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I’m a Polar Bear, Get Me Outta Here

I’m a Polar Bear, Get Me Outta Here (photo)

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On the nonfiction side of cinema this week, you’ve got portraits of a famous banjo player, an infamous boxer and, er, nature, while the fiction side delves into a dystopic, mutant-infested future, a bedraggled small town in Korea and Bret Easton Ellis’ decadent ’80s Los Angeles.

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The Mouse House launches its brand new nature documentary arm Disneynature with an Earth Day premiere of this year-in-the-life-of-our-planet feature. The bad news is that “Earth” recycles a lot of the footage from the BBC series “Planet Earth,” which anyone who feels the least bit smug about their TV already owns. The good news is that “Planet Earth” is pretty sick, and seeing it on the big screen is bound to be an improvement over even the glossiest home HD experience.. Patrick Stewart narrated the U.K. version of the film, but here in the U.S. Lord Vader himself, James Earl Jones, lends his gravelly vocal gravitas to the inevitable environmental message.
Opens Wednesday, April 22nd in limited release.

“Treeless Mountain”
Two young Korean girls are put in the care of their neglectful, alcoholic aunt while their mother tries to track down their absentee father in this second film from director So Yong Kim, whose 2006 debut “In Between Days” was a critical favorite. Left to their own devices, Jin and Bin must fend for themselves, but “Treeless Mountain” doesn’t give in to easy sentimentality, instead choosing to tell its delicate and absorbing story from an immersive child’s eye view.
Opens Wednesday, April 22nd in New York.

“Baby on Board”
Heather Graham and Jerry O’Connell play a workaholic couple whose lives are thrown into chaos by their unplanned pregnancy in this film from Brian Herzlinger, who you may remember from “My Date with Drew.” The most notable thing about this comedy may be that distributor Angry Monkey Entertainment is launching it exclusively in digital theaters classified as “E-Cinema,” as opposed to those meeting the “D-Cinema” standard, a distinction that likely won’t matter to any average moviegoer.
Opens in limited release.

“Empty Nest”
Argentinean filmmaker Daniel Burman’s last feature, “Family Law,” was about the relationships between fathers and sons. His new film, “Empty Nest,” skips ahead to a post-parenting era. The comedic drama looks into the lives of a prosperous and supposedly happily married couple who find that, their children grown and gone, they have no choice but to deal with decades of accumulated annoyances and resentments. The husband, a playwright suffering from writer’s block, escapes into flights of fancy he begins to have trouble separating from reality.
Opens in New York.

Writer, punk rocker and former model Dito Montiel made a splash with his filmmaking debut, 2006’s autobiographical Queens-set “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.” For his next trick, Montiel’s trying out more mainstream territory with this action flick starring “Saints”‘ Channing Tatum as a streetwise (naturally) hustler who’s brought into the world of underground bare-knuckling brawling by a man who becomes his manager (Terrence Howard).
Opens in wide release.

“The Garden”
Also known as the nonfiction film no one had heard of at the Oscars, Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s “The Garden” was up for an Academy Award for best documentary feature earlier this year, but is only now getting its turn in theaters. The film delves into the battle to preserve a 14-acre community garden in South Central Los Angeles that developers hope to bulldoze in order to build warehouses.
Opens in Los Angeles.

“Il Divo”
How dead-on you’ll find Paolo Sorrentino’s savage satire will depend on your familiarity with Italian politics — the film skewers the less-than-honorable Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, who’s been elected to the Italian parliament seven times despite, or because of, his shady connections. Even if you’ve never heard of Andreotti, who reportedly walked out of a screening declaring “no, no — that is really too much,” there’s something to be said for Sorrentino’s visual style, which juxtaposes its flashiness with an intentionally and amusingly flat performance from lead Toni Servillo.
Opens in New York.

“The Informers”
Though he’s credited as one of the screenwriters on this adaptation of his 1994 short story collection, Bret Easton Ellis backed away from the film in a recent interview with MTV, saying “as a writer, you definitely feel a certain lack of control.” Maybe it’s that “The Informers,” a tale of ’80s L.A. excess starring Kim Basinger, Billy Bob Thornton, Brad Renfro (in his last film) and many others, was shredded by critics when it premiered at Sundance, with Variety claiming it rated “less than zero on the sophistication scale.”
Opens in limited release.


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.