Chris Morris

FOUR LIONS: can terrorism ever be safe for comedy?

Article: FOUR LIONS: can terrorism ever be safe for comedy?

FOUR LIONS, a comedy about terrorism at the Sundance Film Festival 2010

FOUR LIONS, a pitch-black farce that begins with jihadi-video bloopers, raises some obvious questions. Are jokes about suicide bombers in poor taste? Is it too soon to be finding the hilarity in extreme radicalism? Can terrorism ever be safe for comedy? But if FOUR LIONS proves anything, it’s that “safety” and “taste” are irrelevant concepts for a comedy about such a deadly serious subject; whatever larger meaning we might glean from the film comes from the inherent danger of the project and from the discomfort it provokes.

Buzz, like swine flu is something you can pick up at a party

Article: Buzz, like swine flu is something you can pick up at a party

Image from THE OATH, the story of Salim Hamdan

That ephemeral Sundance commodity known as buzz used to be something you picked up at parties, on shuttles, waiting in line at screenings — now it’s quantified before the festival even begins, with films ranked on the Sundance site according to page views (and, once the screenings actually get under way, star ratings). Based on the track records of the parties involved (and on totally unscientific early word of mouth), here are the four movies — one from each of the competitive sections — I have the highest hopes for…