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Put Julia Roberts On Hold: Seven Big-Name Movies That Have Yet to Reach Theaters or DVD

Put Julia Roberts On Hold: Seven Big-Name Movies That Have Yet to Reach Theaters or DVD (photo)

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Plenty of films don’t ever see a theatrical release, but it’s rare in this day and age for something not even get released on home video in the U.S., especially if it stars Julia Roberts or Jim Carrey. The latter, of course, has seen it happen with “I Love You Philip Morris,” the dark comedy from “Bad Santa” writer/directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra that premiered at Sundance in 2009. It can currently be enjoyed on transatlantic flights, but may never screen again Stateside thanks to legal issues.

With issues both economic and otherwise, there’s a growing collection of films gathering dust, the latest possibly being the leftovers at Overture, where chief executives Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett resigned amidst speculation the company would be sold. It’s made the fates of Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In,” the Edward Norton-Milla Jovovich prison drama “Stone” and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut “Jack Goes Boating” uncertain, to say the least.

There’s a good chance all will be released or find new homes, but whereas high-profile films were once immune from getting the cold shoulder, their relatively big price tags and limited appeal to niche audiences may mean they not even make it to Netflix. Here are a few that won’t be coming to a theater near you anytime soon.

07082010_MandyLaneFireflies.jpg“All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” and “Fireflies in the Garden”

Last year’s Bret Easton Ellis adaptation “The Informers” was a disaster on many levels — its author hated it, as did most critics, and it made $300,000 on what was a fairly wide release for an indie film — close to 500 screens. But its major crime was being a big enough debacle to shut down its distributor Senator, one of those well-funded international production companies who wanted to try their hand at distribution and unfortunately backed the wrong horse for their first foray into the marketplace. Some of the films that would’ve followed, like “Brooklyn’s Finest” and the Carey Mulligan tearjerker “The Greatest,” ultimately found homes at other distributors and Music Box has come to the rescue of the two-part French crime epic “Mesrine” for an August release.

But don’t hold your breath for either “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” or the Julia Roberts drama “Fireflies in the Garden,” even on DVD. The latter received tepid reviews at its 2008 premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, after which it traveled to more countries than Roberts logs in the upcoming “Eat Pray Love” (with the notable exception of the U.S.), but it happens to boast a cast of notable names including Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson and Hayden Panettiere. It was liked enough by Roberts that she’s producing “Fireflies” director Dennis Lee’s next film “Jesus Henry Christ.” (Cinephiles would probably be curious just for the fact it was the last film of late, great editor Dede Allen.)

As for “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane,” feel free to fire up your Amazon UK account, where Brit distributor Optimum Releasing has already put out a DVD, but American audiences shouldn’t expect “The Wackness” director Jonathan Levine’s horror debut before his 2011 Seth Rogen dramedy “I’m With Cancer,” if ever, which is a considerable disappointment given its buzz on the festival circuit from 2007.

07082010_PoughkeepsieTapes.jpg“The Poughkeepsie Tapes”

You think “The Hobbit” and James Bond have it bad? John Erick Dowdle and his brother Drew have made two films — the “[REC]” remake “Quarantine” and the upcoming M. Night Shyamalan-produced “Devil” — while the one that likely got them the gigs, “The Poughkeepsie Tapes,” remains locked away in MGM’s vault. Although it’s unlikely the film would’ve achieved the success of “Paranormal Activity,” it was cut from similar cloth: a documentary-style chiller with unknown actors that revolved around the discovery of a collection of gruesome videotapes showing the many murders of a serial killer.

The film had its world premiere at Tribeca in 2007, eliciting mixed response, but enough good word to draw the interest of MGM, who at one point was excited enough about the film’s prospects to suggest to the Dowdles that they might have a franchise on their hands. (On the other hand, HitFix’s Drew McWeeny has long lamented when he introduced the film at the 2007 “Butt-Numb-a-Thon” in Austin as a real documentary, which led to a disastrous screening where the filmmakers left before they were scheduled to do a Q & A.)

Even though the “Poughkeepsie Tapes” MySpace page remains up (further evidence of its fossilizing), MGM hasn’t even hinted at dumping the film onto DVD, despite the fact that between all of the release date shuffling dating back to 2007, the film leaked online. Granted, MGM has other films with better commercial prospects on their shelves — like a remake of “Red Dawn” and the Joss Whedon-Drew Goddard horror flick “The Cabin in the Woods” — to deal with first, but there’s a chance if the studio’s financial situation isn’t resolved, someone could be inspired to make a “Poughkeepsie”-style documentary about the corpses in MGM’s vault.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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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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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

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