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What’s Old is New Again

What’s Old is New Again (photo)

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This week sees a couple of golden oldies trotted out alongside the customary summertime family fun, docs on science both good and bad, and another lesson from the Tony Scott school of flash-bang filmmaking.

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“Betty Blue: The Director’s Cut”
Having inspired everything from ardent film student party chatter to the pure cinematic showmanship of Luc Besson, Jean-Jacques Beineix’s 1986 Oscar-nominated romantic drama has a legacy that reaches far and wide. This new print of Beineix’s definitive 1991 cut of his oh so artsy tale of an aspiring writer Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade), his wild, volatile muse Betty (Béatrice Dalle) and her gradual descent into self-destruction contains more than an hour of additional footage that stretches out Betty’s madness and embellishes it with such antics as Zorg’s cross-dressing crime spree. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

With the great debate over science versus religion seemingly more heated than ever, this documentary showcases a relationship between Christian and non-Christian scientists who demonstrate that exploring the universe and exploring your faith don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The latest from “Power Trip” director Paul Devlin, “Blast!” chronicles the exploits of his brother Mark and a team of international researchers attempting the not-too-simple task of launching a multi-million dollar space telescope into the Earth’s atmosphere via a high-altitude balloon.
Opens in New York.

“Call of the Wild 3D”
An eclectic catalog of vicarious teenage wish fulfillment pictures, live-action animal hijinks comedies and, erm, softcore skin flicks (many of which he also starred in), the résumé of actor-turned-writer/director Richard Gabai makes for nothing if not interesting reading. Here, he plants himself firmly in family-friendly territory helming this very loose adaptation of the classic Jack London short story. Christopher Lloyd stars as the Montana widower Bill Hale, whose granddaughter Ryann (Ariel Gade) befriends and trains an injured wolf that her grandpa knows will one day have to be returned to the wild.
Opens in limited release and in 3D.

“Dim Sum Funeral”
The sophomore feature from Chinese-American helmer Anna Chi, “Dim Sum Funeral” gathers together a veritable buffet of fine ex-pat Asian talent (including Lisa Lu, Bai Ling and Steph Song) for a quirky confessional marbled with good old fashioned familial dysfunction. Following the death of their oppressively meddlesome mother (known amongst them as the Dragon Lady), a trio of far flung Asian-American siblings (Julia Nickson, Russell Wong and Francoise Yip) reunite in Seattle for the grueling traditional ritual of the seven-day funeral where each will come to terms with their loss and with their relationships to each other.
Opens in Los Angeles.

“Le Combat Dans L’île”
While somewhat overlooked at the time of its 1962 European release during the decline of the Nouvelle Vague movement, then-first-time director Alain Cavalier’s depiction of duality between the mindsets of terrorists and ultra-conservatives carries an extra air of poignancy in today’s politically polarized times. Finally gettings its first U.S. theatrical run, Cavalier’s romantic thriller stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as a spoiled right-wing activist whose fevered anger over his mentor’s betrayal gives way to some Ahab antics that ultimately serve to drive his wife Anne (Romy Schneider) into the arms of her liberal lover. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“Food, Inc.”
The latest leaf to drop off the fast-growing “we’re all doomed!” branch of documentary filmmaking, this feature debut from television producer/director Robert Kenner is an activist exposé of the food industry and their “bigger, faster, cheaper” mantra that puts profit ahead of the nation’s health. From genetically modified animals and vegetables to the seemingly universal applications of high-fructose corn syrup, Kenner paints an unflattering portrait of collusion between a handful of multi-national corporations and the bought-and-paid-for government regulators who are supposed to be our eyes and ears when it comes to what goes into our mouths.
Opens in limited release.

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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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