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DID YOU READ

Running Late

Running Late (photo)

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As we wind down to year’s end, we find Michael Haneke’s Cannes conqueror fashionably late to the party, while Paramount waited three years to release the Renée Zellweger horror flick “Case 39” and a mere half-century later, audiences will finally see the fruits of an unproduced Tennessee Williams screenplay. Throw in a pair of modern Korean films and you’ve got yourself an exciting way to start the new year.

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“Case 39”
We can only hope it’s no reflection of quality that this latest volley from the creepy-kid subgenre sat on the shelf for so long that its director, Christian Alvart, had another project (daffy sci-fi chiller “Pandorum”) wrapped, released and mostly ignored before this domestic thriller even made it to our shores. The German helmer’s English-language debut (at least chronologically) has Renée Zellweger playing a kindly social worker who wrestles away the innocuous looking young Lilith (Jodelle Ferland) from seemingly abusive parents, only to discover that the little angel might not be as benevolent as she appears. Ian McShane, who has yet to transfer his small screen authority to movies, co-stars as a creeped-out child therapist.
Opens wide.

“The Chaser”
A huge hit in its native South Korea, Na Hong-jin’s directorial debut centers on a fallen police officer-turned-pimp who must dust off his detective skills when his prostitutes begin to go missing. Kim Yoon-suk stars as the mack daddy who believes he’s stumbled onto the case of a serial killer, but finds little help from his former colleagues. Although it sounds like the kind of film no American studio would touch, Leonardo DiCaprio is said to be eyeing an American remake for Warner Bros.
Opens in New York.

12282009_teardrop1.jpg“The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond”
For a first-time feature filmmaker, actress-turned-helmer Jodie Markell couldn’t make her debut with a sturdier piece of material than this recently unearthed screenplay of societal scandal and sexual jealousy penned by the iconic playwright Tennessee Williams. Bryce Dallas Howard ruffles some feathers as the decidedly unwelcome wannabe socialite Fisher Willow, who takes Memphis society by storm when she recruits the cash-strapped son of the help (Chris Evans) to be her arm candy for the social season and silently seethes when her business arrangement with her escort becomes something more right as he falls for another. Ann-Margaret and Ellen Burstyn lend their support to this Southern Gothic throwback that’s been kicking around the festival circuit since premiering in Toronto in 2008.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“Old Partner”
A poetic portrait of the companionship between a man and his beast of burden, South Korean helmer Chung Ryoul-Lee’s unashamedly simply documentary charts the twilight year in a four-decade long friendship between Choi, an elderly farmer, and his trusty ox, much to the chagrin of his wife, who views the great hulk as something akin to her husband’s idiot college buddy. As Choi spends an inordinate amount of time feeding and grooming his trusty companion, the missus wonders why her 80-year-old husband continues to sweat out a day’s work with an ox when he could easily diminish his workload with a tractor. In Korean with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“The White Ribbon”
Perhaps a bit narked that his American remake of “Funny Games” went largely unremarked upon, Michael Haneke returned to Germany to cook up this slow-burning exercise in escalating tension and spiraling incident that finally landed the Palme d’Or that had long eluded him. It says much about his brand of moviemaking that this mostly silent, achingly slow study of a rural German village sliding towards the brink — a parable of how ignorance, apathy and base human nature combined to birth the Nazi movement — is one of his more accessible works. In German with subtitles.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles before expanding into limited release on January 22nd.

[Additional photo: “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond,” Paladin, 2009]

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.