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Opening This Week: May 18th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Once,” Fox Searchlight, 2007]

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

“Brooklyn Rules”

Michael Corrente’s “coming of age” drama finds three Brooklyn friends struggling to live a mafia lifestyle and us somewhat perplexed to see 90s teen heartthrob Freddie Prinze Jr. trying to act all tough ‘n shit, nawutimsayin? But hey, at least it can’t be as bad as “The Black Donnellys.”

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

“Even Money”

Right off the heels of the wildly successful “Lucky You” (yeah, right…) comes this ensemble drama about a group of characters played by slightly faded Hollywood actors — with the exception of that Forest Whitaker guy — struggling with gambling addiction and its disastrous effects on their lives. It’s all courtesy of “On Golden Pond”‘s Mark Rydell.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Fay Grim”

The sequel to Hal Hartley’s beloved 1997 indie “Henry Fool” finds Parker Posey’s title character working (and then running from) the CIA in order to locate notebooks belonging to her former husband — ones that may compromise the security of the United States. We’re bemused by Hartley’s choice to create such an offbeat sequel for what’s certainly one of his best movies, but any opportunity to see more Parker Posey is good enough for us.

Opens in limited release (official site).


The latest effort from arty and divisive director Bruno Dumont (“Twentynine Palms”) won the Grand Prix at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film details the unrequited love between a lonely farmer and his childhood friend before they are separated by an impending, unnamed war.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Hollywood Dreams”

A young Iowan girl travels to LA in search of fame and stardom as a Hollywood actress but falls into a complex relationship with an up-and-coming young actor. While the film’s plot may sound as if it were lifted straight from a 1940s studio picture, its director, Henry Jaglom, has remained a staple of the independent cinema scene, recently helming “Festival in Cannes” in 2001. In true indie fashion, Justin Kirk plays newcomer Tanna Frederick’s love interest.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

“Memories of Tomorrow”

Ken Watanabe stars as a successful advertising executive whose life starts to unravel due to early onset of Alzheimer’s in this drama from Japanese director Yukihiko Tsutsumi.

Opens in New York (IMDb page).


Director John Carney’s latest film made a splash at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, winning the Audience Award for World Cinema and warming the hearts of jaded critics across the spectrum. This modern-day musical follows a busker (Glen Hansard, lead singer of The Frames) and a single mother (newcomer Markéta Irglová) whose shared dream of making music results in a love story with its own soundtrack — Zach Braff, eat your heart out.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Private Property”

Isabelle Huppert provides another strong performance as a divorced woman who dreams of leaving her ex-husband and twin teenage sons to start a life with a new lover and open a bed and breakfast. The film was directed by “Private Madness” director Joachem Lafosse and was nominated for a Golden Lion at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).


“Shaun of the Dead” for the slasher film? Christopher Smith’s new horror thriller sounds more like an episode of “The Office” gone horribly, horribly wrong. A team-building weekend for the sales division of a multinational weapons company is sabotaged when a group of maniacal killers starts picking off the company’s employees one by one. Early reviews suggest the film is a bloody good time (nyuck nyuck nyuck!).

Opens in New York (official site).

“Shrek the Third”

While the third go-round for the big green ogre offers a tempting supporting cast (Amy Poehler as Snow White? Ian McShane as Captain Hook? John Krasinski as Sir Lancelot?), we’re thinking this franchise is starting to feel a bit winded. The film runs a mere 81 minutes, which to us is already too much Mike Myers to handle. And can we really take more Eddie Murphy schtick? Has it really only been three months since we were sick of him in “Norbit”? And Shrek gives up his throne to a character voiced by the guy who introduced us to the term “SexyBack”? Sigh…we’ll probably see it anyway.

Opens wide (official site).

“The Wendell Baker Story”

Nearly four years after it wrapped production, Luke Wilson’s directorial debut (a credit shared with his brother, the lesser-known Andrew Wilson) finally finds a theatrical release. Wilson plays a goodhearted conman whose latest scam lands him in jail and alienates him from his girlfriend (Eva Mendes), best friend (Jacob Vargas) and even his dog. Upon his release, he gets a job at a retirement home and befriends a group of residents, hoping to win back his girlfriend and battle the retirement home’s head nurse (Owen Wilson).

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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