movies

Anne Hudson / The Ivoryton Playhouse

After a four-year gestation period, and more than a year's worth of delays, Frank Ocean's second studio album dropped last weekend. There are two different versions of the album: a physical version that was only available in pop-up shops in four cities last Saturday and the currently iTunes-exclusive digital version. The album is called Blonde, but the cover says "blond." And there's a separate, different video album, Endless, that was released last Friday. It's all very complicated. The Nose gets into it.

If you've seen Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book or the Toy Story movies, you've seen the work of animator Floyd Norman; for decades, he has helped bring Disney and Pixar classics to life.

Now 81, Norman still works for Disney, where he has plied his trade, on and off, since he became the studio's first African-American animator in the 1950s.

Rarely has an actor not seen or heard made such a big impact.

Kenny Baker, the actor who played R2-D2 in six of the Star Wars films, died Saturday, his agent confirms to NPR.

Standing at 3 feet 8 inches tall, the British actor also appeared in The Elephant Man, Time Bandits and Flash Gordon, among other films.

"He was just a lovely guy," said agent Johnny Mans, "and I shall miss him terribly."

Netflix

Start with four parts "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial." That's your base. Then you'll need two parts "The Goonies," two parts "Poltergeist," and two parts "Alien." Mix in one part each of "It," "Stand by Me," "Firestarter," "Explorers," "Carrie," and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Add a Winona Ryder-shaped dollop of "Beetlejuice," and top off with a dash of the covers of classic '70s and '80s horror novels.

That's the recipe for the newish Netflix series "Stranger Things."

Joss Whedon: His Work, His Life, He's Here!

Aug 2, 2016
Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

Originally, we planned on doing a show about Joss Whedon -- without Joss Whedon. We invited a scholar of his work to talk about his television and film resume, and a close friend, professor and mentor to speak on his directorial style. However, Joss was interested enough in what we're planning to join the show! So now, it's a show about Joss Whedon -- with Joss Whedon. 

Trevor / flickr creative commons

As we were preparing for our show on underdogs a few months ago, I kept saying that we shouldn't overlook the fact that, often, to be an underdog in the first place, you have to be really bad at the thing you're an underdog about.

The more we talked about it, the more I found myself making the case that losers and losing are fascinating.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

In January 2015, when it was announced that a planned new Ghostbusters movie would feature four female leads, internet fanbros went crazy. And then, this March, when the first Ghostbusters trailer came out, the internet fanbros went crazy all over again.

And now the movie is finally out. (And guess what the internet fanbros did.)

When most of us think about computer hacking, we picture Julian Assange leaking government secrets or a shadowy, bad-shave crook in some former Soviet republic hoovering up credit card info from a chain store. But while folks like these do stir up all manner of trouble, a much deeper danger lies elsewhere.

Jim Glab / Flickr

There are few genres of entertainment more American than the Western. But for a genre so steeped in the iconography of our past, its accuracy in portraying historical event leaves much to be desired. Many argue that the Western is more myth than reality, and that this myth is akin to revisionist history.

Warner Bros.

There's a new entry in the long, long canon of Tarzan stories and adaptations and shows and movies and musicals and Happy Meals toys or whatever. This time around, True Blood's Alexander Skarsgård stars as the bare-chested, animal-whispering titular character. The Nose went to see "The Legend of Tarzan," and we can't help but recognize its troubles of race and unending violence in this week's news.

Flickr Creative Commons

My Batman story begins with a crime. I was in third grade. I went to the barber shop in West Hartford Center where there were comic books to read while you waited.

I had never seen any superhero comic before and I started reading a Batman story. It was great but I didn't have enough time to finish it. So, when my haircut was done, I took it home with me. 

Earlier this year at the Golden Globes, the top TV honor, Best Television Series -- Drama, went to USA's hacker technothriller series "Mr. Robot." Last year, the trophy went to Showtime's "The Affair."

Between those two new shows, there are three point-of-view characters, three narrators. And you can’t really trust, you can't fully believe a one of them.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Sunday is Juneteenth, a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. This hour, we reflect on this history and legacy of slavery with Alika Hope and The Ray of Hope Project. We hear music and talk with members of the group who are performing at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts.

A24 Films

America's Greatest Living Film Critic David Edelstein has called "Weiner," the new documentary about former Congressman Anthony Weiner's ill-fated 2013 run for mayor of New York City, "one of the most provocative [docs] of its kind" that he's seen.

Marvel

Last Friday, "Captain America: Civil War" debuted in theaters. It is the inaugural film in 2016's summer movie season. It's also the third Captain America picture. And people are calling it The Avengers 2.5. It is the first movie in Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of which it is the thirteenth film. Some people are choosing sides, declaring allegiance to one "team" or another. Some people just want to know if Bucky got his plums.

W.A.S.T.E.

This hour, the Nose does its best to tackle four full topics.

Impressed, we are. With your #StarWarsDay celebrations, that is. The fourth is strong on the Interwebs.

It's a time for Star Wars-themed treats.

(Even here at NPR.)

And an excuse to show your creative side.

Of course, even this sacred day is not free of the presidential campaign.

Starz

Last weekend, the new Starz series "The Girlfriend Experience" premiered on cable and dropped in its entirety online. The always grumpy Richard Brody called it "an artistic as well as an epistemological disaster," but he blamed all of that directly on "the rigid format of serial television."

Chuck Kramer / flickr creative commons

And after 15 seasons and 555 episodes and more than 345 Billboard chart toppers, "American Idol" is done with us. Love it or hate it, the show changed the American television business, the American reality television business, the American music business. It gave us Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson and Ryan Seacrest. And it gave us Taylor Hicks and William Hung. And Ryan Seacrest. We unpack the whole thing, the good and the bad.

Don Cheadle has been playing Miles Davis for his entire career. To look back now on some of the actor's most exciting performances — as flashy porn star Buck Swope in Boogie Nights, velvet-slick con man Basher Tarr in the Ocean's trilogy, and rabble-rousing deejay Petey Greene in Talk to Me — is to recognize those same larger-than-life elements from the persona of the jazz legend and Cheadle's personal hero.

DC Comics/Warner Bros. Pictures

I get that it's stupid April Fools' Day, and so you can't trust anything you see on the stupid Internet. Except for the Trump quotes. The Trump quotes are just as legitimate today as they are on all the other days.

But so let me just make it clear right now that I'm totally serious when I say that on this edition of The Nose we talk about...

Two Comic Experts Explain Why Batman's Legacy Continues

Mar 25, 2016
Jay Javier / Creative Commons

He wasn't bitten by a radioactive spider. He didn't originate from another planet. And yet, Batman has managed to maintain a devoted audience for nearly a century. Joining The Colin McEnroe Show, two comic experts explained Batman's enduring power in the entertainment industry, and why filmmakers continue to make adaptations of the series. 

'Born To Be Blue' Finds Truth In Inventive Riffs

Mar 24, 2016

Now is a fine time for jazz trumpet fans to get lost at the movies. April will see the release of Don Cheadle's long-gestating Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead, and this week we get the shaggy dog Born to be Blue, the story of Miles' contemporary Chet Baker. Both films are far looser and more experimental than your typical straight biopic, and concentrate almost exclusively on historic low points in their subjects' lives. And Blue even features brief appearances from Miles himself.

Jamelle Bouie / Creative Commons

During his speech in Cuba, President Barack Obama described just how different this year's presidential race is from those in previous generations. "You had two Cuban Americans in the Republican Party, running against the legacy of a black man who is President, while arguing that they’re the best person to beat the Democratic nominee who will either be a woman or a Democratic Socialist," said Obama.

Creative Commons

My Batman story begins with a crime. I was in third grade. I went to the barber shop in West Hartford Center where there were comic books to read while you waited.

I had never seen any superhero comic before and I started reading a Batman story. It was great but I didn't have enough time to finish it. So, when my haircut was done, I took it home with me. 

You can say this for Sunday night's Oscars: It seemed like a lot of it was going to be about inclusion or lack thereof, and it was.

Just days away from the Oscars, Hollywood continues to face down questions over its lack of diversity — particularly among the nominees for its top prize. The controversy has helped prompt a viral hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite, and has led the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to pledge to diversify in years to come.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

The show moves to the Elm City for its annual snort of/at The Oscars, this time from the lobby of The Study at Yale in front of a live audience numbering in the dozens!

Personal Creations / Creative Commons

It's Friday night and I want to go to the movies. But, I don't know how to choose from fifteen or so movies before me. I can quickly knock out a few I don't want to see, leaving me with the final gems. How to decide? I check the reviews of my favorite critics.

Not everyone feels that way. 

Actor Samuel L. Jackson of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" once took issue with New York Times film critic A.O. Scott. Jackson encouraged his Twitter followers to help Scott find a new job after Scott wrote the following in his review of the movie:

Comedy and race will meet head-on at this year's Academy Awards on Feb. 28. Amid calls to boycott the Oscars over its lack of diversity, the host is one of today's most provocative black comedians. You can just feel the audacious Chris Rock rubbing his hands together in excitement.

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