This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


Opening This Week: Charlie Kaufman directs, Kristin Scott Thomas speaks French

Posted by on

10202008_changeling.jpgBy Neil Pedley

A run-up to Halloween week that’s surprisingly light on the gore gives way to some refreshingly subtle visions of terror, both real and imagined, taking their place alongside some of the award season’s more established heavy hitters.

Nothing rings the Oscar bell quite like a Clint Eastwood period drama, and by now we all know exactly what to expect from the old master — another superbly crafted, slightly cold exercise in melodrama where fate casts an icy glare on someone quite undeserving, and then buries him or her under a tiny mountain of misery. (Divided audiences to follow.) Based on the infamous Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, the film stars Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins, the single mother wronged by police who return a strange boy to her as her missing son, and then attempt to quiet their mistake by quieting her. John Malkovich co-stars as the activist preacher who exposes the police department’s corruption.
Opens in limited release; opens wide on Oct. 31st

“Fear(s) of the Dark”
An alum of the recent Fantastic Fest in Austin, this omnibus anthology of animated id exploration comes out of France, courtesy of several premier comic book artists and graphic designers. Instructed to animate the “rhythm of their fears,” six graphic artists (Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti and Richard McGuire) treat audiences to a black and white barrage of charcoal terror, kooky shadow play and anime nightmare tied together with narration from French actress/director Nicole Garcia. In French with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

“High School Musical 3: Senior Year”
Not even Vanessa Hudgens’ accidental overnight transformation from good girl to sex kitten, thanks to those now infamous leaked photos earlier this year, has seemed to derail the Disney Channel’s flagship franchise, which is making its leap to the big screen for its third and presumably final chapter. Director Kenny Ortega brings Hudgens and the rest of the East High class together to negotiate the tricky hurdles of prom, a basketball championship and a spring musical to cap things off in style as wall-to-wall pop music accompanies them. Next stop, college (musical).
Opens wide.

“I’ve Loved You So Long”
French novelist and literature professor-turned-screenwriter Philippe Claudel adds another string to his bow with this celebrated directorial debut centering on crime, punishment and the introspection of the guilty. Kristin Scott Thomas, in what some have called a career best performance, stars as Juliette, the elder sister of Léa (Elsa Zylberstein), who returns home after a 15-year incarceration. As Léa and her family tiptoe around the damaged Juliette, the gravity of her situation slowly reveals itself and she begins to question if there is any road back from her terrible crime. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

04282008_lettherightonein.jpg“Let The Right One In”
Winner of the Best Narrative Feature award (and positive notices) at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, Swedish director Tomas Alfredson’s enchanting, bittersweet, pre-teen love story offers the perfect alternative for Halloween couples seeking something a little less traditional. Adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 gothic page-turner, Alfredson’s film chronicles the gentle, innocent courtship of Oskar (KÃ¥re Hedebrant), a 12-year-old punching bag to school bullies, and the enigmatic Eli (Lina Leandersson), a 200-year-old vampire trapped in the body of a child who comes to Oskar’s aide. In Swedish with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

As far as popular entertainment is concerned, the post-9/11 commercial passenger plane has slowly but steadily transformed into something akin to the creepy old house on top of the hill. “Nine Lives” director Rodrigo García takes a break from helming female ensemble dramas to make this supernatural drama starring Anne Hathaway as Claire, a grief counselor brought in to help survivors of a plane crash and finds herself inexplicably drawn towards the most elusive, Eric (Patrick Wilson). When accounts of the incident begin to conflict and the remaining survivors start to disappear, Claire begins to suspect there may be more to the mystery that first appeared and that Eric may hold the key to it all. Equally mysterious is the film’s fly-by-night release, which is being handled by TriStar, the Sony arm that can count Lindsay Lohan’s “I Know Who Killed Me” and Al Pacino’s “88 Minutes” among its recent efforts.
Opens in limited release.

“Pride and Glory”
Based on his own experiences hanging around his father’s NYC police precinct in his youth, “Tumblewoods” writer/director Gavin O’Connor’s hard-hitting multi-generational cop drama finally arrives after seven years in development hell. Edward Norton stars as the dogged investigator tasked to investigate the slayings of several corrupt officers under the command of his brother (Colin Farrell). but learns that following the clues leads him closer to home than he ever dared imagine. Jon Voight co-stars as the father trying to prevent his family from being torn asunder.
Opens wide.

“Roadside Romeo”
In a year where their live action slate has been more miss than hit, Bollywood’s Yash Raj Films looks to diversify, entering into a distribution deal with Disney for their first foray into animation. Employing state of the art pixels from India’s Visual Computing Labs, veteran Bollywood player Jugal Hansraj scripts and directs this animated song and dance romance that tells of cool and cocky mansion-dwelling mutt named Romeo (Saif Ali Khan) who finds himself stripped of the high life after being accidentally left behind on the streets of Mumbai, where critters live in fear of Charlie Anna (Javed Jaffrey), the evil don of the area. Could “Bombay Chihuahua” be far behind? In English and Hindi with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

“Saw V”
With audiences seemingly over the whole torture porn thing, the world needs a continuation of this franchise like another dip in the stock market. With Jigsaw having been killed off two movies ago and Shawnee Smith, the actress who played his surviving apprentice, stating she was never even on set this time around, trying to follow this sorry story has become an exercise in futility. Suffice to say, it will be nasty as all hell and for anyone but the most ardent gore fanatic, sitting through it will be marginally less unpleasant than being caught in one of Jigsaw’s heinous devices of death yourself. Marginally. “Dexter”‘s Julie Benz, Meagan Good and Betsy Russell are potentially among the fresh victims onscreen.
Opens wide.

“Stranded: I Have Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains”
Uruguayan director Gonzalo Arijon’s award-winning doc reunites the living survivors of the tragic crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 that marooned 27 people in the heart of the Andes for over two months in the winter of 1972. Aided by dramatic reconstruction to illustrate key events, the survivors and their loved ones return to the crash site and narrate their remarkable bid to stay alive, the impossible choices forced upon them, and the weeklong hike through the mountains to Chile that ultimately saved their lives.
Opens in New York; opens in Los Angeles on November 7th.

“Synecdoche, New York”
Making his much-anticipated directorial debut, Charlie Kaufman again plays fast and loose with conventional narrative in delivering another melancholic, mournful slice of life from an alternate plane. Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as theater director Caden, whose obsession with mortality and the human condition leads him to create a gigantic mockup of his city where he invites an ensemble cast of thousands to reflect upon the transient nature of their lives. Catherine Keener and Samantha Morton co-star as Caden’s estranged wife and muse, respectively.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“The Universe of Keith Haring”
In the year that would have marked his 50th birthday, director Christina Clausen’s affectionate documentary offers a celebration of the life and work one of New York’s most seminal artists, tragically struck down by an AIDS-related illness at the tender age of 31. Mixing new and archival interviews with the likes of Madonna, Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono, as well as audio excerpts from the artist himself, Clausen invites the Haring’s family and friends to share their insights of one of the most influential figures of the ’80s New Wave art scene.
Opens in New York.

[Photo: “Changeling,” Universal Pictures, 2008; “Let the Right One In,” Magnet Releasing, 2008]


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

Posted by on


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.

Posted by on
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.

Posted by on
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.