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While we were out.

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Karl Markovics plays Salomon Sorowitsch.
A few things that slipped by while we were at the festival or doing our civic duty and waiting around in a windowless room to be called to be put on a jury:

The list of films contending for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® was announced: 63 countries submitted a film, a new record thanks to the participation of Azerbaijan and Ireland. We’ve always found the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® to be the second most reliably frustrating Oscar® category after that of Best Documentary Feature Oscar®, but this year’s list is both solid and strikingly sparse on films that the average moviegoer will have even had a chance to have heard of — "The Orphanage," "Persepolis" and "The Counterfeiters" are, of the few titles with distributors, the only ones likely to receive a release in more than a handful of theaters. It’s hard out there for an international film, sure, but we’re also curious as to why this year’s sleeper darling "Once" wasn’t Ireland’s submission — was it DQ’d for some reason? It would seem a shoo-in to win, and one we wouldn’t have grumbled about. Except for our unexplainable hallucination of subtitles onto "Once" for… Czech and non-use of Gaelic, we suppose. We’re tired and apparently going crazy — "Kings," is, incidentally, mostly in Gaelic, and "Once"’s best Oscar hopes probably are in the song category. Also, it’s only October, and we’re in trouble if the year’s films are already blurring into one massive (but apparently subtitled) megafilm.

David Lynch is in Israel promoting transcendental meditation as a path to inner and outer peace, reports the AP. Such is the power of his filmmaking that when he met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Peres did not slap his own forehead and say "Oh, meditation is the answer! If only we’d been told earlier, we could have avoided all of the unrest caused by centuries of religious, political and cultural conflict!"

And at Pusan, director Peter Greenaway joined that curmudgeonly club of filmmakers and the like who’ve declared cinema dead. Writes Clifford Coonan at the Independent:

"Cinema’s death date was 31 September 1983, when the remote-control
zapper was introduced to the living room, because now cinema has to be
interactive, multi-media art," he told a director’s masterclass.

It should be noted that September has 30 days.

We’ve always liked Greenaway’s argument that cinema is being held back by its ties to literature and straightforward narration, something he did return to in this latest rant, adding that "Cinema is wasted on cinema – most cinema is bedtime stories for adults." Related: A mere month and a half ago, Ridley Scott at the Venice Film Festival announced that "I think movies are getting dumber, actually. Where it used to be 50/50, now it’s 3% good, 97% stupid." (Via the Guardian.) Oh, memories, misty watercolor memories…

+ 63 Countries Seeking Foreign Language Film Oscar® (
+ Lynch Promotes Meditation on Israel Trip (AP)
+ Greenaway announces the death of cinema – and blames the remote-control zapper (Independent)
+ Pitt happy, but Ridley Scott grumbles (Guardian)


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.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

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:


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.


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!


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.


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.



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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GIFs via Giphy

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.”


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. 


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.