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C’mon, Get Unhappy

C’mon, Get Unhappy (photo)

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This week’s releases arrive draped in a pervasive air of dissatisfaction — Chris Rock’s daughter is unhappy with her hair, a ’70s feminist movement is unhappy with their options, and Jason Ritter and Jess Weixler are unhappy with each other. Elsewhere, British cultural icons are talked up while global corporate interests are torn down.

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“After The Storm”
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Oscar-winning filmmaker and activist James Lecesne’s decision to bring a production of the Off-Broadway musical “Once on This Island” to the storm-ravaged city of New Orleans was both obvious and inspired, with an extra layer of resonance provided in the casting of local kids affected firsthand by the disaster. Captured by director Hilla Medalia, this documentary takes us behind the scenes of the production to follow 12 young actors as they build characters on stage and rebuild their own lives offstage.
Opens in New York.

“Adventures of Power”
Ever since the explosion in popularity of “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band,” the act of enthusiastically pretending to play instruments that you really can’t isn’t only socially acceptable, it’s actively considered cool. Which might serve to negate a little bit of the absurdist humor in this underdog tale of an air drummer that was written and directed by Ari Gold, who also stars as the central bumpkin mineworker who uses his dad’s union’s copper mine strike as motivation to win the air drumming contest in New Jersey. Adding to the absurdity, Adrian Grenier joins his fictional “Entourage” agent’s namesake in a supporting cast that also includes Jane Lynch and Michael McKean.
Opens in New York; opens in Los Angeles on October 16th.

Despite sharing the International Critics Prize with Alain Resnais’ “Hiroshima Mon Amour” at Cannes in 1959, director Margot Benacerraf’s poetic rendering of a delicate relationship between a people and their land never received an American release. Restored and released for the first time in this country, Benacerraf’s self-described “tone poem” documentary captures 24 hours in the life of a community on the Venezuelan peninsula of Araya, following the workers in the salt mines as they continue to practice a way of life that has remained largely unchanged for more than 400 years. In Spanish with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

Continuing his career-long fascination with the criminal underworld, Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn takes an oblique trip to the reality gap between documented fact and self-aggrandizing fiction with this experimental portrait of British crime figure Michael Peterson (a.k.a. Charles Bronson). Bronson is a self-mythologizing lunatic whose monstrous reputation was constructed on the back of one 34-year-long prison sentence, the majority of which was spent in solitary confinement. Tom Hardy has earned raves for doing away with all vanity to play the magnetic title character.
Opens in New York; opens in Los Angeles on October 16th.

“Couples Retreat”
BFFs Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau make their third writing collaboration, with a little help from Dana Fox, that finds the swingers all grown up, paired off, shacked up and pissed off as an idyllic-sounding island getaway swiftly devolves into the vacation from hell. Serial rom-commer Vaughn is paired with Malin Akerman as a husband and wife who need to work on their marriage and invite their friends (Favreau and Kristin Davis, Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell, Faizon Love and Kali Hawk) along to a couples’ retreat where participation in therapy is not optional. The comedy also marks the directorial debut of Vaughn and Favreau’s frequent producing partner, “A Christmas Story” star Peter Billingsley.
Opens wide.

“The Damned United”
One of the great soccer managers that England has ever seen, Brian Clough’s triumphs with Derby County and Nottingham Forest were separated by a disastrous 44-day reign as the boss of Leeds United in 1974, during which time his notoriously mercurial personality angered the board, alienated the team and failed to win the club a single game. Under the direction of “John Adams” helmer Tom Hooper, “The Queen” screenwriter Peter Morgan and Michael Sheen once again team up to bring another British cultural icon to life with Sheen starring as the enigmatic maestro Clough, whose managerial ability was matched only by the size of his ego.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

Beginning with an exchange of lustful glances followed by a passionate embrace between an Israeli man and a Palestinian woman in a narrow train car heading to France, celebrated Israeli helmer Amos Gitai carves a small, intimate story out of a geopolitical hot potato. Regular Gitai muse Liron Levo plays the Israeli man, Uli, who is returning to France for his father’s funeral, where his stepsister Ana (Juliette Binoche) urges him to accompany her back to the Gaza Strip to search for the daughter she gave up 20 years earlier. Hiam Abbass and Jeanne Moreau co-star.
Opens in New York and will be available on VOD on October 7th.

“Eating Out: All You Can Eat”
Deception, sexual confusion and gym-toned abs are the trademarks of this gay comedy franchise, now in its third installment. Daniel Skelton, Chris Salvatore and Michael Walker are amongst the fresh meat on display, Rebekah Kochan is back as the perpetual girl in the boys club, and John Waters favorite Mink Stole is also set to make an appearance.
Opens in New York.


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.