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Opening This Week: August 17th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Nicole Kidman in “The Invasion,” Warner Bros. Pictures, 2007]

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

“Death at a Funeral”

While his “The Stepford Wives” remake was a pretty terrible film, we always knew that director Frank Oz could do better. His new film is a (thankfully) low-budget comedy about two brothers attempting to stop a blackmailer from exposing their recently deceased father’s secret as their family grieves. The casting of Alan Tudyk and Peter Dinklage alone in supporting roles is enough for us.

Opens in limited release (official site).


“Living in Oblivion” director Tom DiCillo returns with his first film in six years, an offbeat drama about a homeless youth (Michael Pitt), a pop music siren (Alison Lohman) and a member of the paparazzi (Steve Buscemi) who become entangled in each other’s lives. Elvis Costello cameos as himself — yes! The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Love for Sale”

Karim Ainouz directs this Brazilian film about a young woman who decides to raffle off her own body in order to earn a living. The film picked up the Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actress prizes at the 2006 Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Manda Bala”

Newcomer Jason Kohn directs this doc examining corruption and class warfare in Brazil as told through the eyes of a wealthy businessman, a plastic surgeon who assists kidnapping victims and a politician who owns a frog farm. The film premiered earlier this year to much acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).


Yes, we love the subtly awkward poster, the hilarious uncut trailer, the brilliant casting of Jonah Hill and Michael Cera as two socially inept friends, and… well, what isn’t there to love? The brilliant minds behind this summer’s “Knocked Up” bring this Seth Rogen-penned script to the screen in a tale of two friends who try to score alcohol for one last party before they graduate from high school. What can we say, we’re suckers for some McLovin’.

Opens wide (official site).

“The 11th Hour”

Leonardo DiCaprio gets all vice presidential on us with this environmental documentary taking a look at the state of the global environment while providing visionary and practical solutions for restoring our nature’s ecosystems.

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

“The Invasion”

German filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel (of 2005’s “The Downfall”) originally received credit for this science fiction update of the classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” story in which a psychiatrist (Nicole Kidman) unearths the origins of an alien epidemic and learns that her son may be the only way to stop it. Talk is that studio heads were dissatisfied with Hirschbiegel’s cut of the film and enlisted the help of Wachowski brothers disciple James McTeigue (of “V for Vendetta”) to oversee a rehaul. This is the fourth adaptation of the classic “Body Snatchers” magazine serial, and while we love the thought of Nicole Kidman fighting off brain-sucking aliens, we still prefer the 1956 Cold War original.

Opens wide (official site).

“The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters”

Don’t mind us if we get a little nostalgic over director Seth Gordon’s documentary about two diehard video game fans who compete to break the world record on the classic arcade game Donkey Kong. The film made quite the impression at Slamdance earlier this year, and New Line has attached Gordon to direct a feature film version of his own doc. Now that’s a pretty good start.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Last Legion”

Director Doug Lefler helms this swords-and-sandals epic about a soldier who escapes the crumbling Roman Empire as barbarians descend upon his land, and who must embark on a dangerous adventure in order to save his emperor. Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley and Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai provide supporting roles.

Opens wide (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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