In <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/11/18/142458703/in-beginners-a-gay-man-comes-out-late-in-life"><em>Beginners</em></a><em></em> — based on director Mike Mills' life--Oliver (Ewan McGregor) finds out his father is gay, and has denied himself throughout his married life. After coming out, Oliver's dad becomes physically and spiritually transformed.
Credit Focus Features
Pauline Kael was a film critic for <em>The New Yorker </em>from 1967 to 1991, as well as the author of several books, including <em>I Lost It at the Movies</em> and <em>For Keeps: 30 Years at the Movies</em>.
At the heart of <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/10/18/141417506/to-hell-and-back-with-a-marine-and-his-wife"><em>Hell And Back Again</em></a> is 26-year-old Sgt. Nathan Harris (left). The documentary film — which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival — shows a wounded Harris' struggles with combat stress and addictive opiates following his return to the U.S.
Director Steven Spielberg delivers <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=143513144&live=1"><em>War Horse</em></a>, an unforgettable odyssey for Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and his horse Joey.
Credit Andrew Cooper / DreamWorks Pictures
In Lars von Trier's <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/11/11/142094248/as-the-world-ends-a-certain-melancholia-sets-in"><em>Melancholia</em></a>, Kirsten Dunst's lavish wedding takes place as a rogue planet — also called Melancholia — hurtles directly towards Earth.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the history of world music proves that unfamiliar instruments and rhythms cross borders much more readily than vocal styles. There's no question that, starting in the late '60s, soul and then funk became very popular in sub-Saharan Africa. Decades of reissues show that a lot of players found their way into electric guitar, and that enriching the big beat of the West was a cinch for African percussionists.