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Here there be tygers.

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That Andy Serkis is gonna get typecast.
"We are not ready – are we? – for a movie in which Ms. Darrow contrives to give the ape a tasteful blow-job," David Thomson muses at the Independent, but he’s not addressing cinema’s long reluctance to delve into depictions of bestiality (and the film that goes there will have our full endorsement of being the first in a long time to actually merit the controversy it drums up), but rather attempting some kind of zeitgeist on how audiences, films and family movie-going have changed between "King Kong" the first and "King Kong" the second.

We may never hear the details, but if [Peter] Jackson left elements of authentic terror or adult sexual suggestiveness in his film, those will have been drained away to get the 12A rating. A little fright is OK, but the creative vision will have been tempered to the box office. One large reason why Jackson was personally paid $20m to do this Kong was because in "The Lord of the Rings" – full of dread, combat and potential horror (to say nothing of complex mystical urgings) – he delivered a film that children, parents and grandparents saw together, happily, congratulating each other on what is now a very rare thing – a family entertainment.

We’ve already added ourselves to the pile of "Kong" pushers, but we’d like to say that there are several moments in the film that would have scarred the shit out of our tender little pre-teen consciousness were we still a kid. Of course, that’s part of the appeal — we remember crouching behind the couch to avoid having to look at the whole new-approach-to-organ-donation scene in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," but, you know, we always stayed in the room.

Tied to no film in particular, Xan Brooks at the Guardian comes up with his list of top 50 family films, while Peter Bradshaw sees this as being a golden age for the genre.

Over in the Op-Ed section of the New York Times, Clive D. L. Wynne suggests that the whole thing is about bestiality after all, in the form of test of evolutionary theory. John Walsh at the Independent has some historical context for the original film, as well as background on its two co-directors/character inspirations, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack.

Joel Meadows at the London Times chats with writer Michael Moorcock, Weta workers Richard Taylor and Daniel Falconer, Ray Harryhausen and Andy Serkis about the appeal of the big ape, while Michael Phillips at the Chicago Tribune insists the film’s most impressive effects are the ones in which it restores New York City to its 1930s state.

And while we’re here and unfocused, we’d like to say that the Skull Island natives as interpreted by Peter Jackson are frightening, ghastly, and about as politically correct as the natives in the original film (they’re only a few steps removed from "Lord of the Rings"’ Urukai). Which is as they should be — this is, after all, the stuff of 30s adventure serials, not bearing any more resemblance to reality than a giant, anthropomorphized ape. But it almost seems like Jackson hedged his bets by dropping in scattered, not particularly helpful references to "Heart of Darkness" all over the first half, so that, were anyone to quibble in our more sensitive times, he could throw the Conrad novel at them and say "Bugger off, they’re a metaphor! Like Conrad! A metaphor! For…darkness! And humanity! And, um, darkness in humanity!"

+ Scary monsters – Can ‘family viewing’ ever be entirely innocent again? (Independent)
+ The best family films of all time (Guardian)
+ Let’s go to the pictures! (Guardian)
+ Kissing Cousins (NY Times)
+ The first (and original) King Kong (Independent)
+ The ape stays (London Times)
+ ‘King Kong’s’ secret weapon (Chicago Tribune)


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.