Bob Mondello http://kasu.org en Sci-Fi Kid Flick 'Earth To Echo' Broadens The 'E.T.' Formula http://kasu.org/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 46443 at http://kasu.org Sci-Fi Kid Flick 'Earth To Echo' Broadens The 'E.T.' Formula James McAvoy As A Creep? In 'Filth,' The Anti-Typecasting Works http://kasu.org/post/james-mcavoy-creep-filth-anti-typecasting-works Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) swaggers down the street at the start of <em>Filth</em> swiping balloons from children, ogling their mothers, flipping off foreigners and smirking as he ticks down a list of what makes Scotland a place where he feels he can be cock-of-the-walk.<p>"This nation brought the world television, the steam engine, golf, whiskey, penicillin and, of course, the deep-fried Mars bar," he snorts. "We're such a uniquely successful race."<p>He's the kind of soulless, racist, drug-and-alcohol-addled operator you might call the police to protect you from. Fri, 30 May 2014 20:36:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 44964 at http://kasu.org James McAvoy As A Creep? In 'Filth,' The Anti-Typecasting Works Multiplexes Heat Up For Summer Blockbuster Season http://kasu.org/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 21:16:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 44756 at http://kasu.org Seeing The New 'X-Men'? Take Along A Teenager To Explain http://kasu.org/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 20:43:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 44655 at http://kasu.org Seeing The New 'X-Men'? Take Along A Teenager To Explain Send Out The Doves: 'Noah' Lands On Solid Ground http://kasu.org/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 22:01:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 42174 at http://kasu.org Send Out The Doves: 'Noah' Lands On Solid Ground Review: 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' http://kasu.org/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 41249 at http://kasu.org Alain Resnais, Director And Master Of Disorientation, Dies At 91 http://kasu.org/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 21:07:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 41081 at http://kasu.org On Philip Seymour Hoffman, And His Many Appearances http://kasu.org/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 22:20:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 39968 at http://kasu.org On Philip Seymour Hoffman, And His Many Appearances Peter O'Toole, Exuberant From 'Lawrence' To His Last Role http://kasu.org/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 07:55:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 38086 at http://kasu.org Peter O'Toole, Exuberant From 'Lawrence' To His Last Role Chasing Money, And Meaning, In 'Nebraska' http://kasu.org/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 23:40:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 36781 at http://kasu.org Chasing Money, And Meaning, In 'Nebraska' Biography Of Director Bob Fosse Razzles, Dazzles And Delights http://kasu.org/post/biography-director-bob-fosse-razzles-dazzles-and-delights <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX-24Zm0bjk</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuTPupqrTDo</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX-24Zm0bjk</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oF0I-9p_yDM</p> Thu, 07 Nov 2013 20:57:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 36518 at http://kasu.org Biography Of Director Bob Fosse Razzles, Dazzles And Delights This 'Time,' Supernatural Love Story Falls Flat http://kasu.org/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 21:12:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 36295 at http://kasu.org This 'Time,' Supernatural Love Story Falls Flat For A Free Spirit, A Grim '12 Years' In Chains http://kasu.org/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 35639 at http://kasu.org For A Free Spirit, A Grim '12 Years' In Chains Beat Manifesto: 'Kill Your Darlings,' Figuratively And ... http://kasu.org/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 22:36:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 35560 at http://kasu.org Beat Manifesto: 'Kill Your Darlings,' Figuratively And ... Bob Mondello Remembers Columbus Day 1963, And A Visit To Camelot http://kasu.org/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 35448 at http://kasu.org Bob Mondello Remembers Columbus Day 1963, And A Visit To Camelot 90 Years Later, 'Safety' Still The Last Word With Harold Lloyd http://kasu.org/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 31782 at http://kasu.org 90 Years Later, 'Safety' Still The Last Word With Harold Lloyd You'll Want To Hang Up On These 'Secret Conversations' http://kasu.org/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 31662 at http://kasu.org You'll Want To Hang Up On These 'Secret Conversations' For Actress Ruby Keeler, Another Opening, Another Show http://kasu.org/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 31513 at http://kasu.org For Actress Ruby Keeler, Another Opening, Another Show In Argentina, Coca-Cola Tests Market For 'Green' Coke http://kasu.org/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 21:21:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 31407 at http://kasu.org In Argentina, Coca-Cola Tests Market For 'Green' Coke A Kindergarten, A Story And A Life In Shambles http://kasu.org/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 31319 at http://kasu.org A Kindergarten, A Story And A Life In Shambles Bullock And McCarthy, Packing 'Heat' (And Laughs) In Boston http://kasu.org/post/bullock-and-mccarthy-packing-heat-and-laughs-boston Summer movies, as <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2013/06/14/191568762/at-the-movies-the-women-are-gone">you may have noticed</a>, are overwhelmingly male-dominated. Fri, 28 Jun 2013 18:54:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 30634 at http://kasu.org Bullock And McCarthy, Packing 'Heat' (And Laughs) In Boston When 'G' Movies Are For Kids, Do Kids Avoid 'G' Movies? http://kasu.org/post/when-g-movies-are-kids-do-kids-avoid-g-movies If you're a parent with small children, summer is traditionally a time when there's lots for them to see at the multiplex. That's not <em>un</em>true this summer. But if you're specifically looking for a film with a G rating, you may just be out of luck.<p>Two years ago, out of the more than 600 films submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America, 16 got rated G — the most in a decade. Last year, even if you counted re-releases, only 10 films got rated G. And this year, of the 250 films that have opened so far, not a single one has been rated G. Not one. Thu, 06 Jun 2013 20:08:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 29567 at http://kasu.org When 'G' Movies Are For Kids, Do Kids Avoid 'G' Movies? Movie Reviews: What 'After Earth' And 'Kings' Have In Common http://kasu.org/post/movie-reviews-what-after-earth-and-kings-have-common Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>And I'm Melissa Block. Two movies open today that at first glance have little in common, the science fiction blockbuster "After Earth" and the suburban indie comedy "Kings of Summer." Leave it to our critic Bob Mondello to find similarities.<p>BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Will Smith is playing a general in "After Earth" named Cypher Raige, which tells you all you really need to know about the character, but let's brush in a few details. Fri, 31 May 2013 20:37:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 29275 at http://kasu.org More Time Together, Though 'Midnight' Looms http://kasu.org/post/more-time-together-though-midnight-looms Celine and Jesse are sporting a few physical wrinkles — and working through some unsettling relational ones — in <em>Before Midnight, </em>but that just makes this third installment of their once-dewy romance gratifyingly dissonant.<p>It's been 18 years since they talked through the night that first time, Julie Delpy's Celine enchanting and occasionally prickly, Ethan Hawke's Jesse determined to charm; their chatter then, as now, scripted but loose enough to feel improvised as captured in long, long takes by Richard Linklater's cameras.<p>Take a peek back at 1995's <em>Before Sunrise,</em> and Fri, 24 May 2013 20:49:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 28942 at http://kasu.org More Time Together, Though 'Midnight' Looms New 'Trek' Goes 'Into Darkness,' But Not Much Deeper http://kasu.org/post/new-trek-goes-darkness-not-much-deeper The opening sequence of J.J. Abram's new entry in the <em>Star Trek</em> universe has all the ingredients of the classic franchise.<p>There's Kirk and his crew bellowing on the bridge, everyone worrying about the prime directive and our favorite Vulcan trapped in a volcano.<p>OK, I'm in. I may not be a fanboy anymore, but I sure was in my youth, and having these guys in their youths again is just as cool at the outset as it was last time.<p>Chris Pine's baby-Shatner is spitting his lines while Zachary Quinto channels his inner Nimoy. Sat, 18 May 2013 22:14:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 28634 at http://kasu.org New 'Trek' Goes 'Into Darkness,' But Not Much Deeper