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Odds: Monday – The inescapable Borat, Bollywood, Bowie.

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In the biz: Borys Kit at the Hollywood Reporter writes that "Universal Pictures has won the intense bidding war for ‘Bruno,’ Sacha Baron Cohen‘s follow-up movie to ‘Borat.’" Universal’s shelling out a lot of cash on the basis of a film that’s by no means a safe bet — Baron Cohen’s Bruno character is also a lot less endearing than Borat, but ah, well. We wish him only the best. Also at the Hollywood Reporter, Gregg Goldstein notes that ThinkFilm has picked up doc "The Hip Hop Project," which premiered at Tribeca earlier this year. Via Coming Soon, "the sequel to 2004’s ‘Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle’ is planned for a late January start date in Shreveport, Louisiana. John Cho and Kal Penn are set to reprise their roles as Harold and Kumar, respectively." And via WENN, Jesse James Hollywood, the inspiration for Emile Hirsch‘s character in Nick Cassavetes"Alpha Dog," is suing Universal Pictures and "claims the movie will ‘irreparably harm’ his ability to receive a fair trial." The movie, if it ever comes out, will be Justin Timberlake‘s theatrical debut ("Edison" having gone straight to video).

More "Borat": In an odd piece in the Guardian, Johnny Dee reminds the world about Mahir Cagri, the Turkish man who becomes internet famous for his unintentionally hilarious personal website (you remember, "I Kiss You!!!"), and who he sees as a clear inspiration for Baron Cohen’s character. Christopher Howse in the Telegraph writes that

When he was in America for advance publicity for the film, in character, [Baron Cohen] remarked, "I would like to meet the fearless anti-Jew warrior, Melvin Gibson." That’s a joke against poor Mel, of course. But how much postmodernist irony can we consume before we begin to swallow straight the lines that say the opposite of what is meant?

Peter Howell at the Toronto Star wonders the same thing.

In other news, Grady Hendrix at Kaiju Shakedown writes that "After 20 years, Carina Lau and Tony Leung have finally said they’re a married couple."

Anupama Chopra at the New York Times reports on the changing face of Bollywood film:

The universal Bollywood hit is becoming increasingly difficult to pull off. A decade ago, the Hindi film market was largely considered a homogenous monolith. What worked in one town was likely to work in another. But over the years the business has splintered dramatically, forcing industry pundits to create new labels for films.

We’re loving the phrase "Supergentry."

At the Independent, David Thomson sings the praises of Isabelle Huppert, but qualifies it in his intro with "At the risk of getting too excited about a blonde actress with a touch of red in her hair…" Hyuck! At the Observer, Liz Hoggard (briefly) sings the praises of David Bowie, bad actor:

But you have to love David for trying. He’s played Pontius Pilate, Andy Warhol, a marooned alien and a goblin king in a fright wig in Labyrinth. Just when you think he might have got the hang of it (he won rave reviews for Nic Roeg‘s The Man Who Fell to Earth and Oshima‘s Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence) along comes a turkey like Absolute Beginners.

And at Slate, Doree Shafrir asks the eternal question "Why can’t a screenwriter be an auteur, too?" The answer, we all know, is that the director can ultimately just grab the script with a "Yoink!" and run off howling with laughter and waving a Sharpie over his or her head, but Shafrir is more specifically focused on the Guillermo Arriaga/Alejandro González Iñárritu feud laid out by Terrence Rafferty in the New York Times a week ago.

+ Universal raises eyebrows with "Bruno" deal (HR)
+ ThinkFilm hip to ‘Hip Hop’ docu project (HR)
+ Second Harold & Kumar Starts in January (Coming Soon)
+ Lawyers Try To Block Movie on Murder Case (WENN)
+ The real Borat (Guardian)
+ We know he’s joking… don’t we? (Telegraph)
+ Why it’s okay to laugh at Borat (Toronto Star)
+ FRIDAY IS FUN-DAY (Kaiju Shakedown)
+ Can Bollywood Please All the People, All the Time? (NY Times)
+ Film Studies: The French directors’ woman (Independent)
+ Why I love David Bowie’s acting (Observer)
+ Bored of Directors (Slate)


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.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

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:


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.


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!


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.


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.



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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GIFs via Giphy

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.”


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. 


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.