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Corporate Cons, Battling Besties and Valentino

Corporate Cons, Battling Besties and Valentino (photo)

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If daylight savings time is upon us, it must mean the first quarter release graveyard really is out of sight now as some big name stars finally come out to play. Meanwhile, some previous SXSW alums make their theatrical bows as the film and music fest get underway in Austin and bromance continues to blossom.

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French helmer François Ozon’s first English language feature is an adaptation of Brit author Elizabeth Taylor’s seriocomic novel of the same title and promises to be a campy, ironic throwback to the melodramas of 1950s Hollywood. Romola Garai stars as Angelica “Angel” Deverell, the Barbara Taylor Bradford of the Edwardian era who specializes in romantic slush, which she flogs to long-suffering publisher Sam Neill. A woman of determined ambition, Angel callously manipulates anyone she feels will benefit her ascension to the upper echelons of society, only to come to the realization that she hasn’t a clue what to do once she gets there.
Opens in limited release.

On the heels of his far-better-than-it-looked-on-paper white collar thriller “The International,” Clive Owen continues his crusade against capitalism by reuniting with “Closer” co-star Julia Roberts for writer/director Tony Gilroy’s corporate con comedy, replete with heist hijinks, red herrings, and double and triple crosses. As a pair of former spooks-turned-security analysts, Ray Koval (Owen) and Claire Stenwick (Roberts) declare their steamy past strictly business and pool their resources in order to pit their greedy rival bosses (Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti) against each other while conning them out of their valuable corporate secrets.
Opens wide.

“The Feature”
“Darkon” co-directors Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel collaborate with French experimental filmmaker Michel Auder in assembling 40 years of footage into a unique, sprawling, near three-hour long retrospective of Auder’s life and his constantly evolving work. An artist, musician, poet, diarist and — by his own assessment — “filmmaker who isn’t interested in filmmaking,” Auder narrates as his life unspools on screen from over 5000 hours of footage, recordings, images and interviews he has collected, transforming it into an interpretive portrait of his own enigma.
Opens in New York on Wednesday, March 18th.

“The Great Buck Howard”
Despite veering wildly from sharp satire to sentimental schmaltz, writers/director Sean McGinly delivers potentially a breakout picture, aided by a galaxy of star cameos (Conan O’Brien, Jon Stewart, Martha Stewart) likely straight out of the address book of producer Tom Hanks. Proving once and for all that no one does self-important petulance better, John Malkovich is the titular showman Buck Howard, who was once a darling of “The Tonight Show,” and now tries to prevent time’s withered claw scratching away his career by scouring tourist traps and playing to the blue rinse brigade. Handling the baggage, both literally and figuratively, is Colin Hanks as Troy, a law school dropout who lands the job of Buck’s assistant, charged with wooing a crafty publicist (Emily Blunt). Tom himself pops up as — guess what? — Troy’s deeply disappointed dad.
Opens in limited release.

With a big question mark still hanging over the future of inmates held at Guantánamo Bay, British helmer Steve McQueen’s poignant debut is a timely reminder of the harrowing story of Bobby Sands, the IRA hunger striker who starved himself to death in a British prison in 1981 in protest of the denial of his political status. In an unflinching retelling of one of Britain’s most shameful hours, McQueen chronicles the rampant prisoner abuse and widespread political apathy that caused Sands (Michael Fassbender) and nine other prisoners to sacrifice themselves to bring light to the desperate hopelessness of their situation.
Opens in limited release.

“I Love You, Man”
Born out of the tried and true “Odd Couple” premise, this latest entry into the bromantic comedy subgenre arrives from “Along Came Polly” and “Safe Men” writer/director John Hamburg. Paul Rudd stars as a soon-to-be-wed stiff Peter Klaven, whose lack of best man options leaves him “man-dating” himself into a close bond with the wilder Sydney Fife (Jason Segel). But as the big day approaches, Peter wonders if he can really choose between his blushing bride (Rashida Jones) and his newfound best bro. Andy Samberg, Jon Favreau, J.K. Simmons and Jane Curtin are among those adding to the laughs.
Opens wide.


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.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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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:


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.


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!


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.


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.



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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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.”


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. 


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.