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"I'll see you at the parent-teacher conference."
We’ve been out of commission this week (er, "The Henry Rollins Show" and "Samurai 7," premiering tomorrow) but we thought we’d take a sec to babble about a few of this week’s releases.

Oh, hell, we just want to talk about "Brick," because we’re totally infatuated. At first blush, it’s easy to write off Rian Johnson‘s debut as gimmicky — it is. They’re high school kids, but they spout dialogue out of the hokiest 40s film noir. Locker numbers replace phone numbers, a minivan (with a lamp inside) stands in for a limo, the administration (naturally) becomes the law. The details are cute, but alone, they’d barely be enough to base a short on. What’s remarkable about "Brick," and what makes it so hugely enjoyable, is that in creating the film’s weird world, Johnson has managed to free it from the chokehold of irony.

True noir is near impossible these days — all of the visual signifiers that define it are so loaded that they’re near useless. You can’t have a femme fatale slink in on narrow heels, sucking on a cigarette anymore, because all that carries across is that she must have caught a late airing of "The Glass Key" the night before. Neo noir comes armed with the inevitable wink and nudge — in next week’s awful "Lucky Number Slevin," characters name-check films in lieu of character development (Lucy Liu stops just short of making herself a Nora Charles baby tee, but Josh Hartnett takes to a James Bond comparison a little too easily for an apparently dopey guy — ooh, spoiler alert). "Brick" is nothing neo at all — it’s a straight-faced throwback to the kind of convoluted storyline that had Howard Hawks wiring Raymond Chandler to figure out who killed Owen Taylor, only to be told that he didn’t know either. Because, after all, it’s the process of looking, and events unfolding, that was always more interesting than the wrap-up. The baby-faces of "Brick"’s plucked-from-TV cast (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, slowly freeing himself from "Third Rock from the Sun," Emilie de Ravin of "Lost," "Everwood"‘s Nora Zehetner) turn out to be well-suited to Johnson’s muttered machinations and heated declarations, because, well, when else in your life besides high school can you howl, with all angst and seriousness, "I couldn’t hack a life with you!"

There’s a gleeful enjoyment to these scenes, to the ones where Gordon-Levitt’s loner Brendan smart-asses the school’s jock aristocracy, or takes a beating just because he can’t bring himself to back down, or when Meagan Good vamps it up impossibly more in each scene until she delivering acid-tipped lines in full kabuki make-up, but what really works about "Brick" is its big, bleeding romantic heart. Even the bleakest noir, at its core, was filled with some kind of weary hope for the best, paired inevitably with the certainty that the world always disappoints.

And while we’re here —Jeff Feuerzeig‘s "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" is also very good  — a portrait of the artist as a manic-depressive novelty. We’re not so convinced of Johnson’s genius as a musician or an artist, and there are occasions where the regard of his "outsider" status comes across as a bit ghoulish (something he seems aware of  — he would stop taking his medication several days before playing a show), but the kaleidoscope of browned-around-the-edges footage from Johnson’s youth and onwards is amazing, as are the interviews with his loving, long-suffering parents.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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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…


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.


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).


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.


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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