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DID YOU READ

Cannes-d.

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If you only knew the power of the Dress Code.
Anything exciting happen while we were gone?

So everyone’s talking about John Anderson‘s piece in yesterday’s New York Times about the tough time winners of film’s most prestigious festival award have had in the US, more specifically last year’s Palme d’Or recipient, "L’Enfant." In fact, solely "L’Enfant," which prompts David Poland at The Hot Blog to dig up numbers for past, more successful Palme d’Or winners and Anthony Kaufman to write:

"L’enfant," the Dardenne brothers’ marvelous morality fable and winner of last year’s Palme, may have not made $2 million at the box office, but that’s because it’s in French and focuses on the dour conditions of the under-class. And as has been written about extensively before, there are several changing factors in the U.S. market that make it harder and harder for foreign-language art-films to perform here. (And with box office receipts nearing $500,000, "L’enfant" is a hit — for what it is. What’s the point of comparing it to MI:3? Just silly.)

Arguing over the Palme d’Or’s relative bankability seems silly, but there’s that undercurrent that any year now it’ll become fashionable to write Cannes off as a wizened old gal who wears too much bronzer and not enough clothing for her age. Feh! Cannes means as much as it ever did, to the relatively small group of people who care about such things. If anything has put pressure on "L’Enfant" (which, seriously, no one is expecting to rake in $20 million on a holiday weekend anyway), it’s the fact that there are so many films competing for limited arthouse theater space that even a fairly big arthouse title like the Dardenne’s will get pushed out without constant, solid crowds.

Elsewhere: Hollywood Elsewhere‘s Jeffrey Wells reports that "Clerks II" will premiere out of competition at the fest this year, and has an interview with Alejandro González Iñárritu, whose "Babel" will be premiere in competition. The Guardian has a report on how "Donnie Darko"‘s Richard Kelly, whose "Southland Tales" is in competition, has had his passport held up "under review" by the US government, because "According to the Department of Homeland Security he is a suspected terrorist who may now be prevented from traveling to Cannes next week." Also in the Guardian, Whit Stillman ‘fesses up to what he’s been doing all this time, shares that he’ll be at Cannes with a new project (a screenplay), and offers the following advice:

Silence is one of the greatest and least used weapons in the film
business arsenal. The best rule seems to be: when a project is
completed or nearly so, don’t shut up about it. But when it’s still in
its early stages, don’t say a word. That rule will be massively
violated next week when the annual Cannes non-existent-film festival
gets under way. This event, running parallel to the actual film
festival – or the festival of actual films – features the trumpeting of
entire slates of films that will never be made, at least not by the
people announcing them.

Via CRI, Feng Xiaogang is apparently arriving at Cannes with plans to burn through 4 million yuan promoting fantasy-martial arts epic (and "Hamlet" adaptation?!) "The Banquet." Lavish, though last year Chen Kaige‘s  backers reportedly spent over twice that promoting "The Promise" at the festival, and clearly that was was totally worth it. And we’d read that "Summer Palace," partially set during the troubled Tienanmen protests, had yet, as of a week ago, to clear Chinese censors.

Exciting!

At The Age, Stephanie Bunbury writes that "This year, as the Australian Film Commission is shouting from the housetops, is Australia’s biggest at the Cannes Film Festival in the last two decades." Jason Solomons at the Observer predicts that the winner will be "Babel": "the combination of Iñárritu, [writer Guillermo] Arriaga and [star Brad] Pitt, a mix of thrills, philosophy and glamour, three key ingredients to a great Cannes."

At the Toronto Star, Geoff Pevere tries to explicate Cannes’ inexplicable aura "of, well — and apologies for indulging in such an obvious but unavoidable cliché — of je ne sais quois."

And of course there’s The Da Vinci Premiere, which is tied up in the general fervor over the film (which we must confess to be completely uninterested in — who needs a tepid "Indiana Jones" ripoff mixed with bludgeoning religious provocation? Give us sex ‘n’ violence any day), which in his Cannes preview the Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips refers to as "an obscure experimental Icelandic short subject still looking for a distributor" (hee!). And Alan Riding at the New York Times chats with screenwriter Akiva Goldsman about adapting such a beloved book for the screen.

We’re not going to Cannes this year (and, we hate to say it, but thank God), but IFC News will be offering a live, 24-hour-a-day webcam of the red carpet for the duration of the festival here, starting, knock on wood, tomorrow, barring however many 3am tech support phone calls we’ll doubtless be making to the south of France.

+ Cannes Gold Tarnishes in U.S. (NY Times)
+ Cannes Winners At The Box Office (The Hot Blog)
+ What Cannes Really Means — And How the Times Gets It Wrong (Anthony Kaufman’s Blog)
+ Clerks II at Cannes (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ Bullet Time (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ Donnie Darko director investigated for terrorist links (Guardian)
+ Confessions of a serial drifter (Guardian)
+ "The Banquet" to Spend 4 Million at Cannes (CRI)
+ Hope Remains for Lou Ye’s SUMMER PALACE (MonkeyPeaches)
+ Are we back in the swim at Cannes? (The Age)
+ The stars who will shine over Cannes (Observer)
+ Code red carpet: Mixture of promise, prestige, premieres (Chicago Tribune)
+ Mystery of the ‘Da Vinci Code’ Film: Will We Love It? (NY Times)

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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.