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DID YOU READ

A Valentine’s Day for the Economically Depressed

A Valentine’s Day for the Economically Depressed (photo)

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This Valentine’s Day weekend, there’s plenty to make you want to clutch your significant other tight in the dark — Isla Fisher wields a credit card, Jason Voorhees puts on his hockey mask one more time and Clive Owen is the quite ridiculous vessel for an entire nation’s displaced rage.

“As Seen Through These Eyes”
In the works for ten painstaking years, writer/director Hilary Helstein’s debut feature achieves its noble goal — to tell, in her words, “an uplifting story about the Holocaust” — by focusing on concentration camp prisoners who made the best of their limited resources and created artwork, many of whom survived the horrors to go on and become internationally recognized artists. Mixing archival footage with candid testimony from the survivors, Helstein presents these remarkable people and their equally remarkable work — music, art, poetry — that served then as it served now, as a testament to the indomitable nature of the human spirit. Maya Angelou narrates.
Opens in New York.

“Confessions of a Shopaholic”
On a Valentine’s Day weekend when concession stand employees will be asking couples “What size popcorn? Large, regular or, just been laid off?”, this candy-coated wish-fulfillment fantasy arrives to remind us all just how we came to be where we are. Aussie director and rom-com veteran P.J. Hogan (of both “Muriel’s-” and “My Best Friend’s Wedding”) helms this smartly dressed adaptation of Sophie Kinsella’s chick-lit odyssey with Isla Fisher as Becky, the compulsive spender clutching a Visa bill the size of a phone book. Having landed a job writing a financial advice column, Becky resolves to pay off her mountain of debt and in the process discovers that materialism is a fallacy and what matters is that you learn to love yourself. Of course, having a job at a prestigious New York magazine owned by an absurdly wealthy guy who happens to be quite into you doesn’t hurt either.
Opens wide.

“Friday the 13th”
With an unparalleled pedigree in the making of first-rate cinematic pap, German music video director Marcus Nispel (of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake) returns to deliver the latest incarnation of cinema’s most enduring psycho with a script from the guys behind “Freddy Vs Jason.” Looking like they just walked off an ad for United Colors of Benetton, a group of blissfully unaware teenagers arrive at the now-deserted Camp Crystal Lake for a night of unsupervised revelry. Jason and his trusty machete, as always, are only too happy to oblige. With executive producer Michael Bay acting as the adult voice of reason, we can only imagine what terrors await them, or us, for that matter.
Opens wide.

“Gomorrah”
After 70 years of big-screen organized crime romanticism, Matteo Garrone’s docudrama (adapted from Roberto Saviano’s exposé of Naples’ Camorra crime syndicate) will likely serve as a wake-up call for audiences used to viewing the mafia through Hollywood rose-tinted lenses as a principled organization that rewards loyalty and honor. Billed as an example of hyperlink cinema (a trendy, Web-conscious way to describe interwoven, disparate storytelling), “Gomorrah” had critics falling over themselves to praise its audacity, with some even heralding a new era for the mob movie. Employing mostly non-professional actors and even a few actual criminals, Garrone orchestrates five intertwined stories touching on the deadly organization that runs Naples and how their actions affect the daily lives and fortunes of every Neopolitan. In Italian with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

“Great Speeches From a Dying World”
After walking 1200 miles to meet his favorite director in his last doc, “Walking to Werner,” Seattle-based filmmaker Linas Phillips returns to the streets to showcase the plight of the homeless population through the stories of ten men and women, each asked to select a great speech from history that he or she feels is relevant to their lives. As the economic recession continues, Phillips offers a poignant reminder that the difference between the famous and the forgotten is measured merely in how much attention the rest of us choose to pay.
Opens in New York.

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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.