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Harry Potter and the Future of “Part 1” Movies

Harry Potter and the Future of “Part 1” Movies  (photo)

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In his review of the new and (sorta) last Harry Potter movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” New York‘s David Edelstein writes, “In all seriousness, there’s nothing wrong with the 146-minute ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ that couldn’t be solved if this were, as the Brits would say, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Full Stop.'” It’s a sentiment that’s being echoed by several critics reviewing the new “Potter.” Richard Corliss from Time writes, “For an hour of its 2 ½-hour expanse it sticks three young people in the woods with little to do but wait for awful things to happen. It’s like a minimalist indie horror film — ‘The Blair Witch and Wizard Project’ — on a $200 million-plus budget.”

Overall, reviews for “DH1” are positive. And even if they weren’t, it wouldn’t matter. At this late stage in the series, a “Harry Potter” film is not only critic-proof, it’s opinion-proof. If you’ve seen all six previous entries — even if you hated the last couple — you will see this one, just for the sake of completing the story. But comments like the ones from Edelstein, Corliss, and others bring up an important point: Warner Brothers has turned the final book in the series into two “final” movies. “Part 1” opens today; “Part 2” on July 15 of next year.

At 750-plus pages, J.K. Rowling’s novel of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” would be a tough story to tell in a single film. But most of the books in the series, particularly the later ones, are long. The fifth book, “The Order of the Phoenix,” is a hundred pages longer than “Deathly Hallows,” yet the film version of it was shorter than just the first part of “Deathly Hallows.” At the time Warner Brothers announced the decision to split “Deathly Hallows,” they stated that if they were going to be faithful to the book, they had no other choice. Producer David Heyman told The Los Angeles Times, “Unlike every other book, you cannot remove elements of this book. You can remove scenes of Ron playing Quidditch from the fifth book, and you can remove Hermione and S.P.E.W…. but with the seventh, that can’t be done.” Alan Horn, president and COO of Warner Brothers Entertainment told The Times, “This way, we have an extra hour and a half, at least, to celebrate what this franchise has been and do justice to all the words and ideas that Jo has put in the amazing story.”

Edelstein and Corliss might find fault with the film’s telling of that amazing story, but from a business perspective, “Deathly Hallows: Part 1” is a brilliant move for Warner Brothers, who get two guaranteed blockbusters for the price of (a bit more than) one. It’s a move that others in Hollywood are starting to copy. There have always been sequels, but instances of one piece of source material being divided into multiple films have been comparatively rare. Until now. In addition to “Harry Potter,” the release calendar also includes Bill Condon’s “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1” and Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: Part 1.” When Jackson first joined the “Lord of the Rings” franchise, the plan was to turn the three original novels into just two films. If they were made today, that plan might have looked a great deal different.

No doubt Harry Potter fanatics, who obsess over the “accuracy” of the films, are glad for their decision. For them, a two-part “Deathly Hallows” represents an opportunity for the most literally faithful movie in the franchise. Same goes for Condon and Jackson, who are working for fan bases as rabid and loyal as the Potterites. For some of the fans of these immersive, fantastical worlds, quantity seems preferable to quality, so that two decent movies are better than one perfect one. Any chance to spend more time with the characters they love. Warner Brothers will be happy to give it to them.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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