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When Silents Are Golden: Chaplin, Keaton, “Metropolis” and More New DVDs

When Silents Are Golden: Chaplin, Keaton, “Metropolis” and More New DVDs  (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Modern Times”
Directed by Charlie Chaplin
Released by Criterion Collection

Granted, Warner Brothers released an extensive two-disc collection of arguably Charlie Chaplin’s finest film back in 2003, but Criterion Collection is bringing the silent comedian to Blu-ray for the first time with a newly remastered edition of the Depression-era classic with an array of special features including the Dardenne brothers’ 2003 tribute to the film, the 1916 two-reeler “The Rink,” the Alistair Cooke home movie with Chaplin and Pauline Goddard, “All at Sea,” two deleted sequences from the film, a new featurette on the film’s special effects with Ben Burtt and Craig Barron and much more.

“Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition”
Directed by James Cameron
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

After a bare bones edition was released in April, James Cameron’s box office world-beater receives a three-disc set with all the bells and whistles one might expect for a more suitable gift-giving edition, offering 16 minutes of new footage, over an hour of deleted scenes, an hour-and-a-half making-of documentary, and countless featurettes and galleries documenting the film’s production.

“31 North, 62 East”
Directed by Tristan Loraine
Released by MTI Home Video

John Rhys-Davies stars in Tristan Loraine’s political thriller about a British prime minister’s dirty dealings coming back to haunt him when he secures an arms deal by leaking the location of one of his squadrons in Afghanistan who are thought to be killed in short order as a result. But when one of them survives the attack, the female soldier (Heather Peace) will stop at nothing to get revenge.

“Barking Water”
Directed by Sterlin Harjo
Released by Kino

After its weeklong run at the Museum of Modern Art over the summer, Sterlin Harjo’s road trip drama arrives at home on DVD, telling the story of a Native American (Richard Ray Whitman) who is accompanied by a former lover (Casey Camp-Horinek) to visit the capital of Seminole nation where his estranged daughter and granddaughter live.

“Bear City”
Directed by Douglas Langway
Released by TLA Releasing

For a comedic history of the gay male fetish towards the large and hirsuite, see Malcolm Ingram’s doc “Bear Nation.” But for a comedy about the bears, look no further than Langway’s film about a weeklong convention of bears in New York where a thin, young and largely hairless man looks for love among a community where he’s not an easy fit.

“Beneath the Blue”
Directed by Michael D. Sellers
Released by Inception Media Group

Having David Keith withdrawal after the quick cancellation of Fox’s “Lone Star”? (Okay, I may be the only one.) This environmentally-themed thriller might be just the fix as Keith plays a scientist whose daughter (Caitlin Wachs) has to choose between her principles as a dolphin researcher and a naval officer (“The Vampire Diaries'” Paul Wesley) with orders to investigate a series of dolphin deaths suspected to be the result of the government’s sonar.

11162010_BestWorstMovie.jpg“Best Worst Movie”
Directed by Michael Paul Stephenson
Released by New Video Group

Fans of “Troll 2” may have been disappointed that star Michael Paul Stephenson’s loving documentary about the cult of fandom that has followed the truly horrific horror flick wasn’t included on the recent “20th Anniversary Nilbog Edition” will be heartened to see it as its own stand-alone release. The DVD of this festival fave includes an audio commentary by Stephenson, deleted scenes and interviews.

Directed by Nicolo Donato
Released by Olive Films

Donato’s drama finds the inherent tension in a gay romance between two neo-Nazis in Denmark.

“Coopers’ Christmas”
Directed by Warren P. Sonoda
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

A selection at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival, “The Daily Show”‘s Jason Jones and Samantha Bee star in this mockumentary about a calamitous family get-together over the holidays, complete with a nude Dave Foley.

“Disney’s A Christmas Carol”
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Released by Disney Home Entertainment

To place alongside his adaptation of “The Polar Express,” Robert Zemeckis’ second motion-capture Christmas tale is coming out on DVD and Blu-ray just in time to place under the tree, starring Jim Carrey as Scrooge in the Charles Dickens’ classic.

“A Crime”
Directed by Manuel Pradal
Released by Phase 4 Films

You know Manuel Pradal’s crime thriller falls into the fantasy realm when Emmanuelle Beart has to invent a suspect in the murder of Norman Reedus’ wife to take his mind off her death. Harvey Keitel shows up as a cabbie who gets involved and soon learns he doesn’t want to be in this 2006 potboiler.

“Don’t Look Back”
Directed by Marina de Van
Released by MPI Home Video

Speaking of European actresses whose looks could kill, Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci play the dual role of Jeanne, a biographer who notices her life and appearance starts to change when she tackles her own experience for her next book and becomes psychologically tortured when no one else seems to notice in this thriller that premiered at Cannes in 2009.

Directed by Stuart Hazeldine
Released by MPI Home Video

Luke Mably heads up a lit of eight applicants for the job interview from Hell involving one enigmatic question, 80 minutes to answer it and a locked windowless room where the applicants must rely on each other before competing against them to figure out what exactly they’re answering in Stuart Hazeldine’s twisty thriller.

“Exhibit A”
Directed by Dom Rotheroe
Released by IndiePix

One teenage girl’s digital camera captures the destruction of her family when her father’s secret debt is revealed and results in unexpected ramifications for his brood in this British thriller starring Brittany Ashworth and Bradley Cole.

“The Extra Man”
Directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
Released by Magnolia Pictures

“American Splendor” co-directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini worked with “Bored to Death” author Jonathan Ames to adapt his comic novel about a sexually confused, recently fired prep school teacher (Paul Dano) who comes under the tutelage of a failed playwright-turned-escort (Kevin Kline) for well-to-do women on the Upper East Side. (Aaron Hillis’ interview with Paul Dano is here)

11162010_FearMeNot.jpg“Fear Me Not”
Directed by Kristian Levring
Released by MPI Home Video

“The King is Alive” director Kristian Levring teams with frequent Susanne Bier collaborator Anders Thomas Jensen for this Danish drama about a 42-year-old (Ulrich Thomsen) whose financial situation forces him into the quick cash of a drug trial, though he soon regrets his decision after his behavior becomes erratic as a result of the experimental meds he’s taking.

“The Gunslingers”
Directed by Adam Oxsen
Released by Lionsgate

Originally titled “Ecstasy of Gold,” Adam Oxsen’s oater stars John Elliott as a bounty hunter who just wants a fair shake as a frontier town descends into chaos over a cache of gold, particularly his rival (Brad Allen) who intends to horde the gold for himself.

“A Lure: Teen Fight Club”
Directed by Bill McAdams Jr.
Released by Osiris Entertainment

Oh Bill McAdams Jr., you’re a brave soul for inviting comparisons to David Fincher, but I’m guessing few will do so after watching this thriller about an undercover cop assigned to sneak her way into the bowels of the local high school where girls must put up their dukes or be killed.

11162010_KidsAreAllRight.jpg“The Kids Are All Right”
Directed by Lisa Cholodenko
Released by Focus Features

“High Art” director Lisa Cholodenko teamed with frequent Edward Norton collaborator Stuart Blumberg to write this Sherman Oaks-set comedy that stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore star as a well-to-do lesbian couple whose teenage children (Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska) begin to wonder about the identity of their biological father (Mark Ruffalo). (Alison Willmore’s review is here)

“The Last Airbender”
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Released by Paramount Home Entertainment

Once competitors for the title of “Avatar,” James Cameron’s action flick and M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon show once again will duke it out on the DVD shelves. This home edition will feature a nine-part documentary about the making of the film that will hopefully explain to fans how Shyamalan took this beloved property about a teen tasked with keeping the peace in a world divided into the four elements and scored just a six percent amongst critics on Rotten Tomatoes this summer.

“The Lightkeepers”
Directed by Daniel Adams
Released by Image Entertainment

This turn-of-the-century romance stars Richard Dreyfuss as a crusty seaman and lighthouse operator in Cape Cod whose vow to never fall in love again after the death of his wife is threatened by the arrival of two women (Blythe Danner and Mamie Gummer) who take residence in the neighboring cottage.

“Lottery Ticket”
Directed by Erik White
Released by Warner Home Video

Bow Wow hits the jackpot in this comedy where he must wait out a weekend to cash in a lottery ticket worth $370 million while everyone in his neighborhood from Charlie Murphy, Mike Epps, Terry Crews and Ice Cube try to pry it away from him.

Directed by Tarik Saleh
Released by New Video Group

There might not be a more eclectic voice cast ever assembled than the one Tarik Saleh put together for this animated dystopian thriller about a world where the Trexx Corporation rules and a desk jockey (Vincent Gallo), suspicious of their motives, begins to follow the voice (Alexander Skarsgård) he hears inside his head and an intriguing shampoo model (Juliette Lewis) with the hope that it will free him from the drudgery of his daily routine. (Aaron Hillis’ interview with star Alexander Skarsgard is here)

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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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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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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