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Steve Zahn’s “Marshall” Plan, a Double Bill in Chelsea and More New DVDs

Steve Zahn’s “Marshall” Plan, a Double Bill in Chelsea and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Calvin Marshall” (2010)
Directed by Gary Lundgren
Released by Passion River

Steve Zahn exemplifies the adage those who can’t do teach as a college baseball coach who never was quite good enough to make the majors who sees something of himself in an enthusiastic but unskilled player (Alex Frost) that he keeps on the team in writer/director Gary Lundgren’s feature debut.

“Chelsea on the Rocks” (2009)
Directed by Abel Ferrara
Released by Hannover House

“Bad Lieutenant” director Ferrara compiles a biography of the famed Chelsea Hotel in New York through archival footage, reenactments and interviews with the many artists who have stayed there throughout the years from Milos Forman and R. Crumb to Ethan Hawke and Gaby Hoffman.

“Claang the Game” (2009)
Directed by Stefano Milla
Released by Triumphant Entertainment

A game of “Claang,” a strategy-heavy match of wits, leads to a discussion between a duke and a humble traveler in ninth-century England about its historical origins in this epic action film from Italy.

“Eclipse Series 24: Actuality Dramas of Allan King”
Directed by Allan King
Released by Criterion Collection

One of Canada’s most cherished filmmakers is getting some well-deserved exposure internationally with this Criterion Eclipse set of five of his humanist dramas and documentaries from the ’60s, ’70s and ’00s: “Warrendale,” “A Married Couple,” “Come On Children” “Dying at Grace,” and “Memory for Claire, Max, Ida and Company.”

“The Experiment” (2010)
Directed by Paul Scheuring
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

“Prison Break” mastermind Scheuring probably thought a remake of Oliver Hirschbiegel’s 2001 thriller “Das Experiment,” which was inspired by the “Stanford Prison Experiment” pitting a group of regular joes against each other as inmates and guards, was a natural segueway into features. However, it’s likely all didn’t go according to plan since this Adrien Brody/Forest Whittaker starrer is headed straight to video. (Matt Singer’s review is here.)

09212010_BurntBytheSun.jpg“The Films of Nikita Mikhalkov, Volume 1”
Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov
Released by Kino Video

Finally acknowledged in the U.S. with an Oscar for his 1994 drama “Burnt by the Sun,” legendary Russian director Mikhalkov is receiving a retrospective of some of his greatest hits in this new boxed set from Kino that features 1976’s “A Slave of Love,” 1979’s “Five Evenings,” 1980’s “Oblomov,” 1984’s “Without Witness” and of course, “Burnt by the Sun.”

“I.C.U.” (2009)
Directed by Aash Aaron
Released by Osiris Entertainment

Aaron puts a contemporary Australian spin on “Rear Window” with this thriller about three teens who believe they’ve stumbled onto a serial killer living next door to them in an apartment building, yet don’t know that they are the ones being watched by someone via the building’s many security cameras.

“Kandahar Break” (2009)
Directed by David Whitney
Released by Peach Arch

Hired by the Taliban to clear land mines in Afghanistan, a member of a British squadron goes rogue after falling in love with his interpreter, much to the chagrin of the local police chief who chases him across the border into Pakistan in this thriller.

“The Locksmith” (2010)
Directed by Brad and Todd Barnes
Released by First Look Studios

While fellow low-budget Sundance NEXT selections Drake Doremus’ “Douchebag” and Katie Aselton’s “The Freebie” are making their way into theaters in the next couple weeks, Brad and Todd Barnes’ comedy that was the actual winner of the group will premiere on DVD. Back when it debuted in Park City, Alison Willmore called the film, starring Anslem Richardson as the titular locksmith who gets roped into helping out a woman (Ana Reeder) who suspects her boyfriend is cheating on her, “a slight but charming comedy that keeps undermining its own strenuously quirky set pieces with an overwhelming generosity towards its characters.”

09212010_Ondine.jpg“Ondine” (2009)
Directed by Neil Jordan
Released by Magnolia Pictures

After directing the Jodie Foster revenge thriller “The Brave One,” Neil Jordan delivers a fairy tale for adults with this drama starring Colin Farrell as an Irish fisherman who catches what his daughter believes to be a mythical selkie (Alicja Bacheda). (Interviews with Jordan and Farrell are here.)

“Racing Dreams” (2009)
Directed by Marshall Curry
Released by Hannover House

The latest from Oscar-nominated “Street Fight” director Marshall Curry won best documentary prizes at Tribeca and Jacksonville last year, which probably didn’t especially impress the kids depicted in “Racing Dreams,” three of the top go-kart racers in the country who are used to awards at ages 11-13. But Curry goes beyond the track to follow the rather extraordinary lives of Annabeth, Josh and Brandon, the trio of pre-teen drivers on the fast track to NASCAR who face roadblocks in the form of balancing school with racing, the cost of competing and in Brandon’s case, a family situation that’s ever evolving. After capturing 500 hours of footage, Curry captures one year in their lives. (An interview with Curry is here.)

“Robin Hood” (2010)
Directed by Ridley Scott
Released by Universal Pictures

Originally intended to be a radical reworking of the story told through the eyes of the Sheriff of Nottingham, this redo with Russell Crowe handling the bow and arrow opted for the familiar, with Cate Blanchett as a more forward-thinking Maid Marian. (Matt Zoller Seitz’s review of the film is here.)

“The Secret in Their Eyes” (2009)
Directed by Juan José Campanella
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

After a sojourn in American television directing episodes of “Law & Order,” among other shows, “Son of the Bride” director Campanella travels back to Argentina for this Oscar-nominated adaptation of Eduardo Sacheri’s novel about a state prosecutor (Ricardo Darin) reflecting on a rape and murder investigation that occurred 25 years earlier for a book he’s writing and discovers new evidence in the case as well as the spark of rekindling a romance with the judge in the case (Soledad Villamil). (Bilge Ebiri’s review is here.)

“Stomp the Yard: Homecoming” (2010)
Directed by Rob Hardy
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Hardy, an executive producer on the original “Stomp the Yard,” moves into the director’s chair and even brings back star Columbus Short to put in an appearance in this DTV sequel that sees another student with mad dance skills (Collins Pennie) trying to keep up with his classes as he gets ready for a major step competition.

“Stripped Naked” (2009)
Directed by Lee Demarbre
Released by Anchor Bay

A stripper (Sarah Allen) stumbles upon $90,000 lying next to three dead men after a drug deal goes awry and goes on the run in this thriller from the director of “Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter.”

“Triple Dog” (2009)
Directed by Pascal Franchot
Released by Well Go USA

“Life Unexpected” star Brittany Robertson shows off her dark side in this sleepover gone horribly wrong when a group of high schoolers challenge each other to riskier dares during a popular girl’s birthday party. Judging from the trailer, it’s not PG-13.

09212010_AdamGoldbergUntitled.jpg“(Untitled)” (2009)
Directed by Jonathan Parker
Released by Screen Media Films

If last week was Duncan Ward’s turn to send-up the British art scene with “Boogie Woogie,” “Bartelby” director Parker takes his turn in the U.S. with this comedy starring Adam Goldberg as an eccentric composer who falls for a gallery owner (Marley Shelton) in Chelsea. Vinnie Jones, Eion Bailey and Lucy Punch round out the community around them.

“Vigilante” (1983)
Directed by William Lustig
Released by Blue Underground

Fred Williamson and Robert Forster team up in Lustig’s sweaty thriller where the two factory workers attempt to take back the streets from the local gangs in New York on their own terms since the police don’t seem interested in protecting their turf.

Also making their first appearance on Blu-ray: “American Beauty,” “The Peacemaker”

[Additional Photos: “Burnt by the Sun,” Sony Pictures Classics, 1994; “Ondine,” Magnolia Pictures, 2010; “(Untitled),” Screen Media Films, 2009]

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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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