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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: November 22nd, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Lauren Ambrose in “Starting Out in the Evening,” Roadside Attractions, 2007]

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

“August Rush”

Freddie Highmore plays an orphaned musical prodigy stranded in the middle of New York who, with the help of a mysterious stranger (Robin Williams), attempts to find the parents from whom he was separated at birth (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Keri Russell). While “August Rush”‘s bohemia-heavy vision of the city may remind us of a sappier version of “Rent,” we’re hard-pressed to hate on director Kirsten (daughter of Jim) Sheridan’s musical fantasy — it does seem like a prettied-up response to her father’s own heartfelt New York ode “In America.” Plus, kudos to Keri Russell for capping off a great 2007 after “Waitress” and a short run on “Scrubs.”

Opens wide (official site).

“Enchanted”

For those who still haven’t seen the 2005 indie drama “Junebug,” welcome to the film that’s going to make Amy Adams a star. Adams plays a peasant girl who falls in love with a prince in a Disney-esque animated world, and is banished to real-life New York City by the evil queen (Susan Sarandon). It’s about time Disney poked a little bit of fun at its animated history, but we’re just excited to see our favorite Winston-Salem resident get the exposure she deserves. Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey co-stars as a divorce lawyer who falls in love with Adams after she lands in the live action world.

Opens wide (official site).

“Everything’s Cool: A Toxic Comedy About Global Warming”

“Blue Vinyl” directors Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand re-team for a documentary about a group of activists who try to raise awareness for global warming. The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

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

“Hitman”

This latest actioner is based on the PlayStation 2 video game series of the same name, which tells you all you need to know (i.e., this will suck). Reports of director Xavier Gens getting fired from the production have been widespread ever since filming was completed, and while Timothy Olyphant may be a fine actor, why couldn’t they get an actual bald guy to play Agent 47? What is Vin Diesel even up to these days? And how did Jason Statham turn down this role?

Opens wide (official site).

“I’m Not There”

Todd Haynes’ highly anticipated Bob Dylan biopic finally hits theaters, and we expect it to enthrall as much as frustrated viewers. Haynes strays from the familiar biopic by following six distinct characters, each depicting different stages of Dylan’s life and embodying a different aspect of his life story and music. Big names like Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Cate Blanchett play the different Dylans. The film won the Special Jury Prize at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Midnight Eagle”

“Fly, Daddy, Fly” director Izuru Narushima helms this adventure film about a former war photographer who witnesses the crash of a U.S. bomber nicknamed “Midnight Eagle” and becomes involved in an international hunt for its secret payload, a nuclear warhead that threatens to wipe out Japan’s entire population.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Nina’s Heavenly Delights”

Pratibha Parmar’s U.K. comedy film explores national, racial and sexual identities through the character of Nina Shah, a young Indo-Scottish woman who returns to her deceased father’s restaurant and falls in love with its new owner, Lisa. The film premiered earlier this year at the Bite the Mango Festival.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

“Starting Out in the Evening”

Andrew Wagner’s drama finds an ambitious grad student (Lauren Ambrose) who convinces a writer (Frank Langella) that her thesis can resurrect his flagging literary career. The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

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

“Stephen King’s The Mist”

Suddenly Stephen King adaptations are in vogue again, and Frank Darabont (of “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile”) re-teams with the prolific horror writer for a story about how everyman David Drayton (Tom Jane) is caught up in a freak storm that unleashes bloodthirsty monsters on his small town. Scaaaaaryy…we guess.

Opens wide (official site).

“This Christmas”

Writer-director Preston A. Whitmore II follows up the awful, awful “Crossover” with this well-cast drama about a family’s first Christmas holiday get-together in four years. Whitmore enlists ace actors Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Columbus Short and Idris Elba (what hasn’t he been in this year?) for this holiday ensemble drama. Eat that, Tyler Perry.

Opens wide (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.