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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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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