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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: June 1st, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Day Watch,” Fox Searchlight, 2007]

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

“Crazy Love”

Some couples quite possibly shouldn’t be together. When your spouse spends 14 years in the slammer for throwing acid on your face, that’s by our indication that it just might be time to, you know, stop responding to phone calls and move very far away. Dan Klores’ thrilling documentary charts the turbulent relationship of Burt and Linda Pugach, a love story that begins with an affair, moves on to jealousy and a jail sentence, and turns into a modern-day marriage, offering insight into the human psyche, contemporary relationships, and sheer, perverse stupidity.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Day Watch”

That vague, Russian battle between good and evil continues in this sequel to 2004’s surprise hit “Night Watch,” based on the science fiction trilogy by Sergei Lukyanenko. The trailer for this one doesn’t make a lick of sense, but then neither did the first film. Some pretty impressive action sequences (including a hotrod skidding along the side of a glass-paned building) make us look forward to it anyway.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Gracie”

Disney Channel mainstay Carly Schroeder stars as a teenage girl who fights to play on the boys’ varsity soccer team after her brother is killed in a car accident in 1970s New Jersey. This film is based on the life experiences of Elizabeth Shue, who also stars and co-produces, and is directed by her hubby Davis Guggenheim. Andrew “Billy Campbell” Shue and Dermot Mulroney co-star.

Opens wide (official site).

“I’m Reed Fish”

“Million Dollar Baby”‘s Jay Baruchel stars in this quirky indie comedy about a small-town radio personality whose life is thrown into chaos after an old flame from high school re-enters his life just days before he is to be married to his longtime girlfriend. The film, which, surprisingly, isn’t written by Zach Braff, won the Best Actor award for Baruchel at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. Look for Alexis Bledel and Schuyler Fisk in supporting roles.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Knocked Up”

Girl meets boy. Girl and boy have drunken sex. Girl finds out she’s pregnant eight weeks later. That’s the gist of Judd Apatow’s latest comedy, starring Seth Rogen and Katharine Heigl as a couple whose one night stand results in… well… lasting consequences. Early reviews hint that this may be the funniest film of the summer season, if you’re up for raunchy-yet-morally-centered comedies.

Opens wide (offical site).

“Mr. Brooks”

Writer-director Bruce A. Evans, perhaps best known for the easily forgettable Christian Slater-helmed “Kuffs,” pretends its still 1992 with this thriller starring Kevin Costner and Demi Moore. A detective (Moore) investigates a serial killer (Costner), a normal successful businessman with a dangerous alter ego (William Hurt). Honestly, this film sounds more like something that would come from Donald Kaufman. And Dane Cook in a drama? We can’t even bear to see him attempt comedy.

Opens wide (official site).

“Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman”

British thespian Timothy Spall stars as Albert Pierrepoint, Britain’s most prolific hangman who moonlit as a grocery deliveryman while keeping his day job secret from his wife (Juliet Stevenson). The film premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Rise: Blood Hunter”

After she wakes up in a morgue, a journalist (Lucy Liu) realizes she’s one of the undead and enlists the aid of a police detective (Michael Chiklis) to hunt for those responsible for her death. It’s a lot like “The Crow,” only with Lucy Liu kicking ass and possibly playing for both teams. Yeowch.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Ten Canoes”

This acclaimed Australian film tells the story of ten Aboriginal men who go hunting for geese and tell each other tales from their people’s pasts. Rolf de Heer’s film won the Special Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“The Trials of Darryl Hunt”

This documentary from filmmakers Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg chronicles the brutal rape and murder case of a wrongfully convicted black man who was exonerated based on DNA evidence in 2004. The film premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.

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.

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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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