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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: October 19, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Jennifer Connelly in “Reservation Road,” Focus Features, 2007]

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

“30 Days of Night”

Steven Niles’ popular graphic novel gets the big-screen treatment in this horror film about a collection of vampires who descend upon the tiny Alaskan town of Barrow in midwinter, just as the sun is about to set for 30 days. Josh Hartnett and Melissa George lead the town’s citizens in a fight to survive. Director David Slade follows up “Hard Candy” with a horror film that’s thankfully not another “Saw” rip-off or horror remake.

Opens wide (official site).

“The Comebacks”

They might as well have just called this “Sports Movie.” Comedian David Koechner gets a long overdue lead turn as the losing coach of a failed football team who vows to turn his ragtag crew of misfit players into a collection of winners. Tom Brady (of “The Hot Chick”, not the New England Patriots) helms this film that attempts the completely unnecessary feat of spoofing “Radio.”

Opens wide (official site).

“Gone Baby Gone”

In a crowded and busy fall season, with offerings from acclaimed and Oscar-winning directors like Redford and Coppola and Burton, we’re still a little astonished that our most anticipated film of the fall is by an…Affleck? It’s no “Jersey Girl,” but we’re willing to bite, especially since we love it when actors go Spielberg. Ben directs brother Casey in this crime drama about a pair of detectives who attempt to track down a missing four-year-old girl in one of Boston’s toughest neighborhoods. Parallels to “Mystic River” (both films are based on novels by Dennis Lehane) and the addition of Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris certainly can’t hurt Mr. Sydney Bristow’s directorial debut.

Opens wide (official site).

“Meeting Resistance”

Molly Bingham and Steve Connors’ debut documentary charts the resistance movement of the “Insurgency” against the American-led occupation within the Adamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad.

Opens in New York and Washington D.C. (official site).

“Out of the Blue”

This New Zealand drama from director Robert Sarkies (of 1999’s “Scarfies”) reimagines the 1990 Aaramoana Massacre, in which small-town resident David Gray (portrayed by Matthew Sunderland), an unemployed gun collector, snapped and went on a rampage in which 14 people were shot dead, including Gray himself. The film premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Rendition”

“Tsotsi” director Gavin Hood directs this politicalish thriller that’s got Oscar written all over it…if it were any good, that is. The rumored real-life romance between stars Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal seems set to overshadow the film, which has a topical political backdrop (the torture and imprisonment of an Egyptian-born suspected terrorist) and fine supporting cast (Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin and Peter Saarsgard), but which was also met with an icy reception at Toronto last month.

Opens wide (official site).

“Reservation Road”

“Hotel Rwanda” director Terry George helms this suburban drama about a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls apart after witnessing his son’s death at the hand’s of a hit-and-run driver (Mark Ruffalo). Jennifer Connelly supports.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Things We Lost in a Fire”

A recent widow (Oscar-winner and “Catwoman” Halle Berry) invites her husband’s troubled best friend (Oscar-winner and future Che Guevara Benicio Del Toro) to live with her and her two children. As he gradually turns his life around, he helps the family cope and confront their loss. “After the Wedding” director Susanne Bier makes her English language debut with this one.

Opens wide (official site).

“Wristcutters: A Love Story”

Goran Dukic helms this indie comedy set in a strange afterlife waystation reserved for people who’ve committed suicide. Patrick Fugit stars as a heartbroken recently deceased young man who goes on a road trip to find his ex-girlfriend (Leslie Bibb). Any film that has Will Arnett starring as the Messiah has us stoked. The film premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

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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.