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What’s Up In February

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Once Upon a Time In The West,” Paramount Pictures, 1969]

Ennio Morricone

Feb 1—10

In honor of his upcoming honorary award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and his recent concert at Radio City Music Hall (his first in the US), New York’s Museum of Modern Art pays tribute to famed film composer Ennio Morricone in this ten-day retrospective of some of his most prized films. Screenings will include his Sergio Leone epics “Once Upon a Time in the West” and “Once Upon a Time in America,” the late Gillo Pontecorvo pioneer film “The Battle of Algiers,” and the Roland Joffe period piece “The Mission,” which Morricone will be on hand to introduce.

The Cinema of Donald Cammell

Feb 2—11

Though he only produced a handful of works, the 25-year career of brilliant but troubled director Donald Cammell feels far too short. New York’s Film Society at Lincoln Center will feature several of Cammell’s films in this retrospective, including the sci-fi horror “Demon Seed,” the Nicolas Roeg co-production “Performance,” and the director’s cut of his final film, “Wild Side”.

Hong Kong!

Feb 2—28

The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago hosts its annual month-long celebration of the Chinese New Year with a host of new films out of Hong Kong. This year’s festival includes a retrospective on influential action film director Johnnie To and will include a sneak preview screening of his latest feature, “Exiled,” on February 17th.

Werner Herzog: Visionary at Large

“Eclectic” might be the only word one could use to describe German auteur Werner Herzog, both through his own filmmaking (“Aguirre, the Wrath of God,” “Fitzcarraldo”) and his personality (Les Blank’s documentary “Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe”), as the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago hosts this ten-film tribute throughout the month of February to Herzog in honor of his upcoming Christian Bale-starring “Rescue Dawn.”

Crispin Helion Glover presents “What is It?”

Feb 9—11

Crispin Helion Glover will be on hand at the IFC Center to present his first feature “What Is It?”, an unclassifiable film that was both self-produced and self-financed by Glover himself. Each screening will also feature a live dramatic presentation and a supplementary slide show. Trust us, “What Is It?” is simply more than a film, it’s an event.

57th Berlin International Film Festival

Feb 8—18

This annual festival remains one of the premiere film events in the world.

Meet the Oscars

Feb 9—24

Get a chance to check out the 50 Oscar statuettes before they are handed out at the Academy Awards on February 25th. This exhibit, hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will be on display at locations in both Hollywood and New York.

A View from the Vaults: Warner Bros., RKO Pictures, and First National Pictures Inc.

Feb 9—24

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City pays homage to some of the greatest pictures produced by the Warner Bros., RKO and First National studios. Highlights include Bette Davis’ Oscar-winning performance in “Jezebel”, the Raoul Walsh directorial comedy “Gunga Din,” and 1950’s “Mighty Joe Young” (sans Charlize Theron).

Welcome to the Billy Wilder Theater

Feb 9—Mar 31

“8 Mile” director and archive chairman Curtis Hanson will be on hand to present the opening of UCLA Film & Television Archive’s Billy Wilder Theater in honor of the pioneering director of the classical Hollywood director. To inaugurate the opening of the theater, UCLA will screen two of his most important (and hilarious) films, with 1960’s “The Apartment” playing on opening night and 1959’s “Some Like It Hot” following the night after.

Danny Glover in Person

Feb 14—15

Executive producer and star Danny Glover will be on hand at the Film Forum in New York City to discuss “Bamako,” a film that premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and originated from the nation of Mali.

Gangster & Crime in the Big City

Feb 15—22

The American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater presents this short series on our favorite movie genre, the gangster film! Films to be screened include the expected Quentin Tarantino film “Reservoir Dogs,” a “Scarface” double feature (both the Hawks and De Palma versions), and a new print of the hard-to-see Burt Balaban pic “Mad Dog Coll.”

The 79th Academy Awards

Feb 25

They make get more and more boring each year, but you know you’ll watch them anyway. We’re bummed that Jon Stewart was not asked back to host the Oscars, but the addition of Ellen Degeneres promises to be a good time. With a beer in one hand and predictions in the other, be sure to catch the Academy Awards at 8 PM on ABC.

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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…


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

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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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.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….


IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.


IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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