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Today’s Cannes, plus: some Tom Hanks film.

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Not yet approved by Chinese censors.
"Code"…something? L, we know it begins with L!

Yes, so, as has been well-reported, Cannes critics are, for the most part, not fond of Mr. Howard‘s latest effort. Still, no one (and you can see most current reviews here at Rotten Tomatoes) seems to take as much pleasure in their pan as the New York Times A.O. Scott, who’s apparently been spending his "book leave" sharpening his long knives in anticipation of applying them to Dan Brown:

To their credit the director and his screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman (who collaborated with Mr. Howard on "Cinderella Man" and "A Beautiful Mind"), have streamlined Mr. Brown’s story and refrained from trying to capture his, um, prose style. "Almost inconceivably, the gun into which she was now staring was clutched in the pale hand of an enormous albino with long white hair." Such language — note the exquisite "almost" and the fastidious tucking of the "which" after the preposition — can live only on the page.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Hee.

Scott may find the film too bland to be boycott-worthy, but at the Guardian‘s Culture Vulture blog, Charlotte Higgins calls for one on the basis of good taste:

Hitherto the reaction of people who should know better is a vague shrugging of the shoulders but this will no longer do. Affirmative action is required. The Da Vinci Code in both its forms, literary (literary!) and on screen, is brain-rotting rubbish. Where is our pride? Where is our dignity? Where, dammit, is our British pluck? Confiscate this book from family and friends. Boycott, nay picket, this film. And at all costs, banish it from your brain, which was built for better things. The time has come to man the barricades.

The more press stills we see, the more we’re convinced (this might also be lack of sleep) that Paul Bettany‘s albino monk Silas is rather attractive, in a murderous religious fanatic fashion. Surely that wasn’t the filmmakers’ intent? Or was it?

No, probably not.

Of other films:

Neither the Hollywood Reporter‘s Ray Bennett (who dubs it "Atmospheric but pedestrian") nor Variety‘s Derek Elley thinks much of Ken Loach‘s "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," thought Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere calls it "the first profoundly good film"of the festival (bearing in mind that it just started) and writes that "Loach’s left-wing social realist brush has never rendered anything this stirring or flat-out masterful."

Derek Kelly at Variety is lukewarm on Lou Ye‘s "Summer Palace" ("an occasionally involving but way over-stretched tapestry that plays like a French art movie in oriental dress"),  Kirk Honeycutt at the Hollywood Reporter is fond of the film, but thinks it’s "far too long."

Of omnibus film "Paris, Je T’Aime," Bennett writes that it’s a "charming collection of vignettes," and Lisa Nesselson at Variety calls it "uneven but quite pleasant," adding that "[i]nterstitial shots of Paris and coda in which certain characters cross paths don’t add much and veer dangerously close to saccharine. But project — four years in the making –avoided most pitfalls and turned out better than average." Much what you’d expect (how could it not be uneven?)…we’re curious as to what (if anything) prompted this recent spate of multi-director anthology films, which we thought had been kicked to the curb in the 60s when everyone realize they work far better in theory than in practice.


The best part of Cannes coverage (beyond when, a week in, everyone starts getting delirious and filing stories/saying things to journalists that in retrospect are unwise) are the odd, gossipy details, like Jeffrey Wells‘ observation on the infernal Cannes press passes system:

The next level below pink is blue, and the lowest-of-the-low are the yellow passes. Richard Schickel  is here doing a Cannes documentary and not a a Time critic, so he has a yellow pass. (I saw him waiting last night to see The DaVinci Code and I went over and said, "Hey, Dick…is this the pink-with-yellow-pastille line?" Schickel kind of half-scowled in his usual charming way and said, "Uhnn…no.")

Anthony Kaufman lists his "9+ Films to See at 59th Cannes."

LA Weekly‘s Scott Foundas is blogging again, and has lengthy "Code" musings.

At the Filmmaker blog, Matthew Ross has turned up a "Fast Food Nation" trailer. The film premieres tomorrow, and Janet Adamy and Richard Gibson at the Wall Street Journal report on the dozens of food trade groups prepping a media campaign against the film "to counter what one groups contends is the ‘indigestible propaganda’ [author Eric] Schlosser is spreading."

And Xan Brooks at the Guardian shares various Cannes details (including, for all who’ve been dying to know, why Tom Hanks likes Iceland) while outlining (despite the lack of Asian films at the festival in general) what he sees as increasing Chinese dominance at Cannes, and slipping in a good review of "Summer Palace."

The general consensus before last night’s screening was that a lot of the journalists would stay for the first hour and then slip away to catch the Arsenal-Barcelona cup final. But when the lights came up, two-and-a-half hours later, the auditorium was still packed to the rafters.

+ A ‘Da Vinci Code’ That Takes Longer to Watch Than Read (NY Times)
+ Code haters unite! (Guardian)
+ The Wind That Shakes the Barley (HR)
+ The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Variety)
+ The Wind that Shakes the Barley
(Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ Summer Palace (Variety)
+ Summer Palace (HR)
+ Paris, I Love You (Paris, Je t’Aime) (HR)
+ Paris je t’aime (Variety)
+ There seems to be a general downgrading of press passes this year (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ 9+ Films to See at 59th Cannes (Anthony Kaufman’s Blog)
+ So Dark the Con of Hollywood (LA Weekly)
+ Flak Over ‘Fast Food Nation’ (Wall Street Journal)
+ Cultural revolution (Guardian)

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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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