Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 7:21 pm
The United States has never won an Olympic medal in table tennis. China has long dominated the sport, winning almost every medal since 1992. That's not likely to change at this year's Summer Olympics in London, but a group of young American women may be on their way to competing at the sport's highest levels.
Ariel Hsing, 16, already has the attributes of a fine table tennis player — quick hands, perfect balance and strong lungs. While she plays, she'll often shout "Sa!" — a meaningless word — to help relieve stress, something she's been dealing with a lot lately.
At the beginning of the Norwegian thriller Headhunters, Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) will likely strike you as just about the cockiest insecure guy you've ever met.
Smirking as he pads around his pristine, glass-walled home in boxer shorts, he swirls a heart into the foam on the coffee he's taking to his gorgeous, blond and naked wife (former model Synnove Macody Lund) in their enormous open shower. Then as she moves from the streaming water to kiss him, he has to lean up, because she's half a head taller than he is.
Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) celebrate their impending nuptials with their families before Violet drops a bomb: She's been accepted at a program at the University of Michigan, and wants to move there and postpone their wedding day.
Credit Universal Pictures
Tom, ever the devoted fiance, agrees to postpone the wedding day as life continues to throw obstacles in the couple's way.
There are many dramas and comedies in which career trajectories take couples to different corners of the country, complicating or ending romantic relationships. There will be many more, at least until someone invents a teleportation machine. What's different about each work is how the problem gets interpreted.
The loopy looters of <em>Pirates! Band of Misifts</em> don't have names so much as very descriptive titles: (from left) Pirate Who Plays the Accordian, Pirate with Gout (Brendan Gleeson), Pirate with a Scarf (Martin Freeman), Albino Pirate with Polly, the Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant), Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate (Ashley Jensen), Pirate Who Likes Sunsets and Kittens, and Pirate with Prosthetics.
Credit Aardman Animations / Sony Pictures
Charles Darwin and Pirate Captain strike a risky but potentially lucrative deal when Darwin points out that Captain's parrot Polly is, in fact, a supposedly extinct dodo.
Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 9:37 am
In 1837, a young, ambitious Charles Darwin was writing in his journal aboard the HMS Beagle when the vessel was waylaid by pirates. But what caught his attention was the feathery mascot accompanying the posse of pillagers: a dodo bird, thought at the time to be extinct for more than 150 years. In this rare specimen, Darwin envisioned the pathway to scientific fame for himself — and the pirate captain saw the opportunity for vast riches.
Anne (Juliette Binoche), a Parisian journalist writing for the women's magazine <em>Elle,</em> interviews two university students moonlighting as prostitutes. She develops a sisterlike rapport with Charlotte (Anais Demoustier<em></em>), a young woman from the Paris suburbs.
Credit Kino Lorber
Anne's revealing encounters with Charlotte and Alicja (Joanna Kulig) intersect with difficulties at home, leading her to question what she believes about her own relationships to family, money and sex.
In Elles, a Paris journalist has an eye-opening experience when she interviews two university students who moonlight as prostitutes. So do the movie's viewers, presented with beaucoupde nudite. No genitalia are on display, but there are a few kinky moments that justify the NC-17 rating.
Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 9:05 am
In 1945, shortly after my father was demobilized from the British army, my parents packed their bags and went to help found a kibbutz near Galilee, in the north of what was then Palestine. Along with a crew of other young Jewish socialists and refugees from European anti-Semitism, these two city dwellers set to work draining swamps and replacing them with fish ponds and fruit orchards, building collectives out of spartan shacks and collective dining halls, and raising their children in communal nurseries.
There is not a lot to sing about in Norway these days. The right-wing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik has been unrepentant during his trial for killing 77 people. But today, the people of Norway were singing a children's song. And as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, they sang it for Breivik.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:03 pm
Note: This video could be considered slightly NSFW, for scantily-clad people and very brief partial nudity.
It's often pointed out that long ago, jazz was once dance music. It's usually a way of lamenting its current reputation as a cerebral art for seated contemplation. But nothing says music can't be for both hips and head.
Amr Moussa, the front-runner in the Egyptian presidential race, speaks during a press conference in Cairo on Apr. 22. The country's election commission said Thursday that Moussa and 12 other candidates are eligible to compete in next month's election.
Credit Khaled Desouki / AFP/Getty Images
Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, will be allowed to take part in Egypt's presidential race. The country's election commission said Thursday that he is eligible, one day after he had been ruled ineligible. In this photo, he's shown speaking at a news conference in February 2011.