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Alien Resurrection

Fourth Time's the Charm

10 Fourquels That Were Surprisingly Fantastic

Catch Alien: Resurrection this month on IFC.

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Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection

As the saying in Hollywood goes, three films doth a trilogy make…but it takes four to make a franchise. Before you catch Alien Resurrection this month on IFC, check out some of the best “four-quels” that proved some of your favorite big screen blockbusters still had gas in the tank.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max
Warner Bros

For a while, we feared poor Max had gotten buried under Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitism and Tina Turner’s hair. Then along comes George Miller’s audaciously reimagined hotrod Hell that managed to take home six Oscars and make us all want to forego makeup and smear oil on our foreheads like Charlize Theron’s badass character Furiosa.


2. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible
Paramount Pictures

Say what you will about Tom Cruise — he knows how to keep a franchise going. Part of what has kept the M:I engine running is Cruise’s knack for working with interesting filmmakers. After handpicking auteurs for the initial three M:I movies (De Palma, John Woo, J.J. Abrams), he pairs up with animation director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) and ends up with a fourth installment that for once wasn’t on cruise control.


3. Fast & Furious

Fast and Furious
Universal Pictures

Leaving the skid marks of Tokyo Drift behind, Fast & Furious is at once a return to form and a reunion. Fan favorites Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster are all back for more heists, car chases and drag races. The film was a hit, though we’re kind of surprised this one wasn’t titled 4 Fast 4 Furious.


4. Live Free or Die Hard

Live Free or Die Hard
Twentieth Century Fox

Action pics can benefit from an older leading man who hasn’t lost his rugged charm. Consider Sean Connery, Harrison Ford and, of course, Bruce Willis. As his on-screen alter ego John McClane so aptly puts it here, “Chicks dig scars.” True to that statement, this formulaic fourquel shows its age without shame. None needed — John McClane is ageless. (Catch Die Hard and Die Hard 2 this month on during IFC.)


5. Saw IV

Saw
Twisted Pictures

No horror franchise delivers on its promise as consistently as Saw. That explains why it has out-grossed the Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare movies despite fewer entries. This installment is the origin story of Hollywood’s most sadistic moralizer, and it proved to be a huge box office hit.


6. Bride of Chucky

Bride of Chucky
Universal Pictures

Past a certain age, we’re all creeped out by dolls. But after three fright flicks focused on our fears, the fourth installment in the Child’s Play series injected welcome humor, courtesy of a baby-voiced Jennifer Tilly in the title role. Did Tilly (Bound, Bullets over Broadway) give the performance of her lifetime here? Weirder things have happened. Like killer dolls.


7. Alien: Resurrection

Alien
Twentieth Century Fox/Everett Collection

How do you bring Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) back from the dead? Clone her, of course. How do you justify Winona Ryder’s wooden acting? Make her a “synthetic.” Herein lies the genius of Joss Whedon, who wrote the screenplay. After this came the Alien Vs. Predator movies and the less said about those the better.


8. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

The Voyage Home
Paramount Pictures/Everett Collection

Not all Star Trek movies are strictly for Trekkies. This fun, ’80s-tastic outing also works for the Green Party with its Save the Whales subplot. Ironically, while the ecological message argues on behalf of animals facing extinction, most of the whales on-screen are played by life-sized robots and motorized mini-mammals. But the punk with the jukebox who annoys Kirk and Spock? He’s totally real.


9. Rocky IV

Rocky

Arguably as iconic as the original Rocky, this Cold War classic pits American guts against Russian genetics in the boxing ring. 40-plus years later, we might still be routing for Sylvester Stallone’s Italian Stallion but we’re also secretly conceding that the scientific training favored by Dolph Lundgren’s Drago is the wiser strategy.


10. Sudden Impact

Sudden Impact
Warner Bros

This Dirty Harry movie — featuring a vigilante rape survivor — is the first time Inspector Callahan spit out the iconic line “Go ahead, make my day” and the last time we saw Sondra Locke, Clint Eastwood’s onetime real life love interest, in a Clint Eastwood movie. For those two things alone, it deserves its place in the canon of fantastic fourquels.

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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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GIFs via Giphy

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.

via GIPHY

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!

via GIPHY

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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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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