Friday

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Director Sidney Lumet, the award-winning director of Network, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and 12 Angry Men, died on April 9 at age 86. AP hide caption

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Movies

Will Ferrell: The Comedian Reflects

Will Ferrell is starring in a four-episode arc on NBC's sitcom, The Office. To celebrate, Fresh Air is replaying highlights from a 2006 interview with Ferrell about his time on Saturday Night Live.

Will Ferrell: The Comedian Reflects

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Robin Wright plays Mary Surratt with a sense of "essential decency," says movie critic David Edelstein. Wright stars in Robert Redford's movie about the real-life trial of the woman who ran the Washington boarding house where John Wilkes Booth regularly stayed. Claudette Barius/Claudette Barius/Roadside Attractions hide caption

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Movies

'The Conspirator': A Trying Trial For Lincoln's Foes

Robert Redford's historical drama focuses on the months after President Lincoln was assassinated — and on Mary Surratt, the woman alleged to have aided the plotters. Critic David Edelstein says it's a dramatized civil-liberties lecture, both transparent and exaggerated.

'The Conspirator': A Trying Trial For Lincoln's Foes

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Thursday

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Actress Michelle Williams was recently nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Blue Valentine. In Meek's Cutoff, she plays a bold settler named Emily Tetherow. Matt Sayles/AP Photo hide caption

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Movies

Going West: The Making Of 'Meek's Cutoff'

Michelle Williams plays settler Emily Tetherow in Kelly Reichardt's frontier drama Meek's Cutoff. Both Williams and Reichardt join Fresh Air's Terry Gross for a discussion about the film, which was shot with exquisite landscapes and virtually no dialogue.

Going West: The Making Of 'Meek's Cutoff'

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Wednesday

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"I was worried about being the mouthpiece for anyone and being politicized personally," Tina Fey says about playing Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. "It ended up being a lot of fun, but it did permanently politicize me in a way." Platon/HGB USA hide caption

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Tuesday

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Author Interviews

Looking At The Civil War 150 Years Later

Tuesday marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the U.S. Civil War. Historian Adam Goodheart explains how national leaders and ordinary citizens across the country responded to the chaos and uncertainty in 1861: The Civil War Awakening.

Looking At The Civil War 150 Years Later

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Monday

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"We use purified drinking water to flush our toilets and water our lawns. That doesn't make any sense," says Charles Fishman. "In an era of scarcity, we won't need to limit whether we have water to boil pasta or take a bath. But we will think differently about a whole portfolio of water. There will be different kinds of waters for different uses. And water itself will get smart." iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Music Articles

The Smithereens' Sweet Nostalgia, With Fresh Variations

The Smithereens' music contains touches of The Beatles and Buddy Holly, with a hint of metal and prog-rock. Rock critic Ken Tucker says the new Smithereens 2011 is fresh, joyous and as "neurotically rich as a David Lynch film."

The Smithereens' Sweet Nostalgia, With Fresh Variations

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Friday

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The gurney used to restrain condemned prisoners during the lethal injection process is shown in the Texas death house in Huntsville, Texas. Pat Sullivan/AP Photo hide caption

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The first Upstairs, Downstairs miniseries covered the years from 1903 to 1909. Four additional miniseries followed, covering World War I and the 1920s. The updated version of Upstairs Downstairs includes only one original cast member, Jean Marsh — who plays Rose Buck. Jane Hilton/BBC/Masterpiece hide caption

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Television

'Upstairs, Downstairs' Returns To 165 Eaton Place

After 34 years, the British miniseries Upstairs, Downstairs will return to PBS on Sunday. TV critic David Bianculli says the surprisingly fresh yet faithful sequel was worth the wait — but now he wants more.

'Upstairs, Downstairs' Returns To 165 Eaton Place

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Rated X-tra-naughty: Natalie Portman, Danny McBride, James Franco and Zooey Deschanel star in a medieval sword-and-sorcery spoof that strays often into beyond-kinky territory — and plays it so resolutely straight that the profane seems downright divine. Frank Connor/Universal Pictures hide caption

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Movies

'Your Highness': Low Comedy's Crowning Glory?

James Franco and Danny McBride set off on a quest in David Gordon Green's action comedy Your Highness — a sword-and-sorcery spoof that David Edelstein says is fantastic if you're in the right gross-minded juvenile mood.

'Your Highness': Low Comedy's Crowning Glory?

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Thursday

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Animals

Under The Sea, Sex Is Slimy Business

In Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans' Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter, underwater researcher Ellen Prager describes some of the craziest activities that help ocean creatures stay alive, fight predators, find food and reproduce.

Under The Sea, Sex Is Slimy Business

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Music Articles

Brian Carpenter: Eclectic Jazz, Rooted In Americana

Singer-songwriter Brian Carpenter has cited places like Coney Island and the Florida Panhandle as inspiration for his work. On his latest album, Hothouse Stomp, Carpenter musically travels back to the jazz scene in 1920s Harlem and Chicago.

Brian Carpenter: Eclectic Jazz, Rooted In Americana

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Wednesday

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An anti-government protester displays bullet shells during clashes in Sanaa,Yemen, on Tuesday. Muhammed Muheisen/AP hide caption

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Tuesday

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Monday

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The Crab Nebula is filled with mysterious filaments that are tremendously complex. NASA, ESA, J. Hester, A. Loll (ASU) hide caption

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Space

The High Probability Of Finding 'Life Beyond Earth'

Science journalist Marc Kaufman says we're closer than ever to finding out if there's life on other planets in the universe. He details the current research and challenges for scientists in First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth.

The High Probability Of Finding 'Life Beyond Earth'

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Music Articles

Paul Simon: Back In 'Graceland' With 'So Beautiful'

Paul Simon has again teamed up with producer Phil Ramone for his new album So Beautiful or So What, the first since 2006's Surprise. Rock critic Ken Tucker says the album succeeds in blending elements of Graceland and Simon's self-titled 1972 solo album.

Paul Simon: Back In 'Graceland' With 'So Beautiful'

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