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DID YOU READ

“Not a cliché left unturned!”

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"I like my men at my feet."At the Observer, Cate Blanchett talks to Mark Salisbury, but mostly speaks for herself:

I’m Not There [about Bob Dylan‘s life] explores different pockets of a man who refused to be categorised. I have always loved his music, but I’m terrified about this because I am besotted. I watch the press conference he gave in San Francisco in 1965, or whenever it was, and just think, ‘I love you.’ The worst thing an actor can do is fall in love with someone they’re about to portray, but I’m not playing him – my character is called Jude. It’s a riff on who Bob Dylan could possibly be. When I saw the script I thought, ‘This is so out there I can’t run away from this.’

John Clark chats John Cleese up about "A Fish Called Wanda" at the San Francisco Chronicle:

Q: And was this a chance to write about Americans?

A: Yes. And I married three of them. The last one has lasted 142 years — actually, 18 years. I used to feel that we (British and Americans) needed each other. We needed your can-do and enthusiasm, and you needed our skepticism and irony and analysis. I thought the two put together produced a rather good human being. I think the English have gotten so obsessed with money now that we no longer provide the counterbalance to your culture, which has always been obsessed with money and getting worse.

Robert De Niro is interviewed (barely, as many others before us have pointed out) by Belinda Luscombe at Time about "The Good Shepherd":

Did the CIA ask you not to put stuff in?

No, they were very helpful.

Did you have Martin Scorsese on speed dial?

From time to time I talked to Marty about certain things, yes. [Laughs]

Why such a long time between directing stints?

I was working on this for eight years. And I wasn’t offered much, actually.

Kaori Shoji at the Japan Times interviews Agnieszka Holland about "Copying Wighoven…er, Beethoven":

"I’ve always tried to reach a wide audience," said Holland in an interview during the Tokyo International Film Festival. "And I wanted this film to appeal to people who had never heard of Beethoven, much less the Ninth Symphony."

McG declares his Serious Director intentions again to Mark Olsen at the New York Times:

“I just want to let [‘We Are Marshall’] speak for itself,” McG said. “It’s funny to be known as a pop culture, high-energy guy that’s always in a good mood, when I’m mentally ill. Don’t act like I’m Mr. Jacuzzi and girls in bikinis and Hollywood. That’s not who I am.”

Peter O’Toole talks to Rachel Abramowitz at the LA Times:

On their off days [from "Lawrence of Arabia"], "Omar Sharif and I, we would vanish to Beirut." He sighs. "In the better days." In those days, Beirut was the glamorous playground of the Middle East. "Beautiful." He says sadly. "Poor Beirut. Poor Lebanon. Poor Middle East."

The pair spent their breaks visiting the "fleshpots as one now calls them." He appears to be referring to brothels. He says that whenever people ask Sharif, a close friend, what he remembers most of the shoot, "he always says fleshpots. But for me it was wonderful. One never was used to that heat and the aridity. The nothingness. It isn’t pretty sand; it is just nothing, grit. Flat."

We can’t decide what’s better — that he told that story at all, or that he suggests anyone alive today would actually use the term "fleshpots," which is so terribly Mr. Burns of him: "I’ll take two pounds of Bristol’s Toffee. Oh, and don’t wrap it too tightly. I’m hungry now."

Park Chan-wook shares a few words about "I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay" with Kim Tae-jong at the Korea Times:

"This is a love story between patients, not between a patient and a doctor. A doctor tries to cure a patient, but the patient just understands diseases that other patients have. Il-sun loves Young-gyun as she is, along with her illusion and fantasy. I think love is something that makes you love problems that your loved one has even though you can’t fix them,’’ Park said.

Alan Parker talks to Sheila Johnston about "Bugsy Malone" (now 30 years old!) at the Telegraph:

"Francis Coppola said to me once that it’s the kind of thing you only do at the beginning of a career when you’re incredibly naive. Its frivolous nature is so not what I would think of doing now. When there are retrospectives of my work, I’ve always said, ‘Oh don’t put Bugsy in it.’ It didn’t represent who I thought I was as a filmmaker."

And over at the Washington Post, Steven Spielberg talks to William Booth:

Q: But for the big movies, for action-adventure films like "War of the Worlds" or the next installment of the "Indiana Jones" franchise, have you cracked the code? Meaning, if Steven Spielberg makes this movie, then boy, we will print money.

A: All of us think we’ve cracked the code until the moment we fail.

Q: The director Stanley Kubrick thought you had. I read that Kubrick would call, collect, from his estate in England to ask why one film or another was a blockbuster or a flop.

A: He would never call collect. But Kubrick did keep calling. He thought I had a crystal ball, and I spent years trying to convince him I did not. So whenever one of my films came out and failed, like "Empire of the Sun" [1987, about a British boy in a WWII Japanese internment camp], I’d phone and say why the heck did I make that one? Stanley and I used to laugh about that. After a couple of back-to-back successes, I thought I knew something. There are trends. You follow it until the public grows tired of it. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to know the public will go to see a "Harry Potter" sequel or that the second "Pirates of the Caribbean" will make more money than the first.

+ And for my next role (Observer)
+ SPEAKING OF DVDS: JOHN CLEESE (SF Chronicle)
+ Yeah, I’m Talkin’ To You (Time)
+ Journey into the mind of a musical genius (Japan Times)
+ The Full-Throttle Flash Guy Is Gone (Cue Violins) (NY Times)
+ ‘I am human. All too bloody human.’ (LA Times)
+ ‘Mr. Vengeance’ Back for Romance (Korea Times)
+ It’s The Godfather – with splurge guns (Telegraph)
+ Steven Spielberg & the Next Crusade (Washington Post)

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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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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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.

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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!

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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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