DID YOU READ

Our ten favorite movies that go Bang! Bang! (with video)

Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix

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Every day this week, IFC will be airing movies that go “bang” in celebration of our upcoming series, “Comedy Bang! Bang!”(premiering June 8).

But those films (“Conan the Barbarian,” “U-571,” etc.) are hardly the only “bangiest” movies. Below, lock and load with these ten more films guaranteed to satisfy the cravings of even the most discriminating action junkie. And don’t forget to tune into IFC each night this week at 8/7c for Movies that go Bang! Bang!


“Hard Boiled” (1992) – hospital shootout

John Woo’s final Hong Kong action film before heading to the States to call the shots on such American shoot-’em-ups as “Hard Target,” “Broken Arrow” and “Face/Off” features Woo’s muse, Chow Yun-Fat, as Inspector ‘Tequila’ Yuen, and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (not quite yet Wong Kar-wai’s muse) as undercover cop Tony, taking on Johnny Wong (Anthony Wong), the leader of a Triad crime syndicate. Their mission leads to several confrontations in which countless bullets fly as only they can in a John Woo movie, finally climaxing in an astonishingly choreographed gun battle at a hospital, where the two heroes must rescue innocent civilians and newborn babies from dozens of mob hitmen skulking about the maternity ward. Sure, “A Better Tomorrow” and “The Killer” might be “better” films, but this particular sequence – a glorious ballet of carefully constructed and executed mayhem – might be Woo’s all-time stand-alone masterpiece.


“Heat” (1995) – bank robbery

Michael Mann’s obsessive-compulsive attention to accuracy in even the smallest details is on full display in the bank robbery (and its bloody aftermath) scene in the writer-director’s epic crime drama, “Heat.” Robert De Niro’s team of thieves takes on what seems to be most of the Los Angeles Police Department in this sequence, which many consider to be one of the all-time best action scenes in American cinema. The robbers lay down heavy machine gun fire as the cops shoot back in short, controlled bursts in an attempt to keep any and all collateral damage to a bare minimum; Mann went to great lengths to portray a shootout on the streets of L.A. as realistically as possible with a keen eye toward character and procedure. The meticulous (and loud!) sound design is rather astonishing, too – play this scene on your surround sound set-up and your neighbors will think someone declared World War III.


“The Killer” (1989) – church shootout

What’s a John Woo movie without lots of gunfire. . . and white doves flapping around all symbolic-like? Many souls are released unto the afterlife in the amazing church shootout in “The Killer,” Woo’s bloody and majestic fable about an assassin who has a crisis of conscience. Chow Yun-Fat is Ah Jong, a hitman who accidentally damages the eyes of a singer (Sally Yeh) during a shoot-’em-up; he later finds out that she’ll go blind unless she has surgery, which prompts him to do One Last Hit in order to pay for the expensive operation. Woo designed “The Killer,” with its story of the strong bond between two seemingly opposite people lost in a violent world, as an ode to the work of Jean-Pierre Melville and Martin Scorsese; the film itself went on to influence the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez with its likable (and very human) antagonist and over-the-top yet artfully executed violence. If you can only see one John Woo movie before you die (and what a drag if that’s the case for whatever reason), it’s a toss-up between this one and “Hard Boiled.”


“Léon: The Professional” (1994) – SWAT scene

Oh, stupid SWAT team leader. Yes, Mathilda (Natalie Portman) and Leon (Jean Reno) have arranged for a secret knock that identifies one to the other. But, being the skilled “cleaners” that they are, they’ve also arranged for another secret knock, one that translates roughly into “Remember that possible scenario involving a bunch of cops right outside the door in SWAT gear? Well, that possible scenario is nigh, dude.” Mathilda gives Leon enough of a warning to allow him to get the upper hand (at least for a little while) on some of NYPD’s finest, which leads to an intense apartment shootout that’s going to have the landlord frantically dialing his insurance company (that is, if the phone lines are even still intact). The most exciting action sequence in Luc Besson’s now-classic thriller is also one of of the most heartbreaking as Leon and Mathilda are forced to accept what was probably inevitable about their relationship, both “Professional” and personal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evWQ2MsDTS4


“The Matrix” (1999) – lobby shootout

One of the most crowd-pleasing moments in the Wachowskis’ game-changing sci-fi film is also one of the most oddly mean-spirited and downright amoral; after all, these are just poor security cops trying to do their damn jobs, not legitimate enemies who are in cahoots with the Agents who have kidnapped Morpheus. The fact that the (more or less) innocent people being shot full of holes are just physical projections of imprisoned pod-slaves all connected to a virtual reality consciousness at least takes some of the edge off as Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) wreck the kind of slo-mo action mayhem that was cool back in 1999, cutting (shooting) a bullet-ridden path through the lobby as they execute their daring rescue mission. Alas, the Wachowskis forgot that the Mentor should probably die in the first chapter (haven’t they seen “Star Wars?”), an oversight that unfortunately reduces Morpheus to little more than just a hapless passenger nervously reacting to Jada Pinkett Smith’s daring pilot skills by the third movie.

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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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