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Ricky Gervais’ Buried “Cemetery” and Olga Kurylenko’s “Assassin” New on DVD

Ricky Gervais’ Buried “Cemetery” and Olga Kurylenko’s “Assassin” New on DVD (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“The Assassin Next Door” (2009)
Directed by Danny Lerner
Released by First Look Studios

Retitled since its premiere at last year’s Toronto Film Festival as “Kirot,” Bond girl Olga Kurylenko is the one handling the gun in this thriller about two women — an assassin and a grocery clerk — desperate to leave their lot in life who hatch a plan to improve their situation and decidedly won’t do the same for the men who stand in their way.

“Black Orpheus” (1959)
Directed by Marcel Camus
Released by Criterion Collection

Marcel Camus’ Palme d’Or-winning Brazilian-set retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurdice is reissued by Criterion Collection on Blu-ray and DVD with a completely new set of extras including the French documentary “Looking for ‘Black Orpheus'” about the film’s legacy and archival interviews with Camus and actress Marpessa Dawn.

“Burning Bright” (2009)
Directed by Carlos Brooks
Released by Lionsgate

Fresh from 2008’s Vera Farmiga/Nick Stahl drama “Quid Pro Quo,” Carlos Brooks directs this thriller starring “Sorority Row”‘s Briana Evigan as a girl who must protect her autistic brother from the tiger that’s been let loose in her house during a hurricane. If you’re to believe the positive reviews out of UK’s FrightFest 2010, the film is nowhere as stupid as it sounds.

“Ca$h” (2009)
Directed by Stephen Milburn Anderson
Released by Lionsgate

An early chance to feast your eyes upon future “Thor” Chris Hemsworth, here he stars with Victoria Profeta as a young married couple in Chicago who unwittingly stumble into just over half a million dollars. Yet as soon as they resolve to put the money to use, a British thug (Sean Bean) arrives in town to quickly put their spending spree to a halt.

08172010_CemeteryJunction.jpg“Cemetery Junction” (2010)
Directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Although Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s first feature together did play one theater in Southern California last week, it will unfortunately suffer the indignity of being released on DVD and Blu-ray this week without the benefit of a big theatrical run in the States. A sleekly shot, mostly by-the-numbers coming-of-age dramedy with supporting turns from Ralph Fiennes and Matthew Goode, “Junction” is not what you’d expect from the guys who brought you “Extras” and “The Office,” but that’s probably why it was met with indifference by distributors.

“City of Your Final Destination” (2008)
Directed by James Ivory
Released by Screen Media Films

Though Bilge Ebiri concluded there’s no real story to the latest Merchant Ivory production (and in fact, the final one involving producer Ismail Merchant, who passed away during its production), this adaptation of Peter Cameron’s novel stars Omar Metwally as an academic who travels to Uruguay to convince the family of a late novelist to let him write a biography. Anthony Hopkins, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Laura Linney co-star as the blood relatives of differing aims.

“Dark and Stormy Night” (2009) and “The Lost Skeleton Returns Again” (2009)
Directed by Larry Blamire
Released by Shout! Factory

Indie cult director Larry Blamire brings not one, but two schlocky sendups of ’50s science fiction and horror films with the sequel to his 2001 comedy “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra” and “Dark and Stormy Night,” which spoofs haunted house movies when a family gathers to hear the reading of their patriarch’s will and gets picked off one-by-one.

“The Good, the Bad and the Weird” (2008)
Directed by Ji-woon Kim
Released by IFC Films/MPI Media Group

Ji-woon Kim’s epic action comedy western pretty much covers all the bases with the adventure of three men — the bounty hunter Good, the hitman Bad, and the thief Weird — as they travel across Manchuria fighting off each other and enemies from Japan and China to get their hands on some treasure. (Read our review.)

“Hamlet” (1996)
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Released by Warner Bros.

Short of a movie palace, Kenneth Branagh’s grand four-hour, 70mm reinterpretation of the William Shakespeare classic will likely best be appreciated with this new Blu-ray of the film.

08172010_LenfanceNue.jpg“L’enfance Nue” (1968)
Directed by Maurice Pialat
Released by Criterion Collection

Joining his 1983 film “À nos amours” (spine #337) in the Criterion Collection, Maurice Pialat’s 1968 drama concerning the downward spiral of a 10-year-old foster child makes its American DVD debut, with extras including the short “L’amour existe,” a vintage interview with Pialat, a visual essay by Kent Jones and a making-of documentary.

“Skellig: The Owl Man” (2009)
Directed by Annabel Jankel
Released by Image Entertainment

Ordinarily, a British TV movie aimed at children like this adaptation of David Almond’s fantasy novel about a child’s discovery of a birdlike creature with mysterious healing powers in the garage of his new house might not grab our attention. But that’s without mentioning “Son of Rambow” star Bill Millner plays the child, Tim Roth plays the winged creature, and Kelly MacDonald co-stars as the kid’s mother.

“Spring Fever” (2009)
Directed by You Le
Released by Strand Releasing

Although Lou Ye’s drama is currently playing at the IFC Center in New York, it’s hitting video stores and Netflix today, something that might be considered amazing since Ye shot the film in secrecy after receiving a five-year ban from the Chinese Film Bureau in 2006 after taking the controversial “Summer Palace” to Cannes without their permission. In “Spring Fever,” he follows a private investigator hired by a jealous wife to spy on her husband, who is having an affair with another man, and gets in over his head.

[Additional photos: “Cemetery Junction,” Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2010; “L’enfance Nue,” Criterion Collection, 1983]

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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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