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Odds: Tuesday – The 80s, Miyazaki the younger, FoxFaith.

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Faith will give you strength...TO RULE THE BOX OFFICE!
Need a job?

(Yeah, yeah, you’ve seen it already.)

Other randomness: Larry Carroll and Shawn Adler at MTV have a fairly thorough list of upcoming film remakes of 80s shows — we considered putting together a list like this before, but were a breathless combination of too ashamed and too lazy. Thanks, MTV.

Charles Solomon at the New York Times talks to poor Goro Miyazaki, son of Hayao and director of the latest Ghibli film, "Gedo Senki (Tales From Earthsea)," which has turned out to be both a box office hit in Japan and a disappointment to some of the older Miyazaki’s very demanding fans.

The younger Miyazaki said it was [Studio Ghibli president] Toshio Suzuki who initially persuaded him to take the considerable risk of following in his father’s footsteps, after having worked as a landscape planner and serving as managing director of the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, the wildly popular shrine to the work of the senior Miyazaki and [Isao] Takahata.

“I had never thought about becoming an animation director,” he said. “I was deceived by Mr. Suzuki, who was very clever about making me feel I could do it.”

Andrew Gumbel at the Independent talks to Eric Steel about "The Bridge" — which out-badasses "Shortbus," in a way. What’s real sex got on real death? Also, why are we so going to hell?

At the Washington Post, Peter Whoriskey writes about "Facing the Giants," an indie Christian high school football film that’s managed to become a stealth box office success:

The movie has made $2.7 million in 10 days, and ticket sales were good enough last weekend to place it 13th in the box office rankings, one notch below "Flyboys," a war movie with a $60 million budget and starring James Franco.

Hah! "Flyboys." "Facing the Giants" was torn apart by what critics actually saw it, but this isn’t one for the critics, and, as Whoriskey reminds us: ‘The industry considers the huge success of ‘The Passion of the Christ’ a sign of the untapped Christian market. Last month Fox created FoxFaith, which will release as many as a dozen religious films annually. ‘Love’s Abiding Joy,’ based on the novel about a frontier family by the Christian writer Janette Oke, is showing in four theaters in the D.C. area."

We are so not the market for films like "Facing the Giants," but we are fascinated by them as an example of both changing times for theatrical distributors and the increasing nichification of independent film. A traditional arthouse film release usually goes from either just New York or New York and L.A. to top ten markets to beyond, depending on box office. "Facing the Giants" isn’t playing anywhere near New York; we’re sure the filmmakers could care less about the press they’d get here, as it would probably not be favorable or helpful.

FoxFaith has another Bible-friendly flick lurking out there at the moment (though one that’s more Old Testament than Born Again) — "One Night With The King" is an adaptation of the Book of Esther that has the approval of the American Bible Society and that features Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif in their first film together since "Lawrence of Arabia," though word is they don’t share screen time. Novelty value: it does feature Luke Goss, late of 80s UK boy band Bros, as King Xerxes. Gloria Goodale at the Christian Science Monitor looks over it and other religion-friendly or just plain religious releases, incidentally noting that "Warner Brothers has a multipicture deal with Legendary Pictures, which hopes to bring John Milton’s epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’ to the screen." That‘s going to be a winner.

Richard Owen at the Australian notes that they forgot to invite Sophia Loren to the inaugural Rome Film Festival:

Maria Scicolone, Loren’s sister, who lives in Rome, said the 71-year-old legend of Italian cinema was offended at not having been invited to the opening ceremonies or any other festival event.

"We sat at home and ate chocolates," she said.

Ms Scicolone said festival officials had belatedly realised their gaffe and sent an invitation at the last minute, but that this had only added insult to injury.

"A last-minute invitation does not seem to me the proper way to go about things," she said.

"Sophia is not exactly an unknown."

In last week’s Village Voice, J. Hoberman crowned "Tideland" "kamikaze auteurism." We like that a lot — it seems to be, what with "The Fountain" and "Inland Empire" and, from all appearances, "Southland Tales," a trend this year.

And in the New York Observer, Andrew Sarris responds to Manohla Dargis’ calling out of the festival for giving precious program space to "white-elephant frippery," at least on one account.

Finally, I do not agree with one of my esteemed colleagues that The Queen doesn’t belong in the New York Film Festival because its selections should be confined to difficult foreign-language films in more need of public exposure. While I agree that The Queen is not difficult, it is sufficiently and, yes, marvelously artistic enough to qualify for inclusion.

Sarris personal anecdote watch, while deriding "Old Joy": "But that’s just me; I have never had the slightest desire to go camping with anyone else, male or female."

+ Film Editor (Craigslist)
+ From Mr. T To ‘Transformers,’ The ’80s Are Back And Gnarlier Than Ever (MTV)
+ The Son of the Anime Master Begins His Quest for Honor (NY Times)
+ Bridge to nowhere: Filming the final act (Independent)

+ Filmmakers Say God Was Their Co-Producer (Washington Post)
+ Hollywood takes a leap into faith (CS Monitor)
 + Sophia furious at film festival snub (The Australian)
+ Collision Course (Village Voice)
+ Sublime Queen Opens Festival With Mirren’s Crowning Role (NY Observer)


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.