Arts

10:45am

Fri December 21, 2012
Monkey See

Pop Culture Happy Hour: The Hobbit And The Habit Of Storing Your Stuff

NPR
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On this week's show, we dive into Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Glen is an extra-extra-expert, Stephen and I are novices, and Trey is somewhere in between when it comes to Tolkien, so what happens when we all see the same movie? What about the super-crisp technical side? And what does this have to do with Les Miserables?

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10:19am

Fri December 21, 2012
Television

HBO's 'Enlightened' Take On Modern Meditation

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 2:00 pm

Laura Dern and series creator Mike White, shown together on the set of Enlightened, first worked together on White's 2007 film Year of the Dog.

Prashant Gupta HBO

This interview was originally broadcast on October 10, 2011.

Can people really change? That's the question Laura Dern and Mike White ask in their HBO series Enlightened, the second season of which begins Jan. 13. The show features Dern as Amy Jellicoe, an ambitious executive who has a nervous breakdown at her workplace. She goes to a rehabilitation center in Hawaii, where she experiences an awakening.

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9:53am

Fri December 21, 2012
Monkey See

Blame The Movies As We Mourn? Or Turn To Them For Comfort?

After a classroom tragedy, the title character of Monsieur Lazhar (played by the Algerian actor Fellag) comforts mourning students.
Music Box Films

In light of last Friday's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, all explanations and ruminations for why Adam Lanza opened fire are on the cable-news pundits' table. Was it the lack of gun control? Untreated mental illness? Or was it an Aurora-style pop-culture revenge fantasy writ large? Did Hollywood's culture of raging, gun-slinging entertainment help fuel the mayhem? Nobody knows the shooter's motive, and yet the conversation and pontification remains incessant and unabated.

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7:35am

Fri December 21, 2012
Monkey See

Last-Minute Box Sets: Home Video For Everyone On Your List

If you're running out of time for holiday shopping and you can't stand to buy another gift card, there's still hope.

Over the last few holiday shopping seasons, I've become something of a specialist in hunting down specific DVD and Blu-ray sets that will most appeal to friends and family on my list. I usually have a pretty good inkling of these things: My sister gets the art-house movies. My uncle gets the old-school sitcoms. My nephew gets anything that involves baseball, superheroes and/or ice road truckers (don't ask).

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3:27am

Fri December 21, 2012
Theater

Broadway's Profit-Turning, Crowd-Pleasing Christmas Story

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:37 pm

Jordan Gelber plays Buddy the Elf in Elf on Broadway. The limited-run production may not turn a profit immediately, but producers have a multipronged strategy for making money.
Joan Marcus The Hartman Group

The Christmas season is when retailers make the bulk of their profits, Hollywood blockbusters rake it in, and Broadway theaters are filled to capacity. In recent seasons, Broadway has even staged special limited-run holiday musicals — among them, adaptations of A Christmas Story and Elf — to take advantage of the hordes of tourists in New York looking for entertainment. But with production costs so high, how can these shows make their money back? The answer, it turns out, is complicated.

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3:23am

Fri December 21, 2012
The Salt

A Pie-Making Encore: Start With The Perfect Recipe, Serve With Love

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:00 am

The foundation of a good pie starts with the crust.
iStockphoto.com

It's high season for pie-making. And when we came upon this touching story about a bunch of women gathering to bake fresh apple pies for the people of Newtown, Conn., it warmed our hearts here at The Salt. Truly.

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5:04pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Movie Reviews

'Jack Reacher': Well Beyond Cruise's Grasp

Helen (Rosamund Pike) and Reacher (Tom Cruise) work together after being summoned by an accused killer.
Karen Ballard Paramount Pictures

Whenever James Stewart played a character, he was always a little bit James Stewart; that's a good thing. Cary Grant was always a little bit Cary Grant — also a good thing. But Tom Cruise, through a career that's spanned some 30 years, is almost always very much Tom Cruise. And that, particularly in Jack Reacher, can be a very tiresome thing.

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5:03pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Movie Reviews

Reliving An 'Impossible' Catastrophe

Maria (Naomi Watts) and Lucas (Tom Holland) are ripped from their family by a tsunami.
Jose Haro Summit Entertainment

Starring flying debris and surging walls of water, The Impossible takes the template of the old-timey disaster movie, strips it to the bone and pumps what's left up to 11.

Decades ago, perched in front of Earthquake and The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, audiences were rewarded with thrills that depended on fleshed-out characters (Steve McQueen as a fire chief!) and multiple interconnected storylines. How pampered we were.

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5:03pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Movie Reviews

Sparks Of '60s Spirit, And Then A Slow 'Fade'

Wells (Will Brill, from left), Joe (Brahm Vaccarella), Douglas (John Magaro) and Eugene (Jack Huston) try to make it big as a rock band in the 1960s.
Barry Wetcher Paramount Pictures

Basically, Not Fade Away is the saga of a 1960s teenager who plans to become a rock star, but slowly realizes he won't. The movie is set mostly in the New York suburbs. So why does it open in South London, where two lads — you may know them as Mick and Keith — bond over imported blues LPs?

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5:03pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Movie Reviews

'This Is 40': Ambling Into Midlife

With a 13-year-old (Maude Apatow) and an 8-year-old (Iris Apatow), Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) have their hands full.
Universal Pictures

Consider the premises of writer-director Judd Apatow's first three comedies:

* A lonely tech salesman (Steve Carell) seeks to end a lifelong romantic drought in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
* A mismatched couple (Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl) gets pregnant after a regrettable one-night stand in Knocked Up.
* A popular but self-centered comedian (Adam Sandler) finds perspective after a grim cancer diagnosis in Funny People.

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