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Colin Farrell Performs “Triage,” Criterion’s “Crumb” and more new on DVD

Colin Farrell Performs “Triage,” Criterion’s “Crumb” and more new on DVD (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Triage” (2009)
Directed by Danis Tanovic
Released by National Entertainment Media

Although a largely tepid reception at last year’s Toronto Film Festival and a downer of a subject matter prevented “No Man’s Land” director Danis Tanovic’s English-language debut from getting American theatrical distribution, Colin Farrell delivers an award-worthy performance as a photojournalist recovering from the ravages of war and the loss of his friend and colleague in this direct-to-DVD drama. Even with Paz Vega to come home to, Farrell’s photographer tries to make sense of the horrors he witnessed as his wife (Vega) and the wife of his dead friend (Kelly Reilly) try to get him to open up.

“Children of Invention” (2009)
Directed by Tze Chun
Released by Indieblitz Releasing

An alum of Sundance 2009, Chun’s feature debut centers around a Chinese immgrant single mother’s determination to give her children a better life until her desperate involvement in a pyramid scheme leaves them fending for themselves on the streets of Boston. As Chun told Alison Willmore back in March, “I wanted to tell a story about children that wasn’t necessarily from a child’s point of view.” (The rest of the interview is here.)

“Louie Bluie” (1985)/“Crumb” (1995)
Directed By Terry Zwigoff
Released by Criterion Collection

Before creating an icon of his own with “Bad Santa” in 2003, Terry Zwigoff first directed documentaries about them, both of which are getting the Criterion treatment. Zwigoff’s 1985 portrait of the multilingual country-blues musician Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong and his 1995 look at the life of counterculture artist R. Crumb arrive on both DVD and Blu-ray with audio commentaries, extensive arrays of unused footage and not surprisingly, pretty cool booklets filled with art and essays.

“Date Night” (2010)
Directed by Shawn Levy
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

Tina Fey and Steve Carell gamely take on an evening of navigating snooty Manhattan restaurants, strip joints and Mark Wahlberg’s abs as a suburban couple mistaken by corrupt cops (Common and Jimmi Simpson) for a pair of low-level hoods (James Franco and Mila Kunis) who have an important USB drive in their possession. “Night at the Museum”‘s Shawn Levy once again overstuffs his cast to the point Mark Ruffalo and Kristen Wiig register about a minute of screen time each in this ticking-clock comedy.

“Death at a Funeral” (2010)
Directed by Neil LaBute
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

LaBute didn’t even let the corpse of Frank Oz’s 2007 British funeral farce get cold before reinterpreting it with a largely African-American cast that includes Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Danny Glover, and Zoe Saldana. Peter Dinklage is the only holdover from the original, once again serving as the mysterious guest with the potential to upset the memorial service of a family’s patriarch. Poop jokes and valium-induced tripping are just part of the wake, this despite co-star Tracy Morgan’s insistence that funerals aren’t supposed to be funny.

08102010_GoodHeart.jpg“The Good Heart” (2009)
Directed by Dagur Kári
Released by Magnolia Pictures

“Nói albínói” writer/director Kári brings a droll, Icelandic sense of humor to his first American-produced film, which reunites “L.I.E.” co-stars Brian Cox and Paul Dano as an unsentimental bartender and homeless teen with perhaps too much compassion, respectively, who develop an unusual alliance after both are laid up in a hospital. (My review from its premiere at SXSW earlier this year is here.)

“Helen” (2009)
Directed by Sandra Nettelbeck
Released by E1 Entertainment

Another international helmer making her English-language debut is German director Nettelbeck, whose “Mostly Martha” was remade into the Catherine Zeta Jones romance “No Reservations.” Here, she delves into the far more serious territory of a music theory professor (Ashley Judd) whose life falls apart when she begins to show signs of mental illness. Goran Visnjic co-stars as her husband in this Sundance 2009 drama.

“The Joneses” (2009)
Directed by Derrick Borte
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

David Duchovny and Demi Moore star as the heads of a seemingly perfect all-American family in this satire from first-time writer/director Borte. As I wrote back when the film premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Fest, the less you know going in, the likelier you are to enjoy how the Joneses’ status as the envy of their new neighborhood is subverted into a sly slap at consumerism.

“La Mission” (2009)
Directed by Peter Bratt
Released by Screen Media Films

This one’s a family affair from writer/director Peter Bratt, who casts younger brother Benjamin as a father who has a hard time dealing with his son’s admission that he’s gay, living in the hard-scrabble and strongly traditional San Francisco Mission District. Believe it or not, the film became one of the quieter indie hits of the spring, taking in just over $1 million from its little-publicized tour of the country.

“Multiple Sarcasms” (2010)
Directed by Brooks Branch
Released by Image Entertainment

Timothy Hutton can’t separate his life from his art when he drops out of his profession as an architect to write a play about his dissatisfaction with how his life turned out, in spite of being the picture of success to those around him. Mira Sorvino, Stockard Channing and Dana Delany are among the women in his life who try to free him from his rut.

08102010_MyNameisKhan.jpg“My Name is Khan” (2010)
Directed by Karan Johar
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

Bollywood stars Shahrukh Khan and Kajol cross continents and other seemingly insurmountable odds to be together in this romance about a man suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome who follows his brother from India to San Francisco and meets the love of his life, but must deal with cultural misperceptions and personal tragedy after 9/11.

“The Thorn in the Heart” (2009)
Directed by Michel Gondry
Released by Oscilloscope Laboratories

In keeping with his penchant for surprises, Michel Gondry may have pulled off one of his more unforeseen left turns with this intimate documentary about his Aunt Suzette, a retired schoolteacher who has trouble communicating with her own son Jean-Yves. But don’t worry, Gondry still finds a way to work in some of his trademark visual trickery into this warm biography. (Aaron Hillis spoke to Gondry about the film back in March.)

“Under the Mountain” (2009)
Directed by Jonathan King
Released by Lionsgate

“Black Sheep” director Jonathan King follows up his 2006 horror comedy with, of all things, a homage to ’80s children’s fantasy adventures in an adaptation of Maurice Gee’s novel about a pair of twins with supernatural powers they are forced to call upon to defend themselves from the aliens that live underneath Auckland’s dormant volcanoes. “Escape to Witch Mountain” comparisons are inevitable with Sam Neill doing his best grizzled Eddie Albert impersonation.

“Welcome” (2009)
Directed by Philippe Lioret
Released by Film Movement

Nominated for multiple César Awards in its native France, “Welcome” stars Vincent Lindon as a middle-aged swimming instructor who helps train a 17-year-old Kurdish refugee (Firat Ayverdi) to swim across the English Channel after the immigrant has issues with the local authorities who prevent him from reuniting with his girlfriend in London.

[Additional photos: “The Good Heart,” Magnolia Pictures, 2010; “My Name is Khan,” Fox Searchlight, 2010]

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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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

via GIPHY

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.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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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 IFC.com 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….

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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.

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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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