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Cannes: Over the hump.

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We’ve just past the midpoint of the 59th Cannes Film Festival, and it’s either so good there are no clear Competition frontrunners…or so inconsistent there are no clear Competition frontrunners, or maybe just so unexceptional. Kirk Honeycutt and Ray Bennett at Hollywood Reporter:

The 59th edition of the Festival de Cannes is shaping up as the best Competition since the much-celebrated 2002 vintage. ("The Pianist" won, you’ll recall.) Which does not mean that one can easily spot the winners. There are some obvious front-runners though, as well as some obvious disappointments. And certainly this jury, weighed so heavily with actors, has any number of superb performances to judge.

Todd McCarthy at Variety:

In the first five days of the Cannes Film Festival — as choppy as the rough seas currently besetting the Mediterranean — there have been two or three fairly strong films thus far in the competition. But few people can agree on which films those are.

To be sure, no one’s been caught running around whispering "Palme d’Or" about any of the entries.

Those who’ve traveled from distant points and will spend up to 12 days watching films here hope, as always, that at least one or two brilliant titles will reward the investment. If they exist this year, they have yet to be seen.

Richard Corliss at Time:

"Adequate" sums up the Festival’s offerings so far. No films yet have reaped unanimous critical acclaim. A few name directors are thought to have been coasting (Pedro Almodóvar‘s "Volver") or tailspinning (Richard Linklater‘s "Fast Food Nation") with their latest works. Some directors of promise, like the Turk auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan with his Climates, have brought works earning mild applause. We see and we shrug.

David Hudson at Greencine Daily‘s been doing such an awe-inspiringly thorough job of rounding up Cannes coverage that we feel unmotivated to do much more than sit back and take it all in ourselves. Nevertheless, a few thoughts:

"Southland Tales": Richard Kelly‘s undeniably ambitious "Donnie Darko" follow-up seemed doomed merely from the great weight of expectations. Still, we’re heard/read things ranging from "potential career-killer" and "profoundly incoherent" to "a sprawling, periodically dazzling, often funny pop-and-politics mash-up" and "a visionary film about the end of times" from heavies Manohla Dargis and J. Hoberman, respectively. We’re rather dying to see it now, train-wreck or not, though the film has no distributor yet, and, as Hoberman points out, "[a]t two hours and 40 minutes…[it] flirts with the ineffable and also the unreleasable."

"The Host": The most generous acclaim coming out of the festival seems to be for, of all things, this Directors’ Fortnight Korean horror film. "[T]he best film I’ve seen to date at this year’s festival," says Dargis, while Mike D’Angelo concludes "I can only hope to see a Competition entry this impressive," while also pointing out that "it’s a fair question whether Hollywood will come calling, because no major studio would ever countenance popcorn fare this determinedly bleak and despairing — ‘The Host’ makes comparatively grown-up summer flicks like ‘War of the Worlds’ and ‘Batman Begins’ look downright sunny by comparison."

Hazy generalizations: "Babel" response is mixed-to-good; "Shortbus" is also mixed-to-good, if never that enthused; "Red Road" also mixed-to-good, but not good enough, we’d guess, to secure a US distributor; "Fast Food Nation" is mixed-to-bad; "Paris, Je T’aime" is generally good (good enough to spawn a New York version?); "Volver" good-ish, with the caveat that no one seems predisposed to be fonder of Almodóvar than Cannes audiences/critics.

+ Critic’s notebook: Cannes midpoint finds Competition worthy (HR)
+ No consensus on Croisette (Variety)
+ Postcards from Cannes (Time)

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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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