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Odds: Thursday – Verhoeven and von Trier.

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"Schindler's List" meets "Showgirls"?
Another quiet day.

Via Gregg Goldstein at the Hollywood Reporter, Sony Pictures Classics has picked up the North American rights to Paul Verhoeven‘s World War II drama "Black Book (Zwartboek)":

The film was roundly ridiculed among distributors at the Toronto International Film Festival as "‘Schindler’s List’ meets ‘Showgirls’" (the latter film, another type of camp drama, was notoriously directed by Verhoeven). Scenes often cited include the Jewish female lead character graphically dyeing her pubic hair blonde to infiltrate the Nazi party as a member of the resistance, captors dumping a vat of dung on her and several ribald sexual encounters. The bad word-of-mouth was turned around a bit by some positive reviews and the Netherlands selection of the film as its official foreign language entry for this year’s Academy Awards.

Actually, most of the reviews we saw were good, including those in the trades. S’truth, we’d much rather see "Schindler’s List" meets "Showgirls."

Via AFP, Lars von Trier‘s latest film "The Boss of it All" will have its world premiere at the Copenhagen international film festival. It is a Dogme film (how late 90s!).

Via Borys Kit at the Hollywood Reporter, Jesse Bradford will play the male lead in Yann Samuell‘s "My Sassy Girl" remake — Elisha Cuthbert has already been cast as the female lead.

Via the Guardian, Lee Jun-Ik‘s "The King and the Clown" will be the South Korean submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar:

The Korean Film Council said it picked Lee’s film over Time by Kim Ki-duk because it believed that the comedy would have a better chance of winning an Oscar nomination than Kim’s drama about a woman who resorts to plastic surgery to keep her relationship going.


For reasons unclear (but somehow charitable) Leonardo DiCaprio shares his list of "The ten best movies" in the Independent. Surprisingly stodgy, though nothing embarrassing except how clearly they broadcast the fact that he didn’t write the rest of the copy himself.

David M. Halbfinger at the New York Times puts the gold lipstick on and plants a big Oscary kiss on Clint Eastwood‘s "Flags of Our Fathers":

A big, booming spectacle that sprawls across oceans and generations, “Flags of Our Fathers,” which opens on Oct. 20, was anything but a simple undertaking. With much of film following the surviving flag raisers as they crisscross the country in the spring and summer of 1945 pitching war bonds for a government in desperate financial straits, it is neither a pure war movie nor, given its sweeping and harrowing combat sequences, merely a wartime drama. It examines the power of a single image to affect not only public opinion but also the outcome of a war, — whether in 1945, in Vietnam or more recently.

Neala Johnson interviews Cillian Murphy about "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" and his one-time career as a rhythm guitarist in the Herald Sun.

The New York PressEric Kohn gets the cover story on Michel Gondry:

“I basically grew up worshiping surrealism,” he says, citing the capricious style of directors Luis Buñuel and Jean Vigo as central aesthetic influences. He technically contributed to Vigo’s infectious 1934 romance L’Atalante, Gondry’s favorite film. The DVD features a colorful, simplistic, chalky sketch of the title cruise ship and the story’s fictional couple that Gondry drew for a freelance gig in 1991 (without a byline). “I was not working at the time,” Gondry says. “I’m not so proud of it, but it was a privilege.”

And, before we run off to see "Volver," a moment for James Christopher‘s zero-out-of-five star review of "Dirty Sanchez," the film spin-off of a series that seems to have aspirations towards being a more sadistic "Jackass," just because no one can do disgust quite like the British:

Dirty Sanchez: The Movie is the most tasteless, bankrupt, execrable and pointless piece of cinema yet made. Lord knows why Pathé is distributing this monstrous rubbish, in cahoots with MTV Europe and Vertigo.

It’s debatable whether it’s actually a film at all. Four male delinquents, most of whom hail from South Wales, perform a series of puerile sado-masochistic stunts which only a zombie would find hilarious. They stick fish-hooks through their penises, shoot pellets at each other at point-blank range, spit in each other’s mouths, eat frozen faeces, drink vomit, superglue their nostrils, and staple their tongues to restaurant tables. What larks.

We hear Sony Pictures Classics is dabbling with the edgy — this could be a prime acquisition.

+ SPC books rights to Verhoeven’s WWII drama ‘Black’ (Hollywood Reporter)
+ World premiere for Lars von Trier’s new film in Copenhagen (AFP)
+ Bradford has eyes for "Sassy" remake (Reuters)
+ South Korea rests Oscar hope on gay-themed film (Guardian)
+ Leonardo DiCaprio: The ten best movies (Independent)
+ The Power of an Image Drives Film by Eastwood (NY Times)
+ Wind talker (Herald Sun)
+ Dirty Sanchez: The Movie (London Times)

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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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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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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.


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.



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 and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

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

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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….


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.


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.

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