letters and commencement addresses — but he never actually talked with Streep herself.

The "monoculture" has supposedly been dead for at least a decade, but it ain't necessarily so. World-devouring pop music phenomena do still exist, but today that universe is made entirely of Beyoncé — a Michael Jackson/Madonna/Prince figure whom everyone who cares about popular culture is supposed to grapple with and have big thoughts about.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

When he was 2 years old, Ocean Vuong's family immigrated from Vietnam to the U.S. He tells NPR's Michel Martin that he didn't learn to read English until he was 11. Now 27, he's making his mark in the world of poetry.

Vuong is the 2016 winner of the Whiting Award for poetry and published a new book of poems called Night Sky with Exit Wounds, weaving his personal stories of growing up with his family memories of life in Vietnam.

If you came of age in the 1960s, chances are you think about rock 'n' roll as the music of youth, of rebellion, of fighting the establishment. But in Nigeria, which was in the middle of a civil war, rock was one of the ways in which people expressed their politics.

This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, and here at The Salt, we wanted to celebrate with a selection of the sauciest, most scrumptious verses about food.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

When Laura Dunn decided to make a film about America's foremost farmer-philosopher, Wendell Berry, she ran into one significant complication: He was willing to be interviewed, but he didn't want to go on-camera.

Berry, an old-fashioned man to his core, believes that experiencing the world through computer or movie screens diminishes literacy and deadens the imagination.

It's officially prom season. And for girls especially, that means one thing in particular: dresses — lots of dresses.

Because it's been, well, more than a few years since the Weekend Edition staff had been to a prom themselves, NPR's Rachel Martin reached out to the person who would know best what's trending this year: Justina Sharp, a teen fashion writer who's been blogging on the topic at A Bent Piece of Wire since she was 13 years old.

Why 'Will From Warwickshire' Never Lost His Touch

Apr 24, 2016

Shakespeare has always been there for me when I needed him.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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