This week on the Judge John Hodgman Podcast, a dispute between friends. Foy argues that breaking the fourth wall ruins film and theater. His friend Matt disagrees. Only Judge John Hodgman can decide.
Judah Friedlander is a regular on NBC's 30 Rock and the author of How To Beat Up Anybody. He is the World Champion.
Judah joined us on our live show at WNYC to discuss the differences between a Yeti, a Sasquatch and a Bigfoot (and how to beat up all three). He also delineated his strategies for fighting groups of people and even groups of strippers.
When Friedlander's not beating people up, he plays writer Frank Rossitano on 30 Rock. He's had a long and successful career on stage as a standup comic, and his film roles include an acclaimed turn as the Original Nerd, Toby in "American Splendor."
Lee Unkrich is the director of Toy Story 3. He's worked at Pixar for more than 15 years, and co-directed Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc. and Toy Story 2. Before he worked at Pixar, he was an editor in non-animated film = his credits include a TV movie called "Separated By Murder" and the erotic TV thriller Silk Stalkings.
Lee talked with us about being a non-animator in an animation company, and what his traditional film-making skills mean in a Pixar context. He also talks about introducing themes of mortality into kids' movie, and the pressure of making a Pixar film.
As some might know, I've been hosting the show "The Grid," which airs Thursdays at 7:45 Eastern / 4:45 Pacific on IFC. Above, you can check out an interview I did there with Julian Nitzberg, the director of "The Wild & Wonderful Whites of West Virginia," a terrifying documentary about a completely out-of-control family of party animal grifters. That's also kind of amusing. And amazing. And definitely tough to describe.
Below: Jordan's first piece for the show. He covered the "Boobs & Blood Film Festival," which celebrates exploitation movies of all kinds.
Writer-director Chris Morris' new film, Four Lions, is a farce in an unexpected milieu: a terror cell. The film follows the lives of five British-born terrorists as they plan and attempt to execute a suicide bombing. Their efforts (and failures) were inspired by years of research by Morris, who tells us that he became fascinated by the real terrorism stories that struck him as funny. One group of bombers filled a boat with explosives, planning to blow it up alongside a US naval warship. The boat sank while they argued on the dock. Another terrorist was mocked by his compatriots for peeing too loud. He blamed the Jews who manufactured the too-thin bathroom door.
Four Lions was shortlisted for the World Cinema Narrative Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010. As a guest on our show, Sundance programmer Trevor Groth told us that while the film was uproariously funny, its greatest achievement was in humanizing the would-be murderers who are its subject. Four Lions enters staged release on November 5th, distributed under the new Drafthouse Films banner.
Morris made his name in the UK and among comedy fans with a series of incisive news satires in the 1990s. The Day Today parodied newscasts with absurd, buffoonish reporters and ridiculous headlines like "Where Now For Man Raised By Puffins?" Steering the ship with utter conviction was Morris behind the anchor desk. The news magazine satire Brass Eye went even further, at one point convincing a Minister of Parliament to introduce a resolution against "cake," a drug that the show had made up out of whole cloth. Morris himself went undercover, asking real street dealers for made-up drugs until they threatened him with violence. Most recently, Morris was a regular on The IT Crowd, created by past Sound of Young America guest Graham Linehan. Another past Sound guest has also been a frequent collaborator: Armando Iannucci, director of In The Loop.
Chris Morris was named #11 in a poll of "comedians' comedians" conducted by the BBC in 2005, finishing one slot behind Richard Pryor, and ahead of comedy legends like Bill Hicks, Peter Sellers and Steve Martin.
One of the best films we saw at Sundance this year was Chris Morris' Four Lions. It's a satirical look at a London-based group of terrorists. UK-born terrorists, specifically. In the Q&A after the film, Morris talked about the sheer idiocy of terrorists he'd read about in his research, and he was unflinching in satirizing the would-be murderers. What's most remarkable about the film, though, is that these horrible, horrible doofuses are also quite human. That's a pretty remarkable achievement in my book.
The movie opens in a couple of cities November 5th, and it spreads across the country from there. Don't miss it.
Noel Murray and Scott Tobias of The AV Club share their picks from the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. They discuss Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist, which is animated from a script by Jacques Tati. Also: Darren Aronofsky's latest, Black Swan, which stars Natalie Portman as a ballerina struggling to find the passion to play the Black Swan in Swan Lake. In The Trip, director Michael Winterbottom supervises an impression-off between British comics Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
They also say they had a number of disappointments at the festival, including It's Kind of a Funny Story (despite a great turn from Zach Galifianakis) and Danny Boyle's latest, 127 Hours. They also didn't like the seriocomic Will Ferrel vehicle Everything Must Go.
When we were at Sundance this year, we interviewed director Drake Doremus about his sweet, funny little film Douchebag. You can check the interview out above if you missed it. The movie's in theaters in New York as we speak, and it's coming to LA on October 8th.
Now, if we could just get the wonderful, wonderful movie "Boy" into theaters here in the States...
Elijah Wood emerged as a child star in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His first role was in a Paula Abdul video, directed by David Fincher, in 1989. Within a few years, he was a movie star, working in films like Radio Flyer and North. In his review of the 1994 film The War, Roger Ebert wrote that Wood was "the most talented actor in his age group, in Hollywood history."
Wood made the transition to adult acting gracefully - when he was 18, he packed up his bags and moved to New Zealand to star in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He's also appeared in films like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Everything Is Illuminated and Sin City.
Wood is part of the ensemble cast of the new film The Romantics, which follows a group of young people from the rehearsal dinner to the ceremony of their close friend's wedding. The film will be released September 10th, 2010.