This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


Getting through the long haul.

Getting through the long haul. (photo)

Posted by on

The prospect of sitting through all of “Carlos,” Olivier Assayas’ five-and-a-half hour film about Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal, is filling the weaker-hearted Cannes troopers with fear and trembling. As The Los Angeles Times‘ Steven Zeitchik reports (if that’s the correct word), there is trepidation over Cannes’ longest odyssey since Steven Soderbergh’s four-hour, two-part “Che,” which “Carlos” will supposedly make “look like a network sitcom.” Faint-hearted souls are reportedly “gearing up for the gargantuan screening […] buzzing about it as an event and an experience, with one part apprehension and two parts professional braggadocio.” And one person is “preparing” by going to other lengthy movies at the festival. So, you know.

“Carlos,” of course, was made for TV, placing it in the tiny sub-genre of things designed as normal TV experiences, then brought to foreign viewers as marathon films. Others include “Berlin Alexanderplatz” (which I saw as two long, long seven and a half hour viewings) and “Heimat,” as well as many key Bergman movies (“Scenes From A Marriage,” “Fanny and Alexander”) — the latter introduced as still-lengthy but cut-down versions. The practice of cutting down foreign films for domestic release has largely been discontinued — though John Woo’s last film, the two parter “Red Cliff” was for American audiences — and Zeitchik grumbles that there’s no three-hour cut. Essentially, he’d prefer a less fleshed-out version that implies half the product is extraneous.

The importance of duration has been both over and understated by audiences and critics. There are people who will refuse to watch any movie over a certain duration (two and a half hours, say) and make a big deal out of it. Up through the ’50s, of course, people were used to sitting through two movies, the newsreel, cartoon, serial and so on; these days, though, people spend most of their marathon viewing sessions in front of the TV. We resent forced duration.

05142010_satan.jpgMy personal viewing threshold is seven and a half hours, which I know thanks to “Sátántangó,” the Bela Tarr movie whose thesis is at least in part that the experience of feeling time pass — of surrendering your day to someone else’s vision — can be essential to a film as any visual or sonic elements. I once made the decision to see a rare theatrical screening of “Shoah,” which required watching the whole thing in one day: a nine-and-a-half hour marathon punctuated by a one-hour dinner break. At seven-and-a-half hours pretty much precisely, I hit a wall that made the last two hours tougher than they should’ve been.

Making a long movie is rarely an arrogant act, a decision made to make an audience suffer for your vision. It’s a gamble and a request for patience and trust. But whining about length is mostly counterproductive: that’s the biggest risk you can take. Better to expect greatness than grumble about the length.

[Photos: “Carlos,” IFC, 2010; “Sátántangó,” Facets Video, 1994.]


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.