Rafer and Kristen find agreement on the creepiness of Daron Aronofsky's new thriller with Oscar-buzz, "Black Swan," debate the ending, and decide that a movie can sometimes be good even if it offers more questions than answers.
We speak with Colin Firth about his latest film, “The King’s Speech,” which centers on Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI. Firth plays Albert George, unexpectedly forced to take the throne after the death of his father and abdication of his older brother. As World War II looms, George must overcome his lifelong stuttering problem and address the nation.
Darren Aronofsky's dark ballet film "Black Swan" opens today, and it's already being mentioned as a contender for Oscar season. But the film elicited very different reactions from our movie contributors, Kristen Meinzer and Newsday film critic Rafer Guzman.
In 1970, three young alumni from the Harvard Lampoon started a national version of their campus humor magazine. It was called National Lampoon, and in the forty years since its launch, the Lampooon's humor and former members have permeated television, film, and just about every other cultural outlet in America.
The holiday season is approaching quickly, and if you’re like millions of other Americans, books will be on your to-give list. What books should you be giving? Which books are most likely to be enthusiastically received — regardless of whether you're giving them to an e-reading enthusiast or couch potato?
Patrik Henry Bass, our friend and senior editor at Essence magazine, is here with some tips, and offers (after the jump) his favorite books of 2010 for this gift-giving season.
Hanukkah kicks off at sundown tonight. And while the festival of lights is famous for a lot of things — like potato latkes and eight nights of presents — it’s often underappreciated for its music.
That changes today. Indie music star Ben Kweller reminds us that there’s plenty of good Hanukkah music. He joins us from his tour bus, which is currently parked in Birmingham, Ala.
Here is Ben Kweller's full list of favorite Hanukkah songs:
Thirty years ago, Anne Rice exploded onto the literary scene with her gothic novel “Interview with the Vampire.” Since then, she’s sold over 100 million copies of her books and explored not just vampires, but also witches and the life of Christ.
Her newest book, out today, is called “Of Love and Evil.” It’s the second book in her “Songs of Seraphim” trilogy, and it follows the saga of a former government assassin and an angel as they travel back to 15th century Rome to unravel the mystery of a poisoning.
Earlier this month, a bill to extend benefits for three months for the long-term unemployed was defeated in Congress. The cost of extending benefits would have equaled roughly $12 billion.
But while Capitol Hill has thus far been unwilling to spend $12 billion for the unemployed, Republicans on the Hill have also announced their intention to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. The price tag to do so for 2011? Roughly $36 billion.
Rafer and Kristen go to see the bumps, grinds and half-naked vixens in "Burlesque," but find themselves yawning and surrounded by nearly every cliché from the stripper movie pantheon.
In 1951, at the pinnacle of his career, legendary country singer Hank Williams recorded several hours of music with the Mother's Best Flour Show at radio station WSM, housed in the Grand Ole Opry.
Thinking the shows would only reach a small, mostly rural audience, Hank was unguarded in both his conversation and choice of songs — which included some that he’d never performed elsewhere.
One might presume that the recordings would have been painstakingly archived and preserved. But when WSM cleaned house in the late 1970s, the Hank Williams Mother’s Best recordings were actually put out with the trash. Fortunately, they were rescued by the Opry’s photographer and handed over to Hank's daughter, Jett Williams.
All week long we have been talking about the idea of "home," and the physical attributes and emotional attachments we have to our homes.
We end our series by talking with artist and writer Maira Kalman. She is the author of “And the Pursuit of Happiness,” a compilation of her year-long journey for our partner, The New York Times, to explore her adopted home, America. Kalman was not born in the United States, but she traveled the country to fall back in love.
This whole week we’re talking about home. And we’re asking our guests and listeners: what does home look and sound and taste like to you?
If you’re Amy Sedaris, the answer might very well be tinfoil balls and seashell toilet seat covers.
It's easy to think of the Civil War and remember only the big battles and major lessons we learned in grade school: the nation in its worst period of polarization, and an unseasoned president, Abraham Lincoln, struggling to mend a nation literally, not just rhetorically, at war with itself.
But imagine being able to experience the events and elections that led up to the Civil War in real time, at the day-by-day pace at which they originally happened. That's what Jamie Malanowski is making a reality.
Rafer and Kristen, possibly the only two people in the world who aren't enthralled with Harry Potter, talk with Takeaway Digital Editor (and Potter aficionado) Jim Colgan about the latest in the Harry Potter series.
A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet… but what about a song in any other key? Could the Beatles’ guitar gently weep if it were written in a major key? For that matter, would Eric Satie’s nocturnes evoke the same sense of loneliness had the tempo been increased by a few beats per minute?
It’s Thanksgiving week and the start of the holiday season. While the holidays can be a great time for getting together with the family, it can also be a time that’s fraught with tension for those people who no longer fit in at home (if, indeed, they ever did). Are you a "black sheep" ? Or do you have one in your family?
If you’ve read Vanity Fair anytime in the past decade or watched David Letterman with any regularity over the past two decades, you probably know who Fran Lebowitz is…or, in the very least, you know her biting social commentary. She’s the subject of a new documentary directed by Martin Scorsese, which premiers tonight on HBO. It’s called “Public Speaking.” (trailer after the jump.)
To his admirers, T.E. Lawrence, known around the world as "Lawrence of Arabia," was a courageous military leader. To his critics, he was a manipulative liar who exaggerated his own role in the Arab uprising against the Turks. And to movie lovers ... he was simply a great character. What’s true and what’s false about Lawrence of Arabia varies quite a bit, depending on who you ask. Who was he, really?
Miranda Richardson is a two-time Oscar-nominated actress whose career spans three decades. Her credits include "The Crying Game," "Sleepy Hollow," "The Hours," "Young Victoria," and the cult British comedy classic "Black Adder." Today, she has two new films hitting theaters: one based on real events, and one based on a hugely popular book about a certain boy wizard.
The Transportation Security Administration has begun more thorough pat-downs at airport security checkpoints just weeks before holidays' heavy travel season. Many passengers have already complained of inappropriate contact and others are upset with the intimacy of the search. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano explains the new search procedures and the full-body scanning machines that have been set up in airports. She and the TSA are asking passengers to be patient and cooperate.
"The vast majority of the traveling public understands that this is a safety and security measure," Napolitano said. Read a full transcript.