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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: November 9th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Tom Cruise in “Lions for Lambs,” United Artists, 2007]

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

After Dark HorrorFest 2007

This annual film festival brings eight independent horror flicks (along with possible “secret” bonus films) to theaters around the country. This year’s lineup includes a collection of films starring horror favorites Rider Strong (“Cabin Fever”), Emmanuelle Vaugier (“Saw II”) and general tough guys Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones, and will run from November 9th to 18th in over 350 theaters across America.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Fred Claus”

‘Tis the season to be jolly, or so we’d like to believe. This latest Christmas comedy from director David Dobkins seems a bit more “Elf” than “Bad Santa” as Santa Claus (Paul Giamatti, we like) deals with the arrival of his bitter older brother Fred (Vince Vaughn on a bender) to the North Pole. The trailer apparently offers ninja elves, North Pole bureaucracy, and Kevin Spacey slumming in the “generic bad guy” role, but we’re hoping a stellar supporting cast of Miranda Richardson, Rachel Weisz, and Kathy Bates elevates this somewhat tepid-looking holiday comedy to something we care about seeing. But hey, at least it’s not “The Santa Clause 7” or whatever.

Opens wide (official site).

“Glass Lips”

Polish filmmaker, artist and poet Lech Majewski presents a feature version of what a originally a gallery installation entitled “Blood of a Poet” — a young writer is recalls past trauma while locked up in an asylum.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Holly”

Guy Moshe’s debut feature film tells the story of an American stolen artifacts dealer (Ron Livingston) in Vietnam who tries to save a young girl from child traffickers. The film premiered at last year’s Edinburgh Film Festival and contains one of the late Chris Penn’s final acting roles.

Opens in limited release (IMDb site).

“Lions for Lambs”

This “war on terror” drama got some attention for being the first film completed by Tom Cruise after his much ballyhooed split with Sumner Redstone, though we give kudos to Cruise for managing to cast the always dependable Meryl Streep and for luring Robert Redford to double duty as both star and director. The film tells the intertwining stories of a congressman (Cruise), a journalist (Streep) and a professor (Redford) who are drawn into an investigation of two injured American soldiers in Afghanistan. Early reviews have been mixed since its premiere at the London Film Festival last month, and while we love Redford returning to what he does best, “Lions for Lambs” looks plenty talky (or is that preachy?).

Opens wide (official site).

“National Lampoon Presents Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo”

Les Claypool (yes, of Primus) makes his directorial debut with a “This Is Spinal Tap” style mockumentary about a jam band.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“No Country for Old Men”

So let’s see…”No Country for Old Men” is being hailed as a return to form for the Coen brothers (channeling their “Blood Simple” days), with a chilling Javier Bardem as a nearly supernatural killer and another a surprisingly strong Josh Brolin as a hunter who discovers heroin and $2 million in cash after stumbling on a drug deal gone wrong. This one has drawn nothing but strong buzz since its premiere earlier this year at Cannes.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“P2”

We really don’t know what happened to Wes Bentley. Something must have — it’s been eight years since his brilliant supporting role in “American Beauty.” How else to explain his involvement with “P2,” a movie so ridiculous it makes “Captiviy” look like Robert Bresson. On Christmas Eve, a driven career woman (Rachel Nichols) finds herself targeted by a sadistic security guard (Bentley) who traps her in her work’s parking garage.

Opens wide (official site).

“Saawariya”

Bollywood takes on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s short story “White Nights.”

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Steal a Pencil for Me”

Academy Award-nominated documentarian Michele Ohayon follows 2005’s “Cowboy del Amor” with this Holocaust-based true story about an accountant, his wife, and his lover who are forced to live together in a concentration camp. The film premiered earlier this year at South by Southwest.

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

“War Dance”

Three children living in a displacement camp in northern Uganda compete in their country’s national music and dance festival in Sean Fine and Andrea Nix’s compelling documentary. The film won the Best Directing Award (Documentary) earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles (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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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:

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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.