Bob Mondello http://wesa.fm en Sci-Fi Kid Flick 'Earth To Echo' Broadens The 'E.T.' Formula http://wesa.fm/post/sci-fi-kid-flick-earth-echo-broadens-et-formula Movie theaters were swarming with <em>Transformers</em> this past weekend, and that'll also be true over the July 4 weekend. So this may not seem to be the best moment to bring out a sci-fi flick made on a budget that wouldn't cover catering for Optimus Prime. But "small" has its virtues sometimes, and the kid flick <em>Earth to Echo</em> is one of those times.<p>It opens with eighth-grader Tuck about to lose his two best buds. Their families are moving from Nevada, and it's their last night together, so they're doing what kids do — taping goodbyes for YouTube. Wed, 02 Jul 2014 21:14:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 31991 at http://wesa.fm Sci-Fi Kid Flick 'Earth To Echo' Broadens The 'E.T.' Formula Multiplexes Heat Up For Summer Blockbuster Season http://wesa.fm/post/multiplexes-heat-summer-blockbuster-season Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. The long Memorial Day weekend usually marks the start of Hollywood blockbuster season. But it's been well underway with "Godzilla" and "X-Men" already in theaters. That said, there are another 87 would-be hits scheduled before Labor Day. We asked critic Bob Mondello for a selective preview.<p>BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: What's the plural of apocalypse? Apocali (ph)? Apocalypses (ph)? Whatever. A whole bunch of coming to the multiplex. Mon, 26 May 2014 21:17:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 29877 at http://wesa.fm Seeing The New 'X-Men'? Take Along A Teenager To Explain http://wesa.fm/post/seeing-new-x-men-take-along-teenager-explain The final "X" in the 20th Century Fox logo glows for an extra second as <em>X-Men: Days of Future Past</em> gets started, but what follows is darker than dark — a bleak, dire future in which all of Manhattan is a mutant prison camp. Fri, 23 May 2014 20:35:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 29767 at http://wesa.fm Seeing The New 'X-Men'? Take Along A Teenager To Explain In 'Belle,' A Complex Life Tangled In Class And Commerce http://wesa.fm/post/belle-complex-life-tangled-class-and-commerce Here's a unique specialty for a movie studio: slavery films. Last year, Fox Searchlight brought us an Oscar winner about a free black man hauled into 12 years of slavery. Fri, 02 May 2014 20:38:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 28610 at http://wesa.fm In 'Belle,' A Complex Life Tangled In Class And Commerce 'Fading Gigolo' Full Of Loneliness And Longing http://wesa.fm/post/woody-allens-fading-gigolo-full-loneliness-and-longing Transcript <p>RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: <p>Actor John Turturro is known for his work in films like "Quiz Show" and "The Big Lebowski." With his long face and hang-dog look, he's probably not what you'd call a matinee idol. But he went ahead and cast himself as the title character in his new movie, "Fading Gigolo." And he cast Woody Allen as his pimp. Sun, 20 Apr 2014 14:01:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 27872 at http://wesa.fm Mickey Rooney, All-American Boy For More Than 90 Years, Dies http://wesa.fm/post/mickey-rooney-all-american-boy-more-90-years-dies Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>Mickey Rooney, who lived a long life on stage and screen, died last night at his home in Los Angeles. He was 93. Mon, 07 Apr 2014 20:08:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 27162 at http://wesa.fm Send Out The Doves: 'Noah' Lands On Solid Ground http://wesa.fm/post/send-out-doves-noah-lands-solid-ground The story of Noah's Ark is getting blockbuster treatment in Hollywood's new biblical epic <em>Noah</em>. Darren Aronofsky's film about the Old Testament shipbuilder has been sparking controversy — but there's no denying that the Great Flood, digitized, is a pretty great flood.<p>"In the beginning there was ... Fri, 28 Mar 2014 22:37:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 26675 at http://wesa.fm Send Out The Doves: 'Noah' Lands On Solid Ground Review: 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' http://wesa.fm/post/review-grand-budapest-hotel Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>Filmmaker Wes Anderson makes movies that are eccentric, pointedly artificial and, to his fans, very funny. From his early comedies "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tannenbaums," to last year's Oscar-nominated "Moonrise Kingdom," Anderson's movies have looked and sounded different from everyone else's in Hollywood. And critic Bob Mondello says that streak continues with his spoof of extravagant 1930s melodramas. It's called "The Grand Budapest Hotel."<p>BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: The hotel looks a bit like a pink wedding cake perched atop a Swiss Alp. Fri, 07 Mar 2014 21:09:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 25508 at http://wesa.fm Alain Resnais, Director And Master Of Disorientation, Dies At 91 http://wesa.fm/post/alain-resnais-director-and-master-disorientation-dies-91 Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>The French filmmaker who shook up European cinema and offered inspiration to directors as varied as Woody Allen and David Lynch died on Saturday. Alain Resnais caused a sensation with his films "Hiroshima Mon Amour" and "Last Year at Marienbad" in the 1950s and '60s. Critic Bob Mondello offers an appreciation.<p>BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Memory, or rather how unreliable memory can be, fascinated Alain Resnais. Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:29:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 25280 at http://wesa.fm On Philip Seymour Hoffman, And His Many Appearances http://wesa.fm/post/philip-seymour-hoffman-and-his-many-appearances <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzY2pWrXB_0</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQ_4m2ocxhI</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRud1so-Z-M</p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 21:50:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 23829 at http://wesa.fm On Philip Seymour Hoffman, And His Many Appearances A Century Ago Today, Chaplin Made His Film Debut — In A Dud http://wesa.fm/post/century-ago-today-chaplin-made-his-film-debut-dud <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LoLw4TJKdU</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j2K3A1S5ak</p> Sun, 02 Feb 2014 22:18:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 23782 at http://wesa.fm A Century Ago Today, Chaplin Made His Film Debut — In A Dud Peter O'Toole, Exuberant From 'Lawrence' To His Last Role http://wesa.fm/post/peter-otoole-exuberant-lawrence-his-last-role Blond, blue-eyed and wearing blazing white robes in <em>Lawrence Of Arabia</em>, Peter O'Toole was handsome enough — many said beautiful enough — to carry off the scene in which director David Lean simultaneously made stars of both his title character and his leading man.<p>The scene: a wrecked train, blown up by Lawrence and surrounded by his Bedouin followers, one of whom has just smashed a news photographer's camera. O'Toole's Lawrence explains that the man thinks the camera will steal his soul. Mon, 16 Dec 2013 07:59:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 21432 at http://wesa.fm Peter O'Toole, Exuberant From 'Lawrence' To His Last Role Chasing Money, And Meaning, In 'Nebraska' http://wesa.fm/post/chasing-money-and-meaning-nebraska Woody Grant has white hair, a cranky disposition and a stubbornness that just won't quit. When we meet him, he's being stopped by a highway patrolman as he's walking down the shoulder of a Montana interstate. Wed, 13 Nov 2013 23:59:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 19788 at http://wesa.fm Chasing Money, And Meaning, In 'Nebraska' This 'Time,' Supernatural Love Story Falls Flat http://wesa.fm/post/time-supernatural-love-story-falls-flat There's a phrase in French — "<em>L'esprit de l'escalier</em>," meaning "staircase wit" — for that moment when you've lost an argument and are walking away, and <em>waaay</em> too late, think of the perfect comeback. If you could just rewind your life a few minutes, you'd win the argument.<p>That's pretty much the setup in the new British comedy <em>About Time</em>.<p>We meet shy, young Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) as he's making a total mess of an opportunity to kiss a girl on New Year's Eve. Sat, 02 Nov 2013 20:38:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 19183 at http://wesa.fm This 'Time,' Supernatural Love Story Falls Flat Matthew McConaughey, Fiercely Committed To This 'Club' http://wesa.fm/post/matthew-mcconaughey-fiercely-committed-club Texas good ol' boy Ron Woodroof was a player — drugs, alcohol, women, gambling. As <em>Dallas Buyers Club</em> starts, he's at a rodeo, snorting cocaine, with a fistful of bets, when he gets it on with two prostitutes. Not a "healthy" lifestyle — one that's left him gaunt, weak, coughing.<p>With the advantage of hindsight, what's ailing him seems obvious now. Back in 1986, it didn't, until doctors did a blood test and told him he had 30 days to live.<p>Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) won't accept that. Fri, 01 Nov 2013 20:25:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 19149 at http://wesa.fm Matthew McConaughey, Fiercely Committed To This 'Club' For A Free Spirit, A Grim '12 Years' In Chains http://wesa.fm/post/free-spirit-grim-12-years-chains Just a few years before the start of the Civil War, two anti-slavery books became best-sellers in the United States. Fri, 18 Oct 2013 16:40:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 18367 at http://wesa.fm For A Free Spirit, A Grim '12 Years' In Chains Beat Manifesto: 'Kill Your Darlings,' Figuratively And ... http://wesa.fm/post/beat-manifesto-kill-your-darlings-figuratively-and Hollywood's been trying to get a handle on the Beat Poets for years. Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac led wild — and influential — lives. But films about them, like <em>Naked Lunch</em> and <em>On the Road</em>, have never really clicked with audiences. Wed, 16 Oct 2013 21:59:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 18261 at http://wesa.fm Beat Manifesto: 'Kill Your Darlings,' Figuratively And ... Bob Mondello Remembers Columbus Day 1963, And A Visit To Camelot http://wesa.fm/post/bob-mondello-remembers-columbus-day-1963-and-visit-camelot Fifty years ago, President Kennedy hosted a Columbus Day ceremony in the Rose Garden, and I was there. Fourteen-year-old me, with my family. This was a fluke. The President had cracked a politically uncool Mafia joke a few days before. Mon, 14 Oct 2013 18:29:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 18122 at http://wesa.fm Bob Mondello Remembers Columbus Day 1963, And A Visit To Camelot Teenage Graceland: A Temporary Home For Troubled Kids http://wesa.fm/post/teenage-graceland-temporary-home-troubled-kids A group foster home + abused and at-risk kids + tough love + junior staff nearly as troubled as their charges: The potential for cliche is everywhere in Destin Cretton's enormously engaging <em>Short Term 12,</em> and — happily — is everywhere avoided. Sun, 25 Aug 2013 08:11:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 15413 at http://wesa.fm Teenage Graceland: A Temporary Home For Troubled Kids Libraries' Leading Roles: On Stage, On Screen And In Song http://wesa.fm/post/libraries-leading-roles-stage-screen-and-song When I was 9, I spent a lot of time at a public library just down the street; I was already a theater nerd, and it had a well-stocked theater section. Not just books, but original cast albums for Broadway shows old and new. Wed, 07 Aug 2013 20:31:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 14475 at http://wesa.fm Libraries' Leading Roles: On Stage, On Screen And In Song 90 Years Later, 'Safety' Still The Last Word With Harold Lloyd http://wesa.fm/post/90-years-later-safety-still-last-word-harold-lloyd There may be no film image more iconic: Harold Lloyd, high above the street, dangling from the minute hand of a giant department-store clock.<p>The face of the clock swings down; the minute hand bends. Tue, 23 Jul 2013 22:16:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 13632 at http://wesa.fm 90 Years Later, 'Safety' Still The Last Word With Harold Lloyd You'll Want To Hang Up On These 'Secret Conversations' http://wesa.fm/post/youll-want-hang-these-secret-conversations A country girl from Grabtown, N.C., Ava Gardner arrived in Hollywood in 1941 knowing she couldn't act but, gorgeous as she was, she never had to let that slow her down. Her beauty — which reportedly intimidated Elizabeth Taylor — won her not just film roles and studio-paid acting lessons, but the attentions of all-American boy Mickey Rooney, whom she married and divorced before she turned 21. She had a similarly brief union with bandleader Artie Shaw — she called those two her "starter husbands" — before a tempestuous, headline-making marriage to Frank Sinatra. Sat, 20 Jul 2013 20:38:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 13483 at http://wesa.fm You'll Want To Hang Up On These 'Secret Conversations' For Actress Ruby Keeler, Another Opening, Another Show http://wesa.fm/post/actress-ruby-keeler-another-opening-another-show Ruby Keeler was an unknown actress when she starred in the 1933 production of Busby Berkeley's <em>42nd Street</em>.<p>But the movie was so popular she was able to land two more splashy musicals that same year — and seven more by the end of the decade. There was nothing extraordinary about her talents as a vocalist or as an actress, but audiences of the Depression era really bought into Keeler's "innocent" onstage persona. In fact, they craved it.<p>Her life story was also a source of optimism for many during bleak times. Wed, 17 Jul 2013 21:53:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 13308 at http://wesa.fm For Actress Ruby Keeler, Another Opening, Another Show In Argentina, Coca-Cola Tests Market For 'Green' Coke http://wesa.fm/post/argentina-coca-cola-tests-market-green-coke <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZaMOt8gQl4</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o-z6JLugWE</p> Mon, 15 Jul 2013 21:32:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 13169 at http://wesa.fm In Argentina, Coca-Cola Tests Market For 'Green' Coke A Kindergarten, A Story And A Life In Shambles http://wesa.fm/post/kindergarten-story-and-life-shambles Lukas works in a Danish kindergarten, and it's clear he's in the right place: When the kids look at him, they see a great big toy.<p>That's especially true for 5-year-old Klara, the lonely daughter of Lukas' best friend, Theo. Klara's folks fight a lot, and her teenage brother is too busy looking at dirty pictures with his buddies to pay her much attention.<p>Lukas, though, treats her kindly, and she's developed a little crush. She spends an afternoon making him a paper heart with glitter. Sat, 13 Jul 2013 19:12:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 13072 at http://wesa.fm A Kindergarten, A Story And A Life In Shambles