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Updated: 1 hour 6 min ago

'Monkey Kingdom' Is Best When It's All Monkeys All The Time

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 4:03pm

There's some too-cute narration and some suspiciously convenient footage in this sort-of documentary from Disneynature, but when the monkeys are at their best, they're quite charming.

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Two Unmoored Souls Too Gloomily Drawn In 'Felix And Meira'

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 4:03pm

To its credit, this story of an Orthodox Jewish woman struggling with her faith doesn't shortchange all it offers. But her encounter with a man who might offer a different future doesn't satisfy.

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Broadway Passes The Bechdel Test With 'Fun Home'

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 3:17pm

Alison Bechdel's bestselling graphic novel memoir about growing up gay with a closeted father doesn't seem like an obvious choice for a musical, but it's coming to Broadway. NPR's Neda Ulaby reports.

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Yoda? Is It Thou? Figure In 14th-Century Manuscript Looks Familiar

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 1:55pm

A long time ago, in a place far away, a manuscript was created with an enigmatic figure who looks a great deal like a certain little — and yet powerful — green guy from the Star Wars films.

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The Chinese-Mexican Cuisine Born Of U.S. Prejudice

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 1:31pm

Fried yellow chilis. Baja-style fish. Not the typical Chinese restaurant fare, unless you're near the U.S.-Mexico border. The reasons why go back to an 1882 law enacted to keep Chinese out of the U.S.

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'Natural Born Heroes' Is Self-Help The Special Operations Way

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 9:03am

Writer John McDougall digs deep into the exploits of Britain's legendary World War II commandos to form a new definition of heroism: It's a skill you can learn, if you push your body to the limit.

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Is There Anything Left To Say About 'Saturday Night Live'?

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 7:41am

The Tribeca Film Festival opened Wednesday with a documentary that faces a massive challenge: Trying to find a new angle on one of the most thoroughly documented institutions we have.

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Lewis And Clark Battle Giant Spiders In 'Dead Lands'

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 6:00am

Benjamin Percy's new thriller re-tells the story of Lewis and Clark's expedition, against a postapocalyptic future backdrop where the Mississippi has dried up and monsters roam the West.

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'Justified' Ends With An Unpredictable, Poetic And Memorable Finale

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 1:05pm

After six seasons on the FX network, Justified ended Tuesday. "What a triumph," says critic David Bianculli who adds that he loved the finale's "touches of grace" and "emphasis on character and tone."

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Billy Crystal And Josh Gad: Separated By A Generation But United By Laughs

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 1:05pm

The two play satirical versions of themselves on the new FX show The Comedians. But in real life they share "a lot of commonalities," says Crystal.

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'All The Rage' Has All The Despair, And All The Confusion, Too

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 9:03am

Courtney Summers' new YA novel centers on a girl who was raped at a party, and the community that mostly doesn't believe her. Critic Tasha Robinson says the book's portrait of trauma packs a punch.

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'The Fishermen' Ventures Into Dark Waters

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 6:03am

Chigozie Obioma's novel follows a group of young boys who disobey their elders to spend afternoons fishing on the banks of an unlucky river, and the terrible consequences that flow from that choice.

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'The Fishermen' Ventures Into Dark Waters

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 6:00am

Chigozie Obioma's novel follows a group of young boys who disobey their elders to spend afternoons fishing on the banks of an unlucky river, and the terrible consequences that flow from that choice.

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From Horses To High Rises: An Insider 'Unmasks' China's Economic Rise

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 2:33am

Over the past 25 years, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson watched China turn into the world's second largest economy. He explains what could halt the country's massive growth.

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How AeroPress Fans Are Hacking Their Way To A Better Cup Of Coffee

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 4:38pm

Coffee aficionados say the simple, syringe-like device makes exceptional espresso, and allows for countless variations on the perfect cup. Not surprising, given that its inventor is a serial tinkerer.

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More Fear Of Human Intelligence Than Artificial Intelligence In 'Ex Machina'

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 4:23pm

"The anxiety in this film is much more directed at the humans," director Alex Garland tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "It was more in defense of artificial intelligence."

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Tea Tuesdays: Evolution Of Tea Sets From Ancient Legend To Modern Biometrics

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 2:23pm

Legend has it that a Chinese emperor first discovered tea more than 4,700 years ago. As the culture surrounding tea has changed through the centuries, so, too, have the tools we use to drink it.

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'The Children's Crusade': A Heavily Plotted Family Saga To Dive Into And Savor

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 1:24pm

Ann Packer's latest is about a young Navy doctor who, after the Korean War, builds a house south of San Francisco. Fifty years later, his four adult children argue over the property's fate.

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Forget Right And Wrong: 'House Of Cards' Is About Pragmatism And Power

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 1:24pm

Kevin Spacey strangles a dog in the pilot, which creator Beau Willimon says producers balked at because they'd lose viewers. But "why not provide that litmus test right at the beginning?" he says.

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The 'Justified' Finale Brings An End To Another TV Western

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 12:18pm

FX's powerful modern-day Western 'Justified' airs its series finale tonight. NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans says its end underscores the decline of a once-powerful TV genre.

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