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Deadgirls and Grouchy Gurus

Deadgirls and Grouchy Gurus (photo)

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A small smattering of romantic fare amongst the new releases this week lines up alongside some caustic political satire, a couple of dark chillers, somber documentaries, and a string of grouchy gurus.

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“The Answer Man”
Having quietly transformed himself into one of the most versatile character actors working today, Jeff Daniels returns to leading man duties for this romantic indie, the feature debut of writer/director John Hindman. Daniels plays Arlen Faber, the author of a worldwide bestselling page-turner on spirituality who’s spent the following 20 years living the life of a reclusive malcontent. Lauren Graham of “Gilmore Girls” fame co-stars as a widowed chiropractor with a troubled son who reawakens Faber’s erstwhile interest in people.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“California Company Town”
With the Golden State scrambling to avoid bankruptcy, performance artist and filmmaker Lee Anne Schmitt offers a striking visual retrospective on the debilitating legacy of California’s boom-bust economic cycles. Characterized by found photography, wild sounds and somber narration, the film tours a multitude of abandoned corporate-owned ghost towns that once housed working communities, delivering a pointed if one-sided assessment on the failings of unregulated capitalism.
Opens in New York.

The “Saw” franchise aside, the torture porn wave has thankfully crested, which makes this belated entry from co-directors Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel almost retro cool. Tantalizing pubescent boys everywhere with the most logistically ridiculous plot since “Captivity,” our helming duo deliver an unsettling parable on the naiveté of teenage sexuality. A pair of unfashionable youths clowning around in the basement of an abandoned mental asylum (as one does) encounters the deadgirl (Jenny Spain) chained to a table and elect to make her their own personal sex object. One for the romantics, then.
Opens in limited release.

“The English Surgeon”
With the debate over health care reform currently raging in the halls of Congress, director Geoffrey Smith’s documentary paints a discouraging portrait of the socialized alternative. Whether it be the stifling bureaucracy of the British National Heath Service or the underfunded and inadequate facilities in the Ukraine, Smith charts the failings of the European system while singling out the underlying human kindness found within it. Following the activities of renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Henry Marsh, who has been donating his services to the Ukraine for almost 20 years, Smith uncovers a compassionate and self-deprecating man haunted by his limitations in a field where saving someone’s life and rendering them a vegetable is a nerve-shredding matter of millimeters.
Opens in New York.

Things have been quietish on the Bruckheimer front since the all-conquering “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy (although number four is on the way), but judging by the way they’ve been tossing his name around in the TV spots, Jerry is damn proud of this — his first 3-D movie. Seamlessly blending computer animation and live action for a riff on “Mission Impossible,” the film features Sam Rockwell, Penélope Cruz and Tracy Morgan as the voices of a crack commando unit of guinea pigs who end up at a pet store after their covert ops activities are nixed.
Opens wide and in 3D.

“In The Loop”
Offering proof positive that swearing is in fact both big and clever, Glaswegian satirist Armando Iannucci conjures up a scathing indictment of our self-serving political system via a farcical, imagined preamble to war. Adapted from Iannucci’s own hit British television series “The Thick of It,” the comedy stars Tom Hollander as an inept back-bench MP who’s committed the terrible faux pas of making a definitive statement on an issue. Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini, David Rasche and Anna Chlumsky co-star.
Opens in limited release.

“Loren Cass”
After drumming up praise on the festival circuit for almost three years — and earning a “Best Film Not Playing in a Theater Near You” nomination at the Gotham Awards in 2007 — writer/director/actor Chris Fuller’s debut about teen malaise and racial friction in St. Petersburg, Florida finally makes it to theaters. Fuller, now a ripe 26 years old, pulls no punches in his portrait of the town not long after the 1996 riots, punctuating his scripted tale with disturbing real footage of both the riots and of the 1987 televised suicide R. Budd Dwyer.
Opens in New York.

Regardless of how good or bad the actual film is, the dead-eyed portrait of young Isabelle Fuhrman that Warner Brothers has deployed for its poster campaign surely wins it the prize for most disturbing one-sheet of the summer. Following minor splashes with “House of Wax” and the supremely silly “Goal II: Living the Dream,” director Jaume Collet-Serra tries his hand at the creepy kid sub-genre with Fuhrman starring as the titular foundling who turns her adopted parents home into a breeding ground for chaos. Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard fill out the stock roles of terrified mother and skeptical father.
Opens wide.

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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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