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The megastore movie.

The megastore movie. (photo)

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UK megastore chain Tesco (basically the British Wal-Mart) has made a leap so obvious that it’s amazing no one got there sooner. They’ve decided that they’d like to get into the movie business, so they’re going to produce their own film, available “exclusively” (exciting!) at the chain.

To do this, they’ve hooked up with Amber Entertainment, a company formed by executives from the now-defunct New Line Cinema, who evidently kept their rolodexes intact. The plan is to produce movies from mega-selling authors whose books can be sold alongside the DVD. First up: a Jackie Collins movie (“Paris Connections”), starring Alain Delon’s son Anthony. In the future, the presumably bitter New Line execs will give “The Golden Compass” (the movie that basically sunk their company) a second try, as well as Judy Blume.

With the DVD market at least temporarily collapsing, you might wonder at the wisdom of this plan. But it does makes sense — Tesco can attempt to lure customers in for a book/DVD combo sale, plus they’re taking the once-semi-lucrative-niche that TV movies of this sort (where Collins belongs) used to occupy. Here in New York, the inescapable Duane Reade pharmacy chain has apparently partnered with Sony and WB to sell DVDs near the register for $10 a pop, jumbles of titles that suggest surreally juxtaposed double-features: “Center Stage” and “2046,” anyone? Tesco’s just taking the logic to the next level, producing in-house fodder at a no doubt deeply discounted prices.

01292010_compass.jpgIt’s worth noting that Tesco’s been fooling around with exclusive DVDs for a while — in the UK, they’re the only place to buy “Me And Orson Welles,” which is all kinds of grimly revealing about what it takes to sell a Richard Linklater movie these days. It’s likely these movies will be terrible but economical, priced for those who just have to see their favorite authors on-screen. (Though I suppose the revamped “The Golden Compass” will be its own kind of weird spectacle, with the New Line execs giving themselves another shot to give it right.)

You have to wonder why an American chain like Wal-Mart — which already sells a lot of well-known garbage — isn’t setting up to do the same. Tesco’s perception in the UK is more on the side of benevolent exasperation than the charges of sheer evil Wal-Mart tends to raise here, which is probably part of it. The many people who shop at Wal-Mart are eager to see whatever their movies would look like. And I suppose Wal-Mart’s notorious pragmatics would keep it from entering the DVD market at such a weird time. But still — I miss the days when Sunday night promised three separate lousy TV movies all hyped by their networks, and this is where they’ve gone to die.

At the very least, I expect “Paris Connections” will be be slightly better than the trailer for “The Stud,” Collins’ first on-screen effort. She had four movies made from her work in 1978-79, unbelievably. Then it was straight to TV:

[Photos: Tesco via Wikipedia; “The Golden Compass,” New Line Cinema, 2007]

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

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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