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DID YOU READ

“Source Code,” Reviewed

“Source Code,” Reviewed (photo)

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“The source code is a gift, Don’t squander it by thinking.” — Dr. Walter Rutledge, “Source Code”

I could spend this review nitpicking “Source Code” to death. It’s definitely got a couple plot holes, and some science that doesn’t make much sense. But the fact of the matter is while “Source Code” is chugging along it’s a terrifically entertaining puzzle movie. Let’s not squander that by thinking too much.

The setup, explained in the trailer, is “Groundhog Day” by way of Tony Scott’s less fun but more thoughtful “Deja Vu.” US Army Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is recruited by a top secret government program called “source code.” Using technology that certainly demands allegiance to Dr. Rutledge’s aforementioned quotation, Gyllenhaal’s consciousness is able to enter the body of a man on a Chicago commuter train eight minutes before it was blown up by a terrorist bomb earlier that very morning. Stevens’ got those 8 minutes to solve the mystery of who planted the bomb and where they plan to strike next. After each explosion, Stevens warps back to his own body, where he’s debriefed on his findings, then sent back onto the train to uncover more clues. Stevens is told he’s only moving through a simulacrum of the past, so stopping the bomb or evacuating the passengers on the train is meaningless: the event has already transpired and everyone onboard is already dead. But that doesn’t stop Stevens from falling for the woman he wakes up across from each time the source code begins (Michelle Monaghan), or from trying a way to save her. Fittingly for a story about time loops and the immutability of destiny, most of the action takes place on a train, a method of transportation which travels in only one direction and only on the path that has been predetermined for it.

Based on the shifty behavior Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright’s Dr. Rutledge as Stevens’ source code handlers there’s clearly more to this technology than first meets the eye, and having dueling mysteries — the identity of the bomber and the true nature of source code — keeps the film thrumming along at a very satisfying pace. “Source Code” was directed by Duncan Jones, who last made the superb indie sci-fi movie “Moon,” and is quickly proving himself a major force in the world of smart, character-driven science-fiction. He’s also a very good director of actors. He got at least three memorable performances out of Sam Rockwell in “Moon” and I like the choices he and Gyllenhaal made in their conceptualization of Stevens, who behaves more like a regular guy than a meathead action hero. He reacts to source code the way any of us would: with confusion, anger, and a bad attitude. Can you blame him? He’s knows that every eight minutes he’s going to get blown up against his will. And that can’t be a fun feeling.

In other words, Dr. Rutledge wouldn’t be a fan of Duncan Jones films. The good doctor may not want us to squander his source code on thoughts, but Jones’ clearly intends his “Source Code” for viewers ready to question the larger implications of the technology than enables Stevens’ repeated trips to the past. The film’s ending is particularly unusual for a modern science-fiction film thanks to its emphasis on its hero’s personal growth rather than big explode-y action sequences. Still, as refreshingly atypical as that ending is, it also has a darker angle that the movie kind of ignores and which suggests Stevens’ behavior isn’t quite as heroic as it’s made out to be. But there I go thinking again.

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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.