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DID YOU READ

The Pre-Oscar Scrum of Cheerleaders, Fashion Designers and Madea

The Pre-Oscar Scrum of Cheerleaders, Fashion Designers and Madea (photo)

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With all eyes on the upcoming Academy Awards (not to mention the Spirit Awards, the afternoon before), it’s a relatively quiet week at the box office. There are some bubblegum high school antics, a couple of documentaries about the dysfunctional, a children’s literary classic and a somber drama set during WWII. Take heart, we’re nearly over the hump.

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“Delhi 6”
BAFTA-nominated director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra returns with this transatlantic journey of self-discovery that offers itself as another girder in the bridge between Bollywood and the U.S. American-born Indian Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan) makes a pilgrimage from New York to India to bring his ailing grandmother home. In the process, he discovers a little something about himself, his ancestral homeland and the proud traditions contained within it. Veteran composer A.R. Rahman, who’s vying for an Oscar for his work on “Slumdog Millionaire,” oversees the music. In Hindi with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

“Eleven Minutes”
After months of grueling competition against eleven other designers to win the first season of Bravo’s “Project Runway,” Jay McCarroll would face the tough part. “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” vets Michael Selditch and Robert Tate shadow the fledging designer during his year-long journey towards showing his first collection to industry press and clothing store reps. Granted an all-access pass, Selditch and Tate catalog the many highs and lows leading up to the showcase, the breakthroughs and the breakdowns as Jay and his team tirelessly prepare for a grueling 11 minutes of runway time that could make or break his career.
Opens in limited release.

“Fired Up”
Considering that Universal’s “Bring It On” franchise has amassed enough DVD rental dollars to pay multiple times over for the college education of every person that’s been in it, it’s surprising it took this long for another studio to get in on the act. Not wanting to appear derivative, first-time director Will Gluck and scripter Freedom Jones shift the attention to the guys for this cheerleading comedy. 31-year-old Eric Christian Olsen co-stars alongside the 28-year-old Nicholas D’Agosto as two high school jocks, Nick and Shawn, who enroll at cheer camp in order to pick up chicks. When Shawn falls for the head cheerleader Carly (Sarah Roemer), the boys must prove their intentions are genuine and vow to wow her with their moves at the end of camp cheer-off.
Opens wide.

“Katyń”
From acclaimed Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wadja, this dispassionate retelling of the events leading up to the massacre of some 15,000 Polish Army officers in the Katyń forest in Russia serves as an illustrated correction of more than 50 years of propaganda from the Soviets — who perpetrated the slaughter and then used their considerable postwar influence to shift the blame onto the Nazis. Having opened somewhat appropriately at the Berlin Film Festival in 2007, this best foreign language Oscar nominee from last year draws from the experience of Wadja’s own mother for the character of Anna, played by Maja Ostaszewska. The film shifts between Anna’s search for her cavalry officer husband, Andrzej (Artur Zmijewski), and his tragic circumstances as a captive of the Katyń internment camp where he and his regiment await execution. In Polish with subtitles.
Opens in New York on Wednesday, February 18th.

“Must Read After My Death”
On the heels of such sleek and polished dissections of suburbia as “Mad Men” and the star-studded “Revolutionary Road,” short film director Morgan Dews makes the jump to features with an authentic get-well cocktail of ’60s domestic dysfunction tailor-made for audiences jonesing for Don Draper and the boys to pour us all another Scotch. Working from a wealth of found footage following the death of his grandmother, Dews has painstakingly assembled decades’ worth of home movies, Dictaphone recordings and taped letters between Allis, a desperately unhappy housewife, and her traveling salesman husband, Charley. What begins as a somewhat touching way to stay in touch with her husband gradually devolve into candid confessionals and damning testimony that ably illustrate the fault lines that run throughout their rose-tinted suburban existence.
Opens in limited release.

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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.