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DID YOU READ

Toronto 2010: “All About Love,” Reviewed

Toronto 2010: “All About Love,” Reviewed (photo)

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Reviewed at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival.

You wouldn’t be wrong to think “All About Love” feels a bit like how American films dealt with gay subject matter in the 1980s – with caution and reserve, indulging in soft focus and the occasional swell of a sappy love song in the background. But it should be remembered, of all the good ones at least, that they were building towards bigger breakthroughs with deceptively simple stories that served to lift gay characters to the level of straight ones in like-minded films.

This isn’t to say that one should grade Ann Hui’s romantic comedy on a curve, since it’s a well-told story that stands on its own. But it’s important to note Hui’s struggle to film it without censorship in her home country of China, where it will be banned from ever playing in public since the suggestion of two women falling in love is too bold, let alone the idea they want to raise a family without a man in the mix. Which is exactly what happens when Anita (Vivian Chow) and Macy (Sandra Ng), a pair of schoolgirls who fell in love while they were in their teens rediscover their spark after running into each other at a prenatal clinic.

Both Anita and Macy have unwanted pregnancies by men who can’t handle commitment. Anita’s one-night stand is barely 20 and desperately wants to be in her life, though she has no interest in him. Meanwhile Macy, a successful attorney, is already reevaluating her sexuality by the time she sleeps with her married client, who shows no interest in raising a kid when he initially finds out.

09142010_AllAboutLove2.jpgHowever, the men take a backseat to what becomes a film that normalizes same-sex relationships as subtly as “The Kids Are All Right,” minus the kids since they aren’t born yet. In fact, the drama of the two women’s pregnancies are kept to a minimum as well, leaving the focus on a perfectly functional relationship between two women, apparently based on a true story, which comes through in the intelligence and unforced nature of its characters.

That sentiment also extends to Hui’s direction, which is warm without overdoing it (except for the music). It’s not surprising to learn that Hui originally envisioned the story as part of a television series since “All About Love” feels highly serialized, with casual conversations between Anita and Macy and their groups of friends taking their time and story strands weaving together towards a cohesive whole. There’s some things that aren’t subtle — Hui can’t help but put posters of Rosie the Riveter in Macy’s office alongside posters of feminist slogans, even though Macy’s client is charged with domestic abuse — yet there’s an effortlessness that pervades the entire movie, making this an occasion when love comes easy, but it’s changing people’s minds that’s hard.

“All About Love” doesn’t yet have U.S. distribution.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.