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“Dump month.”

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"I want you to say four little words: I... Want... To... Die."
Not in any scatalogical sense (now there’s a film news story we’d like to see — no, actually, we really wouldn’t). At the Guardian, Jonathan Bernstein summarizes why January is the most dismal month for new releases — among his points:

The horror fan’s favourite brand of movie litters January cinemas but in a form he detests. This year, he gets to choose between a gore-free PG-13 werewolf romance (Blood & Chocolate), an unnecessary remake (The Hitcher with Sean Bean attempting to fill Rutger Hauer‘s cruel shoes), a serial-killer movie made for Christian audiences (Thr3e) and a movie with a trailer that claims to be the true story of a psychopath responsible for the slaughter of more than 300 victims without once mentioning that the killer is a giant crocodile (Primeval).

Of course, the lack of crocodile-free releases gives everyone plenty of time to chatter about awards (the latest are those for the National Society of Film Critics and the Online Film Critics Society, here). At the New York Times, A.O. Scott, Manohla Dargis and Stephen Holden offer their "ideal slate" of Oscar nominees, most of which would not have a tri-color snow cone’s chance in hell with the actual Academy. An interesting chance to compare the film-going tastes of the three critics, but it also raises the question of why one bothers with Oscar coverage if one isn’t willing to give oneself a hernia attempting to prognosticate Academy groupthink (which then raises the question of what the hell everyone would do in January if they ignored the Oscars — take a vacation?).

Weinstein watch: Also nestled in the New York Times’ special Oscar section is check-in with "Sun Tzu of Oscar warfare" Harvey, who, per writer David Halbfinger, pioneered Oscar-hype as marketing, but who now claims to have moved beyond such things:

“You leave when you’re ahead,” Mr. Weinstein said by telephone, likening himself to a football great like Jim Brown or, this season, Tiki Barber, getting out of the game while still at the top. “I created a streak that was — I hope somebody tops it, and I’ll be the first person to reward them, but it was not easy to get there. And it took a lot of time and concentration. I find myself interested in other things.”

Weinstein also addresses his ultra-early marketing of "Factory Girl," a film whose last-minute re-shoots and down-to-the-wire editing have surely prompted many critics to begin sharpening their long knives in anticipation…bwahahaha! But over at The Hot Blog, David Poland, who’s seen both the old and new cuts of the film, thinks that Weinstein has done wonders and is, we suppose, a bit of an auteur (he does sigh that "still not a very good movie").

The magical thing is, this is a pure Harvey Scissorhands job. No question that George Hickenlooper, his producer, and editor Dana E. Glauberman did the heavy lifting. But the changes scream, “Harvey was here.” Really, in this generation, there is no other producer with as clear an editorial voice… especially in movies that don’t really work… and occasionally and very painfully, in ones that did.

More Harvey from Tom O’Neil at the LA Times‘ Envelope, who seems to think that "Bobby" is back in the awards race. Weinstein: "I think it’s Rocky Balboa. It just got up again and fought its way back into the ring. The movie is in strong consideration to be one of the five for the best Oscar."

In other Oscar news, Luc Besson‘s "Arthur and the Invisibles," which consists of a mix of live action and CG animation, has been judged not sufficiently animated to compete for the animated feature award. Because of this, the number of nominees has been dropped from five to three. (Via Sheigh Crabtree at the Hollywood Reporter.)

At the Guardian‘s film blog, the end of the year and awards season have prompted some philosophical musings. Gwyn Topham wonders if it’s easier to forgive a film’s faults when it’s in another language: "That Penelope Cruz, now acclaimed again after Volver, never really impressed in English may not be down to her own language barrier as much as our own, endowing her with more sophistication when lisping in Spanish." Well, she’s also been offered/chosen dismal roles in English. Ronald Bergan, writing about the festival favorites he fails to see in the running for any awards, wonders if it’s time to stratify films:

Perhaps it’s time to separate films on the lines of music criticism into "classical" and "pop". No music critic is expected to review both Blur and Boulez. Thus with awards. The Baftas and the Oscars should be labelled what they are – the film equivalent of the MTV awards or the Eurovision song contest.

And we’ll end this post with Rex Reed, with his annual and ever unintentionally amusing New York Observer piece on who died in the past year and, more importantly, how he knew them. We could only dream to be posthumously name-dropped so lovingly ourselves some day — to start you off, here he is on Shelley Winters: "It seems like only yesterday that I was sharing five desserts with the blond bombshell at Elaine’s…"

+ Why January is a good month to bury bad movies (Guardian)
+ Online film critics pick "United 93" as best movie (Reuters)
+ And the Nominees Should Be… (NY Times)
+ A Sun Tzu of Oscar Warfare Resurfaces
(NY Times)
+ The Amazing Mr. Weinstein: Factory Boy (The Hot Blog)
+ The return of Harvey? (LA Times)
+ ‘Invisibles’ loses spot for ani Oscar (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Are foreign language films as good as we think? (Guardian Film Blog)
+ Great unseen films of 2006 (Guardian)
+ So Long, Farewell to Galaxy of Stars (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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