This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

DID YOU READ

Sundance 2009: “Cold Souls.”

Sundance 2009: “Cold Souls.” (photo)

Posted by on

The shadow of Charlie Kaufman looms unignorably large over Sophie Barthes’ first feature “Cold Souls,” which stars Paul Giamatti as a well-known and very serious actor named Paul Giamatti, who’s finding that his role in a upcoming stage production of “Uncle Vanya” is weighing on him. An article in the New Yorker steers him to a service being pitched to wealthy New Yorkers looking to lighten their metaphysical load by having their souls removed and stored, and soon Giamatti is in the care of Dr. Flintstein (David Strathairn), who professes, not reassuringly, that his company has no idea how their process works. Extracted, Giamatti’s soul takes the form of a chickpea. But while he no longer feels troubled — in fact, he no longer feels much at all — his soullessness isn’t doing much for his acting. He falls down the rabbit hole of international soul trafficking, renting what he’s told is a Russian poet’s soul imported by a professional mule (Dina Korzun) who, incidentally, has secretly borrowed Giamatti’s soul at her mobbish boss’ orders, as his soap star wife feels it’ll help her with her craft.

Brighton Beach, Russia, Manhattan, Roosevelt Island — they’re all chilly-looking realms in “Cold Souls,” one in which the unwelcome forces of economics, whimsically conceived as they may be, have stretched icy fingers into places they don’t belong. But while the film has plenty of the witty throwaway touches typical of, or at least a fair approximation of, Kaufman (to avoid sales tax, a customer can choose to have his or her soul shipped to New Jersey for cheaper storage), it lacks the solidity of his cockeyed universes, in which everything’s askew but remarkably consistent and terribly human. Halfway through Barthes’ film, the logic falters — why can souls regenerate from almost nothing? What happens to a soul when its source dies? What’s so bad about building up soul residue? — and the set-up starts to seem too much like a metaphor. A metaphor for the acting process, even, in which someone tries on something like another’s soul in order to embody a character on stage or screen, and in which a bit of that character could unwittingly linger even after the role is over. That’s not enough, for me, to justify the film’s sense of pervasive melancholy, which in its reverence for the high arts as the greatest indicators of soulfulness, seems a little facile.

“Cold Souls” currently has no U.S. distribution. See all of IFC.com’s Sundance coverage here.

[Photo: “Cold Souls,” Journeyman Pictures, 2009]

IFC_FOD_TV_long_haired_businessmen_table

Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

Posted by on

via GIPHY

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.

SAE_102_tout_2

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:

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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!

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

IFC_ComedyCrib_ThePlaceWeLive_SeriesImage_web

SO EXCITED!!!

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.”

via GIPHY

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. 

via GIPHY

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.