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DID YOU READ

Gothams, Pusan and snuff films.

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Leo.
This, with a few additions, would have been our "Odds" post last night if we hadn’t rushed off to see "Babel," which in retrospect we probably could have lived without.

Gotham Award nominees! The Best Picture list include "Half Nelson" and "Old Joy," as well as, laughably, "The Departed," "Marie Antoinette" and "Little Children." What does the "I" in IFP stand for again? If this is the trend, then it’s going to be another year in which the Indie Spirit Awards and the Oscars are near-identical.

Via CRI, "[s]peaking at the Rome Film Festival, Hollywood star Nicole Kidman said
she will give up the role in Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai‘s project
‘Lady from Shanghai’. The Oscar-winning actress said she wanted to accompany her newlywed
singer husband Keith Urban, who entered a rehabilitation treatment
center Thursday for alcohol abuse." She could have probably stuck it out — it’s possible that WKW will be shooting "My Blueberry Nights" for, like, eight years anyway.

Via Empire, George Clooney will appear in "Burn Before Reading," the next Coen brothers film, though he won’t play the lead. The film, loosely based on Stansfield Turner’s book of the same name, is "a semi-comic CIA pic about an agency man who pens a book detailing some of his missions and then loses the disc with his manuscript on it."

At indieWIRE, Brian Brooks reports that Chinese director Heng Yang’s "Betelnut" and Malaysian director Chui Mui Tan‘s "Love Conquers All" shared the Pusan International Film Festival’s New Currents Best New Asian Filmmaker of the Year award. Grady Hendrix at Kaiju Shakedown was also at Pusan, and reports on the festival’s first Asian Film Market:

Cluelessness is pandemic. People don’t see what they don’t want to see and some of the sellers had little to no idea about the American market. The price tags attached to some truly dodgy pictures were in the six digits, an amount that anyone who’s not the Weinsteins would find prohibitively expensive since there’s no way you can pay a six figure minimum guarantee, pay P&A on a theatrical release and hope to make your money back in this lifetime. Better to take your acquisitions money and head out to Vegas where the chance of a return is greater. But comments from sellers ranged from, "America is a big country" to "This is the best I can do" while showing off price tags from Mars.

And, while on the topic of Korea, Jason Burke at the Observer writes that Jang In-hak‘s "The Schoolgirl’s Diary" was picked up by Paris-based film distributor Pretty Pictures, making it the first North Korean film to be sold to a Western distributor for decades.

[Pretty Pictures’ head James] Velaise hopes to secure a slot for the film at the Cannes Film Festival next May. ‘If the film arrives in Cannes it’ll show another side to North Korean culture. They’re not all out to do nuclear crazy things. There are normal people in that country.’

We wish we’d thought of the "respectable snuff film" angle in Dennis Lim‘s  Sunday New York Times piece first. Our goal for next year: to coin a film phrase.

+ IFP Announces 2006 Gotham Award Honorees and Nominations (IFP.org)
+ Nicole Drops Wong Kar-Wai Plan? (CRI English)
+ Clooney Says Burn After Reading (Empire)
+ "Betelnut" and "Love Conquers All" Take Pusan Prizes; American Presence Slowly Increases (indieWIRE)
+ WHAT I LEARNED IN PUSAN (Kaiju Shakedown)
+ Cinematic bombshell from Kim (Observer)
+ Mondo Multiplex: The Snuff Film Turns Respectable (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.