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DID YOU READ

Cannes: Over the hump.

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Disaster!
We’ve just past the midpoint of the 59th Cannes Film Festival, and it’s either so good there are no clear Competition frontrunners…or so inconsistent there are no clear Competition frontrunners, or maybe just so unexceptional. Kirk Honeycutt and Ray Bennett at Hollywood Reporter:

The 59th edition of the Festival de Cannes is shaping up as the best Competition since the much-celebrated 2002 vintage. ("The Pianist" won, you’ll recall.) Which does not mean that one can easily spot the winners. There are some obvious front-runners though, as well as some obvious disappointments. And certainly this jury, weighed so heavily with actors, has any number of superb performances to judge.

Todd McCarthy at Variety:

In the first five days of the Cannes Film Festival — as choppy as the rough seas currently besetting the Mediterranean — there have been two or three fairly strong films thus far in the competition. But few people can agree on which films those are.

To be sure, no one’s been caught running around whispering "Palme d’Or" about any of the entries.

Those who’ve traveled from distant points and will spend up to 12 days watching films here hope, as always, that at least one or two brilliant titles will reward the investment. If they exist this year, they have yet to be seen.

Richard Corliss at Time:

"Adequate" sums up the Festival’s offerings so far. No films yet have reaped unanimous critical acclaim. A few name directors are thought to have been coasting (Pedro Almodóvar‘s "Volver") or tailspinning (Richard Linklater‘s "Fast Food Nation") with their latest works. Some directors of promise, like the Turk auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan with his Climates, have brought works earning mild applause. We see and we shrug.

David Hudson at Greencine Daily‘s been doing such an awe-inspiringly thorough job of rounding up Cannes coverage that we feel unmotivated to do much more than sit back and take it all in ourselves. Nevertheless, a few thoughts:

"Southland Tales": Richard Kelly‘s undeniably ambitious "Donnie Darko" follow-up seemed doomed merely from the great weight of expectations. Still, we’re heard/read things ranging from "potential career-killer" and "profoundly incoherent" to "a sprawling, periodically dazzling, often funny pop-and-politics mash-up" and "a visionary film about the end of times" from heavies Manohla Dargis and J. Hoberman, respectively. We’re rather dying to see it now, train-wreck or not, though the film has no distributor yet, and, as Hoberman points out, "[a]t two hours and 40 minutes…[it] flirts with the ineffable and also the unreleasable."

"The Host": The most generous acclaim coming out of the festival seems to be for, of all things, this Directors’ Fortnight Korean horror film. "[T]he best film I’ve seen to date at this year’s festival," says Dargis, while Mike D’Angelo concludes "I can only hope to see a Competition entry this impressive," while also pointing out that "it’s a fair question whether Hollywood will come calling, because no major studio would ever countenance popcorn fare this determinedly bleak and despairing — ‘The Host’ makes comparatively grown-up summer flicks like ‘War of the Worlds’ and ‘Batman Begins’ look downright sunny by comparison."

Hazy generalizations: "Babel" response is mixed-to-good; "Shortbus" is also mixed-to-good, if never that enthused; "Red Road" also mixed-to-good, but not good enough, we’d guess, to secure a US distributor; "Fast Food Nation" is mixed-to-bad; "Paris, Je T’aime" is generally good (good enough to spawn a New York version?); "Volver" good-ish, with the caveat that no one seems predisposed to be fonder of Almodóvar than Cannes audiences/critics.

+ Critic’s notebook: Cannes midpoint finds Competition worthy (HR)
+ No consensus on Croisette (Variety)
+ Postcards from Cannes (Time)

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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.