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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: November 17th, 2006

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Neil Armfield’s “Candy,” ThinkFilm, 2006]

A round-up of the indie and indie-ish films opening in theaters this week.

“After Dark Horrorfest: 8 Films to Die For”

Apparently nothing spells “autumn” like horror films. Arriving a few weeks late for Halloween, the folks at After Dark Films are releasing this horror film collection for one weekend only. Directors to be featured include the Butcher Brothers, Craig Singer, and Takashi Shimizu, who, thankfully, will finally direct a non-“Grudge” related film.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Aura”

Argentian director Fabián Bielinsky follows up his excellent 2000 film “Nine Queens” with this story about a deluded epileptic taxidermist whose plan for the perfect crime goes awry. The cinema world lost a promising director in Bielinsky, who passed away of a heart attack in June: “The Aura” is his final film.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Bobby”

Gordon Bombay…I mean, Charlie Sheen…wait, no, Emilio Estevez, yeah, that’s right, wrote and directed this film documenting the story of the assassination of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy. “Bobby” centers around 22 people who were at the Ambassador Hotel the night of his death. The ensemble cast includes Ashton Kutcher, Lindsay Lohan, Sharon Stone and Christian Slater. So…can somebody tell me again why this film is drawing such Oscar buzz?

Opens in New York and Los Angeles (official site).

“Candy”

November just seems to be the month for Australians; following Nicole Kidman’s “Fur” and Russell Crowe’s “A Good Year” is this romantic drama from acclaimed Australian theater director Neil Armfield, starring Abbie Cornish (of “Somersault” fame) and Heath Ledger (from that gay cowboy movie). Cornish plays an art student who meets a poet (Ledger) and falls in love with his bohemian lifestyle. Oh, and the heroin. She loves the heroin. Geoffrey Rush also co-stars in the film, because, really it can’t be an Australian film without Geoffrey Rush.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Casino Royale”

Finally, Daniel Craig will attempt to quell all of his critcs in this cinematic re-telling of the first Ian Fleming novel to feature Bond, James Bond. Much controversy surrounded the casting of Craig, who will be the first Bond to sport blonde hair (*gasp*!), but early reviews are claiming that Craig has one thing that all previous Bonds lacked: the ability to act. Expect this film to make lots of money; it’s the only big blockbuster of the holiday season.

Opens wide (official site).

“Dance Party, USA”

25-year-old Aaron Katz wrote and directed this little indie that garnered a lot of praise back in March at SXSW and a couple of compliments from fellow directors Andrew Bujalski and Jay Duplass. The film is set in Portland, OR, and details the relationship of Jessica and Gus, two aimless teenagers who connect with each other at a fourth of July party before going their separate ways (worlds apart) when a dark secret is revealed. Catch it while you can, it will be at the Pioneer Theater for one week only.
Opens in New York (official site).

“Fast Food Nation”

Just in time for the Thanksgiving season, Richard Linklater attempts to make us all go vegan in this fictionalized film based on the book of the same name about the ins and outs of the fast food industry. The ensemble cast includes Greg Kinnear, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ethan Hawke, and annoying pop singer Avril Lavigne (making her film debut).

Opens wide (official site).

“Flannel Pajamas”

Director Jeff Lipsky directs this indie tracking the relationship of Stuart (Justin Kirk) and Nicole (Julianne Nicholson) from their initial blind date up to their break-up. Or do they? This will-they-or-won’t-they film feels really early 90s to us, but it’s got a good cast in Kirk and Nicholson, so if the chemistry is there, this might be a gem. Or it could really suck. Either one.

Opens in New York (official site).

“For Your Consideration”

The master mockumentarian Christopher Guest is back with his latest ensemble comedy, though he sheds his traditional style for a straight narrative in this hilarious Hollywood lampoon…okay, we haven’t seen it yet, but any film from Guest and Co. promises to be a good time. The movie-title-with-the-movie “Home for Purim” already had us laughing. Ricky Gervais of “The Office” fame joins the usual regulars this time around.

Opens wide (official site).

“Happy Feet”

Director George Miller ups the cute factor to 11 in this animated family film about penguins who like to sing and dance. Joining Miller are the nauseating voices of Robin Williams, Elijah Wood, and Brittany Murphy. We swear this is the last computer-animated talking animals picture to be released this year (maybe).

Opens wide (official site).

“Let’s Go to Prison”

“Mr. Show”‘s Bob Odenkirk directs this prison comedy about a career criminal’s plan for revenge against his intended victim’s son and ruining his life while incarcerated. The film stars Dax Shepherd and, more importantly, Will Arnett (of “Arrested Development” fame) in his first starring role. Rumors circulate that White Power Bill’s scenes have been cut.

Opens wide (official site).

“Lies and Alibis”

First-time directors Matt Checkowski and Kurt Mattila direct this indie film starring “A Cock and Bull Story”‘s Steve Coogan and “X-Men”‘s Rebecca Romijn (she dropped the Stamos, right?) about a man who runs an alibi service for adulterous husbands, and who gets into a jam when he receives a mysterious new client and must seek the services of an alluring woman to get him out of said jam. The film compares itself to “The Thin Man” — that’s a pretty high bar to set, considering Romijn (-Stamos?) is no Myrna Loy.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

“The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes”

The latest from the Brothers Quay is a dark fairytale about a demonic doctor who abducts a beautiful opera singer with designs on transforming her into a mechanical nightingale. The film premiered at last year’s Locarno International Film Festival and garnered numerous awards for its directors, but while critics praise the film’s dark and moody visual experience, they say the film’s story is sure to dull the mind.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror”

“It AIN’T all good in da hood.” Well, we suppose we don’t really need to expand on the film’s tagline to explain exactly what this movie is, but we’ll try anyhow. America’s favorite gangsta rapper Snoop Dogg, seen in such American classics “Soul Plane” and “Bones,” hosts this three-film horror anthology of three short tales set in an urban milieu, à la the “Tales from the Crypt” series. Ernie Hudson, Danny Trejo, and Lando Calrissian are just a few of the actors featured in this film.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Who the $#%& is Jackson Pollock?”

What would happen if you bought a painting from a thrift store for $5, only to discover that it’s a missing masterpiece from one of the 20th century’s most famous artists? Well, you’d most likely have a documentary film crew follow you around as you attempt to sell the painting for $50 million. Or at least that’s what happened to Teri Horton, a 73-year old former truck driver with only an eighth grade education, whose attempts to sell the painting were rebuffed by members of the art establishment who claimed the painting was nothing more than worthless. Harry Moses directs.

Opens in New York (official site).

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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.