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“Oz: The Great and Powerful” poster reveals a Wicked Witch

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It’s a testament to the great makeup effects in “Oz: The Great and Powerful” that we aren’t entirely sure which actress in the film is playing the witch on its new poster. It certainly isn’t Michelle Williams, who plays the Good Witch of the North Glinda, but is it Mila Kunis’ Theodora or Rachel Weisz’ Evanora? Our bets are on Weisz, but kudos to the designers for making us wonder which witch is which.

Weisz’ Evanora is reportedly the Wicked Witch of the East, the same witch who gets a house dropped on her at the beginning of “The Wizard of Oz.” She’s wearing the ruby red slippers that Dorothy ends up taking, and appropriately, this witch’s entire shoe region is shrouded by the “Oz: The Great and Powerful” logo. That means Kunis plays the Wicked Witch of the West, who seems to actually be a pretty decent person to begin with based on the trailers for the film that we’ve seen so far.

One thing’s for certain: Bad things are coming to Oz along with its wonderful wizard. It seems as though James Franco’s Oscar Diggs stirs up a whole bunch of trouble when he accidentally lands in Oz in his hot air balloon. It remains to be seen if that trouble was already brewing, or if he is the one who causes all the problems.

The film, directed by Sam Raimi, stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs — the man who eventually becomes the man behind the curtain: the Wizard of Oz. The cast also includes Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams, who star as witches Oscar meets during his adventures in the Land of Oz. Though it’s made many years later, it’s easy to see the parallels Raimi is trying to draw both visually and story-wise between “The Wizard of Oz” and this film.

“Oz the Great and Powerful” is due in theaters on March 8, 2013.

Who do you think is playing the witch in the poster? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

“Oz the Great and Powerful” trailer: Which witch is which?

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Dorothy once set off to find the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but was he ever wonderful, or even a wizard? The new film, “Oz the Great and Powerful,” seeks to tell the story of the man behind the curtain, and a new trailer for the film promises that there’s plenty that we don’t know about the world somewhere over the rainbow.

Though this trailer sets up the fact that James Franco’s Oscar Riggs is mistaken as the “great man” who Oz has been waiting for when he lands there by way of hot air balloon. He is mistaken for the foretold Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and opts not to tell the Ozians that he is not quite a wizard. He is quickly caught up in a quest to find and defeat the Wicked Witch, but that raises a whole new crop of questions.

There are three witches introduced in this trailer: Theodora, Glinda and Evanora. While fans of “The Wizard of Oz” know that Glinda is the Good Witch of the North, does that automatically make Theodora and Evanora the Wicked Witches of the East and West? And which witch is which? Were they always evil, as Mila Kunis’s Theodora introduces herself as a Good Witch? Who will end up being squashed under Dorothy’s poorly placed house? The trailer seemingly intentionally begs us to ask these questions, if only so we get our butts to theaters to have them answered.

The film, directed by Sam Raimi (The “Spider-Man” trilogy), stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs — the man who eventually becomes the man behind the curtain: the Wizard of Oz. The cast also includes Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams, who star as witches Oscar meets during his adventures in the Land of Oz. Though it’s made many years later, it’s easy to see the parallels Raimi is trying to draw both visually and story-wise between “The Wizard of Oz” and this film.

“Oz the Great and Powerful” is due in theaters on March 8, 2013.

What do you think of this new trailer? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Portlandia Fred Armisen Austin

Austin City Tidbits

10 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Austin

Fred moves to Austin in an all-new Portlandia tonight at 10P on IFC.

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This week on Portlandia, co-star Fred Armisen does the unthinkable. Abandoning the very heart of the show and rendering its title geographically incorrect, he decides to move to Austin. Sure, the laid-back, artist-friendly atmosphere would be a painless transition, but there are a few things you should keep in mind before you move there.

Here are some facts about Austin you need to know. And check out Fred’s journey to Austin on an all-new Portlandia tonight at 10P on IFC. (Click here to find IFC on your TV in your area.)

1. It’s home to the largest urban bat colony in North America.

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Accommodating 750,000 bats in the spring and summer — with population spikes to 1.5 million during the peak season — Austin is no place for chiroptophobics. (Yes, we had to look it up.) With this staggering bat to belfry ratio, it’s the perfect city for nocturnal crimefighters and goths really into “theme” funerals.


2. It’s the exact opposite of Portland (sun-wise).

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The Pacific Northwest isn’t known for its overbearing sunlight, and with less than 40% of sunny days per year, Portland isn’t exactly home to scorching driveways you can fry an egg on. Compare that to Austin, whose 300 days of sun per year will clear that vitamin D deficiency right up.


3. It’s the birthplace of Whole Foods.

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Started in 1978 by two college dropouts and a $45,000 loan, Whole Foods is an organic gourmand’s American dream. Cuisine-focused Portlanders would find the transition easy to make, and those open to the whole squatting scene will be pleased to know Whole Foods’ founders briefly lived in their first shop and bathed in the dishwasher.


4. It’s also one of the healthiest cities in America.

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Whole Foods wasn’t an aberration. Healthy living’s a big priority in Austin and largely responsible for the 250 gyms, yoga studios, healthy restaurants, and health food stores throughout the city. But bear in mind, not every yoga partner’s going to have your best interests in mind.


5. It’s super dog-friendly.

Lovers of our four-legged friends will be pleased to discover that Austin holds our furry pals in the highest regard. Dog Fancy dubbed the city “DogTown USA,” and its many off-leash parks, swimming holes, and retailers catering to canines ought to keep the ankle-biters happy and Portland’s many animal activists from interrupting other people’s lunches.


6. It’s a haven for artists and musicians.

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If you happen to be handy with a brush or a guitar pick in Texas, then chances are you’re an Austinite. The city has the highest number of artists and musicians per capita in the entire state, making it a huge draw for fiscally challenged creatives.


7. It’s officially the Live Music Capital of the World.

Adopting the name in 1991, Austin hosts nearly 200 live music venues around town, thereby earning it another “per capita” claim: most live music venues. In fact, if concert bookers aren’t careful, they run the risk of double-booking two different Flaming Lips.


8. It’s a city of dedicated bookworms.

Fans of the printed word are sure to meet fellow hardbackers in Austin. Residents frequent their local bookshops with such frequency, the city draws the highest annual bookstore sales in the country, at nearly $200 per household. Of course, it’s best to know what the store owners are like ahead of time.


9. The Alamo Drafthouse is the best place to catch a movie.

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Heralded as the finest movie theater in the country, Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse is paradise for the discerning cinemagoer. With a strict “no talking or texting” policy and prohibitive access for unaccompanied minors, it’s a far cry from the distraction free-for-all that is your local multiplex.


10. It’s basically the Portland of the South.

Packed to the gills with artists, musicians, hipsters, freaks, and oddballs that continues to “Keep Austin Weird,” the city has almost all of the elements that makes Portland, Oregon just as eccentric. And we hear that its mayor bares a striking resemblance to Portland’s mayor, albeit with a sweet ‘stache.

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