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Odds: Thursday – Torture, hair extensions.

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Video: Michel Gondry solves a Rubik’s Cube with his nose here — the long-awaited (?) sequel to this (via Rex Sorgatz at Fimoculous).

Steven Winn at the San Francisco Chronicle finds that "[t]orture is a current preoccupation in the culture," from "24" to Fernando Botero‘s "Abu Ghraib" paintings:

I don’t think this is some accident or random coincidence. The artists are reading the map. They’re showing us where we are. Even the arrival of McDonagh’s 1994 play about the bruising interrogation of two brothers who may or may not be involved in three torturous child murders, seems uncannily tuned to the times. "The Last King of Scotland," "Pan’s Labyrinth" and "The Pillowman" come at their congruent themes in different, instructively complementary ways. All three lead us toward the dark heart of torture and the poisoned blood it pumps.

At Greencine Daily, David Hudson points to an interview on the site with Rory Kennedy, the director of doc "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" in which, when asked about "the value of documentary as a corrective or instructive ameliorative against fictionalized torture porn," she responds with an anecdote:

Tony Lagouranis – who is one of the characters that we interviewed in the film – was an interrogator at Abu Ghraib but was also on a mobile unit that traveled throughout Iraq. He interrogated people at a number of different facilities throughout the country. What he said was that there were a lot of interrogators who he worked with who said that they got their ideas of how to interrogate through television.

Television really does have a significant impact in terms of having a material effect. If you go to Iraq and somebody’s torturing somebody like they torture them on 24, it’s obviously inspired by that television show.

Meanwhile, Idi Amin’s son Jaffar breaks his family’s long media silence to speak out on the news wires against his father’s portrayal in "The Last King of Scotland." Via Katy Pownall at the AP: "I’d ask dad, what happened? He’d look at me and say ‘people fought me, I fought them but I never killed innocent people. God will be the one to judge me."

Elsewhere… At the Risky Biz blog, Borys Kit writes that Warner Bros. Pictures has picked up the rights to illustrated children’s novel "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick, with Martin Scorsese a possibility to direct:

Part of the idea for “Hugo Cabret” came to Selznick when he heard how George Méliès, the French film pioneer who made “A Trip to the Moon” (which features the iconic image of a rocket hitting the eye of the man in the moon), died a financial failure, having lost his collection of automata, which are complex windup toys. Thus came the idea of a mechanically minded orphan and an impoverished, dispirited pioneer of French cinema, set in 1930s Paris and replete with references to the heroes of French cinema, from the Lumière brothers to François Truffaut.

Aaron Gerow at Daily Yomiuri and Mark Schilling at the Japan Times each offer a review of "Exte," which stars Chiaki "Gogo Yubari" Kuriyama and haunted…hair extensions. Writes Gerow:

Our uncertainty over whether this is a horror film or a joke begins with the title: Is J-horror scraping the bottom of the barrel to find something artificial in our world, beyond cell phones and video tapes, to attack us? Or is that the first sign this is a parody?

And Marisa Meltzer at Slate wonders at the state of another genre — the slacker comedy. She looks over "Mutual Appreciation" and "The Puffy Chair" and wonders

If these movies are meant to celebrate slacking, why must the slackers always give it up at the end? Sure, everyone likes a character arc, but there are many ways to be an adult between the extremes of the wake-and-bake and the morning commute. It seems lazy that Bujalski and the Duplass brothers don’t try very hard to represent that. After two decades of slackers on film, the genre hasn’t grown up—it’s just moved to Brooklyn.

Well, these days, haven’t we all?

+ Michel Gondry Solves a Rubiks Cube with his Nose (YouTube)
+ From ’24’ to images on the big screen, our eyes are being opened to torture (SF Chronicle)
+ Interview. Rory Kennedy. (Greencine Daily)
+ Idi Amin’s son lashes out at movie (AP)
+ Scorsese Turns to Fantasy Genre (Risky Biz)
+ Horror film about haunted hair extensions skirts edge of parody (Daily Yomiuri)
+ Breaking out of the underground (Japan Times)
+ The Slacker Movie’s Quarterlife Crisis (Slate)


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.