DID YOU READ

“Killer Elite,” reviewed

“Killer Elite,” reviewed (photo)

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You’ve heard people boast they could beat someone up with one hand tied behind their back before. In “Killer Elite,” Jason Statham beats two guys up with both of his hands tied behind his back, while the rest of him is tied to a chair. That’s a picture of the scene above. Look at that. Jason Statham, tied to a chair, beats the crap out of a guy who is not tied to a chair. That is awesome. He is awesome. And “Killer Elite” is awesome enough, in scenes like that, that it doesn’t really matter that it’s insanely, pointlessly complicated. Jason Statham beats up two dudes while he’s tied to a chair. That is satisfaction.

Actually, there’s more to like about this movie than the single coolest fight scene of the year. One of two men the chairbound Statham is tussling with is Clive Owen, who brings a lot of intensity to the role of Statham’s primary antagonist in the film. Every scene these two share together — and there aren’t many, unfortunately — crackle with antagonistic energy. They just look like they genuinely hate each other in a way that goes beyond the animosity between characters who, as we’ll get to, don’t really have a lot to fight over. It’s like these two guys were up for the same part in something, and one got it and the other didn’t, and they never let it go, and now years later they finally worked it out onscreen. Statham and Owen were born to beat the shit out of each other. They should be in ten more movies together where they fight whilst attached to various types of furniture.

The third member of this impressive cast is Robert De Niro, and it is he who sets this whole narrative contraption into motion. He plays Hunter (First name? Last name? PSN login?), former partner of Statham’s special agent Danny Bryce. After a hit gone bad, Danny officially retires. He’s pulled back into things when Hunter is kidnapped by an Omani sheik. To save his friend, Danny must kill the men of Britain’s Special Air Service who killed the sheik’s sons. But doing so brings Danny and his crew to the attention of a shadowy organization of British elites named “The Feather Men.” The Feather Men, all former SAS veterans themselves, want to protect their own, and send Owen’s Spike (First name? Last name? Cable television channel product integration?) to kill Danny.

These Feather Men are a hoot. They hold secret meetings in their clubhouse on the set of the movie “Clue” where they do absolutely nothing except explain who the Feather Men are for the benefit of the audience. “That’s why we’re called The Feather Men,” one proclaims to Spike. “Because our touch,” pause for dramatic effect, “is light!” That’s ridiculous! Not only is the line itself ridiculous, the sheer existence of any line in that situation is ridiculous. Why is he describing who the Feather Men are to a group of Feather Men? Shouldn’t they be fairly familiar with the concept of the organization since they are the only people in it? I’m still laughing at that line, and I saw this movie two weeks ago.

The oil sheik, the Feather Men, the forced allusions to the modern war on terror (the film is set about thirty years ago), they’re all needless distractions from the main event: Statham (and occasionally De Niro) kicking ass on Owen and company. You know how I know they’re needless distractions? Because none of them appear for even a frame in the trailer for “Killer Elite” and it all still makes perfect sense without them. Actually, the movie might make even more sense without them; the various factions and backstories and allegiances all become a wee big complicated for a film that’s ultimately about Jason Statham chairfighting guys.

Still, the good stuff is good enough to recommend the film. Statham delivers yet another satisfyingly ferocious performance, and his athleticism and physicality in the fight scenes remain amongt the best of his generation. Director Gary McKendry is clearly from the Paul Greengrass school of chaos cinema but he keeps things coherent enough to follow what’s going on. A lot of that has to do with Statham who, of course, can do many of the stunts himself, requiring less cutaways and editing. You should see him in that scene with the chair, man. It’s an instant classic.

“KIller Elite” opens Friday. If you see it, we want to know what you think. Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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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