Bob Mondello http://weku.fm en Sci-Fi Kid Flick 'Earth To Echo' Broadens The 'E.T.' Formula http://weku.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 61885 at http://weku.fm Sci-Fi Kid Flick 'Earth To Echo' Broadens The 'E.T.' Formula Multiplexes Heat Up For Summer Blockbuster Season http://weku.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 60159 at http://weku.fm Seeing The New 'X-Men'? Take Along A Teenager To Explain http://weku.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 60053 at http://weku.fm Seeing The New 'X-Men'? Take Along A Teenager To Explain In 'Belle,' A Complex Life Tangled In Class And Commerce http://weku.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 59075 at http://weku.fm In 'Belle,' A Complex Life Tangled In Class And Commerce Mickey Rooney, All-American Boy For More Than 90 Years, Dies http://weku.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 57888 at http://weku.fm Send Out The Doves: 'Noah' Lands On Solid Ground http://weku.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 57479 at http://weku.fm Send Out The Doves: 'Noah' Lands On Solid Ground Review: 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' http://weku.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 56502 at http://weku.fm Alain Resnais, Director And Master Of Disorientation, Dies At 91 http://weku.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 56328 at http://weku.fm On Philip Seymour Hoffman, And His Many Appearances http://weku.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 55139 at http://weku.fm On Philip Seymour Hoffman, And His Many Appearances A Century Ago Today, Chaplin Made His Film Debut — In A Dud http://weku.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 55099 at http://weku.fm A Century Ago Today, Chaplin Made His Film Debut — In A Dud Peter O'Toole, Exuberant From 'Lawrence' To His Last Role http://weku.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 53213 at http://weku.fm Peter O'Toole, Exuberant From 'Lawrence' To His Last Role Chasing Money, And Meaning, In 'Nebraska' http://weku.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 51851 at http://weku.fm Chasing Money, And Meaning, In 'Nebraska' Bob Mondello Remembers Columbus Day 1963, And A Visit To Camelot http://weku.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 51387 at http://weku.fm Bob Mondello Remembers Columbus Day 1963, And A Visit To Camelot Libraries' Leading Roles: On Stage, On Screen And In Song http://weku.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 48302 at http://weku.fm Libraries' Leading Roles: On Stage, On Screen And In Song 90 Years Later, 'Safety' Still The Last Word With Harold Lloyd http://weku.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 47571 at http://weku.fm 90 Years Later, 'Safety' Still The Last Word With Harold Lloyd You'll Want To Hang Up On These 'Secret Conversations' http://weku.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 47440 at http://weku.fm You'll Want To Hang Up On These 'Secret Conversations' For Actress Ruby Keeler, Another Opening, Another Show http://weku.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 47282 at http://weku.fm For Actress Ruby Keeler, Another Opening, Another Show In Argentina, Coca-Cola Tests Market For 'Green' Coke http://weku.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 47171 at http://weku.fm In Argentina, Coca-Cola Tests Market For 'Green' Coke A Kindergarten, A Story And A Life In Shambles http://weku.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 47091 at http://weku.fm A Kindergarten, A Story And A Life In Shambles Bullock And McCarthy, Packing 'Heat' (And Laughs) In Boston http://weku.fm/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 46397 at http://weku.fm Bullock And McCarthy, Packing 'Heat' (And Laughs) In Boston When 'G' Movies Are For Kids, Do Kids Avoid 'G' Movies? http://weku.fm/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 19:51:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 45365 at http://weku.fm When 'G' Movies Are For Kids, Do Kids Avoid 'G' Movies? More Time Together, Though 'Midnight' Looms http://weku.fm/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 44759 at http://weku.fm More Time Together, Though 'Midnight' Looms New 'Trek' Goes 'Into Darkness,' But Not Much Deeper http://weku.fm/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 22:06:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 44447 at http://weku.fm New 'Trek' Goes 'Into Darkness,' But Not Much Deeper Polley's 'Stories': A Family Saga Strikingly Spun http://weku.fm/post/polleys-stories-family-saga-strikingly-spun Sarah Polley grew up the fifth of five children in a Canadian theatrical family. Her father, Michael, is a transplanted British actor; her mother, Diane, was an actress and casting director. No wonder Sarah feels her family's narrative has the stuff of drama.<p>"I'm interested in the way we tell stories about our lives," she says in the film, "about the fact that the truth about the past is often ephemeral and difficult to pin down."<p>Prophetic words, those.<p>But let's start from the film's beginning. Fri, 10 May 2013 20:47:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 44011 at http://weku.fm Polley's 'Stories': A Family Saga Strikingly Spun At The Movies, A Swirl Of Style And Substance http://weku.fm/post/movies-swirl-style-and-substance Here's a movie pitch: A celebrated millionaire, known for public extravagance, lives right on the water in a fabulous mansion. He's smooth but reckless, drives like a maniac, has a powerful enemy and — despite a rep as a playboy — has only one girlfriend, who barely registers on-screen.<p>You're the producer, so whaddya think? Thu, 09 May 2013 20:34:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 43950 at http://weku.fm At The Movies, A Swirl Of Style And Substance In 'Iron Man 3,' A Metalhead Gets The Blues http://weku.fm/post/iron-man-3-metalhead-gets-blues Y'know, I think this bummed-out superhero thing is catching. Depressed Bat-guy, brooding Spider-dude, even the Man of Steel seems existentially troubled in previews of his most recent incarnation.<p>And smart-alecky Iron Man? He'd appeared inoculated by Tony Stark's reflexive snark from succumbing to a similar ailment — but even he's having anxiety attacks these days. Thu, 02 May 2013 20:55:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 43616 at http://weku.fm In 'Iron Man 3,' A Metalhead Gets The Blues Digging Into Ricky Jay's 'Deceptive' Card Tricks http://weku.fm/post/digging-ricky-jays-deceptive-card-tricks When people talk about movie magic, they rarely mean card tricks. Wed, 17 Apr 2013 19:26:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 42864 at http://weku.fm Digging Into Ricky Jay's 'Deceptive' Card Tricks A Film So Sumptuous, 'Renoir' Himself Might Have Helped Out http://weku.fm/post/film-so-sumptuous-renoir-himself-might-have-helped-out The year is 1915. A beautiful young woman bicycling through sun-dappled woods passes under an effigy of a German soldier and seems entirely unfazed. World War I is raging elsewhere in Europe, but here on the French Riviera life is serene.<p>The cyclist, Andree, is on her way to pose for an elderly Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet), whom she somewhat startles by claiming to be an artist herself.<p>"An artist," wonders the great man.<p>"Actress, dancer, singer," she says, smiling, as he chuckles. Fri, 29 Mar 2013 21:29:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 42033 at http://weku.fm A Film So Sumptuous, 'Renoir' Himself Might Have Helped Out Hollywood's History Of Putting Gay Rights On Trial http://weku.fm/post/hollywoods-history-putting-gay-rights-trial With the Supreme Court hearing arguments this week on same-sex marriage, I'd like to point out a parallel evolution in what I see as a Hollywood mini-genre: films in which gay characters are either taken to court or seek redress in court for issues involving their sexuality.<p>Arguably the most famous question ever asked in a courtroom about a line of poetry — "What is the love that dare not speak its name?" — was originally put to playwright Oscar Wilde in 1894 by a British prosecutor. Wed, 27 Mar 2013 21:33:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 41912 at http://weku.fm Fairy Tales For Grown-Ups? More Are On The Way http://weku.fm/post/fairy-tales-grown-ups-more-are-way Adaptations of fairy tales are everywhere you look. The TV show <em>Once Upon a Time </em>and the police procedural <em>Grimm </em>are in their second seasons. Hansel and his sister Gretel are at the cineplex hunting witches with machine guns. Jack, of beanstalk fame, starts slaying giants today. And those aren't the only bedtime stories that have been redesigned to keep 20-somethings up at night.<p>Two years ago, the big-fanged critter threatening Amanda Seyfried's Red, in the <em>Red Riding Hood</em> re-conceived by <em>Twilight</em> director Catherine Hardwicke, was a werewolf. Fri, 01 Mar 2013 20:32:00 +0000 Bob Mondello 40642 at http://weku.fm Fairy Tales For Grown-Ups? More Are On The Way