This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


The morality of Paul Greengrass’ shaky-cam.

The morality of Paul Greengrass’ shaky-cam. (photo)

Posted by on

No one could say that Paul Greengrass lacks good intentions. As a reporter for the British current affairs show “World In Action,” Greengrass worked on two contentious stories. The first was an interview with IRA hunger striker Raymond McCartney (preparation for which was done via smuggled messages written on cigarette papers), the second a collaboration with former MI5 scientific officer Peter Wright, who claimed his former boss was a Soviet mole. This is probably not true (at least according to Christopher Andrew’s 1032-page authorize MI5 history), but Greengrass has the taste of activist blood on his lips. (The fact that Margaret Thatcher allegedly called the show “just a lot of Trotskyists” was probably music to his ears.)

These aren’t the expected background credits of a man responsible for rebooting a huge action franchise — it’s sort of like imagining Carl Bernstein shooting “Indiana Jones.” But Greengrass became an activist director of sorts, working steadily in film and TV (ghoulish trivia: his 1998 drama “The Theory of Flight” was the last movie reviewed on “Siskel & Ebert” before Siskel died). 2002’s “Bloody Sunday” made a bigger international splash than anything he’d done before, Tony Gilroy told Matt Damon to watch it, and the rest is history.

Greengrass is now rewriting history on-screen. Embodying the “one for them, one for me” ideal like none other, Greengrass followed up “The Bourne Supremacy” with “United 93,” and “The Bourne Ultimatum” with this Friday’s “Green Zone.” Two action blockbusters, two Politically Serious films: what could be wrong with that? Plenty.

03102010_united93.jpgIn an interview with Andrew L. Urban, Greengrass described the main message of “United 93” — a total gut-punch, but a seemingly pointless one — as “what the fuck are we going to do about it?” By most reliable accounts, “Green Zone” knows exactly what to do about it, which is to claim a top-down conspiracy of Good vs. Evil. I doubt anyone will top the New Yorker‘s Anthony Lane‘s line that it is “a left-wing movie that looks and sounds like a right-wing one.”

That’s a first for Greengrass, whose ambivalence was previously overpowering, often productively. On “Bloody Sunday,” the stated goal was “to make a film where at the end of it we could all say, yes, it must have been a bit like that.” But tying together all of Greengrass’ work of a decade is that shaky-cam, which yields mixed aesthetic results but always implies the same thing: what you’re watching is real.

That’s a standard mockumentary trope, but it has the weird side-effect of equalizing Matt Damon on the run and 9/11. That makes me queasy, and it’s not just motion sickness. Whether Damon is realistically fleeing fictional CIA overlords or in search of The Truth About Iraq makes no difference (and when “Green Zone” gets into dubious conspiratorial territory, that goes double). Building up off “United 93″‘s almost impeachable veracity, now we have… this. Let the games begin.

[Photos: “Green Zone,” Universal, 2010; “United 93,” Universal, 2006]


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

Posted by on


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.

Posted by on
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.

Posted by on
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.