DID YOU READ

Can’t Be At Cannes 2011, Friday Edition

Can’t Be At Cannes 2011, Friday Edition (photo)

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It sucks not being at the Cannes Film Festival. To keep you up-to-speed on all the latest developments with the minimum amount of pain and jealousy, we’ll be providing frequent roundups of all the biggest news and best reviews. This is the second; for additional installments, along with all our Cannes coverage, can be found here.

We start on this fine Friday with that bastard Tim League, creator of the Alamo Drafthouse and founder of Fantastic Fest, who has a seemingly endless supply of awesome, I-sold-my-soul-to-the-devil-at-a-crossroads-in-Mississippi-caliber ideas. His latest, announced yesterday at Cannes, is an anthology film he’s producing with Ant Timpson of Timpson Films and Magnet Releasing called “The ABCs of Death.” It’s just a concept at this point, but what a concept: twenty-six short films by twenty-six horror directors each about a different method of killing, one for every letter of the alphabet. So a is for asphyxiation, b is for blugeoning, c for cranial leakage, and so on. If you’ve ever been to Fantastic Fest or you’re a fan of indie horror, you’ll know a lot of the names signed up for shorts: “Timecrimes”‘ Nacho Vigalando, “Kill List”‘s Ben Wheatley, “Red White and Blue”‘s Simon Rumley, “The House of the Devil”‘s Ti West, and many more. Production’s scheduled to begin next month and conclude by January of next year. For more info, and a better look at that great poster I’ve sampled above, you can go to TheABCsofDeath.com.

But “The ABCs of Death” wasn’t the only bit of absurdly cool movie news emanating from the south of France last night. Screen Daily, reported that Lars von Trier, he of “Antichrist,” “Dogville” and assorted other batshit crazy/beautiful movies fame, is teaming with Martin Scorsese, he of movies so famous they needn’t be mentioned fame, to remake von Trier’s 2003 film “The Five Obstructions.” In the original film, von Trier challenged one of his filmmaking inspirations, Jørgen Leth, to recreation his 1967 film “The Perfect Human” five different times, each with a different set of “obstructions.” So, for example, in one version he couldn’t have use any shot that lasts longer than half a second; in another he had to remake it as a cartoon and so on. If the collaboration alone isn’t exciting enough, Screen reports that “it is believed that ‘Taxi Driver’ will be the film that von Trier asks Scorsese to revisit.” In other news, I have already declared “The Five Obstructions 2: You Talking to Me?” the best film of 2012.

Back in the world of completed movies, the big release that’s ran the critical juggernaut since yesterday is director Gus Van Sant’s “Restless,” which opened Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar. Here’s Karina Longworth in The Village Voice with an excerpt from her less than positive review:

“The story of the doomed romance between a funeral-crashing rebel dreamboat (Henry Hopper, son of Dennis) and the terminally ill sprite (Mia Wasikowska) whose calm (if highly affected) stroll towards death teaches him a little something about life, is essentially a Nicolas Sparks flick given a Van Sant aesthetic makeover… It’s also a film with absolutely nothing on its mind, and sub-teen-TV quality dialogue (the script is the first produced screenplay by Jason Lew) that elicited chortles from some critics in Thursday morning’s screening.”

Ouch. Kevin Jagernauth has a similar take over on The Playlist, saying it’s “easily the first hard flop of the Cannes Film Festival” and that “almost every element of ‘Restless’ feels like the script needed another pass.” This seems to be the early consensus on the film, though a couple reviews I’ve read online were a little kinder; Simon Gallagher from Film School Rejects compared his reaction to the film to his discovery of “Blue Valentine” at Cannes last year, calling it “a tender and touching portrait of a fleeting love affair tempered by, and leading towards tragedy.” But unfortunately the majority of critics weren’t impressed and by the end of the film were, y’know getting, uh, what’s the word for when you’re bored by something, and you’re uncomfortable, and you’re like fidgeting in your seat and stuff? Eh, it’ll come to me.

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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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