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Once more, with feeling.

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"Right now we're at war, and people are dying every day."
Reading about the "Captivity"‘s planned premiere party in Michael Cieply‘s report in the New York Times, we had a chuckle or two at producer Courtney Solomon’s (see here) shameless baiting of anyone who might care to listen. To wit:

All of which is a prelude to an undisclosed main event that, he warned last week over slices of pizza a few doors from his company’s new offices on the Sunset Strip, is “probably not legal.”

“The women’s groups definitely will love it,” Mr. Solomon hinted. “I call it my personal little tribute to them.”

Oh, you. Whether anyone will care about the flick Mr. Solomon and After Dark Films are so frantically hawking remains to be seen, but we’re more curious about what’s currently on the mind of director Roland Joffé, the two-time Oscar nominee who premiered the first cut of "Captivity" at the Sitges Film Festival last year, who was asked to return to the studio for reshoots in order to make the film more torturelicious, and who didn’t give a comment to the Times.

A quick tour of the latest round of writings on torture porn:

At the Boston Globe, Geoff Edgers takes a group of psychiatrists, led by director Eli Roth‘s father Sheldon, to see "Hostel II." We feel like this is the kind of well-meaning piece people will dig up in 20 years to make fun of.

Gutheil agreed, and said that while he would encourage fans of
horror films to see "Hostel: Part II," he would not recommend it be
shown in prisons. Serial killers would also not be a good target

"By fusing the erotic and violent, there are ways you create fantasies that become a playground for serial killers," he said.

Shane Danielson at the Independent finds something admirable in the "oddly monotonal quality" of Roth’s filmmaking: "[I]t also speaks to the lack of empathy in contemporary American culture, as well as other trends – the fragmentation of narrative, the increasingly utilitarian, disposable tenor of human relations." "Roth’s film echoes (and derives associative potency from) the appalling images from Abu Ghraib," writes Nigel Floyd at Time Out UK. "[B]ut one would be hard pressed to claim that it advances our understanding of the torturer’s mindset. Nor does the reworked ‘Captivity’ say anything new about the sadistic, controlling gaze of voyeurism." John Patterson at the Guardian is ready "to drop the metaphors and face up to the real nastiness all around us."

Finally, shifting to a subject more taboo on American cinema screens than smoothies made of liquefied body parts, Geoffrey Macnab at the Independent takes a peek back at the sex and scandal of "Last Tango in Paris" and wonders how shocking it would look to modern day audiences, finally concluding:

Last Tango would struggle to find a mass audience today. After all, this is an uncompromising art-house film from a revered European auteur. The idea that such a film could play for years on end in London cinemas is nowadays unthinkable. Nor is there much sense that audiences have the energy to get as worked up as they did in 1972, when even the film’s detractors at least had passionate opinions about it.

+ Already Under Fire, a Producer Is Going Further (NY Times)
+ Psychiatrists-turned-film-critics call ‘Hostel II’ painfully compelling (Boston Globe)
+ Blood brother: Director Eli Roth, inventor of ‘torture porn’ (Independent)
+ Could critics of ‘torture porn’ at least watch the movies? (Time Out UK)
+ Putting the gory in to allegory (Guardian)
+ Last Tango in Paris: Can it arouse the same passions now? (Independent)

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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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