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Cannes pre-commencement bits.

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Are you all watching the Cannes Cam? Opening ceremonies start soonish.

Speaking of, more inevitable "Da Vinci Code" stories (and we’ve avoiding the bulk of them). At the New York Times, Sharon Waxman writes about the unprecedented marketing of a film 96% of people polled were aware of and 60% "definite interest," and then slaps us with this:

Industry estimates of the film’s expected ticket sales for the opening weekend at the domestic box office range from $70 million to over $100 million.

Ouch! For a film that’s never going to keep the interest of most anyone under 16? We shall see.

Adam Edwards in the Telegraph writes about how, for all their varied fury or bemusement about the book and the film, many churches in England are happy about the cash infusion and renewed interest they’ve brought about.

[T]his cascade of freshly generated cash is putting kindly theologians in a hilarious quandary. These gentlemen may not want to be bothered by believers in Dan Brown’s fanciful notions – but also, they don’t want to dismiss new spending customers out of hand.

Take, for instance, the Dean of Lincoln Cathedral, the Very Rev Alec Knight, who, while cheerfully branding the book ”a load of old tosh”, happily agreed to let the film be shot at the cathedral after the producers made a donation of £100,000.

And Peter J. Bower in the New Yorker has an interesting piece on Sony Pictures’ spinning of the film for Christians.

So how is the damn thing? Fresh off the wires, AP‘s David Germain reports of last night’s press screening that "reaction from Cannes critics ranged from mild endorsement of its potboiler suspense to groans of ridicule over its heavy melodrama." And at the Risky Biz blog, the Hollywood Reporter‘s Anne Thompson, who found the film overly cautious, writes that:

The thing to remember about the Cannes press, especially the film
critics, is that they are global, sophisticated, pretentious and quite
often vicious. They love to slam the seats at a press screening, or
hiss a movie during the closing credits. That level of rejection did
not occur tonight. For the most part the movie unfolds like an
engrossing glossy international thriller, and hews fairly closely to
the book, which is a page-turner, if mechanically executed. But there
were uncomfortable waves of titters throughout the film tonight, and
when the BIG REVEAL comes, there was outright laughter.

[Update: David Hudson rounds up more early reviews at Greencine Daily.]

Feh. Far more entertaining than the film will probably turn out to be (two and a half hours?) is Laura Barton‘s interview with the film’s villain, Paul Bettany, in the Guardian, in which we are reminded that an evil albino is really the role the extremely beige Bettany was born to play:

Bettany has the type of bleached-out colouring that makes looking at
him something like blinking through the midday sun. On screen this can
be used to convey a peculiarly wholesome prettiness – as Tom, in Lars
von Trier
‘s "Dogville," or as a faded tennis player in "Wimbledon" – or to
unsettling effect, as a struttingly brutal upstart in "Gangster No 1,"
for example, or now in "The Da Vinci Code."

Inexplicable great quote from Bettany on living in America:

"[I]n America bread lasts so long. You buy bread, and then
it’s bread forever – it’s Forever Bread! I remember when I first went
over there and bought a pint of milk, and I kept going up to it, weeks
later, going I can’t believe this! It’s still fresh! It’s a miracle!
Miracle Milk!"

Jada Yuan at New York has a list (with apologies to NOAH) of "favorite albino villains."

At the Guardian, Sean O’Hagan examines Ken Loach‘s in-Competition "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" as the director’s first "Irish" film since 1990’s Cannes Jury Prize-winner "Hidden Agenda."

And at the Hollywood Reporter, Winnie Chung and Jonathan Landreth write that Lou Ye‘s in-Competition "Summer Palace," which is set to premiere tomorrow, has in fact not been approved by Chinese censors yet, which could cost the director distribution in his homeland along with many other problems.

+ ‘Da Vinci Code’: The Mystery of the Missing Screenings (NY Times)
+ Da Vinci double standards (Telegraph)
+ ‘Da Vinci Code’ Misses the Mark for Critics (AP)
+ Cannes Unveils Da Vinci Code (Risky Biz Blog)
+ The Da Vinci Code. (Greencine Daily)

+ When albino monks attack (Guardian)
+ Who Says Evil Albinos Are Such Bad Role Models? (New York)
+ Making waves on the Riviera (Guardian)
+ ‘Palace’ in China’s doghouse (Hollywood Reporter)


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.