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The Lost Michael Winterbottom/Colin Firth Film and More New DVDs

The Lost Michael Winterbottom/Colin Firth Film and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD this week:

“A Summer in Genoa”
Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Released by Entertainment One

Of the many films Michael Winterbottom (“A Mighty Heart,” “9 Songs”) has directed in recent years, you wouldn’t guess the one starring recent Oscar winner Colin Firth as a father who must take care of his two daughters in the wake of a car accident involving their mother (Hope Davis) would be the one to have trouble making it to the U.S. But here we are three years after “Genova,” as it’s known in much of the rest of the world, was shot and it’s finally arrived on DVD, a mix of supernatural thriller and human drama that’s actually getting reasonably good reviews upon its delayed release. Catherine Keener co-stars.

“Belladonna”
Directed by Annika Glac
Released by Osiris

Glac’s debut as a writer/director centers on a man whose upcoming nuptials have led to more than just cold feet, but inspired terrible visions involving witches in a forest he can’t seem to escape in this romantic fantasy.

“Black Heaven”
Directed by Gilles Marchand
Released by MPI Home Video

French director Marchand follows up the thriller “Who Killed Bambi?” with another potboiler about a couple that picks up someone’s lost cell phone while on vacation and learn that returning it might lead them into a dangerous world…or worlds since the only person who can help them is involved with a video game that makes the real world and virtual world almost interchangeable.

“Country Strong”
Directed by Shana Feste
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

“The Greatest” director Feste is once again at the helm of a tearjerker, though this time set in the realm of country music where a recently rehabbed star (Gwyneth Paltrow) goes back on the road to reclaim her career while an upstart (Leighton Meester) threatens to take her spotlight. Garrett Hedlund and Tim McGraw co-star as the somewhat creaky support system.

“Farewell”
Directed by Christian Carion
Released by Terra Entertainment

Oscar-nominated “Joyeux Noël” director Carion’s latest film is set during the Cold War, based on the real-life relationship between disillusioned KGB agent Sergei Gregoriev (Emir Kusturica) and Moscow-based French engineer Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet), who became a conduit for all of Gregoriev’s confidential knowledge about Soviet spy networks, ultimately leading to the fall of the Soviet Union. (Though there is some controversy about this.) Americans Fred Ward, doing his best Ronald Reagan impression, and Willem Dafoe, as a CIA director, are among the parties interested in Gregoriev’s intel.

JimSturgessHeartless04122011.jpg“Heartless”
Directed by Philip Ridley
Released by MPI Home Video

Hard to imagine “21” and “Across the Universe” doe-eyed heartthrob Jim Sturgess as an unsightly outcast, but with a heart-shaped birthmark across the right side of his face, he has few friends and spends his time dabbling in photography until he makes a pact with the Devil (nicknamed “Papa B” here) to change his looks, resulting in new relationships with a model (Clemence Poesy) and “The Weapons Man” (Eddie Marsan) who comes to collects the Devil’s end of the bargain. The film marks cult director Ridley’s first in 15 years since the Viggo Mortensen/Ashley Judd thriller “The Passion of Darkly Noon.”

“Highwater”
Directed by Dana Brown
Released by Image Entertainment

“Step Into Liquid” director Brown continues to chronicle those that ride the high tides with this documentary about surfing’s Triple Crown in Oahu featuring boarders like Kelly Slater, amongst others as they compete to catch the perfect wave.

“The Inheritance”
Directed by Robert O’Hara
Released by Image Entertainment

Keith David, Golden Brooks and Adriane Lenox star in this horror film about a family assembled by a mysterious uncle (David) to learn of what fortune will be coming their way from a recent death, only to learn that they must undergo a series of terrifying rituals in order to make their claim.

“Last Breath”
Directed by Ty Jones
Released by Shriek Show

Couples therapy has never been as brutal as it is in this horror flick from Ty Jones where a married couple questions their relationship after a killer ensnares and toys with them.

“Mask Maker”
Directed by Griff Furst
Released by Screen Media Films

Originally titled “Maskerade,” this horror film features former “Laguna Beach” star Stephen Colletti and a score of other fresh-faced twentysomethings in the story of a couple that learns that the 19th century farmhouse they just purchased is haunted by evil spirits, which isn’t good news since all their friends are coming in for the weekend housewarming party.

“The Paranoids”
Directed by Gabril Medina
Released by Oscilloscope Laboratories

Tensions rise for a struggling writer in Argentina when a friend fashions the lead of his successful Spanish television show on his childhood pal and returns to visit with a smoking hot new girlfriend and news that he’ll produce a local version of the show in this comedy from director Medina.

“Ricky”
Directed by François Ozon
Released by MPI Home Video

Many have suggested it’s best to walk into this film from “Potiche” and “Swimming Pool” director Ozon knowing nothing, but for the purposes of this preview, we’ll say that the film is based on Rose Tremain’s short story “Moth” about a young couple (Alexandra Lamy and Sergi Lopez) who are about to give birth to their first child together, while the mother’s seven-year-old from a previous relationship becomes suspicious of her new baby brother.

“The Secret of Dorian Gray”
Directed by Massimo Dallamano
Released by RaroVideo

The classic Oscar Wilde tale of an ageless man (Helmut Berger) gets the Italian horror treatment in this 1970 version.

“The Speed of Thought”
Directed by Evan Oppenheimer
Released by Maya Entertainment

Nick Stahl and Taryn Manning star as people with telepathic abilities that have been sheltered from the outside world by the government after being told they risk a disease that neither can fully believe in this thriller.

“Summer Lover”
Directed by Robert Crombie
Released by Phase 4 Films

There’s an obvious pun for this Ukranian-produced romantic drama about an American couple who travel to the Greek island of Lesbos where the new Missus (Avalon Barrie) becomes enchanted by another woman, leading to complications galore. But I won’t make it.

“Tracy and Hepburn: The Definitive Collection”
Released by Warner Bros.

One of the silver screen’s most famous couples receives a 10-disc boxed set featuring all of their collaborations together including “Woman of the Year,” “Without Love,” “State of the Union,” “Adam’s Rib,” “Pat and Mike,” “Desk Set,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and two previously unavailable titles that are have also been released separately: George Cukor’s 1942 drama “Keeper of the Flame” and
Elia Kazan’s 1947 farmhouse-set battle of the wits’ “The Sea of Grass”

“White Material”
Directed by Claire Denis
Released by Criterion Collection

During its premiere at the 2009 New York Film Festival, Denis told IFC.com that “this film was demanded by Isabelle Huppert and it took me a long time to answer her demand,” and so it is that the “Chocolat” director is back in Africa with this story of Maria (Huppert), a white French woman who won’t cede her coffee plantation to the locals after French forces pull out amidst civil unrest in the area. While war rages on around her and her husband (Lambert) looks for a buyer, Maria insists on continuing to harvest the land as a wounded stranger (Isaach De Bankolé) and her lazy son (Nicholas Duvauchelle) take refuge on the property.

New to Blu-ray: Pixar’s superhero adventure “The Incredibles” and Jean Pierre-Melville’s legendary crime thriller “Le Cercle Rouge”

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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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