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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: October 5th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Finishing The Game,” IFC First Take, 2007]

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

“Feel the Noise”

Take the storyline from “Glitter,” flip the gender of the main character, immerse the film in Latino culture, and add a flimsy gangster plotline to create “tension” and there you go: “Feel the Noise.” Omarion Grandberry, formerly of boyband B2K, stars as a young man from the Bronx who’s forced to relocate to Puerto Rico after a run-in with some thugs — he develops a love for Reggaeton. If the words “From Producer Jennifer Lopez” mean anything to you… well, you know what you’re getting into.

Opens wide (official site).

“Finishing the Game”

After slumming around on Hollywood trash with “Annapolis” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” (which, actually, we fond of) we’re really glad director Justin Lin is returning to the indie roots that made us love him in the first place. 2002’s “Better Luck Tomorrow” made a name for the then-unknown director as it tackled Asian-American stereotypes. “Finishing the Game” is a mockumentary about the true story of the production of Bruce Lee’s unfinished “Game of Death,” where studio executives held casting calls in search of a replacement. The film features a number of appearances from “BLT” cast members and even MC Hammer. Good times, y’all.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“For the Bible Tells Me So”

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival earlier this year, director Daniel G. Karslake’s film charts the relationship between homosexuality and Christianity through the observations of five Christian American families wrestling with sexual identity and faith.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Good Night”

British thespian Martin Freeman plays Gary, a depressed man in a stagnant relationship who begins dreaming about romancing a beautiful woman (Penélope Cruz) who appears to him while he sleeps. Tired of her boyfriend’s lack of interest, Gary’s girlfriend (Gwyneth Paltrow) jets off to Italy, allowing Gary to fully immerse himself in his own dream world. Written and directed by Gwyneth’s bro Jake, the film sounds not unlike like a Michel Gondry pic without all the nifty visuals. “Hot Fuzz”‘s Simon Pegg and Danny De Vito co-star.

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

“The Heartbreak Kid”

We’re getting the felling that we’ve seen all that Ben Stiller can do, so we’ve got our doubts about this remake of the 1972 Elaine May film of the same title. Bobby and Peter Farrelly, desperately in need of a comedic hit after the drab romantic comedy “Fever Pitch” in 2005, enlist Stiller to play a newlywed who regrets marrying his wife and ends up meeting the girl of his dreams (the girl of our dreams, Michelle Monaghan). Wacky hijinks, we predict, shall ensue.

Opens wide (official site).

“Kurt Cobain: About a Son”

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to break out the flannel. “Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns)” director AJ Schnack helms this intimate documentary on iconic grunge frontman Kurt Cobain, based on the popular Michael Azerrad book “Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana.” The conversations heard in the film have never before been made public, and they reveal a highly personal portrait of an artist much discussed but not particularly well understood.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Lake of Fire”

“American History X” director Tony Kaye returns with another film that we’re sure is going to ruffle a few feathers. Kaye tackles the ever-controversial debate on abortion and the lasting effects of the Roe vs. Wade judicial case of 1972 — the filmmaker reportedly spent the past 15 years working on this film which, as we’ve seen with his previous works, will likely cause heated debate, but which also premiered to fantastic reviews at Toronto last year.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Michael Clayton”

George Clooney gets his lawyer on as an in-house “fixer” at a top New York law firm who risks his career (and possibly more…!) on a sabotaged class action suit that pits him against a rival litigator (Tilda Swinton, who always makes a movie better). Tony Gilroy, previously known for writing the Jason Bourne trilogy, makes his directing debut. Hopefully poor George’s ribs will be all healed by the time award season rolls around — his performance just screams of a nasty Cary Grant. And if Tom Wilkinson doesn’t get a supporting nod for his Howard Beale-esque turn as a brilliant attorney gone mad, we’re might have to hire a “fixer” of our own.

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

“My Kid Could Paint That”

If you think the parents of CBS’s controversial new reality show “Kid Nation” were crazy for letting their children star in an unsupervised “social experiment” about an adult-less world, wait until you see the parents of four-year-old Maria Olmstead, the subject of this documentary courtesy of Amir Bar-Lev, chronicling the rising stardom of a young artist often compared to Pablo Picasso — and whether or not she’s actually behind the art credited to her.

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

“The Seeker: The Dark is Rising”

For every successful “Harry Potter” film, there needs to be at least five “Eragon”‘s. “The Seeker: The Dark is Rising,” based on the Susan Cooper novel, follows a young boy whose life is turned upside down when he learns that he is the last of a group of immortal warriors who have dedicated their lives to fighting the forces of the dark. Yeah, it sounds a bit like “Star Wars” without the stars or the wars and with a lot more magic, but if you want to see “Deadwood”‘s Ian McShane show up for a paycheck, it might be worth it. Personally, we’re still dreading the long-rumored remake of “The Karate Kid.” Sweep the leg!

Opens wide (official site).

“Strange Culture”

“Teknolust” director Lynn Hershman-Leeson’s documentary follows a collection of actors interpreting the legally touchy subject of artist Steve Kurtz, currently imprisoned as a suspected terrorist because of his controversial works. The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Weirdsville”

Director Allan Moyle helms this slacker comedy about two stoners (Wes Bentley and Scott Speedman) who get in way over their heads when they try to dump the body of a dead girlfriend in the basement of a drive-in movie theatre where a satanic cult performs ritual sacrifices. Considering the film’s offbeat premise and our love for all things “Empire Records,” we’re pretty sure Moyle can handle slacker comedy with the best of them (we’re lookin’ at you, Linklater), plus we can’t even remember the last time we saw Wes Bentley (has it already been five years since “The Four Feathers”?). The film premiered earlier this year at the Slamdance Film Festival.

Opens in Austin (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.