Gen. Thomas-Alexandre Dumas was one of the heroes of the French Revolution — but you won't find a statue of him in Paris today.
He led armies of thousands in triumph through treacherous territory, from the snows of the Alps to the sands of Egypt, and his true life stories inspired his son, Alexandre Dumas, to write The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
Amy Adams has played a Disney princess, a puckish Amelia Earhart, an innocent young nun and a blogging Brooklynite who wants to follow the recipe for being Julia Child.
But she takes a more steely turn in her latest role in The Master, which has just opened in New York and Los Angeles. The film, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, also stars Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
One night in 1947, an intensely curious 5-year-old boy named Michael McCleery asked his father for a story. So his father, William McCleery, produced a tale that revolved around a wolf named Waldo, a hen named Rainbow, and another little boy, the son of a farmer, named Jimmy Tractorwheel. Over weeks and weeks, William serialized the story, telling it in installments to Michael and his best friend during bedtimes and Sunday afternoon outings.
Challah is a rich, eggy bread baked every week for the Jewish sabbath, or shabbat. But for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year that starts tomorrow at sundown, it gets a few tweaks. There's a little extra honey or sugar, for a sweet new year. And instead of the usual long braid, it's round.
We taped this week's show with half of us in D.C. and half of us — me and Trey, plus NPR's own Bob Mondello — in a studio in Toronto. Why? Because of the Toronto International Film Festival, which provides the front half of the show. Trey, Bob and I talk about a bunch of the films we saw, many of which you can see covered on the blog's TIFF '12 section.
One of the most interesting books I've read so far this year has been This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz. And there's a reason it's such a well constructed read — as NPR's Steve Inskeep pointed out — it took Diaz 16 years to write.
Onstage at the Toronto International Film Festival, Jackie Chan describes his first visit to the United States. "I speak no English at that time — I do not even know how to order breakfast. Everyone know ... you know the story?"
Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master is both feverish and glacial. The vibe is chilly, but the central character is an unholy mess — and his rage saturates every frame. He's a World War II South Pacific vet named Freddie Quell, played by Joaquin Phoenix to the hilt — the hilt above the hilt. We meet him at war's end on a tropical beach where he and other soldiers seek sexual relief atop the figure of a woman made out of sand.