This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

DID YOU READ

The week’s critic wrangle: Who’s your “Prairie Home Companion” now, bitch?

Posted by on

Sorry. Somehow it seemed necessary.

"Every show is your last show. That's my philosophy."
+ "A Prairie Home Companion": We haven’t has a chance to see Robert Altman‘s latest yet, but we probably will, as by most accounts it’s a joy. It inspires Roger Ebert to drippiness and the quoting of F. Scott Fitzgerald: "There is so much of the ghost of Scott Fitzgerald hovering in the shadows of this movie that at the end I quoted to myself the closing words of ‘The Great Gatsby.’ I’m sure you remember them, so let’s say them together: And so we beat on, boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past." It inspires Rob Nelson, at the Village Voice, to the fanciful: "The dialogue here doesn’t overlap so much as cascade; the zooms don’t suggest a biologist squinting through a microscope, but someone—an old man, I might as well say it—leaning in for a tiny kiss."

At Slate, Michael Agger reads the film through the legacy of the Keillor radio show and largely pleased with it; at the New York Press, Armond White is dismissive of said show but is euphoric with regards to Altman’s filmmaking, comparing him to Jean Renoir and eulogizing him so fiercely that it’s almost a shame that the director is still alive and kicking and in talks to next make a narrative adaptation of "Hands on a Hard Body."

LA Weekly‘s Ella Taylor, also thoroughly enchanted, notes that "Nothing much happens, unless you count life (a pregnant stagehand is ready to drop her baby), love (unrequited) and death (‘The death of an old man is not a tragedy,’ the Angel whispers)." David Edelstein at New York observes that there are a few off notes, but still salutes the "unruly vitality of this marvelous film."

And a few naysayers…well, hardly, but there are a few who aren’t fully won over — The New Yorker‘s David Denby thinks the film could have used a bit more of that vitality: "Dramatically, it’s mellow to the point of inertia. There may not be any sweat, but there isn’t any heat, either." The New York TimesA.O. Scott declares it minor Altman, but still concludes that "It’s not a perfect movie, and it does not aspire to be a great one. It’s just wonderful." Kristi Mitsuda at Reverse Shot expresses "displeasure and discomfort with its dramatic constructs," particularly the meta-noir characters played by Kevin Kline and Virginia Madsen, though in the end she also likes the film.

And how is La Lohan?

Agger: "Lohan is very natural, even though her big song doesn’t quite come off—it’s too Disney."

Chris Wisniewski (of Reverse Shot): "[T]hough we’re supposed to take her somewhat seriously, Lindsay Lohan is disastrously miscast as Yolanda’s daughter Lola."

Adam Nayman (of Reverse Shot): "In a great bit of casting, it’s Lindsay Lohan (as the daughter of the veteran chanteuse played by Meryl Streep) who gets to sing the final song of the broadcast: stumbling over the lyrics to an ancient my-boyfriend-is-a-bastard ditty, she nervously inserts some of her own words (she’s a bookish, vintage tee-wearing poet, contemporary in every way) and wins over the staunchly traditional studio audience."

"A 'Buena Vista'-style crossover hit"?
+ "Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul": Fatih Akin, who directed the superb, bruising Turkish-German romance "Head-On," follows it up with this documentary on contemporary Turkish music, with Alexander Hacke, the bassist from the industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten (and a contributor to the "Head-On" soundtrack) as our guide. The New York TimesManohla Dargis calls the film "infectiously enjoyable," suggesting that it "feels like something of a gift, as if the director had decided to burn some of his favorite songs for his newfound friends, the world-cinema audience." R. Emmet Sweeney at the Village Voice notes that

There is a general fear among the film’s subjects that local traditions are dying amid the rush to modernization. This uncertainty is rendered sublime by national icon Sezen Akzu in her command performance of "Memories of Istanbul," evoking the city’s rapidly disappearing past with impossibly noble resignation.

And Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir  concludes that "Whatever you think you know about Turkey, ‘Crossing the Bridge’ will change your mind. With a dynamite album of music from the film in simultaneous release, I smell a ‘Buena Vista’-style crossover hit."

Watch More
SistersWeekend_103_MPX-1920×1080

WTF Films

Artfully Off

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

Posted by on

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_Comedy-Crib_Sisters-Weekend-Series-Image

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.

SistersWeekend_101_MPX-1920x1080

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_Comedy-Crib_Sisters-Weekend_About-Image

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.

SistersWeekend_102_MPX-1920x1080

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

Watch More
IFC_BVSS_203_birthday-song-celebration

Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy

Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

via GIPHY

IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

via GIPHY

IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

Watch More
IFC_NYTVF_EColi-High_blog

G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

Posted by on

Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

E.coli-class-

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

ecoli-computer

IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

Watch More