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Animators who have made the live-action leap.

Animators who have made the live-action leap. (photo)

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It’s a pleasant surprise to see that Brad Bird is being considered as a possible director for “Mission Impossible IV,” a game of musical chairs that is said to include “Zombieland”‘s Ruben Fleischer and Edgar Wright.

Of course, “The Iron Giant” director has never helmed a live-action feature before, though that shouldn’t be a stumbling block if the action choreography in “The Incredibles” is any indication. (Bird’s already had been working on a $200-million plus live-action adaptation of James Dalessandro’s “1906,” a romance set against San Francisco’s most epic earthquake, which in turn pushed back a sequel featuring the superpowered Parr family.)

With computer-generated imagery of all types invading all the more into live-action films, it’s no wonder that Bird is up for the gig, just as “Horton Hears a Who!” director Jimmy Hayward is putting the finishing touches on this summer’s “Jonah Hex” and “WALL·E” helmer Andrew Stanton is starting to film “John Carter of Mars” as Pixar’s first foray into live-action for 2012. Meanwhile, “Ice Age” director Chris Wedge had planned to make his live-action debut on an adaptation of Brian Selznick’s adventure novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” before Martin Scorsese took the reins.

But the current crop of filmmakers who honed their chops in animation aren’t the first to make the jump from sketchboards to stage boards. “My Man Godfrey” (1936) director Gregory La Cava originally started out adapting comic strips from Hearst newspapers into animated shorts before becoming one of the premier directors of live-action comic two-reelers during the 1920s. Decades later, he was followed by the esteemed careers of Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton, whose live-action work has long been informed by the same painterly eye as their animation.

03252010_AndrewAdamson.jpgAlthough Rob Minkoff hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since transitioning from directing “The Lion King” to blending live-action and animation with “Stuart Little” and its sequel, he did carve out a career path for “Shrek” co-director Andrew Adamson to follow, with Adamson bringing his technical savvy to “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” and “Prince Caspian” (not to mention his contribution as an executive producer on Lance Hammer’s “Ballast”).

Then there’s Adamson’s “Shrek” co-director Vicky Jenson, who made her live-action debut on last year’s CG-free Alexis Bledel comedy “Post Grad.” When asked about what the difference was between the two mediums, Jenson said, “The main thing I learned was to treat shooting the scenes as gathering pieces to work with later with my editor. I didn’t go to film school so I had a tendency, from my animation background, to ‘edit in the camera.’ This bugged my boss and mentor Ivan Reitman to no end when he saw the dailies.”

Of course, in recent years, this has been a two-way street, with Wes Anderson entering into the animated ranks with “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and legendary director of photography Roger Deakins consulting on the cinematography of “WALL-E” and, more recently, “How to Train Your Dragon.” And perhaps it was “The Triplets of Belleville” director Sylvain Chomet who found the perfect balance between animation and live-action with “Tour Eiffel,” his contribution to 2006’s “Paris, je t’aime,” that is almost too cartoonish to be real:

[Photo: Brad Bird on the set of “Ratatouille,” Pixar/Disney, 2007; Andrew Adamson on the set of “Prince Caspian,” Disney/Walden Media, 2008]


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.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

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:


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.


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!


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.


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.



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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GIFs via Giphy

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.”


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. 


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.