DID YOU READ

What to Watch If Not Watching the “Watchmen”

What to Watch If Not Watching the “Watchmen” (photo)

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Some homegrown interloping mixes with a strong international showing this week to give an overall balance to what’s playing at your local multiplex. Comic book fans can salivate over “Watchmen,” arthouse fans can enjoy a Louis Garrel double bill, and a Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse-inspired serial killer movie bridges the gap.

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“12”
A best foreign language Oscar nominee from 2008, Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov’s interpretation of the Reginald Rose’s 1954 play “Twelve Angry Men” puts a contemporary political spin on this classic tale of passion and prejudice. Tasked with discerning the guilt of a young Chechen boy accused of brutally murdering his military officer father, Sergei Makovetsky plays the lone voice of dissent voting for acquittal. As the audience witnesses the boy’s unfortunate childhood in flashbacks, Makovetsky’s mysterious juror preaches rationality and reason as he attempts to convince a room full of his peers of the boy’s innocence one by one. In Russian with subtitles.
Opens in New York on Wednesday, March 4th.

“Everlasting Moments”
Swedish auteur Jan Troell returns with this studied piece of period miserablism, continuing his informal trilogy of films about turn of the century upheaval against the backdrop of the socialist revolution, beginning with 1966’s “Here’s Your Life” and 2001’s “As White as in Snow.” In a story inspired by his wife’s grandmother, Troell tells of Maria (Maria Heiskanen), who finds respite from her humdrum existence under the tutelage of the solicitous Sebastian (Jasper Christensen), a local photographer who encourages her to employ the camera she wins in a lottery as a tool of intellectual independence as she toils to raise her seven children and keep tabs on her boorish, womanizing husband (Mikael Persbrandt). In Swedish with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

“Explicit Ills”
Premiering at last year’s SXSW Festival where it scooped a trio of awards, actor-turned-writer/director Mark Webber’s directorial debut is a disparate ensemble ramble through an impoverished South Philadelphia neighborhood that seems to genuinely have something to say. With a cast of largely unknown actors augmented by indie starlets such as Paul Dano and Rosario Dawson, Webber delves deep into modern life on the breadlines, orchestrating a multi-stranded story of those living a hand-to-mouth existence in South Philly where kindness and compassion often take the place of actual currency.
Opens in New York; expands to Los Angeles and Philadelphia on March 20th.

“Fados”
Born out of the immigrant slums of Lisbon in the early 19th century, Fado is a vigorous yet melancholic style of music reflecting struggle and promise that’s been dubbed the “Portuguese blues.” From the classical to the contemporary, from Reggae to hip-hop, Spanish helmer Carlos Saura traces the origins of the Fado (which literally translates to “destiny” or “fate”), exploring its development and continued legacy with his trademark fusion of music, dance and cinematic verve. In Portuguese with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“Frontier of Dawn”
Veteran French helmer Philippe Garrel directs his son Louis in this throwback to the heyday of the French New Wave sprinkled with elements of the supernatural that charts the fine line between blissful intoxication and insanity. Garrel Junior stars as François, a young photographer left reeling following the suicide of Carole (Laura Smet), an actress with whom he had an affair. A year later, François is looking to marry and move on, but becomes plagued by visions of the ghostly Carole, beckoning him to join her in the land of the dead. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“The Horsemen”
Although some might have considered Jonas Åkerlund’s druggie drama “Spun” a horror film, the music video vet is applying his splice-a-second technique to a real gruesome thriller this time, starring Dennis Quaid as an embittered detective investigating a series of viciously elaborate slayings whose characteristics mirror the exploits of the fabled Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. (Probably a compromise for a film with designs on “Se7en,” but having only the budget for two.) In what our own Matt Singer recently touted as one of the most anticipated performances of the spring, Ziyi Zhang co-stars as the mysterious woman suspected of masterminding the murders.
Opens in limited release.

“La Belle Personne”
Opening as the headliner for The Brooklyn Academy of Music Cinematik’s tribute to our sister company IFC Films, “Love Songs” director Christope Honoré helms this modern-day retelling of “La Princesse de Clèves,” the classic French novel of romance and scandal, which depicts the pain of growing up and the agony of unrequited love. Léa Seydoux stars as Junie, a troubled 16-year-old who catches the eye of all the boys at her new school and develops a friendship with Otto (Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet). But as Junie spurns Otto’s clumsy romantic advances, she cultivates a forbidden romance with her Italian teacher, Mr. Némours (Louis Garrel). In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

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Weird Al Conan O’Brien

Off the Wall

Watch “Weird Al” Talk About Parodying Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney

Comedy Bang! Bang! gets weird starting Friday, June 3rd at 11P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Conan / TBS

Song parodist and Comedy Bang! Bang!’s newest bandleader “Weird Al” Yankovic dropped by Conan to chat about the upcoming season of the IFC series and drop a few bits of trivia from his past. For example, did you know meeting Michael Jackson is a lot like meeting an alien? Well, you probably did, but “Weird Al” confirms it! Also, Yankovic discusses how he had a little artistic dispute with Paul McCartney over the use of “Live and Let Die” for a parody titled “Chicken Pot Pie”. (We’ll let Al fill you in on details.)

Check out “Weird Al” talking about his odd encounters with Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s joke-ruining suggestions in the video below. And be sure to catch Al on the new season of Comedy Bang! Bang! premiering Friday, June 3rd with back-to-back episodes at 11P and 11:30P.

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Ron-burgendy-big-pic-drinking-milk

Bottoms Up

10 Movies That Make Hitting Rock Bottom Look Like Fun

Maron hits rock bottom tonight at 9P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Dreamworks Pictures

This season on Maron, Marc is hitting rock bottom. He’s lost his career, his home and even his cats. But since Marc is involved, we figure he’ll be good for a few laughs on the way down. Thankfully, Marc’s in good company here. Some of our favorite movies feature characters who have hit the emotional basement face first. We’re glad we’re not them, but we definitely enjoy watching them fall apart.

10. Office Space

Office Space

If you’re going to flame out, at least do it with some panache. That’s the lesson office drone Peter Gibbons teaches us in Mike Judge’s cult classic, when a hypnotism gone wrong allows him to gain a little perspective on life. Soon he’s phoning in his job, and happily telling his superiors the ugly truth to their faces. This, of course, only makes him more popular around the office, a place he now has no need for. Peter has a mental breakdown with a smile on his face, and a bounce in his step, showing us that there is life beyond the cubicle.


9. The Weather Man

Weather Man

Sure, your job’s a joke, your kids are a mess and your father is disappointed in you, but there’s a shortcut to self-esteem that no one tells you about. It’s like a cheat code for when you want to turn your midlife crisis into a midlife adventure. That secret is arming yourself to the teeth. In local weatherman David Spritz’s case, that means carrying a bow and arrow around with him wherever he goes. Nicolas Cage has made a cottage industry of playing people in the midst of nervous breakdowns, from Leaving Las Vegas to The Family Man, but here he really separates David from the pack by going full Hawkeye on us. The lessons is, it doesn’t matter how bad you’re feeling on the inside when everyone is scared to death of you on the outside.


8. Trainwreck

Universal Pictures

Amy Schumer seems to have flipped the script when it comes to bottoming out. Sure, your life may be an unending stream of stripper heels, hangovers and one night stands. If you keep telling yourself everything awful about your life is completely awesome, who’s to say it isn’t? Mind equals blown. That, ladies and gentlemen, is called empowerment. Or delusion. It’s called something, and either way, Schumer knows how to make it hilarious. We may not want to be blackout drunk on a weeknight, but Amy sure makes it look like it doesn’t have to be the worst thing ever. You go girl.


7. American Beauty

American Beauty

Lester Burnham is just an ordinary guy with nothing to lose, and boy does he know how to quit a job. It involves admitting to masturbating in the company bathroom, and then blackmailing your boss into a year’s pay with benefits. If you’re going to hit rock bottom, you may as well get a little cash for the way down.


6. Rachel Getting Married

Rachel Getting Married

You can’t really hit rock bottom unless you take a few people down with you. That’s the lesson of this 2008 indie drama, in which Anne Hathaway plays a destructive addict inadvertently laying waste to her sister’s wedding. Sure, that doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs, but Hathaway’s “I don’t give a f*ck” performance makes her character Kym feel like the cool girl we all wanted to hang out with in high school. Sure, she’s probably going to end up dead or in jail, but what a time she’ll have before she gets there.


5. Anchorman

Anchorman

There’s nothing quite like chugging milk on a hot summer day to remind you that you’ve made some bad choices in life. Out of work, friendless, womanless, and mustacheless, legendary local newsman Ron Burgundy finds out the hard way that nobody loves you when you’re on the bottom. Not even your weatherman, who seems like he’d give up just about anything for one weekend alone in a New England B&B with you. Fortunately, Mr. Burgundy has a secret up his sleeve, and no, we’re not talking about his jazz flute. With a conch shell, a baby panda news story, and some swagger, Ron Burgundy reminds us that the only way to stop a downward spiral is with the help of your friends and fellow anchorpeople.


4. 28 Days

28 Days

Yes, the opening moments of 28 Days are supposed to be a cautionary tale. An out of control Sandy Bullock shows up drunk to her sister’s wedding and delivers a rambling speech, before destroying the wedding cake. In a panic, she steals a limo, and crashes it into a house while trying to find a cake store. Now, granted, if you’re planning a wedding, this is pretty much the worst case plus one we can imagine. But, if you’re a guest, well, this kind of sounds like fun. As days go, taking a limo joy ride in desperate search of cake sounds like time well spent.


3. Kill Bill

Kill Bill

Okay, being buried alive isn’t fun. That’s a given. But what if you were a master ninja who ate black belts for breakfast looking for some vengeance? Well, then waking up six feet under might just be the thing. Sure, The Bride had a bad run, with a massacre at her wedding rehearsal and the whole coma thing, but this is the moment she turned from a wronged heroine into an ass-kicking machine. Everything she did after this was thanks to her premature funeral, and the folks behind it.


2. Bridesmaid

Bridesmaids

Weddings bring out a lot of emotions. Happiness, joy, regret, bitter jealously, a need to find the open bar. But for Annie, who lost her job, her apartment, and her boyfriend, only to see a fellow bridesmaid get the credit for a bridal shower she planned, it’s just too much. And when life throws a punch at you, you need to punch back, preferably if there’s a giant cookie nearby asking for a beating. Meltdowns aren’t fun in and of themselves, but going commando on a giant chocolate fountain is a dream we’ve had since childhood.


1. Fight Club

Fight Club

Yes, a schizophrenic breakdown, precipitated by the existential pain of a life left unlived, isn’t the most desirable way to spend a weekend. But what if you found out that the coolest guy you knew, the best looking, the guy you dreamed of being was actually (spoiler alert for a 17 year-old movie!) YOU? What if YOU planned the fight club? YOU had a six-pack? YOU were a freaking legend? Well, maybe blowing up a few buildings and crashing this whole system would be worth it. It certainly beats voting for Trump.

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Marc Maron on Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Kool Keith

Watch Marc Maron Talk About Sharing a Cigarette With Keith Richards

Maron returns tonight at 9P on IFC.

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Tonight Show / NBC Universal

If there was anyone who’d geek out over a chance to meet Keith Richards, it’d be Marc Maron. The host of the WTF Podcast and star of IFC’s Maron appeared on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon to talk about the time he broke a ten-year hiatus from smoking and shared a cigarette with the Rolling Stones guitarist. A garage rock star in his own right, Maron related how he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to partake with a music legend and how grateful he was that he “caught Keith at the right time” — given the other substances he could’ve been carrying in his younger days.

Watch Marc share his Keith Richards story — as well as discuss the preparation that went into his landmark interview with President Obama (snipers are involved) — in the video below. And catch the season premiere of Maron tonight at 9pm ET/PT on IFC.

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