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Post-Toronto days.

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"Two medical emergencies the very first screening!"The Toronto wrap-ups are rolling in — a few selections:

Roger Ebert:

Although the Toronto Film Festival lacks an official competition, lots of awards are handed out on closing day. As they were announced Saturday, I felt like I was standing on the pier waving sadly as the ship sailed. Although I saw 43 of this year’s films, either here or at Telluride, Cannes or Sundance, I managed for the first time to get through the entire festival without having seen a single film that won a prize.

David Poland (who also picks his top twenty from the festival here):

I saw four unmitigated disasters this year at TIFF. (I didn’t catch "Tideland," so I remain hopeful.)

All four of the car wrecks were high profile. Part of that is because everything ugly is uglier under a microscope, and part of it is that I’m not real interested in shredding small, helpless indie films whose birth already left enough marks for the filmmakers. Still, the most disastrous directing debut of the festival was that of Stephen J. Mavilla, whose pre-show "no cameras/no cell phones" piece for Motorola was universally despised, marking the fastest rise and fall of a career in movie history, not just TIFF’s history. You shouldn’t have put your name all over that thing, Steve. So change your name or start writing documentary grant applications.

If you’re wondering, his disasters picks are: "Mrs. Harris," with Ben Kingsley and Annette Bening; "Elizabethtown" (nothing but bad buzz about that one — heh, Cameron Crowe!); "Edison" (Justin Timberlake‘s acting debut); and "Revolver" (Raising the question: when would you call time of death on Guy Ritchie‘s career? Now, or around "Swept Away"? Or when he married Madonna? You burned bright, Mr. Ritchie.). Also, you can watch Mavilla’s piece here.

(Also, baaaad buzz for "Tideland" (sniff!). At a screening the other day we heard someone refer to it as "career suicide for Gilliam.")

Sharon Waxman on the new film investors:

[Several of the big studio acquisitions] are "independent" in the most basic sense: paid for by these individuals and a few other investors who believed in the material. And if Hollywood has expressed skepticism about the affluent neophytes who have entered the business in the past few years – mainly Internet, retail and trust-fund tycoons – this, their first real crop of movies entering the marketplace, may indicate that they have a future in the industry.

Patrick Goldstein on SPC’s old-school biz style:

In an era when most studio films vanish from multiplexes in a matter of weeks, Sony Classics will patiently work a film for months to find a broader audience. "Triplets of Belleville," which was released in November 2003, was still in theaters on July 4, 2004. "That’s our mantra," says Barker. "The longer you keep a film in the theaters, the more value it’ll have down the line."

Eli Roth (who directed "Cabin Fever"), writing to Empire about screening his latest gory horror (gorror?) flick "Hostel" at the festival:

At the first screening…we had not one, but TWO medical emergencies. One guy left
in the middle because he was so distraught and dizzy, and he passed out
and fell down the escalator outside the theater! Paramedics were called
and, luckily, the guy was fine, although if he had died it would have
been a better story.

About 15 minutes later, a woman flees the theater thinking that the film’s
giving her a heart attack! She’s having chest pains – so the festival
people called the paramedics again!!! Turns out she was fine, too. Oh
well, serves ’em right for leaving in the middle!

Tim Robey of the Telegraph on falling for an unexpected film:

[T]here’s no way of summarising [Curtis Hanson‘s] "In Her Shoes" without making it sound like bog-standard chick-flick mush, but it really isn’t.

Hanson has always been a skilled actor’s director…and this movie really is the reinvention of Cameron Diaz. She isn’t afraid to make Maggie a total hair-flicking pain even past the point when the film strictly needs her to be, but we always know there’s something in the character worth redeeming. [Shirley] MacLaine, who has done little but chew scenery for the past decade, reins it all back in to give us a lovely, contained supporting turn.

But even so, it’s [Toni] Collette‘s film, all the way. Rose is more sympathetic than a dozen Bridget Joneses, and this sublime actress – so good at romantic frustration, welling emotion, and outbursts of giggly euphoria – is the reason why.

We dunno about you, but we’re feeling positively positive about film again, possibly because we saw "L’Enfant" this morning, but mostly because of all the good words reaching us from TIFF. ’bout damn time.

+ Toronto #8: The winners (
+ TORONTO WRAP UP (The Hot Button)
+ TORONTO WRAP UP. PART 2 (The Hot Button)
+ And the Film Deal Goes to . . . an Outsider (NY Times)
+ Savvy kings of the art house (LA Times)
+ Hostel Causes Hospitalisation (Empire)
+ Toronto Film Festival: when feelgood is actually very good (Telegraph)

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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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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