December 14, 2012 In Hyde Park on Hudson, Laura Linney plays the introverted Daisy Suckley, a distant cousin and love interest to Bill Murray's Franklin Roosevelt. She tells NPR's David Greene that the real Daisy was "very self-contained" — and someone she came to admire deeply.
December 13, 2012 Writer-director Victoria Mahoney marries her experiences as a biracial woman to the drama of an unstable family in Yelling to the Sky. Critic Mark Jenkins says the film, which stars Zoe Kravtiz as a troubled teen, struggles to build convincing relationships among its disadvantaged characters.
December 13, 2012 A documentary from Liz Garbus, Love, Marilyn is a love letter to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe. Critic Stephanie Zacharek says the film's heartfelt message and the performers reading the icon's words take a back seat to her ever-present specter.
December 13, 2012 Any Day Now, set against the backdrop of the 1970s, tells the story of a gay couple's fight to adopt a neglected boy with Down syndrome. Director Travis Fine's film lacks technical polish, but critic Ella Taylor says the story's heart makes up for most of its faults.
December 13, 2012 In The Girl, a troubled single mother must care for a young Mexican girl — despite her inability to care for her own child. Critic Jeannette Catsoulis says the lead performances from Abbie Cornish and newcomer Maritza Santiago Hernandez carry a rare and touching emotional weight. (Recommended)
December 13, 2012 Lizzy Caplan stars in the romantic comedy Save the Date, which despite a solid supporting performance from Alison Brie, is too dull to be a star vehicle for an outstanding actress whose body of work hasn't brought her the limelight she deserves.
December 13, 2012 Peter Jackson takes his audience back to Middle-earth in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, set in a time before the Lord of the Rings films. NPR's Bob Mondello says that where the Rings films struggled with what to omit, The Hobbit labors to justify its three-hour running time.
December 13, 2012 As part of All Things Considered's Found Recipes series, cookbook duo the Brass Sisters share a friend's memories of his mother's Portuguese Sweet Bread. Her tradition involved a big enamel basin, a nip of whiskey and a little prayer that the bread would turn out right.
December 13, 2012 From post-apocalyptic character studies to speculative paleontology, reviewer Annalee Newitz says this year's best science fiction stretches boundaries and crosses genres. She also sees a strong resurgence in political themes, with a focus on civilizations on the brink of transformation or collapse.
December 13, 2012 An unemployed couple prepares to divorce in order to protect what little assets they have, and a 15-year-old suffers the fallout of his parents' bank heist. Many of Corrigan's top 2012 reads tell stories — imagined and real — about people who felt like they didn't know what hit them.
December 13, 2012 Congress isn't sitting around quietly while commercials get louder. It's actually illegal now for commercials to blast into your ears more loudly than programming. But why stop there? We've got suggested ordinances to reduce noise from construction, bagpipes, and snowblowers.
December 13, 2012 2012 was a very jittery year — what with the presidential election, extreme weather events and the looming "fiscal cliff." Fresh Air critic Maureen Corrigan found that her favorite fiction and nonfiction this year directly confronted the atmospheric uncertainty of the age.
December 13, 2012 On Friday, Sotheby's is putting up for auction 44 letters and 35 drawings Charles Schulz gave to a young woman he was courting. Schulz, 48, wrote Tracey Claudius, 25, poignant, funny, even innocent notes in pictures and words, often using Charlie Brown to stand in for himself.
December 13, 2012 Susan Stamberg presents the year's best books, picked by independent booksellers around the country. Selections range from gritty, free-verse fairy tales to ballerina photographs and a grim Southern story about a small town that would rather its ghosts remain at rest.