On this week's show, we take advantage of the new Star Trek movie to chat about — well, to chat about Star Trek, yes, but also more generally to cover the whole problem of coming in fresh to a franchise other people know well. We approach this particular film from every level of knowledge from almost none to basically all, and we manage to link it not only to Star Wars (obviously), but also to Arrested Development and Before Sunrise.
Seriously, with E.W. Jackson in Virginia and Anthony Weiner in New York, what more do NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin need for their podcast? OK, maybe throw in the ongoing IRS controversy, Lois Lerner pleading the Fifth Amendment, an immigration deal coming out of Senate Judiciary and a new mayor in Los Angeles.
Credit Giles Keyte / Universal Pictures
<strong>He Believes He Can Fly: </strong>This might seem a little spoilerish, but come <em>on</em> now — how awesome is this shot?
For gearhead purists, the Fast and the Furious franchise is an ongoing heresy, the sins adding up with each new sequel. The appeal of the genre has always been its simplicity: Greasers racing for pink slips, their muscle cars grinding and screeching and speeding into the horizon.
Most of us are used to thinking that the evolution of living organisms takes millions of years. But in the case of cockroaches, scientists say the resilient pests have a developed a fast-forward mechanism to save their own exoskeleton.
In a newly published study in the journal Science, a group of researchers conclude that cockroaches have evolved to avoid sweet-tasting poisons by making a subtle change in their body chemistry that makes the bait taste bitter to them.
<strong>But Could He Cook, Too?</strong> Journalist, raconteur, bon vivant and bona fide literary force, <em>Paris Review</em> founder George Plimpton — pictured here photographing birds on a trip to Africa — is the subject of an admiring documentary.
Credit Freddy Plimpton / Laemmle Zeller Films
Plimpton watches the America's Cup races with President John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy, 1962.
If ever there was a man who made a virtue out of failure, it was George Plimpton.
He played quarterback with the Detroit Lions without even knowing where to put his hands to take the snap. He had his nose bloodied by knockout king Archie Moore. He sweated through performances as a triangle player for Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. Tennis great Pancho Gonzales properly destroyed him in a singles match, and Plimpton once threw a pitch at Yankee Stadium that was pounded into the third deck.
Celine and Jesse are sporting a few physical wrinkles — and working through some unsettling relational ones — in Before Midnight, but that just makes this third installment of their once-dewy romance gratifyingly dissonant.
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.
<strong>Source material:</strong> As a virtual prisoner these days, he doesn't supply much in the way of fresh information — but WikiLeaks overlord Julian Assange is very much at the center of Alex Gibney's documentary <em>We Steal Secrets.</em>
Current-events buffs probably think they know the tale of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Prolific filmmaker Alex Gibney may have thought the same when he began researching his film We Steal Secrets. But this engrossing documentary soon diverges from the expected.
Even the movie's title, or rather the source of it, is a surprise. Not to spoil the fun, but it's neither Assange nor one of his allies who nonchalantly acknowledges that "we steal secrets."
Radio in color? This was said by Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep as he wrapped a radio story on one of the earliest color photographers. That story was part of an interactive documentary that is earning acclaim across the multimedia industry. Radio in color, indeed.