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DID YOU READ

Wong Kar Wai! And other international types…

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Forces of Darkness, forces of Light...etc, etc.
Hot gossip of the day: via CRI, our beloved, eternally sunglassed Wong Kar Wai is planning on making a movie "based on moving true events in New Orleans when the city was attacked by Hurricane Katrina last year." He’s hoping to cast Adrien Brody as the lead, but Brody apparently wants to read a final script before committing, and as any WKW-phile knows, he’s shit out of luck if that’s the case.

Also, since this news first appeared in the mostly respectable Hong Kong paper Apple Daily, it probably shouldn’t be labeled as gossip, but this is the third project Wong has announced in recent memory (he’s still attached to "The Lady from Shanghai" with Nicole Kidman and that biopic of Bruce Lee‘s trainer, Ye Wen, with Tony Leung), and given his endearingly dawdling pace of production, we’re not going to hold our breath here.

In the Japan Times, Mark Schilling has a two-fer, reviewing Zhang Yimou‘s latest, "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles," a distinct departure from the florid wu xia films that have lately given him, for better or worse, international recognition. Schilling likes the film, and also has nothing but praise for "Gratitude," the latest from Jun Ichikawa, who also directed "Tony Takitani."

Sahm Venter at the Sydney Morning Herald reports on South African film "SMS Sugar Man," the first feature film shot entirely on cell phone cameras.

The award-winning director Aryan Kaganof shot the film entirely on Sony Ericsson W900i mobile phones in 12 days and is editing the 60 hours of footage, blown up to 35 millimetre, into a feature for distribution in May. Asked why he shot the film with mobile phone cameras, Kaganof answered: "Somebody had to do it."

At the New York Times, Ross Johnson chats with Timur Bekmambetov, whose hyped, then delayed Russian horror/fantasy blockbuster "Night Watch" is finally getting released  in the US by Fox Searchlight on February 17th. We managed to see the film last week and will hopefully have a full review next, but wanted to say, while we enjoyed it quite a bit, it was also one of the most over-the-top displays of visual effects we’ve ever come across, not unlike having one’s head stuck in a blender filled with dozens of Aphex Twin videos and a handle of vodka.

Also at the Times, Dennis Lim writes that:

"Battle in Heaven," the second feature by the 34-year-old Mexican director Carlos Reygadas, is an anomaly among today’s explicit art films, which often deploy sex more as a stunt than a subversion. In the languid, graphic scenes of fellatio that bookend his movie, what is startling isn’t so much the frankness of the sex as the glaring disparity between the participants: Ana (Anapola Mushkadiz), the attractive young daughter of a general, and Marcos (Marcos Hernández), a homely, obese, middle-age man who is the general’s driver.

"Sympathy for Lady Vengeance," by far our favorite installment of Park Chan-wook‘s celebrated and debated "vengeance trilogy," opens in the UK this week. At the Telegraph, Benjamin Secher interviews Park in his Seoul office.

Two vast noticeboards are nailed across its windows, keeping out most of the natural light. Sprawling across them, artworks, adverts and film posters jostle with snapshots of children, actors and naked women. It’s the kind of chaotic visual index that occasionally appears in films, adorning the walls of a serial killer’s hideout. And there in the middle, right above Park’s desk, is the familiar, doughy face of Tom Hanks.

Chilling indeed.

Finally, at the Independent, Anthony Barnes reports that Robin Hardy, the director of the original 1973 "The Wicker Man," is so unhappy with Neil LaBute‘s upcoming US remake that he’s apparently called his lawyers in an effort to have his name removed from the production (he’s currently listed as a screenwriter).

+ Wong Kar-Wai to Do Hurricane Katrina Inspired Movie (CRI)
+ Master auteurs deliver classics on dealing with impending death (Japan Times)
+ The actors phoned it in… (Sydney Morning Herald)
+ From Russia, With Blood and Shape-Shifters (NY Times)
+ No Plot. No Professional Actors. No Holds Barred. (NY Times)
+ Magnificent obsessive (Telegraph)
+ Director to sue over Hollywood’s new ‘Wicker Man’ (Independent)

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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.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.