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Grimm: Gilliam in the house.

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Matt Damon and Monica BellucciWe’ll post a review of "The Brothers Grimm" tomorrow, hopefully, but for now let’s just say that we found it a crushing disappointment. It seems that, unless "The Libertine" has more going for it than Johnny Depp making out with a man, the Miramax that Harvey built is going out, not with a bang, but a whimper. A whimper of agonizing mediocrity.

This by no means alleviates the furious movie-crush we have on Terry Gilliam, and by the looks of things, we’re not alone in feeling that way, as every paper in town trots out a lengthy interview with the man. Some choice excerpts:

With Hugh Hart in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"I was actually running away from it because I didn’t like the [original ‘Brothers Grimm’] script," he says. "The premise was good. What was missing, I felt, was a real sense of fairy tale-ness. I felt, ‘Well, it’s kind of like "The Mummy," and that level of adventure I’m not interested in.’"

Gilliam interrupts himself to lunge for a cup of espresso, which he hails as "the lifeblood!"

With Lynda Gorov at the Boston Globe:

”[‘Tideland’] was more fun," Gilliam said. ”You don’t have time to double think. You don’t have to argue your point with people. I get tired of that. Especially with Hollywood, they have to be constantly reassured. They want to talk about stuff. But talking isn’t what it’s about. You have to go and make it. You find it when you’re doing it…

”Of course, in a pinch I can babble away with the best of them and sound quite convincing."

With Larry Carroll at MTV:

"It’s interesting; I mean, ‘Brothers Grimm’ is kind of like ‘Time Bandits’ again for me in a way. I got to create a lot of different worlds in ‘Time Bandits,’ and in this one, I create one world, but I have more time to do it in-depth."

With Stephen B. Hunt at the Globe and Mail:

"I’m a bit obsessive about getting a frame that’s got so much stuff in it," Gilliam said. (Matt Damon tells a story about what it’s like to act in a Terry Gilliam film, courtesy of Jonathan Pryce. It was the first day shooting "Brazil," back in 1984, and Pryce, a stage-trained English actor, completed his scene. "Jonathan, can I have a word?," Gilliam asked. "I thought that [scene] went rather well," Pryce said, at which point Gilliam said, "Jonathan, you see that set back there?" Pryce turned to see the "Brazil" set, a Salvador Dali-esque design of tubes, wires and wackiness. "You’re competing with that," Gilliam said, "and you’re losing.")

With Logan Hill in New York:

For "Fisher King", I started thinking in those terms: a nice steel-and-glass photogenic place with no soul, but full of life and jest and joy and beauty and color…I put a line in the movie when Jeffrey’s hanging off the building—he says, "Nobody ever looks up in New York." Architects do the ground floor with a lot of elaboration, then nothing till they get to the top, then they have the crown: It’s like they’re showing off to God. We deserve to see that, too.

With Neil Norman in the Times of London on taking time out to make "Tideland" and coming back to "Grimm":

"I had to let the air clear. Somehow, the film Bob Weinstein had in his head wasn’t the film we made. All films are like this. You reach a point at the end when everyone is going crazy and starts talking about this ‘one’ thing that, if we can get it, will make everything right. It’s bullshit. But, after making ‘Tideland,’ I came back for a few changes. Ironically, we ended up cutting out the most expensive scene in the movie. I didn’t want to do it — but we did, and I have to admit it is better for it."

Enough? The LA Times has also got some Gilliam, with Susan King looking into "Grimm"’s crazy credits and the fact that, if you haven’t already figured it out from any of the above interviews, Gilliam does not care for Hollywood.

Elsewhere, Jeff Otto at Film Force interviews Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, while CHUD‘s George Merchan interviews Monica Bellucci. And Mary Beth Ellis at MSNBC wonders if even gloomy Gilliam can live up to the darkness that is the immensely satisfying original fairytales:

The evil stepsisters of Cinderella, for example, hacked off toes and heels so that they might fit the heroine’s magic slipper. Which I have considered while struggling into a particularly fine pair of rhinestone stilettos, but I imagine that large trails of blood issuing from the bridal party tend to make for less than optimal dance floor conditions. I would like to hear the Celine Dion soundtrack single for this moment.

+ ‘GRIMM’ REAPER (SF Chronicle)
+ Gilliam’s island (Boston Globe)
+ ‘Brothers Grimm’ Director Gilliam Is Hollywood’s Biggest Dreamer — And Enemy (MTV)
+ Gilliam’s dry spell is done
(Globe and Mail)
+ Influences: Terry Gilliam (New York)
+ Grimm enough? (Times of London)
+ Gilliam takes a long view of credits for ‘Grimm’ (LA Times)
+ Interview: Matt Damon and Heath Ledger (Film Force)
+ A Grimm look at fairy tales (MSNBC)

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….


IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.


IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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