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Tribeca! Part deux.

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Stan the man.
A more promising round this time:

"The Road to Guantanamo"
Directors: Michael Winterbottom, Mat Whitecross
Winterbottom’s Silver Bear winner brushes by Tribeca on its way to a US theatrical release slated for June 23rd, one of the higher-profile Middle East-focused films in a festival heavy with them. Fleet and imbued with an extraordinary sense of urgency, "The Road to Guantanamo" isn’t a film you can really like or dislike — it’s intended to provoke a sense of outrage and, in that regard, it’s extremely effective. Winterbottom turns the story over to Ruhel Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul, the "Tipton Three," British-born Pakistanis who on a trip back to Pakistan for a wedding made a detour into Afghanistan just before the US bombings started. Rounded up with surrendering Taliban forces, they ended up being held at Guantanamo for two years without ever being charged. Interviews with Ruhel, Asif and Shafiq are intercut with actors depicting the events as described, rather like "The Thin Blue Line" without Errol Morris‘s remove or (mostly) the stylistic coyness of his reenactments. It’s sometimes uncomfortable that the film so unquestioningly follows the Tipton Three’s account, particularly in the vaguenesses surrounding how they unthinkingly ended up in Kabul, but the details of their time in Guantanamo ring unavoidably true.

"Lonely Hearts"
Director: Todd Robinson
Robinson’s not the first to wrangle the murderous couple of Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez onto the big screen, but he’s the first to have such a personal angle — his grandfather, Elmer C. Robinson (played in the film by John Travolta) was one of the detectives who caught the infamous "Lonely Hearts Killers." The film is a distinctly glossy affair, with Fernandez being played by Jared Leto (with faux receding hairline) and Beck being played (with panache, if nothing else) by Salma Hayek. That Beck was in reality quite obese isn’t as much an issue as the fact that the film just ignores Hayek’s fully vamped-up period piece beauty — when a voiceover informs us that while the pair were out conning wealthy single women, "Martha played the role of Raymond’s spinster sister perfectly," while the camera pans over a décolleté Hayek sprawled in a vintage gown, it’s bewildering. Still, Hayek’s psychotic turn is fun for a while; the police side of the story, tying in the unexplained suicide of Robinson’s wife to the investigation, is rote and creaky, with James Gandolfini and Laura Dern wasted in sketched-in supporting roles.

"East Broadway"
Director: Fay Ann Lee
Proof that an Asian American filmmaker can make as awkward and formulaic a romantic comedy as anyone in mainstream Hollywood, "East Broadway" is notable for being the film that was meant to be B.D. Wong‘s directorial debut, until reported "creative differences" between Wong and writer/star Fay Ann Lee led to Lee stepping up to also helm the film and Wong requesting his name be removed from the credits (despite playing a supporting role). "East Broadway" is a retooling of the Cinderella story, with Lee playing Grace Tang, a second-generation gal with aspirations toward high society who, thanks to a case of mistaken identity, soon has all of the Upper East Side believing she’s a Hong Kong heiress, including dreamy Andrew Barrington, Jr. (Gale Harold). The film neatly sidesteps all potentially interesting issues — Class barriers innately impermeable? Dodged! Romantic lead may have an Asian fetish? Ducked! — in favor of a standard mix of screwball comedy and stagy dialogue. When Grace admitted to being obsessed with "Grease" as a child, and Andrew asked her to sing a song from the movie, we bailed.

"First Snow"
Director: Mark Fergus
Mark Fergus’ directorial debut is not terrible, but it’s wholly unremarkable, a competent first film that happens to be mildly expensive-looking and star Guy Pearce. Pearce plays Jimmy, a slick Albuquerque salesman who happens upon an honest-to-God fortuneteller (J.K. Simmons) at a pit stop out in the desert who reluctantly foresees his death around the time of the titular turn in the weather. Simplistic meditations on fate and death are balanced by Pearce’s grounded performance and a somewhat interesting development about Jimmy’s past.

"Color Me Kubrick"
Dir: Brian W. Cook
More a collection of sketches than a film, but gleefully enjoyable sketches. You couldn’t call Brian Cook’s film a biopic; when we meet Alan Conway (John Malkovich) he’s already quite adept at passing himself off as Stanley Kubrick in order to drink for free and bed attractive young men, and he never really goes anywhere from there. It doesn’t matter — the pleasures of watching Malkovich enjoy himself as Conway enjoying himself as varying over-the-top interpretations of a Hollywood director are innumerable. Conway wasn’t even that familiar with Kubrick’s oeuvre, but he did know the important thing — that everyone has a script, or a band, or a fashion line, or a secret belief that they should star in films, and that their vanity could equal plenty of gratis meals. Cook mixes in references to various Kubrick films, most notably in the use of music, with Kubrick’s most famous choices underlying deliriously incongruous scenes of Conway conning his way around London.

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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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