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“It’s not like I’m hanging out in a cave”: Binoche, Burton and other interviews.

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Ballon rouge.
Juliette Binoche talks to Esther Addley in the Guardian:

She has just finished a film called Orsay, with the Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien, which was fully improvised. "Before a shot you don’t know where the camera is going to shoot and you don’t know where you are supposed to be in the room. There’s no mark, and you don’t have the dialogue written." That kind of challenge is "now such a need for me as an actress. It becomes so much more [about] making movies out of trust and not out of fear. Because you have to trust that it’s going to happen, the impossible is going to happen." She leans out of her chair and reaches for a terribly French, skinny white cigarette. "Is it OK if I …"

Tim Burton, discussing the 3-D release of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" with Catherine Phelp in the London Times, dwells on his Burbank childhood:

“There are a lot of projects that explore the dark side of suburbia and there is a reason for it because there is a dark side,” Burton continues. “It’s got that mask of normalcy which is truly disturbing.” Not something of which Burton himself could be accused. If anything, it is his mask that is abnormal, the side he likes to project, with his black outfits and his wild mop of black hair. That, and the gothic preoccupations of his films, the skeleton imagery and obsessions with Frankenstein myths and the afterlife, have all conspired to give him the reputation of being “dark”. Has he grown tired of that oft-repeated epithet? “Yeah, because it’s obviously not true,” he sighs. “Really. I could come out in a light-blue leisure suit and it still wouldn’t change people’s take on you. We all have our moments of depression or darkness but it’s not like I’m hanging out in a cave.”

Penélope Cruz is profiled by the LA TimesJosh Kun:

"I’m really glad that people prefer it when I do characters like Raimunda," she says. "I just love that woman. I have seen those women, who could easily become victims but refuse to do that. She goes through things that could have destroyed anyone but she keeps fighting because her daughter needs her to survive. I know women like that. So you forget about yourself because you are playing a woman who is actually an hommage to all those women who have survived. They are very special people, and I wanted to give her that dignity."

Salon‘s Amy Benfer reinterviews Daniel "Lemony Snicket" Handler,  who just closed out his "Unfortunate Events" series.

In our last interview, you said you hoped the books would be made
into a "live action, mock Gothic, dismal musical." That doesn’t seem to
describe the Jim Carrey version.

One of my least favorite
moments in making that movie, actually, was toward the end. It was all
done. But there was an opportunity to put Stephin Merritt‘s songs in
the closing credits. I thought that would be cool. I sent the producers
these new copies of these songs. They would say, "Oh that’s a great
idea!" Then I would never hear back. The next time they would not
remember any of the conversation they’d had previously. But then they
were in the room with me; I had my iPod and I set it up to play the
songs. They were so impressed by my speakers — it was the dawn of iPod
speakers — that the conversation ended up being about them. It was at
that moment that I realized the songs would not be used.

Isabelle Huppert, talking with Geoffrey Macnab at the Independent, discusses the bellyflopping of "Heaven’s Gate":

The film, now acknowledged by many as a masterpiece, was panned, and Huppert’s chances of international stardom were nipped in the bud. "The rejection of the film was in a way political," she says. "It was a rejection of the film’s themes. It was too harsh a criticism of the States. It was an anti-Western."

Sorina Diaconescu chats with "Babel"‘s Rinko Kikuchi at the LA Times:

She attended a school for the hearing-impaired to bone up on sign language until her command became strong enough to allow for a natural rapport with her non-professional, deaf-mute costars — especially Yuko Murata, who plays her best friend in the film. "It’s very strange, but when I’m around deaf people, [signing] now comes naturally," Kikuchi said. Eventually, her determination and insistence on inhabiting the part completely won Iñárritu over. "I was always Chieko, even off the set," she said. "I dressed like a teenager and I tried to use sign language all the time. It was hard in a way — but I always found some pleasure in it."

Im Sang Soo talks to Philip Brasor in the Japan Times at Pusan about "The President’s Last Bang":

"To me, they’re all yakuza. All the people in the film, all the people in that government. Pure yakuza." The director, however, points out that he doesn’t like gangster movies and, in fact, insists he’s never even seen a yakuza film. "But I know the style."

And Richard Owen in the London Times interviews Shane Meadows about his latest film,  skinhead drama "This is England," drawn from his own childhood experiences:

The film distinguishes between the original reggae-loving skinhead gangs and the politically extreme groups that followed them — a “ready-made army, easy prey”. The first-generation skinheads, Meadows says, were white and black kids who sought work in factories and shipyards and were united in a love of Jamaican music.

“The message was not so much anti-immigrant as anti-Thatcher. It was incredibly arrogant, of course. We were basically saying, ‘Maggie Thatcher, you run the country how you like, but we’re going to run our town the way we like’. It wasn’t true, but it felt true at the time.”

+ The crying game (Guardian)
+ Sweet side of the dark one (London Times)
+ Woman on the verge (LA Times)
+ An unfortunate demise (Salon)
+ Isabelle Huppert: Mystery and imagination (Independent)
+ The universal language of ‘Babel’ (LA Times)
+ Im Sang Soo: Unloading both barrels at the president (Japan Times)
+ Oi! Who are you calling a luvvie? (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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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.

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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….

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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.

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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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