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Holiday Preview: Anywhere But a Movie Theater

Holiday Preview: Anywhere But a Movie Theater (photo)

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More Holiday Preview: [Theatrical Calendar]
[Repertory Calendar] [Anywhere But a Movie Theater]

On Demand

IFC Films (with whom, full disclosure, we obviously share a parent company) will be delivering new films all holiday season to homes across the country through their Festival Direct and Sundance Selects labels. These include the cross-cultural romantic dramedy “I’ll Come Running” (Nov. 4), Josiane Balasko’s farce “A French Gigolo” (Nov. 6), the Inuit tribal drama “Necessities of Life” (Nov. 11), the Brit crime thriller “Adulthood” (Nov. 18), the Indian love story “Return to Rajapur” (Nov. 25), the Christopher Masterson-Bijou Phillips celibacy satire “Made for Each Other” (Dec. 2), “Harry Potter” helmer David Yates’ gritty two-part drama “Sex Traffic” (Dec. 2 and 9), the Korean comedy “Night and Day” (Dec. 23) and “The Ghost” (Dec. 30).

Meanwhile, in the newly launched Sundance Selects series, there’s a pair of harrowing documentaries VOD premieres: Kief Davidson’s coming-of-age boxing doc “Kassim the Dream” (Nov. 27) and the unvarnished biopic “Nick Nolte: No Exit” (Dec. 30).

IFC Films is also releasing four titles simultaneously with their release in theaters including “Uncertainty” (Nov. 13), the latest thriller from “The Deep End” directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins; Lukas Moodysson’s “Mammoth” (Nov. 20), starring Michelle Williams and Gael García Bernal; “Swimming Pool” director François Ozon’s “Ricky” (Dec. 16), and Cannes Un Certain Regard-winning “Police, Adjective” (Dec. 23) from “12:08 East of Bucharest” director Corneliu Porumboiu.

11022009_RedCliff.jpgMagnolia Pictures is also unwrapping a few presents in anticipation of the holidays. We’d suggest big-screen TVs only for John Woo’s Han Dynasty-set action epic “Red Cliff,” which is already available on VOD in advance of its November 18th release in theaters. But smaller screens will suffice for “Serious Moonlight,” Cheryl Hines’ directorial debut from one of “Waitress” writer/director Adrienne Shelly’s last screenplays that stars Meg Ryan as a woman who puts her husband (Timothy Hutton) through a different kind of couples therapy when she learns he’s cheating on her with another woman (Kristen Bell), premiering on VOD on November 6th before hitting theaters on December 4th; and “Wonderful World”, a dramedy starring Matthew Broderick as a former children’s singer who regains his groove when he meets the sister of his Senegalese roommate (Sanaa Lathan), premiering on VOD on December 4th before coming out in theaters a month later.


11022009_CodeUnknown.jpgWhile the online cinematheque The Auteurs makes us wait with anticipation to find out what new films will be presented in their next festival of free films (curated by the Criterion Collection) in November, they have plenty of recent highlights now playing to keep cineastes inside during the cold winter. With the click of a mouse, one can currently access a large part of “Cargo 200” director Aleksey Balabanov’s oeuvre, including the dramas “It Doesn’t Hurt,” “The River,” “Of Freaks and Men,”, “Brother” and “Happy Days”; the award-winning 2001 Uruguayan festival fave “25 Watts”; “Caché” director Michael Haneke’s first pairing with Juliette Binoche, the 2000 drama “Code Unknown”; Takeshi Kitano’s 1995 sex comedy “Getting Any?”; and Claude Chabrol’s 1959 thriller “À double tour.” The Auteurs also have made some hard-to-find gems available with the online debuts of “La Belle Personne” director Philippe Garrel’s 1993 family drama “The Birth of Love,” “A Christmas Tale” helmer Arnaud Despleschin’s directorial debut “The Life of the Dead,” and a double bill of Kazakhstani filmmaker Darejan Omirbaev’s 2001 comedy “The Road” and the 1998 thriller “Killer.”

A nice bookend to one of their other new releases, the music education doc “Chops,” B-Side Entertainment is already making their recent acquisition “Still Bill” available to the masses. Fresh from a festival run that spanned SXSW, Silverdocs and London, Alex Vlack and Damani Baker’s profile of legendary soul singer Bill Withers will have audiences singing “Lean on Me” anywhere where people enlist in B-Side’s “Theatrical-on-Demand” program that allows moviegoers to host their own screenings. The company is also contributing to the national health care debate with the doc “Money-Driven Medicine,” Andrew Fredericks’ screen adaptation of Maggie Mahar’s exposé of American health care practices. “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” helmer Alex Gibney serves as a producer on this doc, which is currently holding “Watch-Ins! For America’s Health” across the country through November 10th, but is available to anyone through B-Side’s web site.

11022009_LetThemChirpAwhile2.jpgJust in time for Christmas, Cinetic Rights Management will offer “Clarkworld,” a documentary about the life and work of Bob Clark, the cult director behind two of the holiday’s most renowned (and replayed) film classics “A Christmas Story” and “Black Christmas,” on their cable VOD channel FilmBuff, starting in December. In January, FilmBuff will also premiere “Let Them Chirp Awhile,” a romantic comedy featuring “Mutual Appreciation” star and Bishop Allen frontman Justin Rice as a screenwriter who hopes to win over his neighbor (Laura Breckinridge) by taking care of her dog as he attempts to free himself from a crippling case of writer’s block.

And since ’tis the season of sharing, it’s only fitting that in November, Cinetic will team with iTunes to present the online debuts of the 1988 Sherlock Holmes mystery “The Hound of the Baskervilles” in time to compare notes with the new Guy Ritchie interpretation, and the 1997 Ian McKellen Holocaust drama “Bent,” which not only features the young Clive Owen and Jude Law, but also Mick Jagger as a Berlin-based transvestite. Cinetic will also celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th with the release of two documentaries honoring soldiers: “When I Came Home,” the award-winning 2006 look at homeless vets, and “Jerabek,” the story of a Wisconsin family coping with the death of their son in Iraq. Both films will be available on SnagFilms and Hulu. The company is also doing something special for December 6th, releasing Robert Greene’s geoengineering doc “Owning the Weather,” which will be released online and on cable VOD day-and-date with its screening at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

11022009_Forgiven.jpgThe independent film store and distributor has recently revamped their Web site with a new look and a more user-friendly experience that continues to offer films from truly independent filmmakers that you can find nowhere else. To celebrate, they’re kicking things off with the release of writer/director/star Paul Fitzgerald’s drama “Forgiven,” a political potboiler about a small-town district attorney (Fitzgerald) whose bid for a U.S. Senate seat is complicated by questions surrounding his prosecution of a death row inmate who is later exonerated. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2006, the film will be available for VOD rental and DVD purchase through IndieFlix starting on November 10th and DVD rental through NetFlix beginning December 8th.

Computer savvy documentary fans can indulge in some self-reflection with SnagFilms upcoming slate of free films, which include Jim Killeen’s 2007 doc “Google Me” about one man’s search on his computer and beyond to find those who share his name, and “MacHeads,” Kobi and Ron Shely’s 2009 look at the fanatical users of Apple Computers who worship at the alter of Steve Jobs. Tricia Todd and Eric Matthies’ “Agile, Mobile, Hostile: A Year With Andre Williams” also arrives straight from the festival circuit, chronicling a year in the life of the 70-year-old R & B musician behind such hits as “Shake A Tail Feather” before a cocaine addiction left him homeless and without a career. For something you can watch immediately, SnagFilms also just released the doc “From Mara to the Marathon,” which follows former “ER” doc Anthony Edwards as he travels to Nairobi to reunite with Ole Kane Lettura, a native Kenyan who met Edwards as a scout for a safari company and discovered that the two shared a passion for running. In return, Edwards tries to convince Lettura to fly overseas to run in the New York City Marathon.

Continue to November »

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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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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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

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