Chris Morris

What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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Culture Warrior

Warning: This article contains spoilers regarding the ending of Four Lions. You have been warned (hence, y’know, the whole “Warning” thing). Almost exactly one year ago, on December 25, 2009, 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 headed from Amsterdam to Detroit. The mission, as we all know, failed. The incident regarding the man who became known as the “underwear bomber” is one that has understandably been met with fascination in the media. The incident proved fodder material in discourse amongst comedians who mutually expressed an inability to understand why al-Qaeda would even take credit for such an embarrassing and silly failure. A mental image perpetuated across culture of a young Muslim fanatic attempting to light his underwear on fire as a show of religious devotion. The actual details of the incident are in fact far funnier. Passengers and flight attendants saw that Abdulmutallab’s leg had caught flame during flight, and used blankets and a fire extinguisher to put it out. His pants were gone, he had burns on his leg, and when he was finally asked by a flight attendant what it was he had in his pocket that caught fire, he simply stated, “an explosive device” as dryly as one would say “chapstick.” As an act intended to induce terror, Abdulmutallab’s attempted underwear bombing is as great an embarrassing failure for his associated enterprise as one could imagine.

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Every so often, it becomes artistically necessary for someone to come along and combine a serious political issue with The Three Stooges. In lesser hands, it can be an offensive disaster, but fortunately it was director Christopher Morris that answered the call from fate this time. With Four Lions he attempts to bring a sense of levity to terrorism – specifically the brand of terrorism that the news cycle has brought to the forefront of our psyche within the past decade: Islamic extremism. Jihadism. The Mujahideen. This might be the most dangerous territory to go mining for comedy, but Morris does it the right way – by finding the comedy first, cleaning off the political mess, and delivering it dead pan to the audience. Omar (Riz Ahmed) and his moronic mate Waj (Kayvan Novak) head to Pakistan to train with Al Qaeda so that they can take their small band of terrorists in Britain to the next level and achieve the grand goal of blowing themselves up constructively.

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Terrorism can be hilarious. This is a statement that I didn’t ever think I would make. Who, in their right minds, thinks that it’s possible for terrorism — especially the kind that involves extremists similar to those who executed the big one in New York about nine years ago — to be central to a very funny story. But it’s true. In Chris Morris’ Four Lions, terrorism — or perhaps more appropriately, the bumbling terrorists who are trying to do the terrorism — is very, very, very funny.

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How is Osama Bin Laden like Prince? If you’ve been wondering the answer to this burning question, Chris Morris might just have the answer for you. The writer/director just had his first film, Four Lions, picked up for distribution by Tim League’s new Alamo Drafthouse releasing arm. The comedy focuses on four wanna be terrorists who can’t do anything correctly. The humor takes something completely inhuman in our society and reminds us that there’s a comedic folly to some of the people out there trying to blow us up. It’s a smart film that treats the threat of violence with the severity it deserves while still delivering an absurd amount of Three Stooges-like, bumbling comedic moments that come with being human. You can check out my review of the film here, but be sure to watch the interview to find out what Joaquin Phoenix has to do with Al Qaeda, what happens when a woman wearing a niqab laughs, and how to stop terrorism once and for all with movies and twitter. Check after the jump for the cities where Four Lions will see the darkness of the theater on November 5th:

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SXSW Film 2010

This afternoon, MSN Movies has released a hilarious first trailer for Four Lions, a Sundance holdover that’s been selected as the closing night film of this year’s SXSW Film Festival. The story is simple: it’s about a group of would-be suicide bombers as they try to find a way to die for a good cause.

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SXSW 2010

We’re coming in a little late with today’s SXSW 2010 preview article, but trust me, it’s worth it. Today we’re taking a look at a photo gallery from the film Four Lions, which is the closing night selection for this year’s festival. This Sundance darling will provide a perfect bookend to a festival that kicks off with Kick-Ass and storms on with a series of really great films. Four Lions, as I understand, is a very funny film about terrorism. Yes, terrorism.

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Get ready to laugh at terrorism! In this completely non-exclusive clip, we take a look at the lighter side of stockpiling bleach for bomb-making.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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