Arts

5:12pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Movie Reviews

A 'Hobbit,' Off On His Unhurried Journey

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:01 pm

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) takes a fantastic adventure across Middle-earth in Peter Jackson's prequel to his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
James Fisher Warner Bros. Pictures

The Hobbit's path to the screen may have started out as tortuous as a trek through the deadly Helcaraxe, filled with detours (Guillermo del Toro was initially going to direct), marked by conflict (New Zealand labor disputes) and strewn with seemingly insurmountable obstacles (so many that the filmmakers threatened to move the shoot to Australia).

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5:03pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Movies

'Save The Date': Something Borrowed, Not Much New

When she leaves her boyfriend, Sarah (Lizzy Caplan) quickly rebounds with Jonathan (Mark Webber).
Elisha Christian IFC Films

You might know Lizzy Caplan, eternal sidekick, as Jason Segel's girlfriend on television's Freaks and Geeks. Or as the struggling comedienne from Party Down, or the vampire vegan on True Blood, or from the movie The Bachelorette earlier this year?

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5:03pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Movie Reviews

A 'Girl' Deconstructed, And Rebuilt To Last

A series of mishaps and bad choices leaves the impetuous, impoverished Ashley (Abbie Cornish) caring for a young Mexican immigrant (Maritza Santiago Hernandez).
Brainstorm Media

Using illegal immigration as a frame to explore the slow awakening of a tough-shelled young Texas woman, The Girl is a patient chamber piece about the emotional bruises left by poverty and neglect.

Even before we fully know her circumstances, Ashley (Abbie Cornish) introduces herself as a victim of race and class discrimination. A sullen single mother and minimum-wage drone in a south Texas supermarket, she opens the film with a request for a raise. When denied, she refuses to accept her supervisor's criticism of her attitude.

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5:03pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Movie Reviews

Fighting For Their Family, One Day At A Time

When a boy with Down syndrome (Isaac Leyva) is abandoned by his mother, a neighbor couple (Garret Dillahunt and Alan Cumming) takes him in.
Music Box Films

It would take a heart of stone — or zero tolerance for soap — to resist Any Day Now, a full-throttle weepie about a West Hollywood gay couple trying to adopt a neglected boy with Down syndrome.

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5:03pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Movies

A 'Love' Letter To The Blonde Everyone Preferred

Marilyn Monroe's life has captivated the public's imagination for decades, and most recently has been given voice by today's famous actresses in Love, Marilyn.
HBO

We're long past the point where, at least among half-sentient beings, we need to make a case for the intelligence and sensitivity of Marilyn Monroe. Even when cast as a dumb blonde, she was never just your stock ditzy dame: She always showed a breezy self-effacement that was too sly to be purely accidental.

And to look at her, of course, is to love her, particularly now that her sad story has become part of the cultural landscape: How can you not want to protect such beauty and vulnerability from the cruelty of the world?

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5:03pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Movies

A Queens Chronicle That's A Little Too Lifelike

Without a supportive family, a rebellious teenager (Zoe Kravitz) must take care of herself in a troubled neighborhood.
MPI Media

The O'Haras don't talk much about what's wrong, but the members of this biracial Queens family — the central characters of Yelling to the Sky -- are bedeviled by alcoholism (dad), mental illness (mom) and adolescent defiance (the two daughters). Indeed actress-turned-director Victoria Mahoney barely explains her characters' circumstances, which makes the movie obliquely intriguing. But whenever the story comes into focus, it's revealed as fairly conventional.

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3:28pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Food

A Sweet Bread, A Wash Basin And A Shot Of Whiskey

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 6:45 pm

Cookbook author Marilynn Brass says eating Virginia Lima's traditional Portuguese Sweet Bread is like biting into a cloud.
Andy Ryan

For the holidays, why not give a gift that tastes like a cloud? Portuguese Sweet Bread may be as close as you can get, according to Marilynn Brass, one-half of the cookbook duo the Brass Sisters.

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1:06pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Best Books Of 2012

10 Books To Help You Recover From A Tense 2012

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 2:48 pm

Nishant Choksi

2012 has been a very jittery year — what with the presidential election, extreme weather events and the looming "fiscal cliff." In response to these tense times, some readers seek out escape; others look to literature that directly confronts the atmospheric uncertainty of the age. I guess I'm in the latter camp, because many of my favorite books this year told stories, imagined and real, about ordinary people who felt like they didn't have a clue what hit 'em.

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1:01pm

Thu December 13, 2012
The Picture Show

One Photo, 126 Frames, 2 Billion Leaves, 247 Feet

The giant sequoia is a snow tree, says scientist Steve Sillett, adapted for long winters in the Sierra Nevada. But it's a fire tree, too. Thick bark protects it from burning in lightning-caused fires, which open cones and clear the understory, allowing saplings to find light and prosper.
Michael Nichols National Geographic

Those numbers represent this giant sequoia. Oh, also: The tree is more than three millennia old, and contains about "54,000 cubic feet of wood and bark," according to National Geographic magazine.

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12:00pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Games & Humor

Arab American Comedienne: No Apology For Jokes

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 8:50 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Switching gears now, the issues of Palestinians, both in the U.S. and abroad, are often in the news, but not, I think it's fair to say, because of the comedy scene, which is where Maysoon Zayid comes in.

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