For his directorial debut, actor Ralph Fiennes brings William Shakespeare's work to the big screen with a modern adaptation of Coriolanus. Fiennes also stars as the eponymous Roman general, a role he played on the stage 11 years ago.
The original play, Fiennes tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, is complex.
"I had this feeling that if you were to clear away a lot of the denser passages, and shorten it and edit it, you are left actually with a very visceral, sinewy political thriller," Fiennes says.
North and South Korea are still officially at war, even though a truce was declared more than 50 years ago. As a result, there are upwards of 22,000 North Korean defectors now living in South Korea. The journey across the heavily guarded border is treacherous and often deadly. It's been just over a month since Kim Jong Un rose to power after his father Kim Jong Il's sudden death and there are some reports of would-be defectors being shot down while trying to flee the impoverished nation.
The NFL is on the cusp of determining who will be playing in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. Tomorrow on the West Coast, the San Francisco 49ers face the New York Giants, and on the East Coast, the New England Patriots host the Baltimore Ravens. NPR's Mike Pesca is here to preview the matchups. Mike, hello.
When the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI shut down the web site Megaupload yesterday, there were many responses, from outrage to confusion to applause, and nearly as many questions. One that stood out was simple: If Megaupload provides a service that can be used for legal pursuits, are they legally responsible for the users who use it to illegally share copyrighted material?
The album Little Spark evokes a sound you might have heard 40 years ago, piercing through the static of your AM radio. The big string sections and angelic choruses are all there, echoing the hallmarks of classic orchestral pop. But Little Spark is the work of a modern singer-songwriter named Jessie Baylin.
If you're seriously into reading, chances are, if you're not a nerd, then you've at least got some nerdy DNA somewhere in your intellectual genome. I know I do. But as a reader I sometimes feel like I'm being asked to identify with a hero who isn't nearly geeky enough — a hero with uncorrected vision and excellent orthodontics and really good hair. Sure, he's nice, but I doubt I would have wanted to sit at his table in the cafeteria in high school.
In a presidential election that most expect will be all about the economy, South Carolina is a state where economic issues are front and center. The state's unemployment rate is 9.9 percent, well above the national rate. But even that number is deceptive. There are pockets around the state where the conditions are much more severe. In Lancaster County, for example, the rate is above 12 percent.
In 1978, the farmers in a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. They thought it might get them executed. Instead, it wound up transforming China's economy in ways that are still reverberating today.
The contract was so risky — and such a big deal — because it was created at the height of communism in China. Everyone worked on the village's collective farm; there was no personal property.
"Back then, even one straw belonged to the group," says Yen Jingchang, who was a farmer in Xiaogang in 1978. "No one owned anything."