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Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

This week, Matt Damon stops by the studio to talk about his career in movies – from his role as the windbag LaBeouf in “True Grit” to his impressive improvised monologue in “Saving Private Ryan.”  But one of our favorite appearances has to be his recent foray on NBC’s “30 Rock.” He plays Liz Lemon’s insecure pilot boyfriend who yearns to settle down for true love.

Damon told Kurt how he got the gig.

Damon’s full conversation with Kurt airs this weekend — listen online here.

– Julia Botero

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(photo by Michael Lamont)

About a year ago, Carrie Fisher (script doctor, memoirist, recovering Princess) took to Broadway a one-woman show called “Wishful Drinking” – an account of her struggles with alcoholism, failed romances, and brushes with death that proved Fisher had a knack for stand-up.  A filmed version of her stage show airs this weekend on HBO.

Fisher has long been outspoken about her problems, but seeing is believing.  When she came to Studio 360 to talk with Kurt late in the afternoon, a couple hours before showtime, she arrived in dark glasses, and yawning.  “To me there’s Carrie and there’s Carrie Fisher,” she explained, “and Carrie has to make sure Carrie Fisher gets enough sleep so Carrie Fisher can do her show, [because] Carrie wants to go shopping.”

You can hear their full conversation here:

– Jenny Lawton

About a year ago, Carrie Fisher (script doctor, memoirist, recovering Princess) took to Broadway a one-woman show called “Wishful Drinking” – an account of her struggles with alcoholism, failed romances, and brushes with death that proved Fisher had a knack for stand-up.  A filmed version of her stage show airs this weekend on HBO.

Fisher has long been outspoken about her problems, but seeing is believing.  When she came to Studio 360 to talk with Kurt late in the afternoon, a couple hours before showtime, she arrived in dark glasses, and yawning.  “To me there’s Carrie and there’s Carrie Fisher,” she explained, “and Carrie has to make sure Carrie Fisher gets enough sleep so Carrie Fisher can do her show, [because] Carrie wants to go shopping.”

– JL

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How to Train Your Dragon
Starring Jay Baruchel and Gerard Butler

Pixar is still tops when it comes to animation, but don’t overlook Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon, recently out on DVD. The movie’s unlikely hero is Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, a scrawny Viking who uses brains over brawn to befriend a wounded dragon.  The real star, however, is legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, who directed the 3-D flight sequences.  The whoosh-bang joy of fire-breathing dragons soaring through the sky is a reminder of why we still go to the movies.

– Derek L. John

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For our next American Icon, Studio 360 is headed to Southfork Ranch…via Estonia!

After the premiere of nine new stories this fall, our second series of American Icons episodes is nearly complete.  There’s just one more show left to make – yours!  Throughout the broadcasts, we’ve been asking listeners to nominate their own Icons.  We got some great ideas, but none impressed us more than Laura Detre’s suggestion of the television series Dallas, which ran from 1979 – 1991 on CBS.

The original cast of Dallas.

Laura says Dallas presented an alluring, glamorous vision of capitalism that may have had an even larger impact abroad than here at home.  Especially in the old Eastern Bloc.

Movie still from "Disco and Atomic War" - courtesy of Icarus Films

How much impact could one American soap opera have?  A lot, according to Jaak Kilmi a film director who grew up behind the Iron Curtain in Tallinn, Estonia in the 1970s and 80s.  At one point during the Cold War, Tallinn began receiving Western television programs from a giant transmitter in nearby Finland.  Kilmi told us no television program was more loved or influential than Dallas:  “It was a substitute for a nice life that we didn’t have.  We wanted to believe that people live in skyscrapers and have beautiful cars.”

Jaak had even more to say about Dallas and the fall of Communism.  We’ll share that when our American Icons story is broadcast in the spring.  In the meantime, Jaak’s movie about American soft power in Soviet Estonia (including David Hasselhoff’s modest contribution)  is out now in limited release.  It’s called Disco and Atomic War, and it recently won Best Documentary prize at the Warsaw International Film Festival.

-Michael Guerriero

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This just in: Two-time Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis will play Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming biopic.

No doubt the English actor will hit it out of the park… But our heart belongs to David Strathairn, who played Lincoln throughout our American Icons episode about The Lincoln Memorial. His stately performance of the Gettysburg Address (engraved on the Memorial) is a sober, powerful end to the hour.

You can listen to the entire program below – Strathairn’s reading starts at 44:35.

The new movie is based on the book Team of Rivals by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who was also part of our hour.

By the way, we found Stathairn such a compelling commander in chief, we recently asked him to play our 3rd president for this season’s Icon Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

– Jenny Lawton

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Broadway audiences were probably not familiar with the term “choreopoem” when “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” arrived at the Booth Theatre 1976.  But Ntozake Shange’s dynamic and revealing series of poems (set to music and movement) was a giant hit, winning a Tony and a Drama Desk Award.  “All sorts of people who might never have set foot in a Broadway house—black nationalists, feminist separatists—came to experience Shange’s firebomb of a poem,” remembers Hilton Als, now the theater critic for The New Yorker.

The play went on to be adapted into a TV movie and interpreted in countless regional and amateur productions.  Now it’s a major motion picture, with direction and a screenplay by comedy mogul Tyler Perry.

This weekend, the 13th annual African American Women In Cinema Film Festival concludes with an event honoring Shange.  “for colored girls” launched a generation of spoken-word and performance artists – and Shange has proved prolific since then, publishing dozens of plays, poetry collections, and other books.  She’ll receive the African American Women In Cinema Pioneer Award.  The 1982 PBS version of the work, starring Shange, will be shown.  I’m particularly curious to hear Shange’s conversation with Felicia Lee of the New York Times: I hope to hear how Shange feels her choreopoem fared in the hands of a filmmaker perhaps most famous for wearing a fat suit and playing “the gun-toting, insult-hurling grandmother” Madea.

RELATED: Our colleague, WQXR host Terrance McKnight, recently talked with Ntozake Shange and vocalist M. Nahadr (who wrote a song for the new film) about whether “For Colored Girls” is still relevant for the modern African-American woman:

– Georgette Pierre

TITLE: The Steady Rise of “For Colored Girls”

Broadway audiences were probably not familiar with the term “choreopoem” when “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf,” hit Broadway 1976.  But Ntozake Shange’s dynamic and revealing series of monologue poems (set to music and movement) was a giant hit, winning a Tony and a Drama Desk Award.  “All sorts of people who might never have set foot in a Broadway house—black nationalists, feminist separatists—came to experience Shange’s firebomb of a poem,” remembers Hilton Als, now the theater critic for The New Yorker.

The play went on to be adapted into a TV movie and countless regional and amateur productions.  Now the work has entered a new phase of life as a major motion picture, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson (among many other greats), and produced by entertainment mogul Tyler Perry.

So it strikes me that this is a particularly fitting time to revisit the source of it all. This weekend, the 13th Annual African American Women In Cinema Film Festival concludes with an event honoring Shange.  “for colored girls” launched generation of spoken-word and performance artists – and Shange has proved prolific since then, publishing dozens of plays, poetry collections, and other books.  She’ll receive the African American Women In Cinema Pioneer Award – and the 1982 PBS version of the work, starring Shange, will be shown.

But the part of the event I’m most interested to see is the “Conversation with Ntozake” (moderated by Felicia Lee of the New York Times).  I hope she’ll share her thoughts of Perry’s adaptation of her work and whether a man can really tell a woman’s story.

Related: Our colleague, WQXR host Terrance McKnight, recently talked with Ntozake Shange and vocalist M. Nahadr (who wrote a song for the new film) about whether For Colored Girls is still relevant for the modern African-American woman.

– Georgette Pierre

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/notebook/2007/03/05/070305gonb_GOAT_notebook_als

http://www.forcoloredgirlsmovie.com/

http://aawic.org/Home_Page.html

http://culture.wnyc.org/articles/features/2010/nov/19/mcknight-interviews-ntozake-shange-and-m-nahadr-about-colored-girls/

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The Taqwacores: Muslim Punk in the USA (Photographs by Kim Badawi)

There’s a new movie out about Muslim-American punk rockers living in upstate New York.  Sound familiar?

Last year we aired a story about Michael Muhammad Knight, an Islamic convert from upstate New York who wrote a novel about Muslim-American punk rockers. It was called The Taqwacores and as far as he was concerned, it was pure fantasy.  At first, Knight sold the book out of the trunk of his car, but eventually it gained a following among rebellious Muslim teenagers on the web — including the members of a Pakistani punk band from Boston called The Kominas.  It was only a matter of time before Knight and The Kominas got together.  What happened next was the stuff of great fiction… or was it real?  Listen to our story to find out.

– Derek L. John

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