Thu February 27, 2014
Movie Reviews

'Non-Stop': Liam Neeson, Armed And Dangerous Again

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 3:03 pm

Liam Neeson is a federal air marshal on an imperiled flight in Non-Stop, the latest film to feature the actor as a troubled action hero.
Myles Aronowitz Universal Pictures

"Have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air?" So asks one character in Edgar Wright's excellent 2007 comedic tribute to buddy-cop movies, Hot Fuzz, in a moment meant to highlight the simultaneous ridiculousness and awesomeness of that particular action-movie trope.

Read more


Thu February 27, 2014
Movie Reviews

A Meet-Cute Romance With A Delicious Twist

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Ila (Nimrat Kaur) is a Mumbai housewife who accidentally begins a correspondence with another man when the lunch she packs for her own husband goes astray.
Sony Pictures Classics

When people talk about Bollywood movies, they usually mean Indian romances with extravagant musical numbers. But there are smaller Indian films, too, and one that has earned international acclaim at film festivals is opening tomorrow in major U.S. cities. It's called The Lunchbox.

Read more


Thu February 27, 2014
Movie Reviews

In 'Stalingrad,' Where The Fog Of War Is Plenty Thick

Teenage civilian Katya (Mariya Smolnikova) shares a ruined apartment with a gang of Soviet soldiers during the battle of Stalingrad in Fedor Bondarchuk's Stalingrad.
Sony Pictures

If you're only going to see one film about the Battle of Stalingrad — and there are many — Stalingrad would be the wrong choice. Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk's treatment of the World War II turning point is shallow and contrived, if sometimes impressively staged. The movie wins points, however, for sheer wackiness.

Read more


Thu February 27, 2014
Movie Reviews

A Legacy Of War, Hitting Home Decades Later In Norway

Katrine (Juliane Kohler) has a golden life in Norway — and a dark secret rooted in Eastern Germany, in the dark days of war and division.
Tom Trambow IFC Films

Decades after the end of World War II, the partly burned body of a young woman was found in a wooded area near the Norwegian town of Bergen. Her possible connection to a long-simmering Norwegian scandal, one dating back to the war, became the subject of a novel by Hannelore Hippe — and, in turn, of Two Lives, a new thriller loosely based on that novel.

Read more


Thu February 27, 2014
Book Reviews

Book Review: 'Night in Shanghai'

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm



Shanghai in 1936 was on the verge of Japanese occupation. Our reviewer Alan Cheuse says it makes a terrific setting for new novel by Nicole Mones. It's called "Night in Shanghai." The book showcases the multicultural and moneyed scene of Shanghai's prewar heyday.

Read more


Thu February 27, 2014
Monkey See

Hurts So Good: Getting A Kick Out Of A Movie Punch

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 9:34 am

Don't mess with Liam Neeson! He will get you with his phone! Or whatever else is handy! He will beat you up, is what we're saying.
Universal Pictures

My favorite parts of Non-Stop, in which Liam Neeson adds airplane bathrooms to the list of things out of which he has beaten the snot, are the silliest parts. The slow-motion parts. The gravity-defying parts. The parts where everybody in the audience cracks up, but not unkindly.

Read more


Thu February 27, 2014
All Tech Considered

'Rent It Out': Portlandia Spoofs The Sharing Economy

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 5:16 pm

In one episode of Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen started a grass-roots campaign to prevent the Olympics from ever coming to Portland.


Thu February 27, 2014

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains Why The Cosmos Shouldn't Make You Feel Small

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 9:45 am

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts a new TV series called Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey. It's an update of the influential 1980 PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Journey, hosted by Carl Sagan.
Patrick Eccelsine Fox

When it comes to "callings" we usually think of people who feel drawn to religious career paths. But if you ask Neil deGrasse Tyson how he became an astrophysicist he says: "I think the universe called me. I feel like I had no say in the matter."

Read more


Thu February 27, 2014
Wisdom Watch

Dangerous Dad Of 'Scandal' Turns The Tables

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 4:15 pm

Actor Joe Morton has appeared in films like Speed and Terminator 2 and TV shows like Law & Order and The Good Wife.
Matt Sayles AP

Actor Joe Morton's latest role puts him at the center of the ABC thriller Scandal. He plays Rowan Pope, the commanding and sinister father of Kerry Washington's Olivia.

Morton's Hollywood resume spans four decades and includes hit films like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Speed and the cult classic Brother From Another Planet.

Read more


Thu February 27, 2014

'12 Years A Slave' Screenwriter Talks Grit, Grace And Survival

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 4:53 pm

12 Years A Slave writer and producer John Ridley joined Michele Norris in NPR's Studio 1 for a wide-ranging conversation.
Amy Ta NPR

Was screenwriter John Ridley a bit nervous the night before this year's Academy Award nominations were announced? Absolutely.

How could he not be, when everywhere he went people approached him to say that he deserved an Oscar nod for his work on the film 12 Years a Slave. But those nerves were not evident when he sat down before a live audience at NPR Headquarters just hours before he did indeed get that Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Read more