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Odds: Wednesday – Half-assed.

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"Do you trust me?"
We’ve been utterly squashed by other work these past few days, and between that and keeping an eye on the election results (yes!) this blog’s been rather neglected. Still, a few things that need to be mentioned:

Like everyone else, we’re shaken by Adrienne Shelly‘s murder — Thomas J. Lueck and Al Baker at the New York Times have more details, and they’re awful. There’s been a lot of shock around the office, where many people were fans and/or had worked with her in some way (she had a role in IFC Films’ "Factotum" and in the network’s doc "In the Company of Women," and "Trust" is actually programmed to air later this month). Walter Chaw at Film Freak Central writes of "Trust":

It wasn’t the quirk that affected me, but the writing and performances: telling too much to say that I connected hard with the depressed television repairman with a grenade and a crush. (Telling, to this day, that there are still large swaths of myself that persists in that identification.) When I learned that Shelly might have hung herself with a bedsheet, I remembered her character Maria’s announcement of her pregnancy leading to the sudden death of her father – and there, vague and filamentous, an emotional, diaphanous connection between her life and this art. I can’t put my finger on it, but I can feel it vibrating in the air.

I haven’t felt this sad about a stranger’s death since Spalding Gray walked into the frozen drink.

David Montero at the Christian Science Monitor surveys the possibly political implications of Daniel Pearl film "A Mighty Heart":

Daniel Pearl’s murder, although nearly five years old, is hardly solved. The most recent stir erupted in September, when President Musharraf revealed for the first time in his memoir, "In the Line of Fire," that Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (identified by the US 9/11 Commission Report as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks) either killed Pearl or played a leading role in the planning of his murder. Musharraf says he confessed under Pakistani interrogation. Mr. Mohammad is currently being held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and has never been tried in connection with Pearl’s murder.

The Best Animated Feature Oscar long list — if all goes as planned, there will be five nominees this year as opposed to the three of the past few years.

The SF Chronicle‘s Mick LaSalle launches a blog (all the kids are doing it these days). In celebration, he interviews himself. Incidentally, Criterion now has a blog, and Dave Carrpetbagger is back at the New York Times.

At the LA Times Envelope, Jim Bates interviews Harvey Weinstein, patron saint of the Oscar season (and he does looks a little beatific in the photo):

Does it feel a little like the old days? You’re on your own now with no corporate parent as you head into the Oscar season?

I feel the freedom of not having somebody saying "don’t make the Michael Moore movie" or "don’t criticize NBC for not running the Dixie Chicks ad". We’re free to make our own way through this world.

David Thomson at the Guardian thinks there are too many festivals and too many films:

Yet everyone who programmes these festivals will admit (quietly) that all over the world the number of films worth celebrating or saving from lack of distribution grows smaller every year. In other words, nobody interested in films is falling for this mania. The best we can do is try to ignore it.

At the Chicago Tribune, Monica Eng attempts a better-in-theory-than-in-practice piece that involves taking two Kazakh grad students to see "Borat" and then talking to them about it. One observes that "Americans don’t understand Kazakhstan anyway, so if it were a totally made-up name, it wouldn’t matter. You could say it’s near Russia and called `Mujikistan.’ A fake place would have been OK. No country would have been affected or offended."

In biz news, Martin Scorsese signs a four-year first-look deal with Paramount (via Robert W. Welkos at the LA Times). The Weinstein Co. picks up Gillian Armstrong‘s fictionalized Harry Houdini biopic "Death Defying Acts" — magicians! Fictionalized! Trendy! (Via Gregg Goldstein at the Hollywood Reporter.) And First Independent has acquired Paul Fox‘s "Everything’s Gone Green," which is written by "Generation X"‘s Douglas Coupland (via Eugene Hernandez at indieWIRE).

And, for those of you short on reading, David Hudson at Greencine Daily points out that there are new issues of Senses of Cinema, Bright Lights, Undercurrent, Scan, Scope, Midnight Eye and Offscreen.

+ Actress Was Killed in Hanging Meant as Cover-Up, Officials Say (NY Times)
+ Trusting Adrienne Shelly (Film Freak Central)
+ Filming of movie brings new tension to Daniel Pearl case (CS Monitor)
+ 16 Expected to Contend for 2006 Animated Feature Oscar® (
+ Mick LaSalle uncensored (SF Chronicle)
+ What makes Harvey Weinstein run? (LA Times)
+ Let us not see it all (Guardian)
+ ‘Are you like Borat?’ (Chicago Tribune)
+ Paramount teams with Scorsese (LA Times)
+ Weinstein in "Death Defying" deal for Houdini pic (HR)
+ First Independent Goes "Green" (indieWIRE)
+ Issues. November blowout. (Greencine Daily)


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.