Cornell Boxes

Cornell Boxes (photo)

Posted by on

Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson has a completely distinctive way of making movies — which translates to, he’s fortunate enough to have happened on a visual vocabulary that’s at the same time unique and deadpan and invigorating. Famously, Andersson has made only four features in over 40 years; after the failure of his second, 1975’s “Giliap,” he “retired” and spent over two decades going gangbusters as a commercial director, and developed his distinctive style, a kind of full-frontal, cold-blooded Beckettian art-comedy. Only in 2000, with “Songs from the Second Floor,” did Andersson decide the dry one-shot trope that was so funny in TV ads could work differently, mordantly, at length, and could build a feature.

Shot in wide angle from a personal-space-respecting distance in a fluorescent-lit world of moldy green pastels and ashen-faced zombie-humans acting out the absurd machinations of modern life, Andersson’s mature films make his dyspeptic Scando-brother Aki Kaurismäki look like Baz Luhrmann by comparison. Yet they’re funny and ecstatic, a parade of little Cornell boxes of life, coincidence, bad fortune and hope. “You, the Living,” his latest, is almost the shadow side of the previous film’s apocalypse-on-the-march tableaux; the world is the same, but instead of absurd dread, there’s a hesitant sense of jubilation and forgiveness.

01122010_YoutheLiving2.jpgAndersson’s movies are so mysterious and rigorous that they demand you use words like that — words that imply a vision of humanity larger than just a filmgoing experience. In this world, the various characters we meet often speak directly to us, sometimes about their dreams, which are then revealed as well, in real time. All the while, we see these people in entire rooms, and there’s no hurry.

A man stuck in a drizzly traffic jam shouts at us from his car, telling us about a dream that we then see, and which ends badly, in the electric chair. Desolate musicians abound, practicing their tubas and bass drums at home and driving their neighbors insane, and they reappear endlessly, playing at funerals and in parades in which other characters participate, before meeting to practice and ripping into a Dixie riff during a hellacious lightning storm. (It seems like a mildly random attack of scenarios at first, but see it twice and it suddenly appears to have a very tight weave.)

A young waif recounts her daydreamy crush on a local club-band guitarist, and her dream is a showstopper: the two are newlyweds, and as the hyper-coiffed rocker vamps on his axe, the whole apartment block they’re in motors across the landscape like a train, eventually pulling into a station where a crowd of hundreds congratulates them. All of this in one shot, of course. “You, the Living” is all set-piece, all the time — it doesn’t tell a story so much as tracks the fissures in everyday life.

01122010_YoutheLiving3.jpgBut Andersson’s single-shot wonders are not just digitized-Steadicam maneuvers, but the results of extraordinary orchestration, as well as fascinating spatial depth and expert comic timing. (A priceless moment involves a portly caller knocking on a door and presenting a bouquet, only to have the door slammed right on the flowers, leaving them sticking out into the air as the schmuck mopes away.)

It’s the kind of movie that could have a character pickpocketed right in plain view, and because you’re looking elsewhere, you’re not aware of it anymore than he is. The physical dynamics of the film reminded me of what’s possible with expertly timed stop-motion animation — but of course Andersson’s canvas is huge and human, and sometimes involves entire city blocks. The movie redefines “bittersweet” as a qualifier — it’s 80% cacao, and what sugar there is burnt and half-fermented, and bites your throat.

SAW, Shawnee Smith, 2004. ph: Greg Gayne/©Lionsgate/courtesy Everett Collection

Saw's Death Traps

The Creepiest Death Traps From the Saw Movies

See Jigsaw's creepiest traps.

Posted by on

The deathtraps featured in the Saw movies are basically what would happen if Rube Goldberg and Hellraiser had a demon hell child. Jigsaw (and his assistants) build devices of such staggering complexity that it’s a wonder what they could actually accomplish if they used their skills for good instead of for ironic punishment.

Before you catch the Saw movie marathon on IFC, check out the most creepiest traps from each movie which, of course, are very NSFW unless you work for Jigsaw.

1. The Reverse Bear Trap, Saw

The Reverse Bear Trap was the most visually distinctive contraption of the original movie and set the macabre template for the rest of the series. A large metal machine is connected to the victim’s face. If they fail the test, powerful motors will open their jaw to a truly fatal degree. It basically takes all of our dental surgery fears to a horrifying new level.

2. The Razor Box, Saw II

The Razor Box presents a serious dilemma: A poisoned victim sees a clear box containing an antidote. But if they reach in to grab it, razors cut into their arms. Just a few seconds of examination would have revealed the trap’s key on top of the box. It turns out that when you’re locked in a filthy pit of death traps by a lunatic, the most obvious solution completely goes out the window.

3. Amanda’s Test, Saw III

Amanda survives the Reverse Bear Trap from the first movie and goes on to work with Jigsaw. (And you thought your job interview was bad.) Unfortunately it turns out that most people building death traps don’t actually want their victims to survive. When Amanda shoots someone rather than releasing them from a shotgun collar, Jigsaw explains that that was Amanda’s test. Just after manipulating his other apprentice into shooting her in the neck.

4. See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Saw IV

Two men wake up wearing collars chained to a winding cylinder. One has his eyes sewn shut, the other his mouth, so they’re not really in a condition to take a calm look at the situation. The result is a perfectly brutal tragedy of miscommunication and mutilation.

5. The Fatal Five Teamwork Traps, Saw V

Five victims face a series of traps which can be non-lethally solved with the power of teamwork. (Jigsaw could’ve had a great side career as a corporate trainer.) Unfortunately for the five (then four, then three…) they compete with and kill each other until the final test, where they have to sacrifice a total of ten pints of blood to escape. With only two people left, it doesn’t go well.

6. Breathing Room, Saw VI

A health insurance executive and his company’s heavy-smoker janitor are locked into crushing vices connected to breathing masks. The more they breathe, the tighter the vices close, until only one survives. We’ll be honest; we love this because someone specifically built it so that the “breathing room” pun isn’t the most painful aspect.

7. The Love Triangle, Saw 3D: The Final Chapter

The many Saw sequels meant that Jigsaw and his cohorts had to get even more creative to keep their deathtraps fresh. The Love Triangle took things into the outside world by sticking three actual bodies in a mall display full of actual saws. How did Jigsaw install a murder machine and three actual living humans in a public display booth without being caught? And where is Batman when you need him? Jigsaw is really approaching Joker territory here.

Dr Who spoof 1920×640

Doctor Feelgood

8 Hilarious Doctor Who Spoofs

Catch a Doctor Who Season 9 marathon Friday, November 6th starting at 6P ET/PT.

Posted by on

Doctor Who is one of the most influential shows in all of spacetime.  Before you step into the TARDIS for IFC’s Doctor Who Season 9 marathon, check out some fantastic parodies and tributes to the Time Lord.

1. The Lenny Henry Doctor

UK comedian Lenny Henry spoofed the Doc way back in 1985. Starring alongside genuine Doctor companion Peri, it’s an ode to everything wonderful about the old series.

2. My (Re)Generation – Shooting Stars

Anarchic UK comedy quiz show Shooting Stars featured a music video by The (Doctor) Who, a band built from four versions of the eponymous character, with their hit song “My (Re)Generation” filmed in black and white inside an old TARDIS.

3. Doctor Who Anime

Fan-made anime “Space-Time Adventure DOCTOR WHO” is a labor of more love and skill that pays tribute to both the Doctor and anime tropes with equal measure. Paul “OtaKing” Johnson combined the Third Doctor with late-’80s style cyberpunk anime, crafting custom-made animations to turn a harvest of authentic quotes from the original series into all-new jokes. You gotta love the Doctor addressing a scantily clad anime protagonist with,”Oh for heaven’s sake girl, go and put something warm on.”

4. The Web of Caves

Part of the BBC’s “Doctor Who Night” in 1999, “The Web of Caves” was a work of love so intense it affected the future of the real series. The black-and-white parody of the early Doctor’s trials — complete with unbalanced audio, ill-considered evil plans and the eternal stone quarries — was co-written by and starred Mark Gatiss, who would go on to write several genuine Doctor Who episodes as well as appearing in the official series.

5. Kit Kat Daleks

Kit Kat’s “Take a Break” advert arrayed characters taking a break from their usual behavior. A needlepointing rugby player, classically violining metal-heads, and considerate sitcom husbands were flanked by Daleks charging through a shopping center with Hare Krishnas crying “PEACE-AND-LOVE! PEACE-AND-LOVE!” Their brief bliss-break was reduced even further when the rights-holders noticed that the Daleks were being used without permission. Because the only thing more terrifying than Daleks are lawyers.

6. Do You Have a License To Save This Planet?

As you can probably tell from their name, the BBV made a business of skating so close to BBC licensed properties.They had permission to make many spin-off productions, and they didn’t have official permission to make many more, but made them anyway. The most blatant was “Do You Have a License To Save This Planet?” starring Sylvester McCoy, but definitely legally not as the Seventh Doctor. No, he was the Foot Doctor, travelling time and space in a washing machine and fighting threats to the authorized canon in a half-hour adoring mockery of his own role.

7. The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot

To celebrate the “Day of the Doctor” 50th anniversary episode, past Doctors attempted to sneak onto the set to make their mark from the past. A gloriously self-aware comedy written and produced by the Fifth Doctor, and a must-watch for fans of the series.

8. The Curse of the Fatal Death

“The Curse of the Fatal Death” combined Doctor Who with the Comic Relief telethon, and the combination of classics with charity was anything a Whovian could have dreamed of. The multi-part mockery starred Rowan Atkinson, Richard E Grant, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, and Joannna Lumley as regenerations of the world’s most famous time traveler.

D Gets Animated

Hit the Road to Festival Supreme with Tenacious D’s New Animated Shorts

Festival Supreme hits Los Angeles Saturday, October 10th.

Tenacious D Animated

Posted by on

Tenacious D is very animated about this year’s Festival Supreme, which returns to Los Angeles for a third awesome year on Saturday, October 10th. With a line-up that includes Amy Poehler, The Kids in the Hall, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 reunion, Aubrey Plaza, The Darkness and many more, can you blame them?

Now all they have to do is get to Festival Supreme in time to get the party started. And you can follow along as Tenacious D hit the road in a new animated mini-series.

In episode one, tragedy strikes when The D finds out the IFC jet has been double booked. (Maron strikes again!) How will they get to Festival Supreme now?

video player loading . . .

As the dynamic duo makes their way to California, someone crashes their road trip—literally.

video player loading . . .

The Kids in the Hall may have forgotten to get their passports, but that will never stop them from making it to Los Angeles’ Shrine Expo Hall & Grounds by Saturday, October 10th.

video player loading . . .

Will the gang be able to make it to Festival Supreme in time? Watch below, and be sure to grab tickets and follow IFC on Twitter for more updates on Festival Supreme 2015.

video player loading . . .
video player loading . . .
Zoolander 2

Blue Steel Is Back

Watch the Ridiculously Funny Zoolander 2 Trailer

Portlandia returns January 21st at 10P ET/PT.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Red Hour Productions/YouTube

The Zoolander 2 trailer is finally here, and it appears that someone is trying to kill the world’s most beautiful people. (Even Justin Bieber isn’t safe!)

The film has a lot of familiar, hilarious faces like Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Will Ferrell, but the trailer also features a ton of new additions including a nearly unrecognizable Kristen Wiig, Kyle Mooney, Penelope Cruz, Fred Armisen, and Benedict Cumberbatch (but not his eyebrows).

While the Portlandia and Documentary Now! star isn’t in the new trailer, Fred has the Instagram shots to prove that he was on the set. When he was heading to Rome, where the highly anticipated (and very good looking) sequel was filmed, Fred also proved that he is very good at packing a bag. The how-to video was so impressive that Ben Stiller had no choice but to repost the announcement with the caption: “Excited @sordociego (Fred Armisen!!) is joining the #zoolander2 cast!”

Excited @sordociego (Fred Armisen!!) is joining the #zoolander2 cast!

A video posted by Derek Zoolander (@zoolander) on

As Fred told Conan O’Brien, he had a lot of fun working on the film and touring the sites of Rome with his selfie stick. Be sure to check back for more updates about Fred’s role in Zoolander 2 and the sixth season of Portlandia, which premieres January 21st at 10P ET/PT on IFC

Powered by ZergNet