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Four Inevitable Disney Live-Action Remakes

Four Inevitable Disney Live-Action Remakes (photo)

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This week’s “Race to Witch Mountain,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino, is the latest remake– ahem, modern reimagining from Walt Disney Studios. Though the Mouse House’s animated classics remain sacrosanct (if the jumping-off point of direct-to-DVD sequels), the live-action library has been pillaged for endless redos intended for theaters or the Disney Channel, which is where a previous remake of “Escape to Witch Mountain” starring Robert Vaughn and Brad Dourif premiered in 1995. Nothing is safe from the remake button over at Disney, so here are four more properties we fully expect to receive the same treatment in the near future, and proposals on how best to bring the projects into the 21st century. The only reason the immortally cheesy “Tron” didn’t make the list is because they’re already shooting a sequel.

03182009_theblackhole.jpg“The Black Hole” (1979)
Directed by Gary Nelson

One of the least kid-friendly casts in Disney history (including hep cats Robert Forster, Anthony Perkins, Ernest Borgnine, and the voices of Slim Pickens and Roddy McDowell) play the crew of a spaceship that discovers a mad scientist perched on the precipice of a massive black hole in this unusually idea-centric science-fiction affair. Oh, sure, there are a few obligatory laser gun battles, and some fight sequences between robots held aloft by noticeable strings. But the vast, bloated — some might call it “Borgninian” – midsection of the film is devoted entirely to middle-aged white people dressed like Russian diplomats sitting in a Victorian-style sitting room (on a spaceship?) debating the ethics and etiquette of space exploration instead of actually exploring anything. And what’s with crazy Dr. Zhivago’s evil scheme?

He spends 20 years designing a ship that can resist the black hole’s gravity in order to… stop resisting the black hole’s gravity? Disney would probably love to take a mulligan on this whole project: save all the salable elements — how can you go wrong with laser guns and angry robots? — and inject some much-needed youth and excitement into the film. Certainly the availability of CGI would give the whole affair a much more appealing look: the ensemble of robots, for instance, would no longer have to look like a bunch of extras doing the robot dance while dressed like fencing instructors on their way to a funeral. The remake could maintain the original’s epic feel (there’s even an overture of composer John Barry’s original score) while actually including people doing, y’know, stuff.

03182009_flightnavigator.jpg“Flight of the Navigator” (1986)
Directed by Randal Kleiser

Disney’s always looking for more projects for their beloved Jonas Brothers, and this material is tailor-made for them. In the original, 12-year-old David (Joey Cramer) falls into a ravine while chasing his annoying little brother Jeff (Albie Whitaker) through the woods and awakens a short time later to find the entire world has believed him to be dead for eight years. Now, Jeff is 16 (and played by Matt Adler) and ready to pay back all those wedgies. Our updated “Flight of the Navigator” casts middle Jonas Joe as David, and Nick and Kevin as the younger and older Jeff respectively. Appealing to the tweenyboppers’ enormous fan base of young girls will help the boy-centric material gain footholds in the female audience. Plus, the original, though a nostalgic favorite for children of the ’80s, has at least one noticeable flaw worth correcting. After David awakens in 1986, NASA brings him in to help explain the mystery surrounding a downed UFO. Later, he takes the ship for a spin around the earth while conversing with its artificial intelligence, Max. But after the ship downloads some information from David’s brain, it suddenly begins talking – and, even worse, laughing – like Pee-wee Herman. It’s nothing against Paul Reubens; Pee-wee just didn’t belong in this otherwise mysterious and atmospheric fantasy adventure. If we’ve absolutely got to have a crazy Max voice to appease the nostalgic fanboys, we’ll get a less manic comedian: Seth Rogen was the right age to enjoy the original “Flight of the Navigator,” maybe he’d be interested.

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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.


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…


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.


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).


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.


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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