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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)

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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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.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

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

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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

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