Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 11:59 am
Actor Jack Black is best known for his comedic performances in films like Nacho Libre and School of Rock. In his latest film, Bernie, Black goes to a darker place: He plays a serious small-town funeral director who uncharacteristically murders his live-in companion, a wealthy widow played by Shirley MacLaine.
Todd Snider is, on one level, your average guitar-strumming singer-songwriter with varying amounts of musical accompaniment for songs he sings with mush-mouthed intimacy. But Snider, now in his mid-40s and impressively prolific, is also an exceptional singer-songwriter, able to set up scenes with quick, precise details.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
The Farrelly brothers have long been known for their gross-out humor and their shocking comedies. After writing and directing movies like Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, There's Something About Mary and Shallow Hal -- where agreeable idiots get caught up in all sorts of trouble — Peter and Bobby Farrelly decided to tackle another set of goofy doofuses: The Three Stooges.
Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 11:49 am
The new Disneynature film Chimpanzee started off the way most movies do. Co-producers and directors Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill, who had previously worked together on the documentary film Earth, approached Disney with a 70-page script about a group of chimpanzees living in Western Africa. There was just one problem: Chimps don't take direction — or read scripts.
So Fothergill and Linfield teased out a narrative from more than three years' worth of footage they took in Western Africa while observing a large clan of chimpanzees.
Fellag, an Algerian comedian, plays the title character in the Oscar-nominated <em>Monsieur Lazhar, </em>who steps in to teach a class of middle school students after tragedy has struck their classroom.
Teacher movies tend to be more alike than unalike, but Monsieur Lazhar makes the familiar unusually strange. The note on which it opens is shocking, tragic: A Montreal middle school student, Simon, enters his classroom ahead of the other kids and finds his teacher hanging from a pipe, dead by her own hand.
Violinist Jenny Scheinman's band and new album are both called Mischief and Mayhem. The record was made just after her quartet played a week at the Village Vanguard, but despite the jazz cred of regular Vanguard appearances, their stylistically fluid music draws on a lot of traditions.
The HIV-1 virus cultivated with human lymphocytes.
Credit C. Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E. L. Palmer, W. R. McManus / CDC Public Health Image Library
<a href="http://carlzimmer.com/bio">Carl Zimmer</a> is the author of 12 books about science, including <em>A Planet of Viruses</em>. He has also appeared on <em>RadioLab </em>and <em>This American Life</em>.
Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 3:42 pm
If you've ever had a bacterial infection like staph or strep throat, your doctor may have prescribed penicillin. But if you've had the flu or a common cold virus, penicillin won't work. That's because antibacterials only kill bacteria, and both the flu and the common cold are viruses. So for illnesses like the flu, doctors prescribe antiviral drugs, which target the mechanisms that viruses use to reproduce.