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DID YOU READ

Odds: Tuesday – Jane Austen to Jackie Brown.

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"That scared me a little bit."
"Becoming Jane," a Jane Austen biopic that’s caused some fuss among Austenites due to its focus on the author’s alleged doomed romance with an Irish barrister, opens in London. According to the Daily Mail, star Anne Hathaway didn’t show, but her co-star, the ubiquitous James McAvoy, did, and defends director Julian Jarrold‘s choice for leading lady: "When you find a British person playing some great American icon no one bats an eyelid." Over at the Sydney Morning Herald, Angela Bennie discusses the historical likeliness of this premise with Austen scholar Jon Spence. The film will be getting a release in the US from Miramax in August.

Andrew Pulver at the Guardian‘s Film Blog reports on a London Bafta discussion of "the role of the film critic in the digital age," and, naturally, where blogging fits in:

Nick James, editor of Sight and Sound, took the intellectual high ground, pointing out the difference between "reviewing" and "criticism" – the former being a consumer service, and the latter a lengthy analysis of a film – and saying that he saw no reason to despair for the future of criticism: he wanted Sight and Sound, he said, "to be the vinyl to the bloggers’ iPod".

On this side of the Atlantic, members of Film Comment continue to make clear their publication’s feelings on the subject. In the new March/April issue, Amy Taubin writes that among "the most trying aspects of Sundance ’07" was:

[T]he omnipresent hype, not for the films themselves, but rather for that ineffable, high-altitude Sundance experience and for you, you, and you, oh my God, actually present at the most happening American film event, where, as one blogger gushed, the thrill was not in seeing the merchandise but in watching Harvey Weinstein make a deal. (Has that blogger taken a good hard look at the garbage The Weinstein Company has acquired of late?)

At the Telegraph, Bobcat Goldthwait discusses Peter Jackson‘s "Braindead" with Sheila Johnston:

"I guess there are some big classic themes in Braindead too," he concludes. "It’s a real Oedipus story with some weird mom thing going on. My own movie ["Sleeping Dogs Lie"] is dedicated to my late mother, although I don’t believe she was dominating. It was a sick joke initially, but then I warmed to the idea and in a strange way it made sense."

Prompted by "The Queen," Ed Caesar at the Independent runs down which famous people have seen the films they’re the subject of. Apparently Anna Wintour has seen "The Devil Wears Prada" (press screening, not premiere); Richard Nixon probably did not see "All the President’s Men."

And Quentin Tarantino writes for himself over at the London Times:

I don’t want to be a professional. I’m not in the Directors Guild; I don’t want to be. I like holding on to my amateur status. I wanted to be a professional in all the right ways, but I didn’t want it ever to be a job. I even asked: “Would I die for Jackie Brown?” I would have died for Reservoir Dogs. I would have died getting a shot for Pulp Fiction. I don’t know if I would have died, would have thrown myself into that kind of harm’s way, for Jackie Brown, and that scared me a little bit. I think the reason was that that film was based on a novel; it wasn’t an original thing, born from me. Whether it’s hardship or ruin, or hardship or good times, or happy or sad, or profitable or destitute — whatever the deal is, you go down the road today, and maybe your rewards are today, or maybe your rewards will be tomorrow, or maybe in another life, but you’re going your own way.

+ Becoming Jane star misses world premiere (Daily Mail)
+ An affair to remember (Sydney Morning Herald)
+ Whither the film critic in the blogosphere? (Guardian Film Blog)
+ FESTIVALS/SUNDANCE: The Sweet Smell of Success (Film Comment)
+ Filmmakers on film: Bobcat Goldthwait (Telegraph)
+ Famous lives on screen: Did the queen see ‘The Queen’? (Independent)
+ I call the shots here (London Times)

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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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