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DID YOU READ

NYFF: “Redacted.”

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"Tell me no lies."
Brian De Palma has attempted to give us the Iraq occupation’s answer to his 1989 "Casualties of War" in "Redacted," a "fictional documentary" about the rape of a 15-year-old Iraqi girl and subsequent murder of both her and her family by US soldiers. The wounds are fresher in the case of "Redacted," which is based on the March 2006 rape and murder of Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, as well as images and characterizations based on blogs, YouTube videos and reports from the press — one might observe that we’re actually still in the process of gouging new wounds out. De Palma has already kicked up plenty of dirt with the film, which
premiered at Venice and instantly drew the ire of members of the
perma-angry right, most visibly Bill O’Reilly, who claimed it would incite presumably hitherto nonviolent young Muslim men
to blow themselves up in indie cinema-induced rage. (An O’Reilly
spokesperson later noted
that the pundit had only seen clips of the film.) Do we need a film
that portrays the troops in a negative light? Of course not. We don’t need
a film about anything; that idea that the world turns on whether or not
an event is committed to film or digital video and projected on a screen
is beyond arrogant.

What we do need are actors who can act, dialogue that makes basic concessions toward believability and some level of, you know, filmmaking, particularly in a work tromping into such a sensitive area. "The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people," De Palma told reporters at Venice. But there are plenty of versions of that reality that have already made their way through the same arthouse theaters that De Palma’s film will — they’re called Iraq documentaries, and distributors run screaming from them because there are so many floating around the marketplace and festivals. The Iraq war is the most documented news event in history — not as freely by the American mainstream press (one of the film’s beefs) but by filmmakers, international press and the soldiers themselves. In the face of all that nonfiction footage, it seems fair to ask that a scripted film come up with something more than a maladroit array of limp "war makes monsters of us all" archetypes. Here’s the bookish one (Kel O’Neill), with glasses, reading "Appointment in Samarra." Here’s the Animal Mother clone (Patrick Carroll), from Louisiana, comparing his first kill to "guttin’ a catfish," while his sidekick, Evil Chris Farley (Daniel Stewart Sherman) gives us a millennial update of "Casualties of War"’s "what happens in the bush stays in the bush" — we’ll let you guess; it’s the ad slogan of a major American tourist destination. De Palma’s big idea is to have the film fake being a montage of footage from outsider sources, a soldier’s video diary, a French documentary, local news coverage, security cameras and web videos, but the voices are all just the filmmaker’s own, scarcely disguised. The one moment of genuine frisson comes from the film’s reenactment of taped beheading; De Palma has always known his way around gore.

We’ll give "Redacted" this — it’s been ages since we’ve felt as riled up over a film as we did shuffling out of this screening. To take on such a topic and then fumble it so badly reveals in De Palma either profound arrogance or a general contempt for the American people he’s apparently looking to inform. That the film will be prime, indefensible fodder for the next round of attacks on liberal, "out of touch" Hollywood is just the cherry on top.

"Redacted" screens October 10 at 6pm and October 11 at 9pm at Frederick P. Rose Hall. It opens November 16th in limited release from Magnolia.

+ "Redacted" (Magnolia)
+ "Redacted" (FilmLinc)

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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.