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The week’s critic wrangle: “Who Killed the Electric Car?” Jerri Blank did.

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Even for a long weekend, this one’s packed — here in New York, beyond the films below, we count at least six other indie openings, including Takashi Miike’s "The Great Yokai War," Iraq doc "The Blood of My Brother," Bollywood superhero flick "Krrish," pedophilia (!) comedy "Say Uncle," IFC’s own arty bull riding doc "Rank" and Kyle Henry‘s Independent Spirit Award nominee "Room"…and all of these are in addition to "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Superman Returns." It’s both exhilarating and frustrating — more movies (and many of them worth seeing), it seems, then there are people to see them.

We all did.
+ "Who Killed the Electric Car?": Ah, yet more doctivism. But Chris Paine‘s debut effort may be "one of the more successful additions to the growing ranks of issue-oriented documentaries," as Manohla Dargis at the New York Times writes. She finds his tale of corporations and government corruption quashing zero-emission vehicles familiar, but still lauds it as "a story Mr. Paine tells with bite." At Salon, Andrew O’Hehir notes that the film is "a straightforward work of advocacy that wouldn’t pass muster as journalism. But so what?" While he find that "Electric Car" "isn’t an especially dynamic or visually engaging film," he still insists that "By the end you’ll be worked into a lather one way or another. Paine crams in more theories, ideas and arguments than the movie can easily hold, but that’s OK with me."

Rob Nelson at the Village Voice is unimpressed (to say the least) with Paine’s fondness for celebrity talking head interviews (most notably Phyllis Diller):

The real question is why this purportedly impassioned documentary investigation of a great subject—the culture’s conspiratorial dismissal of eco-friendly alternatives to the gas-guzzler—would assume such massive viewer disinterest that it coats the pill with C-list celebrity NutraSweet, including Martin Sheen voiceovers ("As the 20th century gathered speed . . . ") that would sound unforgivably hackneyed even on basic cable.

At indieWIRE/Reverse Shot, Kristi Mitsuda is generally bemused by the lack of aesthetic sense most new documentaries (including this one) show, she concludes that

Looking down from the director’s helicopter at the carcasses of crushed EV1s– so threatened was GM by evidence of its creation that it had existing models destroyed–damned if I didn’t leave the theater in furious mourning for the loss of a car the existence of which I hadn’t even been aware two hours prior.

And Michael Koresky muses that "Paine’s entertaining expose often plays less like a raise-the-roof Michael Moore rampage than an extended ’20/20′ segment."


"Not THAT Megawati Sukarnoputri."
+ "Strangers With Candy": Oof…in New York, few heart Amy Sedaris’ big-screen resurrection of the canceled cult TV series. Michael Atkinson at the Village Voice writes:

The movie, for those unfamiliar with the show, represents a particular varietal of arrhythmic, conscientiously anti-witty comedy. Andy Kaufman is the style’s St. Joan, occupying the borderland between blackout yuks and discomfiting performance art. Often enough, overripe unfunniness is the joke.

He also wonders at the way the film "regularly lampoons junkie-reparation melodramas and after-school specials, but with so little focus it’s never clear what the film, or even Sedaris’s vaudeville buffoon incarnation, is supposed to be parodying. That may be its fascination for some—it’s a satire without a baseline, free-floating in its own self-indulgent ether."

At the New York Times, A.O. Scott is somewhat more forgiving:

Like many feature films based on small-screen, short-form comedy, it feels more like a long, sloppy "very special" episode than a movie. Still, devotees of the series, admirers of Ms. Sedaris and fake-news junkies who can never get enough of Mr. Colbert will find reasons to see it and to convince themselves that it is funnier and more satisfying than it really is.


"That means you're in love with me."
+ "The Motel": Michael Kang‘s Sundance favorite opened at the Film Forum on Wednesday. Michael Atkinson (who seems to be on a bit of a tear) growls that "American indies are trapped in a ghetto of second-class homogenization, less pandering than Hollywood but just as conservative," and while noting it’s not fair to fault a lone film for this, moans that "the underwhelming syncopation of make-nice clichés is too familiar." Stephen Holden is more fond, if less interesting, labelling it "a small, perfectly observed portrait." Most enthusiasic is Andrew O’Hehir, who writes "All the ingredients of this coming-of-age fable are individually familiar, but you rarely see them come together so well…There were half a dozen occasions, maybe more, when I roared out loud with laughter. This just may be a filmmaker with great things in him; this one’s pretty damn good."

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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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