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Christopher Walken Survives on “$5 a Day,” Cassavetes With a “Machine Gun,” and More New DVDs

Christopher Walken Survives on “$5 a Day,” Cassavetes With a “Machine Gun,” and More New DVDs  (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“$5 a Day” (2008)
Directed by Nigel Cole
Released by Image Entertainment

A refugee of the bankrupt Capitol Films, this dramedy starring Christopher Walken as a raconteur who claims he’s able to live a full life on the titular Lincoln bill is finally seeing the light of day after premiering at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival. Alessandro Nivola co-stars as his son who drives him to New Mexico when he falls ill. Sharon Stone and Amanda Peet are along for the ride.

“2:22” (2008)
Directed by Phillip Guzman
Released by Inception Media Group

A quartet of thieves scheme to rob a boutique hotel on New Year’s Eve, but find out that what’s waiting for them on the inside is even colder than the snow-caked streets outside. Just as he did for his 2006 crime thriller “Played,” star/co-writer Rossi called upon famous pals Gabriel Byrne and Val Kilmer for cameos as a detective and a crazed jeweler, respectively.

“Abandoned” (2009)
Directed by Michael Feifer
Released by Anchor Bay

In the next-to-last film completed before her death, Brittany Murphy stars as a woman suspected of losing her sanity when her boyfriend (Dean Cain) disappears during a hospital visit and she races against time to find him. Peter Bogdanovich co-stars as her psychiatrist. No, really.

“Addicted to Her Love” (2006)
Directed by Elliott Lester
Released by E1 Entertainment

Once called “Love is the Drug,” Lizzy Caplan leads an ensemble cast in this drama about one Harvard-bound high schooler’s entrance into a world of privileged teens whose alluring, excessive lifestyle may get in the way of his trip to Boston. “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Cape Fear” remake artist Wesley Strick co-wrote the script.

“After the Revolution” (1990)
Directed by Andras Szirtes
Released by Facets Multimedia

Hungarian experimental filmmaker Szirtes takes a cat’s eye view of the end of communism in this film about a novelist who relies on his feline companion for help with his latest book, with the cat’s ideas communicated in Soviet propaganda films and POV footage filmed from the cat’s perspective.

08232010_AgeofStupid.jpg“The Age of Stupid” (2009)
Directed by Franny Armstrong
Released by New Video Group

Pete Postlethwaite plays the lone survivor on earth in 2055 in this narrative/documentary hybrid about the potential devastation the future holds as a result of climate change.

“Ajami” (2009)
Directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani
Released by Kino Video

This year’s Oscar-nominated Best Foreign Language Film entry from Israel concerns the contentious area of Jaffa where Jews, Muslims and Christians coexist, giving way to a multistranded narrative about two brothers trying to save their family after their uncle’s mistake results in a virtual death sentence, a Palestinian man who tries to earn enough money to pay for his mother’s operation, a cop searching for his missing brother, and a young couple whose differing ethnicities pose a roadblock to marriage. (A review roundup from Cannes, where it won a Camera d’Or.)

“Big Mess” (1970)
Directed by Alexander Kluge
Released by Facets Multimedia

New German Cinema maverick Kluge envisions a world where the Suez Canal Company reigns supreme as a giant corporation that reduces anyone not working for them to become pirates in this low-fi sci-fier that takes place in 2034.

“City Island” (2009)
Directed by Raymond De Felitta
Released by Anchor Bay

As a producer on the film and a father, Andy Garcia does right by his real-life daughter by casting her as part of the rambunctious Rizzo clan, but in playing the role of a prison guard patriarch who really wants to be an actor, he pretends his son from an old fling (Strait), a recent parolee, isn’t a relation in front of the rest of his family, just one of the many lies that build to a crescendo in “Two Family House” director De Felitta’s Tribeca Audience Award winner.

“Comeback” (2007)
Directed by Max Plettau
Released by Pathfinder Home Entertainment

A veteran of Silverdocs 2008, Plettau follows German heavyweight champ Jürgen “The Rock” Hartenstein as he attempts to revive his boxing career at the age of 35.

08232010_BenBarnesDorianGray.jpg“Dorian Gray” (2009)
Directed by Oliver Parker
Released by National Entertainment Media

“An Ideal Husband” director Oliver Parker takes on another Oscar Wilde classic with a cast including “The Chronicles of Narnia”‘s Ben Barnes as the titular character who never grows old while co-stars Colin Firth and Rebecca Hall wonder how he keeps he keeps his youthful looks.

“George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead” (2009)
Directed by George A. Romero
Released by Magnolia Pictures

No one raises the dead quite like George A. Romero who is returning for a sixth time to the zombie genre he created back in 1968 with “Night of the Living Dead” with this direct follow-up to 2007’s “Diary of the Dead.” Here, Romero drops in on Plum Island, Delaware where two families of opposing views on how to treat the undead (one is trigger-happy, the other is more pacifist) are forced to put aside their differences when zombies overtake their seaside abode.

“Group Sex” (2009)
Directed by Lawrence Trilling
Released by Monarch Home Entertainment

Longtime J.J. Abrams cohorts Greg Grunberg and Lawrence Trilling co-wrote this comedy starring Josh Cooke, Odette Yustman, Tom Arnold and Henry Winkler as members of a sex addiction support group.

“I Think We’re Alone Now” (2008)
Directed by Sean Donnelly
Released by Awesome and Modest

Back in 2008, Alison Willmore wrote that this documentary about two obsessed fans of ’80s pop star Tiffany “makes you squirm at its relationships with its subjects and its audience” when it played Fantastic Fest. Now, you can be the judge.

08232010_JohnCassavetesMachineGunMcCain.jpg“Machine Gun McCain” (1969)
Directed by Giuliano Montaldo
Released by Blue Underground

Quentin Tarantino once showed this Italian-produced heist thriller as part of his QT Fest in Austin, acknowledging that the getaway plan for a casino robbery hatched by mobster John Cassavetes was one of the most cleverly devised ever on film. Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk and Britt Ekland co-star.’

“Practice of Love” (1984)
Directed by Valie Export
Released by Facets Multimedia

Viennese helmer Export directed this thriller about a journalist who stumbles into a weapons trafficking ring while investigating a murder that has ramifications for both her lovers.

“Seven Days” (2007)
Directed by Shin-yeon Won
Released by Virgil Films

“Lost” star Yunjin Kim gets a chance to speak in her native tongue for this Korean legal thriller in which she stars as a lawyer who is forced to defend a death row inmate in order to rescue her kidnapped daughter.

“The Square” (2010)
Directed by Nash Edgerton
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Nash Edgerton’s noirish first feature centers on a wife (van der Bloom) who schemes to run off with her lover and taking the pile of cash that her husband recently collected with her, but her plan to set her house ablaze to cover their tracks puts them both in the line of fire. (Our review and interview with director Nash Edgerton.)

“A Step Into the Darkness” (2009)
Directed by Atil Inac
Released by Vanguard Cinema

This Iraq-set drama centers on a woman (Suzan Genç) who survives an American attack on her village and journeys to her native Turkey to aid her sickly brother and gets caught up in an Islamic radical group.

“Titanic II” (2010)
Directed by Shane Van Dyke
Released by Asylum Home Entertainment

Bruce Davison and Brooke Burns cash in paychecks as part of the crew who think it would be a good idea to set sail on a ship called the “Titanic II,” only to run into the same iceberg that wrecked the first Titanic a century earlier. Directed by Dick Van Dyke’s grandson, this actually isn’t a comedy.

08232010_WhoKilledNancy.jpg“Who Killed Nancy” (2009)
Directed by Alan G. Parker
Released by Peach Arch

After over a hundred interviews with friends and family, Parker attempts to clear the name of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious in the murder case of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen in 1978, a crime that New York police quickly attributed to Vicious and sent shockwaves through the era’s punk scene.

“Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg” (2009)
Directed by Aviva Kempner
Released by New Video Group

Kempner, who last directed the baseball doc “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg,” now tackles another story of Jews in U.S. popular culture, this time focusing on Gertrude Berg, the actress who became a radio pioneer and inspiration to millions as the creator/writer/star of the 1920s serial “The Goldbergs.”

Also making their first appearance on Blu-ray: Neil Jordan’s “The Long Good Friday” and “Mona Lisa,” the 30th Anniversary Edition of “Shogun Assassin,” Terry Gilliam’s “Time Bandits” and “Withnail and I”

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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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GIFs via Giphy

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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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….


IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.


IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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