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Opening This Week

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Nomad (The Warrior),” Weinstein Co, 2007]

A round-up of the best (or worst) $10 you’ll spend this week.

“Adam’s Apples”

This feature from Danish filmmaker Anders Thomas Jensen (who won an Oscar in 1998 for his short film “Election Night”) has been lingering around film festivals since August of 2005, and finally finds its stateside release this week. What happens when a neo-Nazi is forced to serve a community sentence at a church? Hijinks ensure. This black comedy was Denmark’s submission for the 2006 Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“American Cannibal: The Road to Reality”

Filmmakers Perry Grebin and Michael Nigro follow up their 2002 short “Creative Process 473” with this not-so-subtle indictment of the reality television industry in which a film crew documents the train-wreckish production of a controversial reality show. The filmmakers advertise the film as a “true” documentary, though we were left rather unimpressed at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon”

First-time director Scott Glosserman presents the week’s other faux documentary, an interesting twist on the horror genre. The film follows a psychopathic killer who grants a documentary film crew exclusive access to his reign of terror over a fictional small American town. Popular character actor and horror icon Robert Englund reprises his role as Freddy Krueger.

Opens in limited release (official site).


Hormones are set ablaze in this indie comedy about the sex lives of the clients and employees of a small coffee shop in London. The feature directorial debut of television producer John Cosgrove features a winning cast that includes Mena Suvari, Katharine Heigl, Marsha Thomason and… Breckin Meyer (why?).

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Dead Silence”

Those spunky young Aussies who created the “Saw” trilogy try their hand at…more horror. James Wan directs this flick about a young widower who returns to his hometown to investigate his wife’s murder and stumbles across a Dreadful Secret that’s haunted Raven’s Fair for years.

Opens wide (official site).

“I Think I Love My Wife”

Chris Rock’s directorial debut film, 2003’s “Head of State,” had an interesting premise and a strong cast, but underperformed both at the box office and with critics. We’re hoping Rock bring his A game for this one, as his writing efforts tend to be a mix of hits (TV’s “Everybody Hates Chris”) and misses (2001 clunker “Down to Earth”). Rock plays a married man drawn to a younger woman as his wife, preoccupied by her own career and raising their two children, has little time for him.

Opens wide (official site).

“Nomad (The Warrior)”

The nation of Kazakhstan regains some of its dignity following the political debacle of Borat with this historical epic set during the 18th century. “Nomad: The Warrior” tells the story of a young boy who is destined to unite the three warring tribes of Kazakhstan against invaders and national enemies. It’s the most expensive film ever to be shot in Kazakhstan at $40 million and was the nation’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Opens in limited release (official site).


Former rom-com queen Sandra Bullock has of late been choosing a series of gutsier roles, from her critically-praised supporting turn as Harper Lee in the Truman Capote biopic “Infamous,” her role in Oscar-winner “Crash,” and that convoluted time-traveling house movie. In “Premonition,” Bullock stars as a married woman whose life is thrown into chaos when she learns of her husband’s death in a car accident, but wakes up the next day with him alive and well next to her.

Opens wide (official site).

“Tortilla Heaven”

First-time director Judy Hecht Dumontet presents this indie about a restaurant owner in small town New Mexico who discovers one of his famous hand-made tortillas bears the face of a certain Messiah. Jose Zuniga stars as the restaurant owner and television veterans George Lopez and Lupe Ontiveros deliver supporting roles.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Wind That Shakes the Barley”

Ken Loach finally struck gold at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, winning the Palme d’Or and besting eventual Oscar pictures “Babel” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.” Loach’s story about Republicans in early 20th century Ireland recently came under fire for being “anti-British,” though both Loach and star Cillian Murphy deny any ill sentiments towards England.

Opens in limited release (official site).

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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.


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…


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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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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