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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.


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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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.