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Odds: Tuesday – The 80s, Miyazaki the younger, FoxFaith.

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Faith will give you strength...TO RULE THE BOX OFFICE!
Need a job?

(Yeah, yeah, you’ve seen it already.)

Other randomness: Larry Carroll and Shawn Adler at MTV have a fairly thorough list of upcoming film remakes of 80s shows — we considered putting together a list like this before, but were a breathless combination of too ashamed and too lazy. Thanks, MTV.

Charles Solomon at the New York Times talks to poor Goro Miyazaki, son of Hayao and director of the latest Ghibli film, "Gedo Senki (Tales From Earthsea)," which has turned out to be both a box office hit in Japan and a disappointment to some of the older Miyazaki’s very demanding fans.

The younger Miyazaki said it was [Studio Ghibli president] Toshio Suzuki who initially persuaded him to take the considerable risk of following in his father’s footsteps, after having worked as a landscape planner and serving as managing director of the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, the wildly popular shrine to the work of the senior Miyazaki and [Isao] Takahata.

“I had never thought about becoming an animation director,” he said. “I was deceived by Mr. Suzuki, who was very clever about making me feel I could do it.”

Andrew Gumbel at the Independent talks to Eric Steel about "The Bridge" — which out-badasses "Shortbus," in a way. What’s real sex got on real death? Also, why are we so going to hell?

At the Washington Post, Peter Whoriskey writes about "Facing the Giants," an indie Christian high school football film that’s managed to become a stealth box office success:

The movie has made $2.7 million in 10 days, and ticket sales were good enough last weekend to place it 13th in the box office rankings, one notch below "Flyboys," a war movie with a $60 million budget and starring James Franco.

Hah! "Flyboys." "Facing the Giants" was torn apart by what critics actually saw it, but this isn’t one for the critics, and, as Whoriskey reminds us: ‘The industry considers the huge success of ‘The Passion of the Christ’ a sign of the untapped Christian market. Last month Fox created FoxFaith, which will release as many as a dozen religious films annually. ‘Love’s Abiding Joy,’ based on the novel about a frontier family by the Christian writer Janette Oke, is showing in four theaters in the D.C. area."

We are so not the market for films like "Facing the Giants," but we are fascinated by them as an example of both changing times for theatrical distributors and the increasing nichification of independent film. A traditional arthouse film release usually goes from either just New York or New York and L.A. to top ten markets to beyond, depending on box office. "Facing the Giants" isn’t playing anywhere near New York; we’re sure the filmmakers could care less about the press they’d get here, as it would probably not be favorable or helpful.

FoxFaith has another Bible-friendly flick lurking out there at the moment (though one that’s more Old Testament than Born Again) — "One Night With The King" is an adaptation of the Book of Esther that has the approval of the American Bible Society and that features Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif in their first film together since "Lawrence of Arabia," though word is they don’t share screen time. Novelty value: it does feature Luke Goss, late of 80s UK boy band Bros, as King Xerxes. Gloria Goodale at the Christian Science Monitor looks over it and other religion-friendly or just plain religious releases, incidentally noting that "Warner Brothers has a multipicture deal with Legendary Pictures, which hopes to bring John Milton’s epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’ to the screen." That‘s going to be a winner.

Richard Owen at the Australian notes that they forgot to invite Sophia Loren to the inaugural Rome Film Festival:

Maria Scicolone, Loren’s sister, who lives in Rome, said the 71-year-old legend of Italian cinema was offended at not having been invited to the opening ceremonies or any other festival event.

"We sat at home and ate chocolates," she said.

Ms Scicolone said festival officials had belatedly realised their gaffe and sent an invitation at the last minute, but that this had only added insult to injury.

"A last-minute invitation does not seem to me the proper way to go about things," she said.

"Sophia is not exactly an unknown."

In last week’s Village Voice, J. Hoberman crowned "Tideland" "kamikaze auteurism." We like that a lot — it seems to be, what with "The Fountain" and "Inland Empire" and, from all appearances, "Southland Tales," a trend this year.

And in the New York Observer, Andrew Sarris responds to Manohla Dargis’ calling out of the festival for giving precious program space to "white-elephant frippery," at least on one account.

Finally, I do not agree with one of my esteemed colleagues that The Queen doesn’t belong in the New York Film Festival because its selections should be confined to difficult foreign-language films in more need of public exposure. While I agree that The Queen is not difficult, it is sufficiently and, yes, marvelously artistic enough to qualify for inclusion.

Sarris personal anecdote watch, while deriding "Old Joy": "But that’s just me; I have never had the slightest desire to go camping with anyone else, male or female."

+ Film Editor (Craigslist)
+ From Mr. T To ‘Transformers,’ The ’80s Are Back And Gnarlier Than Ever (MTV)
+ The Son of the Anime Master Begins His Quest for Honor (NY Times)
+ Bridge to nowhere: Filming the final act (Independent)

+ Filmmakers Say God Was Their Co-Producer (Washington Post)
+ Hollywood takes a leap into faith (CS Monitor)
 + Sophia furious at film festival snub (The Australian)
+ Collision Course (Village Voice)
+ Sublime Queen Opens Festival With Mirren’s Crowning Role (NY Observer)

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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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