This summer, you can expect to be profoundly haunted by some of the best works of speculative fiction the season has to offer. The protagonists in these novels are mobbed by the ghosts of history, by the re-awakened dead, and by their recollections of traumas so formative that they transcend personal experience to become species memory. They are also, somewhat humorously, dogged by all the secret truths that have been edited out of Wikipedia entries.
Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 11:04 am
By NPR Staff
Actor Henry Cavill and director Zack Snyder confer on a shot for an early sequence in <em>Man of Steel</em>. Cavill is the first British actor to wear Superman's iconic red and blue — though not the first to play a D.C. comics superhero.
The quintessential American superhero — the one who forged the genre — returns to the multiplex this weekend: Superman. The latest big-screen iteration, called Man of Steel, explores the birth of the character (played as an adult by British actor Henry Cavill), delving into why he came to Earth, his inner conflicts growing up, and how he resolves them.
Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 11:43 am
By Tomas Hachard
Taissa Farmiga (left) and Israel Broussard are key players in the five-person posse (otherwise known as the "Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch") targeting celebrity homes in <em>The Bling Ring</em>, stealing clothes, jewelry and cash from the likes of Lindsay Lohan.
What it came down to in the end were "the beautiful, gorgeous things."
That's how Marc (Israel Broussard) explains the Bling Ring, a gang of teens who, over a span of 10 months in 2008 and 2009, robbed a series of celebrity homes, including those of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom. Along the way, they accrued more than $3 million worth of jewelry, clothing and accessories — not to mention that inevitable tabloid-headline nickname.
The school year is drawing to a close, but NPR's Backseat Book Club has plenty of reading lined up for the summer. Our June pick is The One and Only Ivan, a Newbery Medal-winning book by Katherine Applegate. It tells the story of a gorilla who spent 27 years in a shopping mall in Tacoma, Wash. — and it's based on a true story.
Jeremy Jackson's grandma Mildred was famous for her strawberry cake. Legend has it that one of the families in her small Missouri town loved the dessert so much, they "commissioned" her to make it for them once a week.
Jackson is the author of Good Day for A Picnic: Simple Food that Travels Well. He shared two versions of his Strawberry Cake for All Things Considered's Found Recipes series.
In <em>More Than Honey, </em>Attica Boa's striking close-up photography helps visualize a story whose urgency needs no amplification: With global honeybee populations threatened, the world's food supply could be seriously endangered.
Credit Kino Lorber
An amiably shaggy combination of science lesson, whimsical musing and alarm bell, More Than Honey isn't as urgent as its eco-catastrophic subject — the possible destruction of the world's critically important honeybee populations — might seem to require. But the documentary's most memorable vignette is suitably unnerving: a visit to northern China, where the threatened disappearance of bees has already come to pass, leaving workers to pollinate fruit trees ... by hand.
Henry Cavill plays the title role in Zach Snyder's expensively earnest iteration of our most recognizably American superhero. An "alien" aesthetic — which ironically owes plenty to the Industrial Age and to the metallo-organic curves of art nouveau — informs everything from the film's palette to its interpretation of Superman's iconic costume.
Credit Clay Enos / Warner Bros. Pictures
Take heart, ye spandex-haters: Zack Snyder's steroidal yet sensitive Man of Steel is not a superhero film.
Full disclosure: Over the past two years, this reviewer has spent a great deal of time thinking about superheroes in general and Superman in particular. Less than some, perhaps, but more — it's safe to say — than most of you reading these words, as you debate whether or not to duck out of the heat this weekend to take in Snyder's latest summertime smash-em-up.