This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


Odds: Monday – Altman, Disney, Mel.

Posted by on

"I could play the violin and wipe my own ass all at the same time."
We meant to post a link to the Film Criticism Blog-a-Thon on Friday, but now it’s massive and complete. We particularly recommend Matt Zoller Seitz‘s compilation post over at The House Next Door, Bilge Ebiri‘s piece on "Graham Greene vs. Shirley Temple," Peet Gelderblom‘s reflections on Armond White, and more, and more.

The crew at Stop Smiling have "a few personal appreciations of individual films by Robert Altman."

On the flipside, the crew at the Boston Globe survey, less lovingly, some Mel Gibson moments:

"The Million Dollar Hotel" (2000)
Wim Wenders‘s little-seen film raises a rarely asked question: Is Mel on a leash scarier than Mel unloosed? Third-billed, he plays an FBI agent investigating a mysterious death in a supremely seedy hotel in downtown LA. His character, Skinner, wears a neck and back brace that barely allows him to move. He was also born with a third arm (later amputated). "I could play the violin and wipe [myself] at the same time," he boasts. It’s the weirdest onscreen mind-body relationship since Dr. Strangelove’s.

John Waters posts his top 10 films of the year over at Artforum — we’ve been frantically trying to get a few last titles under our belt before posting ours next weekish, and yes, sometimes this is a ridiculous job.

Anthony Lane at the New Yorker has a hefty and nicely written piece on Walt Disney:

In one sense, Disney’s choice of subjects was bizarre. How would all these feudal formulas—the princes who crown the climaxes of “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” and “Sleeping Beauty”—play in a modern republic? In the event, they scarcely mattered. Nobody leaves those movies pining for the unfailingly limp human males into whose arms the spunky heroines fall. Indeed, to criticize the Disney corpus as pap ignores the fact that pap was the thing that Disney, at his best, did worst of all. What lodges in the brain, after Snow White has been yanked out of her glass casket, is the macabre punch of the buildup: the poisoned apple rolling from her outstretched hand, the witch transfigured from a snotty Joan Crawford figure to something yet more disturbing. (Her voice was provided by Lucille La Verne, who is said to have managed the transition to a cackle by the simple expedient of removing her false teeth.) As for the sight of the threatened girl haring through the forest, pursued by a posse of swirling leaves, with the branches clawing at her clothes, it possesses not just the sharp-toothed, half-Teutonic atmosphere that Disney could reliably conjure from his artists; it is also edited with a violent sophistication that chops straight into children’s dreams. For a moment, it looks like Eisenstein.

Charles Solomon at the New York Times writes that "[a]fter a hiatus of nearly 50 years, Walt Disney Studios is getting back into the business of producing short cartoons, starting with a Goofy vehicle next year."

Via Reuters: Bollywood stars Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan have been accused of obscenity on the basis of a kissing scene in "Dhoom 2.":

Shailendra Dwivedi of Indore, near Bhopal, the capital of central Madhya Pradesh state, said the scene from the movie, titled "Dhoom 2," lowered the dignity of Indian women and gave an obscene message to youth.

Roger Clarke at the Independent takes a closer look at the celebrated sex scene (it’s classy!) in "Don’t Look Now."

And over at the Observer, Liz Hoggard writes of Judi Dench‘s role in "Notes on a Scandal":

Barbara is a brilliant addition to cinema’s regiment of monstrous females. Think of Kathy Bates in Misery; Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?; or Beryl Reid in The Killing of Sister George. It’s not often cinema is brave enough to offer us a wholly unlikable female lead – which is what makes them so powerful. By contravening proper feminine modes of behaviour and dress, these women refuse to accept the patriarchal order. They are also great fun: we get to live out their transgressive behaviour without any of the consequences.

+ Welcome To The Film Criticism Blog-a-Thon! (No More Marriages)
+ The once & future Mel (Boston Globe)
+ Best of 2006: Film (Art Forum)
+ For Disney, Something Old (and Short) Is New Again (NY Times)
+ Stars face court action over kiss (Reuters)
+ Story Of The Scene: ‘Don’t Look Now’ Nicolas Roeg (1973) (Independent)
+ Far deadlier than the male (Observer)

Watch More

A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy

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.


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.

Watch More

WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

Posted by on

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…


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.


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).


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.


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

Watch More

Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy

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.


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.



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 and the IFC app.

Watch More