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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: March 30th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Paul Schneider and Aaron Stanford in “Live Free or Die,” THINKFilm, 2007]

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

“After the Wedding”

A Best Foreign Language Film nominee at this year’s Academy Awards, “After the Wedding” is the latest from “Brothers” director Susanne Bier. The film tracks what happens when the headmaster of an orphanage in India (“Casino Royale” baddie Mads Mikkelsen) is sent to his native land of Denmark and discovers a devastating life-altering family secret.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles (official site).

“Blades of Glory”

Will Ferrell stars in yet another sports-related comedy — this time, the SNL vet pairs with “Napoleon Dynamite” himself, Jon Heder, to poke fun at the world of competitive figure skating. Ferrell had a strong 2006, receiving both commercial (“Talladega Nights”) and critical success (“Stranger Than Fiction”) after a subpar 2005, while Heder looks like he’ll get his first hit since 2004. The film promises to feature the most ridiculous wigs since “Alexander.”

Opens wide (official site).

“The Hawk is Dying”

We’d love to see Paul Giamatti expand from his recent string of down-on-his-luck loser characters, but we’ll take loser Giamatti over no Giamati any day of the week. The beloved actor stars as an auto repairman in Gainesville, FL, who begins taming a wild red-tailed hawk to escape from his mundane life. The film comes courtesy of “Trans” director Julian Goldberger and originally premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Live Free or Die”

“Seinfeld” writers Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin showcased their first feature film at last year’s SXSW, netting a jury prize and industry attention. The film tells the story of two dimwitted small town criminals (Aaron Stanford and Paul Schneider) on the run from a murder they didn’t commit. And of course, in true indie fashion, Zooey Deschanel offers a supporting hand.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Lookout”

Indie darling Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in this heist thriller directed and penned by “Out of Sight” screenwriter Scott Frank. Gordon-Levitt plays a former high school sports phenom turned mentally damaged janitor who becomes part of a heist at the bank at which he works. We’re pretty much excited for anything Gordon-Levitt does these days, whether it’s getting his “Veronica Mars” on in the high school-set film noir “Brick” or playing a gay prostitute and sexual abuse victim in Gregg Araki’s “Mysterious Skin.” Also, look forward to Jeff Daniels in a supporting role with full “The Squid and the Whale” beard in tow.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Meet the Robinsons”

Though Disney found commercial success with its first post-Pixar computer animated feature “Chicken Little,” critics complained that its fantastic visuals could not make up for an uninspired storyline and lame pop culture clichés. Things are looking better for “Meet the Robinsons,” as Disney’s second foray into CGI sans Pixar is rich in source material (the film is based on author William Joyce’s bestseller) and spectacular graphics. But doesn’t the main character look a lot like the kid from “Jerry Maguire”? What’s the deal with that?

Opens wide (official site).

“Race You to the Bottom”

Two best friends run off together on a sexually liberating (and metaphorical!) road trip to Northern California, leaving their respective boyfriends at home while shacking up on their way to the Golden State in Russell Brown’s feature directorial debut. “Buffy”‘s Amber Benson and “Harry + Max”‘s Cole Williams star as the sexually nebulous couple.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

“Ten ’til Noon”

Repetition is the name of the game in this Scott Storm-directed indie in which the same ten minute period is shown through the eyes of ten people all connected to the same crime. While the film’s premise clearly shifts the formula of mainstream crime thrillers, we’re betting that you’ll be exhausted by the film’s midpoint. Just imagine watching each season of “24” within a 90 minute framework.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

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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.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.