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Odds: Wednesday – Half-assed.

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"Do you trust me?"
We’ve been utterly squashed by other work these past few days, and between that and keeping an eye on the election results (yes!) this blog’s been rather neglected. Still, a few things that need to be mentioned:

Like everyone else, we’re shaken by Adrienne Shelly‘s murder — Thomas J. Lueck and Al Baker at the New York Times have more details, and they’re awful. There’s been a lot of shock around the office, where many people were fans and/or had worked with her in some way (she had a role in IFC Films’ "Factotum" and in the network’s doc "In the Company of Women," and "Trust" is actually programmed to air later this month). Walter Chaw at Film Freak Central writes of "Trust":

It wasn’t the quirk that affected me, but the writing and performances: telling too much to say that I connected hard with the depressed television repairman with a grenade and a crush. (Telling, to this day, that there are still large swaths of myself that persists in that identification.) When I learned that Shelly might have hung herself with a bedsheet, I remembered her character Maria’s announcement of her pregnancy leading to the sudden death of her father – and there, vague and filamentous, an emotional, diaphanous connection between her life and this art. I can’t put my finger on it, but I can feel it vibrating in the air.

I haven’t felt this sad about a stranger’s death since Spalding Gray walked into the frozen drink.

David Montero at the Christian Science Monitor surveys the possibly political implications of Daniel Pearl film "A Mighty Heart":

Daniel Pearl’s murder, although nearly five years old, is hardly solved. The most recent stir erupted in September, when President Musharraf revealed for the first time in his memoir, "In the Line of Fire," that Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (identified by the US 9/11 Commission Report as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks) either killed Pearl or played a leading role in the planning of his murder. Musharraf says he confessed under Pakistani interrogation. Mr. Mohammad is currently being held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and has never been tried in connection with Pearl’s murder.

The Best Animated Feature Oscar long list — if all goes as planned, there will be five nominees this year as opposed to the three of the past few years.

The SF Chronicle‘s Mick LaSalle launches a blog (all the kids are doing it these days). In celebration, he interviews himself. Incidentally, Criterion now has a blog, and Dave Carrpetbagger is back at the New York Times.

At the LA Times Envelope, Jim Bates interviews Harvey Weinstein, patron saint of the Oscar season (and he does looks a little beatific in the photo):

Does it feel a little like the old days? You’re on your own now with no corporate parent as you head into the Oscar season?

I feel the freedom of not having somebody saying "don’t make the Michael Moore movie" or "don’t criticize NBC for not running the Dixie Chicks ad". We’re free to make our own way through this world.

David Thomson at the Guardian thinks there are too many festivals and too many films:

Yet everyone who programmes these festivals will admit (quietly) that all over the world the number of films worth celebrating or saving from lack of distribution grows smaller every year. In other words, nobody interested in films is falling for this mania. The best we can do is try to ignore it.

At the Chicago Tribune, Monica Eng attempts a better-in-theory-than-in-practice piece that involves taking two Kazakh grad students to see "Borat" and then talking to them about it. One observes that "Americans don’t understand Kazakhstan anyway, so if it were a totally made-up name, it wouldn’t matter. You could say it’s near Russia and called `Mujikistan.’ A fake place would have been OK. No country would have been affected or offended."

In biz news, Martin Scorsese signs a four-year first-look deal with Paramount (via Robert W. Welkos at the LA Times). The Weinstein Co. picks up Gillian Armstrong‘s fictionalized Harry Houdini biopic "Death Defying Acts" — magicians! Fictionalized! Trendy! (Via Gregg Goldstein at the Hollywood Reporter.) And First Independent has acquired Paul Fox‘s "Everything’s Gone Green," which is written by "Generation X"‘s Douglas Coupland (via Eugene Hernandez at indieWIRE).

And, for those of you short on reading, David Hudson at Greencine Daily points out that there are new issues of Senses of Cinema, Bright Lights, Undercurrent, Scan, Scope, Midnight Eye and Offscreen.

+ Actress Was Killed in Hanging Meant as Cover-Up, Officials Say (NY Times)
+ Trusting Adrienne Shelly (Film Freak Central)
+ Filming of movie brings new tension to Daniel Pearl case (CS Monitor)
+ 16 Expected to Contend for 2006 Animated Feature Oscar® (
+ Mick LaSalle uncensored (SF Chronicle)
+ What makes Harvey Weinstein run? (LA Times)
+ Let us not see it all (Guardian)
+ ‘Are you like Borat?’ (Chicago Tribune)
+ Paramount teams with Scorsese (LA Times)
+ Weinstein in "Death Defying" deal for Houdini pic (HR)
+ First Independent Goes "Green" (indieWIRE)
+ Issues. November blowout. (Greencine Daily)

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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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