November 30, 2012 NPR's Neda Ulaby investigates the etymology of random, a word comedian Spencer Thompson calls "the most misused ... of our generation." It turns out that Thompson's frustration is a bit misplaced — random has been around since the 14th century, and its usage shows how life, like language, evolves.
November 30, 2012 Astrophysicist Adam Frank doesn't usually read self-help books, but something about Walker Percy's existential optimism in Lost In The Cosmos actually changed his outlook on life. Do you have a favorite self-help book? Tell us in the comments below.
November 30, 2012 Troubled artist Mark Rothko famously hated the rich and glamorous. These were the same people who were expected to see his art in New York's Four Seasons restaurant in a project commissioned back in the 1950s; he never completed the work. Recently, two modern artists decided to interpret these Rothko works in colored rice for the rest of us.
November 30, 2012 David Nasaw's The Patriarch offers insight into the life of Joseph P. Kennedy. It debuts at No. 12.
November 30, 2012 The National Football League could coast nicely on its colossal audience. But as NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports, execs have turned their attention to the nation's children, targeting them with NFL Rush Zone: Season of the Guardians, an animated TV show co-produced with Nickelodeon.
November 29, 2012 The South African film Otelo Burning tells the story of black teenagers who escape the world of apartheid by learning to surf. Critic Joel Arnold says the film presents its characters with a choice between hoping for the impossible and accepting the unfortunate.
November 29, 2012 As a wiseguy charged with enforcing the rules after a couple of two-bit hoods knock over a mob-run card game, the actor wears his character's back story on the inside — which is where it belongs.
November 29, 2012 Robert Carlyle (Heroes, Once Upon a Time) plays a past-his-prime guitarist whose dissolution deepens when a DUI arrest raises the possibility of deportation. Critic Ella Taylor says it's a modest but satisfying story of self-destruction and redemption.
November 29, 2012 The Collection, a sequel to 2009's The Collector, dives back into the world of a serial killer and his growing body count. Critic Ian Buckwalter says it's self-aware of the genre's indulgences — and unlike in most horror franchises, the open ending is its strongest feature.
November 29, 2012 Director Peter Ho-Sun Chan is better known for romantic comedies than for action movies. Critic Mark Jenkins says his film Dragon reflects multiple influences — from classic kung fu to Guy Richie's Sherlock Holmes — that come together to create an eye-catching mood piece.
November 29, 2012 In the Robert Zemeckis film starring Denzel Washington, a pilot with a secret substance-abuse problem successfully crash-lands an airplane while high on drugs and alcohol. He must then ask himself some tough questions about whether his act of heroism is undermined by his addiction.