Arts & Life

Set on an apparently tropical island, The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge) exalts the cycle of life and celebrates the beauty of nature. Yet this dialogue-free animated fable could hardly be more anthropocentric.

The man around whom the film revolves is introduced literally at sea, battling to survive the stormy waves of a slate-colored ocean. The sketchily drawn, button-eyed survivor soon washes up on a remote isle. It's inhabited mostly by insects and crustaceans — the sand crabs provide low-key comic relief — although sometimes a larger creature comes ashore.

When John Travolta's Vincent Vega told the tale of his visit to a Parisian McDonald's in the opening of the 1994 film Pulp Fiction, his noted that his "Royale with Cheese" had the same ingredients, the same taste, and the same packaging as his familiar Quarter Pounder with Cheese back home in Los Angeles.

Lee Daniels is known as a fiercely creative producer with a taste for controversy. He regularly tackles gay issues, race and class in the hit TV drama he co-created for Fox, Empire, and his new series for the network, Star.

But when I caught up to him after a press conference and asked how he felt about the election of Donald Trump, Daniels got unexpectedly emotional.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

"Reservoir Dogs," "Memento," "The Blair Witch Project" and the Coen brothers' debut film, "Blood Simple," all have one thing in common. They premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. My co-host Kelly McEvers has more.

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Mars has been on a lot of minds lately. The success of Andy Weir's science fiction novel The Martian — and Ridley Scott's subsequent film — helped rekindle interest in the Red Planet. And now, National Geographic's TV series Mars is going even further in giving us a plausible look at what a Martian colony in the near future might look like.

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You know, here at MORNING EDITION we like to strive to give you in-depth lively coverage of the news.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Indeed, we hope you are informed and entertained.

The movie Fences is in theaters across the U.S. right now and is a leading contender in the Academy Awards. It's based on a play by August Wilson — a play that got its start at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Conn. This season, Yale Rep, as its known, marks its 50th anniversary as an incubator for not only Wilson, but also Athol Fugard, Christopher Durang, Sarah Ruhl and many of the leading playwrights working today.

It's become a common joke that the Germans have a word for everything (and that many of them are comically long and impossible to pronounce). But there's a grain of truth to it — take Sehnsucht, a German term that's hard to explain in English. It's sometimes translated as "longing," but it carries a series of specific connotations, among them, a yearning for a faraway land that may or may not actually exist.

Most Broadway musicals that close after 16 performances barely prompt memories, let alone documentaries. But in 1981, the Stephen Sondheim/George Furth opus, Merrily We Roll Along, rolled along so bizarrely, it became the stuff of Broadway legend, worthy of a 2017 post-mortem. Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened is a theatrically captivating documentary in which a director looks sideways at a musical that goes backwards.

4-Year-Old Girl Reads More Than 1,000 Books

Jan 17, 2017

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When Morning Edition host David Greene spoke to DJ Khaled recently, there was simply too much good stuff to fit all of it on the radio. Fortunately, the show passed along to us an extended version of the interview, which opens with David explaining why this was the second time they set up an interview with the musician, producer and social media super-super-superstar.

You should listen to the whole thing for yourself, because none of this sounds as intriguing in print as it does when DJ Khaled says it, but here are a few of the things you'll hear.

Transit, the second installment of Rachel Cusk's cumulatively affecting post-divorce trilogy that began with Outline, is a reading journey you wish didn't have to end — so it's a good thing there's a third volume on the itinerary. This isn't to say these subdued, meandering novels are a joyride, at least not in the usual sense. They offer little in the way of plot thrills.

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A Wanderluster And A Wandering Eye

Jan 15, 2017

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

After its nearly century and a half run, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus plans to shut down "The Greatest Show On Earth."

The historic American spectacle will deliver its final show in May, says Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling.

Feld announced the news on the company website Saturday night, citing declining ticket sales — which dipped even lower as the company retired its touring elephants.

For This Relationship, It's Judgment Day

Jan 14, 2017

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

Just one day after Jennifer Holliday told the media she planned to sing at a welcome concert for President-elect Donald Trump, the Tony Award-winning singer says she has reconsidered. Holliday will not be performing at the inauguration-related event.

She announced the turnabout in a letter provided to The Wrap. She wrote, in part:

Dog Flu

Jan 14, 2017
kynbit (Kiyonobu Ito) [Flickr]

Canine influenza - or dog flu - is a highly contagious virus transmitted to a healthy dog from an infected animal that is coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated bowls, leashes, bedding, even toys used by an infected pet.  

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Veronica Roth became best-selling author when she was just 23 years old. Her Divergent trilogy for young adults was instantly popular and it was made into similarly popular films. Roth has now written her first new series since Divergent. The first novel is called Carve the Mark, and it takes place in a world where everyone comes into a gift when they reach adolescence.

Henry Morgenthau III was in his 90s when he started to write poetry.

Morgenthau has had an extraordinarily full life. He's produced award-winning television documentaries, raised children, written a memoir — and yes, his father was the Henry Morgenthau Jr. who was Franklin D. Roosevelt's Treasury Secretary.

In 'Cold Eye,' A Small Story That Packs A Big Punch

Jan 14, 2017

When you live in the West, you come to expect the big skies. You learn to navigate by the epic weight of mountains crowding the horizon. You know the snapping sharp transition between the close embrace of the woods and the openness of the high mountain clearing. Even in the cities, you live with the land close by — never being allowed to forget that you are in a wild place that will never be truly settled. In the East, nature is allowed to exist by man in controlled, manageable pockets, ever shrinking. In the West, nature allows you to exist. Or doesn't, according to its whims.

Every child wants to grow up to be independent — to leave their parents' home, find work, build a life of their own.

But that seemingly simple step into adulthood can be a monumental challenge for children with developmental disabilities like autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, or any of a range of other such disabilities that affect about one in six American children, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Novelist and filmmaker William Peter Blatty, a former Jesuit school valedictorian who conjured a tale of demonic possession and gave millions the fright of their lives with the best-selling novel and Oscar-winning movie "The Exorcist," has died. He was 89.

Blatty died Thursday at a hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, where he lived, his widow, Julie Alicia Blatty, told The Associated Press. The cause of death was multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, she said.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

And now it's time for a last call on the Commercials for Nicer Living project, version 2017.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS")

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

I don't want to oversell this new version of A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I don't know how not to. Everything that the movie version got wrong, this TV adaptation gets right. And not just right, but brilliantly.

The difference is as stark, and as significant, as the difference between the movie and TV versions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- where the writer of that story, Joss Whedon, took the reins and made a television version much truer to his original vision.

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