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Spring Preview: Anywhere But a Movie Theater

Spring Preview: Anywhere But a Movie Theater (photo)

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Film releases certainly aren’t limited to theaters these days — here’s a rundown of titles making their way to you via alternative pathways.

On Demand

Our sister company IFC Films made a splash at this year’s Sundance with the announcement of a partnership with the SXSW Film Festival to premiere four of the festival’s picks concurrent with their debut in Austin. Joe Swanberg’s latest, “Alexander the Last,” headlines the group making their on demand debut on March 14, along with Australian comedy “Three Blind Mice,” Bulgarian noir “Zift” and SXSW ’08 alums “Medicine for Melancholy” and “Paper Covers Rock.”

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On DVD

It’s a sign of the times that a serviceable Tommy Lee Jones thriller can sit alongside the latest from Steven Seagal at your local Blockbuster, but “In the Electric Mist” is far more interesting than the actor’s paycheck output of the late ’90s, even if it is missing 15 minutes from its international version and half of its original title. Bertrand Tavernier’s adaptation of James Lee Burke’s bayou murder mystery “In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead” is steeped in Cajun culture, with far more attention being paid to the post-Katrina landscape and New Iberia’s colorful characters (gamely played by a supporting cast including John Goodman, James Gammon, Peter Sarsgaard and Kelly MacDonald) than its storyline, which follows Jones’ Detective Robicheaux working overtime on the murder of a dead hooker and what appears to be a racially motivated cold case. The addition of Robicheaux’s conversations with a supernatural Confederate ghost probably didn’t help its standing with potential theatrical distributors, but such quirks set “Mist” apart from cookie cutter thrillers like Jones’ own “Double Jeopardy.” Less than two weeks after it played Berlinale, it can be watched in the comfort of your home on March 3rd, much like the rest of these indie films that are bypassing the big screen in the months ahead:

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“Extreme Movie”
Something funny happened on the way to the multiplex for this sketch comedy film, which was inexplicably removed from the Dimension release schedule late last year. Even with an appearance from Michael Cera and a script cobbled together by half the “Saturday Night Live” writing room in Will Forte, John Solomon, Andy Samberg, Avika Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, among others, the 75-minute sex spoof is being sent straight to DVD. But it couldn’t be worse than what those “Meet the Spartans” guys come up with, right?

“Jam”
Surprisingly, the first feature from professional trailer cutter Mark Woollen, whose work includes the striking teasers for “Milk” and “Little Children,” never made it to the multiplex after winning the best documentary prize at SXSW in 2006. The roller derby doc has, however, made it into the rotation of the Sundance Channel and will finally see a release through their DVD label.

“Lullaby”
Fans of Melissa Leo’s performance in “Frozen River” might want to consider the other 2008 film she starred in as a Tennessee waitress shaken down by drug dealers who are holding her ne’er-do-well son hostage in Johannesburg. Following an appearance at last year’s Method Fest, the Darrell James Roodt-directed drama is hitting DVD.

Other indies that played theaters, but you might’ve missed: The soldier’s homecoming drama “Badland,” “Chris and Don: A Love Story,” “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father,” the war profiteer doc “Disarm,” the Irish romance “Eden,” “Hounddog,” the unconventional 2004 Japanese chiller “Late Bloomer,” the Japanese retiree drama “Man Walking on Snow,” the acclaimed doc “The Matador,” the Minnie Driver drama “Take,” “What Just Happened”

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“The Burning”
If “Carrie” had a sister and she were Japanese, it might look something like this thriller from director Kenta Hayashida about two twins with pyrokinetic abilities, though one has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“Dead in 3 Days”
An Austrian horror film that’s been making the rounds of horror/fantasy festivals since 2006, this Dimension Extreme release about a group of friends who become the target of a homicidal maniac is finally docking on U.S. shores. Think “Friday the 13th,” especially since said friends live near a lake.

“Protégé”
The Weinstein Company’s Dragon Dynasty label is giving yet another comprehensive release to a celebrated Hong Kong actioner that never found U.S. distribution. This time, it’s the 2007 drama “Protégé,” which stars “Infernal Affairs”‘ Andy Lau as a businessman by day and drug kingpin by night who preparations for retirement don’t go exactly as planned when he appoints an undercover cop (Daniel Wu) to be his successor.

“Real Time”
The opening night film of last year’s Slamdance Film Festival, this Canadian comedy stars “Undeclared”‘s Jay Baruchel as a degenerate gambler who’s told by a hit man (Randy Quaid) that he only has one hour left to live and spends the next 60 minutes doing the unexpected.

“Weapons”
“Bomb the System” director Adam Bhala Lough’s multi-stranded sophomore feature about a small town plagued by a series of interconnected teen murders provoked plenty of heated discussions (and many negative reviews) at Sundance in 2007 and scored a million-dollar distribution deal from After Dark Films, though it never made it to theaters. Now, Lionsgate is releasing the Paul Dano-Nick Cannon drama direct-to-DVD.

Other indies that played theaters, but you might have missed: “I’ve Loved You So Long,” the Sissy Spacek-Troy Garity potboiler “Lake City,” the John Ratzenberger drama “The Village Barbershop,” the Thai romance “Wonderful Town,” the German corporate thriller “Yella”

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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