This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


The agony of the fall preview.

Posted by on

Hot like fire.It’s fall preview season — and where to even begin summing up the flood of special sections centered around the same damn list of films? Well, probably with The Reeler, whose "Fall Movie Preview Review" is a far, far wittier thing than anything bouncing around in our caffeine-addled head at the moment. The Reeler‘s S.T. VanAirsdale runs through all of the New York-based round-ups, citing high points, low points, "Egregious Hype" and an estimate of the actual worth of bothering to read any of these preview packages. The always-wise David Hudson at Greencine Daily adds his thoughts on the New York Times‘ section.

Said section, crowned "The New Season" by the paper of record, is definitely the best of the bunch, solely on the basis of Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott‘s dueling, ambitious thematic overviews (Stephen Holden, covering Woody Allen’s "Match Point," gets banished to the bottom of the page, which only enforces for us that, despite all the Cannes hype, no one cares that much about the film — we’ve just been hurt waiting for a recent quality Allen film too many times before.).

Ms. Dargis approaches the season by way of "A History of Violence," "Dear Wendy," "Where the Truth Lies," "Manderlay" and "Don’t Come Knocking" — films she sees as "holding up fun-house mirrors to America" (particularly to our fascination and fetishization of violence), as well as signs that we’ve finally passed beyond the moratorium on film’s criticizing the US following 9/11:

In these films, the focus isn’t on quiet and ugly Americans doing their lethally secret business abroad. Instead, these are films about ordinary Americans – fathers and mothers, sons and daughters – whose hands are dirty and sometimes covered in blood. Ordinary, smiling, guilty Americans.

A very worthy read, and one that adds to the growing hype surrounding "A History of Violence," which the Village Voice, in the wee fall preview we didn’t both linking to before (but will now: Michael Atkinson does his film round-up, the staff weighs in on the top ten fall movie-going highlights), breathlessly called "a brilliantly directed psychological thriller/neo-western that more than fulfills the philosophical and political dimensions of its title—and confirms its maker as the greatest director working in the English language today."

Scott tackles American film, something in general he finds is failing to engage with, as he puts it, "the realities of American life." He sees the awards season as a parade of safe, distancing biopics and period pieces, as well as (yes!) the ubiquitous navel-gazing Sundance "dysfunctional suburban teenage drama-satire":

Again, the point is not to indict particular movies…but to wonder why the themes they explore are so dominant. Uncomprehending parents, awakening sexuality, the stultifications of school and the inchoate longing for freedom – these problems are sufficiently ubiquitous as to make your local art house look like the young-adult section of your local bookstore. Except that the teenage-angst movies frequently come with R ratings and marketing campaigns aimed more at graduate students than at high school kids.

We are frequently needlessly snide about films of this ilk, regardless of their quality, and we apologize, but it’s because of similar sentiments to Mr. Scott here. God, for a young up-and-comer with ridiculous, impossibly broad ambitions! Screw "write what you know," Sundance Lab rats, no one cares about your thinly disguised adolescence — try harder, for chrissakes.

Anyway, lots of other good stuff in the that section. Also worth a look is the LA Times"Fall Movie Sneaks," which includes a massive amount of interviews with various stars and directors of scattered upcoming titles, along with Kevin Thomas rounding up highlights of LA-area foreign film screenings: "As has been increasingly the case over recent decades, many of the season’s new foreign films will be available only as one-time screenings as part of special series presentations at institutional venues."

Stephen Hunter in the Washington Post sees this upcoming fall as particularly literary adaptation-heavy, and advises us, film by film, as to whether or not we should bother reading the source book before heading to the theater.

Wesley Morris and Ty Burr at the Boston Globe disagree with A. O. Scott on the relevance issue — they see this as a particularly issue-heavy fall:

What’s exciting is that many of these movies are set in the present or recent past. They’re not allegories or full-on satires, which might leave us desperate for a film with a sense of farce — ”The Producers," say. But some have the potential to resonate with our current social and political climate. Of course, if that’s not to your liking, we’d like to guide you straight to ”Saw II."

For those of you as exhausted as we are by the above endeavor, we direct you to Heather Havrilesky‘s fall TV round-up at Salon, which is funny, smart, and blessedly not about film (plus it comes with a handy chart, and we ♥ those!).

+ The Reeler’s Fall Movie Preview Review (The Reeler)
+ NYT. Fall preview. (Greencine Daily)
+ The New Season: Movies (NY Times)
+ Fall Movie Sneaks (LA Times)
+ Hollywood Follows the Reader
(Washington Post)
+ Tough Stuff (Boston Globe)
+ White-knuckle TV (Salon)
+ Fear factored (Salon)

Watch More

A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy

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.

Watch More

WTF Films

Artfully Off

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

Posted by on

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

Watch More

Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy

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.

Watch More