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Your Winter Indie Film Preview

Your Winter Indie Film Preview (photo)

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There’s always the temptation to stay inside during the winter, made even more compelling by the wide array of films you can watch at home. But that would be ignoring the 89 reasons why the only place more inviting than a couch near the fireplace is a seat at your local arthouse where the options range from the ancient Roman war epic “The Eagle” with Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell to the fantastical Palme d’Or-winning elegy “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” from Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Many awards contenders will expand across the country while those sick of such serious fare can fall back on revenge-themed thrillers with Jason Statham, Nicolas Cage or the deadly Korean twosome of “The Housemaid” and “I Saw the Devil,” the action stylings of Donnie Yen (“IP Man 2”) and Tony Jaa (“Ong Bak 3”), or the comedies of John C. Reilly and Ed Helms (“Cedar Rapids”) and Paul Giamatti (“Barney’s Version” and “Win Win”). Likewise, if you don’t have a ticket to Sundance later this month, rest assured, you’ll finally get to see a few of last year’s hits (Josh Radnor’s “Happythankyoumoreplease”) along with this year’s (Gregg Araki’s “Kaboom”). All in all, it’s a surprisingly exciting time at the movies for this time of year and this is your guide to the indie films coming your way soon.

January: Week of the 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th

February: Week of the 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th

March: Week of the 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th


January 7th

“Americatown” (IMDb, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
The Cast: Jonathan Guggenheim, Cory Howard, Jon Stafford, Barbara Weetman, Tiffany Salter
Director: Kenneth Price
The Gist: The reRun Gastropub Theater in Brooklyn will host this surreal comedy starring Upright Citizens Brigade-bred stars Guggenheim and Howard (a.k.a. Superkiiids!) as denizens of a surreal township that has compressed all of America into a home of just 1000 citizens besieged by a skunk ape and prone to spilled coffee and crazy legs. A rare low-budget film that wasn’t considered by its makers to be “film festival-friendly,” it hopes to find a home itself in Dumbo.


“Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune” (IMDb, Facebook, trailer, screening schedule)
Director: Kenneth Bowser
Fest Cred: Woodstock
The Gist: After chronicling important moments in television (“Live from New York: The First 5 Years of Saturday Night Live”) and film (“Easy Riders, Raging Bulls”), Bowser’s latest documentary is a biography of folk singer Phil Ochs, the ’60s troubadour whose sharply penned songs about Vietnam and political apathy not only inspired activism during the era, but became an influence for musicians ranging from Ani DiFranco to Pearl Jam, who have kept his spirit alive through cover versions long after his death at the young age of 35. Sean Penn, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and Christopher Hitchens are just a few of those interviewed for the film. Opens Wednesday, January 5th in New York.


“If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: George Piştereanu, Ada Condeescu, Mihai Constantin, Clara Voda
Director: Florin Şerban
Fest Cred: Berlinale, Edinburgh, Warsaw, Thessaloniki, Telluride
The Gist: Winner of a Jury Grand Prize at Berlinale, this Romanian drama co-written by “How I Celebrated the End of the World” director Catalin Mitulescu tells the story of an imprisoned teen who waits out the final five days of his sentence at a reform school while his estranged mother returns home to reclaim his younger brother who he’s taken care of in her absence. At least he has the distraction of a young social worker who he hopes to run off with upon his release.


“Season of the Witch” (IMDb, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
The Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Ulrich Thomsen, Christopher Lee
Director: Dominic Sena
The Gist: Since we’re glass half-full kind of people around here at IFC.com, we take it as a good sign that Relativity had so much faith in Nicolas Cage’s Crusades-set epic that they were willing to buy it back from original distributor Lionsgate after several shuttered release dates. Then again, the first week of January isn’t always the greatest show of confidence. Either way, it’s Cage and Ron Perlman suiting up as knights assigned to escort a young girl they believe to have supernatural powers to a monastery to perform an exorcism to protect their homeland.


“The Time That Remains” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: Elia Suleiman, Ali Suliman, Saleh Bakri, Amer Hlehel
Director: Elia Suleiman
Fest Cred: Cannes, Toronto, Athens, London, Vancouver, Tokyo
The Gist: Israeli director Suleiman (“Divine Intervention”) uses the founding of the state of Israel as the basis for this seriocomic reflection on his own coming of age, with a series of vignettes spanning from the settlement of 1948 through the present day. Opens at the IFC Center in New York on January 5th.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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