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Opening This Week: April 13th, 2007

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By Chris Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Lonely Hearts,” Roadside Attractions, 2007]

“Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie for Theaters”

Drawing the ire of both longtime fanboys and the Boston Police Force, the Cartoon Network’s popular [adult swim] program lands its first ever feature film. Though the cult audience for the show remains as devoted as ever, devout fans and message board members throughout the Intarweb feel that this latest entry in the series just cries of “sell out.” Regardless, we still think this will be the best film ever to star a talking milkshake.

Opens wide (official site).


The latest teen thriller stages a modern retelling of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window,” substituting Jimmy Stewart and a broken leg with upcoming “Transformers” star Shia LaBeouf (la-boof!) and a government-sanctioned ankle bracelet. Early reviews of the film state that LaBeouf’s natural charm and the clever use of technology form an interesting statement about the voyeuristic use of modern technology, but we’re just hoping director D.J. Caruso can create an entertaining thriller after a series of subpar films (“Two for the Money” and “Taking Lives”).

Opens wide (official site).

“The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai”

Japanese director Mitsuru Meike carves political metaphor out of gratuitous sex scenes in the first “pink” (softcore) film to reach the US — about a call girl who accidentally gets struck by a bullet only to awaken with the ability to understand foreign languages and complex mathematical formulas and a container housing the finger of the American president. Odd indeed…

Opens in New York (official site).

“Hair High”

In an industry in which 2D animation is nearly unseen while talking animals ride surfboards or tap dance and learn “valuable lessons,” thank goodness there’s still room for Bill Plympton. Transferring his usual whacked-out weirdness and usual sense of humor from short form to feature, the legendary animator’s latest details what happens when a 1950s teenage couple is murdered on prom night only to return one year later for revenge.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

“Hearts of an Empire”

This debut feature from documentarian Jay Thompson follows the adventures of the “Fighting 501st,” a group of devoted Star Wars fanboys numbering in the thousands who willingly dress up as famous Star Wars characters despite public ridicule. While the “Fighting 501st” mostly remain loyal fans of the George Lucas series, the group also uses their popularity to sponsor charity events and raise international attention of the Star Wars universe.

Opens in Madison, Wisconsin (official site).

“Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis”

Beloved by John Waters, Andy Warhol and Stefan Brecht, Jack Smith was an otherwise little-known performance artist whose works predated many of his successors and frequently influenced Fellini, Godard and Jarmusch. In Mary Jordan’s mesmerizing documentary portrait of Smith, the artist’s works are shown through archival footage of his multi-hour one-man theatrical productions, highlighting the vast energy and creativity of this rarely-known master.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Lonely Hearts”

The past year’s neo-noirs haven’t kept our interest. After watching both “The Black Dahlia” and “Hollywoodland” squander their A-list cast on mediocre thrills, our hopes aren’t too high for this latest, which finds Jared Leto (fashionxcore!) and Salma Hayek playing 1940smurderous lovers who lure their victims through personal ads. Naturally, there are two homicide detectives (John Travolta and James Gandolfini) hot on their trail. Early reviews suggest that the often bounced-around film would be better suited to a straight-to-DVD release, which, you know, is never a good sign. Director Todd Robinson’s grandfather was one of the cops who investigated the original murders.

Opens in limited release (official site).


You know, Vikings get a bad rap in film (“The 13th Warrior,” anyone?), so we’re not surprised that this latest B-action/adventure flick portrays them as barbarians ripped like steroid-using pro wrestlers (or, er, Spartans?). This film stars “The Lord of the Rings”‘ Eomer and comes courtesy of the director of the remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” but shares its unfortunate title with a Nissan SUV.

Opens wide (official site).

“Perfect Stranger”

After reading the synopsis for this film, we think they should have renamed it “To Catch a Predator,” but too late now. If the thought of Halle Berry getting all steamy with Bruce Willis via the Internet turns you on, then this erotic thriller is for you — Berry plays an investigative reporter snooping out the secret dealings of Willis’ shady businessman. It’s hard to believe that this film comes courtesy of the director of “Glengarry Glen Ross,” but at least it’s not about this guy.
Opens wide (official site).

“Private Fears in Public Places”

The latest from influential French director Alain Resnais follows a group of six Parisians who attempt to find love within the city of romance.

Opens in New York (official site).


“The Fast and the Furious-er.” Or is it “The Fast-est and the Furious”? Eh, well, we’re pretty sure you get what we’re going for. Stunt coordinator Andy Cheng’s film aims for slick and fast pacing under a shoestring budget as four race car drivers speed off to Las Vegas in order to claim a million dollar prize. And for those of you who care, “Redline” features the personal exotic car collection of producer Daniel Sadek (minus the Ferrari crashed by star Eddie Griffin), so there’s a positive.

Opens wide (official site).

“Red Road”

A woman working as a CCTV operator encounters a man from her past she never wanted to see again. The winner of the BAFTA Scotland category, this film draws parallels from everything from Hitchcock to “Spider” and comes courtesy of short film director and Academy Award-winner Andrea Arnold.

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

“Slow Burn”

We still have no idea why this film from “The Art of War” screenwriter Wally Beach is getting a theatrical release, but bear with us as this nearly four-year-old flick (it was filmed in 2003) finally sees the light of day. Ray Liotta stars as district attorney Ford Cole (only in the movies…) who’s embroiled in a tense showdown between gangleader LL Cool J and the assistant DA Jolene Blalock as he eyes a shot at a mayoral candidacy.

Opens wide (official site).

“Year of the Dog”

We’ve loved Mike White since he wrote indie darling “Chuck & Buck,” so it’s no surprise that we’re excited for his directorial debut. Add in some Molly Shannon, John C. Reilley and a dead beagle named Pencil and you’ve got something to look forward to. Shannon stars as a secretary whose life changes unexpectedly after her dog dies. Expect some seriously depressing moments, but given it’s a romantic comedy, it’s all gonna be okay in the end…right?

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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