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Henry Silva is Coming For You, and More New DVDs

Henry Silva is Coming For You, and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection”
Directed by Fernando Di Leo
Released by RaroVideo

Fans of badass ’70s cinema and the stoic Henry Silva rejoice! Underappreciated Italian crime master director Fernando Di Leo finally comes to the U.S. via this set of four films — “Caliber 9,” “The Italian Connection,” “The Boss,” and “Rulers of the City” — that shows what made him an influence of filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino and John Woo.

“The Absent” (2011)
Directed by Sage Bannick
Released by Passion River

Twin brothers are bonded by the experience of having their parents try to kill them for insurance money, only to become killers themselves in this slasher film from Sage Bannick.

“Be My Teacher” (2011)
Directed by Lakisha R. Lemons
Released by Maverick Entertainment Group

A student’s (Derek Lee Nixon) flirtations with his English teacher (LaTeace Towns-Cuellar) has serious implications for her career as she debates whether to pursue an illegal relationship with him in this drama.

“BMX Bandits” (1983)
Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith
Released by Severin Films

This ’83 Aussie kids’ flick is best known for as Nicole Kidman’s first performance, but no less an authority than Quentin Tarantino has called it one of the gems of Ozploitation, centering on a trio of bike-riding pals who are being pursued by bank robbers after they discover a box of walkie-talkies. The new disc includes a commentary from director Brian Trenchard-Smith (worth it just for the stories of stunts on the set alone), the film’s trailer, a making-of featurette and more.

“The Fighter” (2010)
Directed by David O. Russell
Released by Paramount Home Video

With Oscar-winning performances from Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, “I Heart Huckabee’s” director Russell gets into the ring once more with Mark Wahlberg for this biography of underdog boxer “Irish” Micky Ward who has an easier time knocking out opponents than he does dealing with his drug-addicted brother (Bale) and momager (Leo), though he finds some support in a new girlfriend (Amy Adams). (Matt Singer’s review of the film is here.)

“Freestyle” (2011)
Directed by Kolton Lee
Released by Phase 4 Films

This British teen drama stars Lucy Konadu as a straight-A student with plans for Oxford until she meets a scrappy b-baller (Arinze Kene) on the court near her school and teams up with him to compete in an upcoming tournament, naturally leading to a decision of whether to defy her mother and her scholastic career to pursue a different path.

“Gamera vs. Zigra”/”Gamera: The Super Monster”
Directed by Noriaki Yuasa
Released by Shout! Factory

The final two flicks featuring the gigantic Japanese flying turtle have been remastered for this double feature which sees Gamera running rampant through cities to protect them from a host of monsters that seek to destroy the world.

“Hemingway’s Garden of Eden” (2010)
Directed by John Irvin
Released by Lionsgate

“Widow’s Peak” director Irvin’s drama concerns an American writer (Jack Huston), his wife (Mena Suvari) and the woman (Caterina Murino) with whom they both become romantically intertwined, based on the novel completed after Ernest Hemingway’s death, which has long been a source of controversy since it was edited posthumously.

“Hereafter” (2010)
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Released by Warner Home Video

Matt Damon can commune with the dead in this drama from Clint Eastwood penned by “The Queen” writer Peter Morgan that criss-crosses the lives of a British boy who loses his brother, a French journalist (Cecile De France) that barely escapes a tsunami and Damon’s medium who lives in San Francisco and does his best to hide his communicative abilities from others.

“Hidden Love” (2009)
Directed by Alessandro Capone
Released by Cinema Epoch

A Toronto Film Festival selection in 2007, Alessandro Capone’s drama starring Isabelle Huppert and Melanie Laurent as a mother and daughter with a terrible relationship will finally arrive on DVD in the States. Greta Scacchi co-stars as their psychiatrist.

“The Human Trace” (2008)
Directed by Jason Satterlund
Released by Celebrity Video Distribution

A recent spate of murders confounds a cop who can’t find any cause of death in Jason Satterlund’s 2008 thriller.

“Interplanetary” (2008)
Directed by Chance Shirley
Released by Shock-O-Rama Cinema

Brimingham-based filmmaker Chance Shirley’s sci-fi comedy takes place on Mars where a group of desk jockeys don’t know what to do when they’re attacked by aliens as well as a group that resembles them.

“A Marine Story” (2010)
Directed by Ned Farr
Released by Wolfe Video

A hit on the gay festival circuit where it won the audience award at L.A.’s Outfest for best dramatic feature, Farr’s drama concerns a Marine officer (Dreya Weber) who runs afoul of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and gets discharged early, leaving her to return to her conservative hometown where she trains a wayward teen (Paris P. Pickard) to follow her path, though their respective pasts threaten to haunt them both.

“No One Knows About Persian Cats” (2009)
Directed by Bahman Ghobadi
Released by MPI Home Video

“A Time for Drunken Horses” director Ghobadi goes to the Tehran underground music scene to follow two recently released prisoners (Negar Shaghaghi and Ashkan Koshanejad) who were incarcerated for performing Western music as they reclaim their lives and attempt to get passports so their band can skip to Europe to rock out at will. (Matt Singer’s interview with Ghobadi is here.)

“The Parking Lot Movie” (2010)
Directed by Meghan Eckman
Released by Passion River

After making the rounds of the festival circuit last year, Meghan Eckman is parking her doc on DVD where audiences will be able to observe a group of parking lot attendants in Virginia who are stuck at a crossroads in their lives.

“Sharktopus” (2010)
Directed by Declan O’Brien
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

While it may not play as well as it did during Fantastic Fest at the Paramount Theater in Austin, this Roger Corman production will arrive on DVD, continuing the producer’s crimes against biology for the benefit of a good time and bringing along Eric Roberts for the ride.

“A Shine of Rainbows” (2009)
Directed by Vic Sarin
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

A selection of the 2009 Toronto Film Festival, this family film based on Lillian Beckwith’s novel stars Aidan Quinn and Connie Nielsen as a couple that takes in a child who has trouble conquering his stutter, but must if he’s to impress his uncertain father-to-be.

“Spooner” (2009)
Directed by Drake Doremus
Released by Maya Entertainment

Before last year’s “Douchebag” and this year’s “Like Crazy” made Drake Doremus a staple of Sundance, the writer/director first went to Slamdance with this comedy starring Matthew Lillard as a 30-year-old underachiever who still lives with his parents that finally finds some initiative to get off the couch when he instantly falls for a young woman (Nora Zehetner) who unfortunately is en route for the Philippines.

“Step Off” (2011)
Directed by LaRon Austin
Released by Lionsgate

Conrad Clifton stars in this hip-hop drama about a struggling music producer starting over after a robbery who overcomes the odds to compete in a beat battle championship in Atlanta.

“Sugar Boxx” (2009)
Directed by Cody Jarrett
Released by Entertainment One

With Russ Meyer’s frequent collaborator Kitten Navidad, the late Tura Satana and legendary exploitation director Jack Hill onboard, Jarrett’s low-budget
women-in-prison flick is a throwback to ’70s films like “Caged Heat” and Hill’s own “The Big Doll House”

“The Switch” (2010)
Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck
Released by Lionsgate

An underrated romantic comedy that got lost in Disney’s unloading of Miramax, the sophomore film from “Blades of Glory” co-directors Gordon and Speck is an adaptation of “The Virgin Suicides”‘ author Jeffrey Eugenides’ short story about a man (Jason Bateman) who worries he impregnated his best friend (Jennifer Aniston) after he drunkenly knocks over a sperm sample and replaces it with his own when she’s trying to get pregnant.

“Thunder in the City” (1937)
Directed by Marion Gering
Released by VCI Entertainment

In this rare comedy featuring Edward G. Robinson, the tough-talking star plays an American who seizes upon the discovery of a worthless mineral in Africa that no one in England can identify and passes it off as a valuable export to the British.

“Urgency” (2010)
Directed by Kantz
Released by Entertainment One

Brian Austin Green strikes his best badass pose as a pharmaceutical exec who learns his wife has been kidnapped and he has just a half-hour to figure out how to get her back and why he was targeted. It’s directed by a man who goes only by the name of Kantz.

“Waste Land” (2010)
Directed by Lucy Walker
Released by New Video Group

The latest from “Countdown to Zero” documentarian Lucy Walker features a score from Moby to underline her exploration into the world of recycled art through the perspective of Vik Muniz, a Brazilian photographer who snaps pictures of the catadores who go through the world’s biggest landfill in Rio de Janeiro and come out creating things of beauty.

“The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest” (2010)
Directed by Anthony Geffen
Released by Virgil Films and Entertainment

Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman and the late Natasha Richardson lend their voices to this documentary that chronicles the climb of George Mallory, the mountaineer who was the first to conquer Mount Everest, and Conrad Anker, who made the same trek 75 years later to find Mallory’s remains.

New to Blu-ray: Louis Malle’s “Au revoir les enfants” (Criterion), the 2006 Andy Lau starrer “Battle of the Warriors”, “Yi Yi” (Criterion)

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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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 IFC.com and the IFC app.

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