Nollywood, Bollywood and a Little Bit of Hollywood

Nollywood, Bollywood and a Little Bit of Hollywood (photo)

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A little lightness this week to offset last week’s doom and gloom in theaters; love is in the air, as we enjoy imported romance alongside some family friendly animation and docs on the film industry and its players.

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“The Beaches of Agnès”
While most people commit their memoirs to the page, Belgian octogenarian auteur Agnès Varda has constructed a nostalgic visual document of her life, times and work. Flitting between past and present, Varda assembles a collage of memory and experience channeled to us through whimsical reconstruction, archival photographs, home movies and abstract compositions (including a room where the walls are entirely comprised of 35mm prints from her failed stab at fantasy, “Les Créatures”) that frame the rich tapestry of her life in her own inimitable style.
Opens in New York.

“The Girl From Monaco”
Courtroom drama meets bedroom farce in this breezy multigenerational romantic dramedy from French co-writer/director Anne Fontaine. Veteran thesp Fabrice Luchini stars as Bertrand Beauvois, a slick defense attorney who’s a smooth talker in the courtroom, but a fumbling neurotic in the bedroom. Fortunately, he has his buttoned-down bodyguard Christophe (Roschdy Zem) to rely on for advice with the ladies when the trial of Bertrand’s life is complicated by his burgeoning relationship with weather girl Audrey (former real-life celebrity weather girl Louise Bourgoin). In French with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”
With the spectacularly poor “Titan A.E” now a distant memory, Fox Animation has given Pixar and DreamWorks something to think about, with their Blue Sky Studios delivering a succession of solidly entertaining animated hits in recent years. This third installment to the sub-zero family saga from returning director Carlos Saldanha finds expectant mammoth couple Manny and Ellie (Ray Romano and Queen Latifah) and smart ass saber-tooth Diego (Denis Leary) on a mission to rescue Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo), who’s nabbed himself some dinosaur eggs. The real star of the show remains Scrat, the squirrel-rat whose inept pursuit of the perfect nut is now complicated by competition from a wily female.
Opens wide.

“I Hate Valentine’s Day”
Less than a month after she returned to screens with “My Life in Ruins,” Nia Vardalos is reuniting with her “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” co-star John Corbett, as this most profitable of indie screen pairings try their hand at the unromantic romantic comedy subgenre. In her directorial debut, Vardalos stars as Genevieve, a perennially unlucky in love New Yorker whose serial disappointment with the dating scene has led her to adopt a hard and fast rule of five dates max. After a newly arrived restaurateur (Corbett) with commitment issues turns her head, Genevieve seizes her opportunity to woo him with the idea of commitment-free dating.
Opens in limited release and on demand.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl 1920

Carrie Opens Up

Read Carrie Brownstein’s Moving Essay About Her Father From Her New Memoir

Carrie's book Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl will be released on October 27th.

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Writer/actor/rocker Carrie Brownstein recently added another credit to her poly-hyphenated resume: autobiographer. The Portlandia star and Sleater-Kinney musician penned Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, a memoir covering her years playing gigs, writing comedy, and producing a sketch show with cohort Fred Armisen.

Brownstein shared an excerpt from her memoir with The New Yorker that details her complicated relationship with her father, his coming to terms with his homosexuality, and how it led up to him coming out to Brownstein in 1988. A compelling and moving read, the essay is highlighted by the final passage wherein her father opened up to her grandmother and the life lesson Brownstein learned by her tragic response.

When my father came out to his mom, my grandmother said, “You waited for your father to die, why couldn’t you have waited for me to die?” I knew then that I never want to contribute to the corrosiveness of wanting someone to stay hidden. Despite all my initial conflicts about trying to reconcile the father I had as a child to the one I have now, I am thankful that he is happy, that he did not waste another second. Now there is someone to know.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl will be released by Penguin Press on October 27th, and readers can enter a contest to see Sleater-Kinney in New York City by pre-ordering here. And be sure to catch Carrie on her Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl book tour.


Goon Squads

The 9 Most Unruly Hockey Teams in Movie History

Get on the ice when Benders premieres Thursday, Oct. 1st at 10P on IFC.

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There are heartwarming sports movies, and then there are hockey movies. Unlike the glossy nostalgia of The Natural, or the goofy shenanigans of Space Jam, hockey movies tend to have a bit more edge. And by edge, we mean crazed dudes kicking the crap out of each other. Here are some big screen hockey teams who left it all out on the ice, along with a decent amount of blood.

9. Thunder Bay Bombers, Youngblood

If Roadhouse proved anything, it’s that you don’t mess with Swayze and walk away with your throat inside your neck. But that didn’t stop the bad guy Bombers, whose goon-in-chief Carl Racki hit the dirty dancer so hard they had to put a plate in his head.

8. Monroeville Zombies, Zack and Miri Make a Porno

They may not be pros, but the rec league Zombies sure knew how to bring the pain. Particularly their goalie, who had the helpful habit of skating out and attacking opposing players.

7. The Annapolis Angels, H-E Double Hockey Sticks

When one thinks of Disney hockey movies from the ’90s, the first thing that comes to mind is always…H-E Double Hockey Sticks? Well, maybe not the first thing, but this ragtag group of underdogs also deserves a place in our hearts. They might not be as famous as The Mighty Ducks, but they did use their skills on the ice to save Matthew Lawrence’s soul from Satan in the form of Rhea Perlman from Cheers. Seriously. This is a movie that happened.

6. Lansing Ice Wolves, Tooth Fairy

The only thing more intense than the hits Ice Wolves star Derek Thompson (Dwayne Johnson) laid on opposing players are the life lessons he learned after becoming a real life Tooth Fairy. Sure, the rest of his teammates weren’t the most fully fleshed out lot, but The Rock is like ten men in one, so that’s an unruly team right there.

5. The “Saturday Game” team from Mystery, Alaska

This team of rowdy townies aren’t afraid to bang the mayor’s wife or shoot a guy in the foot. What do you expect when your leader is Russell Crowe? Mediocre pub rock and a phone to the head. Okay, I guess he does that too.

4. The Nuggets, MVP: Most Valuable Primate

The Nuggets exploited a loophole in the junior hockey league bylaws which didn’t expressly state that chimps can’t play hockey. You’d think that would’ve been implied, though.

3. The Mighty Ducks from The Mighty Ducks franchise

The Ducks stole pucks and hearts over the course of three hit ’90s movies thanks to the mighty fists of Fulton Reed, the superior goalie skills of Goldberg and the, uh, getting a DUI and being forced to coach a pee-wee hockey team abilities of Emilio Estevez.

2. The Halifax Highlanders, Goon

The Highlanders recruit a Masshole bouncer to crack heads in a movie that’s basically Road House on ice. Who says Canadians are nice?

1. The Charlestown Chiefs, Slap Shot

Glasses-wearing goons The Hanson Brothers brought The Chiefs to the championship by spilling a lot of blood on the ice.




'Soft' Rock

Get Gentle and Soft With The Blue Jean Committee’s New EP

The Documentary Now! band has a new EP.

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The Blue Jean Committee is about to head straight up the charts with their new song “Gentle & Soft.” Is it us, or did it just get really smooth in here?

The band, whose tumultuous history was chronicled in a compelling two-part episode of Documentary Now!, is back with an extremely soft bullet with the release of Catalina Breeze, an actual 12″ EP with actual songs that you can actually (and should actually) buy. As Fred Armisen, who sings in the Blue Jean Committee along with his Documentary Now! cohort Bill Hadertold EW, he wanted the band to capture the ’70s California soft rock sound. “So the best way to do it for us would be to just spell it out and call the song ‘Gentle and Soft,'” Armisen said.

The EP, which will be released on November 20th, also features the classic BJC tracks “Mama You’re a Dancer,” “Walking Shoes” and the titular jam all about relaxing Catalina breezes. True to its name, the Catalina Breeze EP will hit you like the wind, rushing your hair into a halo, which is as gentle and soft as it comes. Head over to Drag City to listen to song samples and grab the EP.

For more Documentary Now!, check out the complete archive, episode clips, and music from the show.

That 70s show

Must Scream TV

10 Spooktacular Halloween TV Episodes

Catch That '70s Show Mondays and Tuesdays 6-11P on IFC.

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A great Halloween episode is like terrific fan fiction. Our beloved characters are thrust into a spooky predicament beyond their normal scope of storylines while wearing garish outfits and fearing for their lives. The annual tradition on-screen is a reflection of the holiday’s appeal in real life: A chance to see the familiar skew towards the garish and macabre.

Fun, scary, and memorable, here are the 10 best Halloween episodes of all time.

10. That ’70s Show, “Halloween”

that 70s halloween

The siren song of an abandoned building on Halloween lures the That ’70s Show gang to their burned-out grammar school where they discover their old permanent records. Secrets and backstories are revealed, such as Jackie’s middle name, Kelso’s real age, and an act of vandalism committed by a 7-year-old Eric which followed Hyde around his entire life.

9. Freaks and Geeks, “Tricks and Treats”

freaks and geeks

freaks and geeks halloween

Expertly capturing the dilemma of kids too old to trick-or-treat but too young for drunken holiday revelry (legally, at least), Freaks and Geeks brings us back to the youthful pursuit of making the most out of Halloween. Wannabe freak Lindsay opts for petty vandalism while Sam and his geeky pals are humiliated by their costumed rounds through the neighborhood. On the plus side, Bill makes a very stately Bionic Woman.

8. Quantum Leap, “The Boogieman”

Quantum leap goat
Leaping into a horror writer’s life in 1964, Sam plays detective as the people around him start dying, Al’s not quite himself, and a goat keeps appearing. The grisly plot culminates to a legitimately unsettling climax that’s as scary as it is funny (seriously, it’s hard to describe) and we find out the neighborhood boy goes on to become somebody very familiar.

7. Cheers, “Bar Wars V: The Final Judgement”



On Halloween, the bar’s longtime rivalry with Gary’s Olde Towne Tavern is curiously called off when Gary reveals his heart can’t take it — literally. But Sam, not buying the medical diagnosis, stages an elaborate (and in reality, logistically impossible) prank involving Carla’s holographic head that may have caused Gary to kick the bucket. (There’s a humorous callback to this episode in the following season’s “Bar Wars” episode.)

6. Amazing Stories, “Mummy Daddy”

Over a decade before Wes Craven upended horror movie tropes with Scream, this episode of the tragically short-lived Steven Spielberg-produced anthology series blurs the line between myth and Hollywood when an actor playing a mummy is pursued by (and mistaken for) an actual mummy. Pure pulp fun if only for the image of a mummy riding horseback.

5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Fear, Itself”

Buffy halloween
Mixing a little Scarecrow villainry into the Whedonverse, this episode has Buffy and the gang attending a Halloween frat party where a demon that feeds on fear subjects everyone to their greatest nightmares. A delightful writing exercise that exposes each character’s weaknesses and doubts, “Fear, Itself” is prime Buffy entertainment.

4. MacGyver, “Halloween Knights”

CBS Television

CBS Television/ABC

Less of an episode of television than a convergence of all things great, MacGyver is coerced into joining forces with longtime nemesis and super-assassin Murdoc when his former hitman employers kidnap his sister and threaten to execute her at a posh Halloween party. Complete with a booby-trapped funhouse and thinly veiled references to Raiders of the Lost Ark, this is hands down one of the greatest episodes from the series.

3. Roseanne, “BOO!”

Roseanne halloween

Kicking off an annual tradition of Halloween with the Conners, “BOO!” from season two of Roseanne showcases the family’s obsession with the holiday and the lengths to which they celebrate it. For a family just scraping by and the viewers who watch them, it’s a cathartic outlet and an excuse to let freak flags fly. And from the first holiday go-around, it’s instantly clear the show will do it again and again.

2. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia“Who Got Dee Pregnant?”



Narrowly edging out season eight’s stellar, McPoyle-infested “Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre,” season six’s “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” represents the very best of the Paddy’s Pub crew. Dee reveals she’s pregnant and the gang engage in drunken flashbacks Rashomon-style to determine who the father could be. Featuring the sexual exploits of the always-awesome Artemis, as well as Frank dressed as the canon-busting Man-Spider, “Who Got Dee Pregnant?” is top-notch.

1. The Simpsons“Treehouse of Horror V”

Simpsons Shining

Picking your favorite child would be far easier than picking your favorite Simpsons Halloween special — though they tend to be earlier seasons, don’t they? However, “Treehouse of Horror V” from season six is simply too fantastic to be topped. Between the classic Shining parody, Homer’s time-traveling advice from his father on his wedding night, and Groundskeeper Willie constantly getting an axe in the back, you can’t find a better way to ring in October 31st than this half hour.

Missed Comedy Bang! Bang!’s Rocky Horror-tastic Halloween blowout? Watch it now.

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