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DID YOU READ

“The Dark Knight” is De Palma plus Coppola plus Kubrick plus Cronenberg?

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07102008_thedarkknight.jpg“No matter how good ‘The Dark Knight’ is,” writes Steven Zeitchik at the Hollywood Reporter‘s Risky Business blog, “how mindblowingly, dazzlingly, pulsatingly, wish-Heath-was-still-here good — is it better than ‘Casablanca’ or ‘Lawrence of Arabia?’ ” It’s not an entirely rhetorical question, at least in that the feverish early reviews have swung for some eyebrow-raisingly high fences:

David Poland: “This is not a Batman movie… this is a 2008 version of The Untouchables with The Batman as Elliot Ness, The Joker as Al Capone, much better toys, and, it seems, a topper.”

Peter Travers: “It’s enough to watch Bale chillingly render Batman as a lost warrior, evoking Al Pacino in The Godfather II in his delusion and desolation. It’s enough to see Ledger conjure up the anarchy of the Sex Pistols and A Clockwork Orange as he creates a Joker for the ages.”

Richard Corliss: “In its rethinking and transcending of a schlock source, The Dark Knight is up there with David Cronenberg’s 1986 version of The Fly. It turns pulp into dark poetry.”

Zeitchek adds:

Owen Gleiberman at EW has a theory about some awards movies — critics go out of their way to show the love, he says, because of their bitterness at being forced to review studio blockbusters the other 45 weeks of the year. There may be a similar principle at work for the new Batman. Fanboys we knew would love it, but Nolan’s imprimatur makes it acceptable for the arthouse crowd. And the Ledger tragedy makes it a movie that’s not only fashionable to like but downright insensitive not to.

Elsewhere, John Lichman is let down by animated omnibus film “Batman: Gotham Knight” at The House Next Door, while fitting in a salute to “Batman: The Animated Series.”

Grady Hendrix at Kaiju Shakedown points out that Edison Chen, the Hong Kong star who was the center of massive sex scandal earlier this year, has a small role in the film.

And Lorenzo Semple Jr., who wrote for the original ’60s “Batman” series (NA-NA-na-na-NA-NA-na-na) as well as “The Parallax View” and “Three Days of the Condor,” describes “the circumstances of TV Batman’s birth,” concluding:

The experience of getting TV Batman airborne was pure pleasure, and I hope explains why I disappoint those folks who ask me my opinion of bigscreen Batman, doubtless looking for something juicy. Apples and oranges. Their complex hero is not my innocent, brow knitted as he and Robin dig deep to decipher one of the Riddler’s third-grade-level puzzlers. Who knows? Folks who prefer the new guy may well be right.

[Photo: “The Dark Knight,” Warner Bros. Pictures, 2008]

+ Dawn breaks over a Dark Night (Risky Business Blog)
+ Pulpy Fictions: Batman: Gotham Knight (The House Next Door)
+ Edison and the Dark Knight (Kaiju Shakedown)
+ Requiem for a cheeky ‘Batman’ (Variety)

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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.