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Fame, Rage and Capitalism

Fame, Rage and Capitalism (photo)

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This week, contrasting approaches to filmmaking bring about balance and equilibrium. Experimentalism (Sally Potter’s “Rage” and Michael Almereyda’s “Paradise”) collides head on with tried and tested formulas (the Clive Owen starrer “The Boys Are Back” and a remake of “Fame”).

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“Blind Date”
Stanley Tucci adapts and stars in the second remake from the canon of slain Dutch director Theo Van Gogh, the first being Steve Buscemi’s 2007 “Interview.” A whimsical psychological tussle between a husband and wife who play games to patch up their marriage, the story hones in on the attempted romantic rediscovery between long-married Don (Tucci) and Jenna (Patricia Clarkson).
Opens in New York.

“The Blue Tooth Virgin”
Writer/director Russell Brown’s comedy stays true to the adage “write what you know,” as a miserably bad screenplay threatens to drive a wedge between two longtime friends. Having been asked by aspiring screenwriter pal Sam (daytime soap actor Austin Peck) to provide feedback on his latest masterpiece, successful magazine editor David (Bryce Johnson) decides it’s so bad that he could definitely do better. While it’s a decision Sam takes rather personally, it could have been worse — he could have asked “A History of Violence” screenwriter Josh Olson to read it.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“Brief Interviews With Hideous Men”
The directorial debut of actor John Krasinski, this screen adaptation of the titular collection of short stories from celebrated author David Foster Wallace should further highlight the great loss to literature brought about by Wallace’s tragic suicide just over a year ago. Presented as a series of candid confessionals from random men vomiting up their dark and disturbing secrets for the benefit of an anthropology student’s (Julianne Nicholson) graduate thesis, Krasinski jumps us in and out, carefully omitting the questions, as the subjects muse on the more unlikable sides to their character. Christopher Meloni, Denis O’Hare and Will Arnett are amongst the familiar “Hideous Men.”
Opens in New York.

“The Boys Are Back”
Having enjoyed a career littered with high-profile projects realized by above-average filmmakers, Clive Owen has somehow managed to consistently hide the fact that he’s only got two expressions: nobly harried (“King Arthur,” Children of Men,” “The International”) and effortlessly cool (“Inside Man,” “Shoot ‘Em Up,” “Duplicity”). This time though, under the supervision of Oscar-nominated director Scott Hicks (“Shine”), Owen will surely have to stretch for this adaptation of the Simon Carr memoir in which he plays a carefree sports writer forced to reconnect with both his estranged son (Nicholas McAnulty) and teenage stepson (George MacKay) following the tragic death of their mother.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“Capitalism: A Love Story”
As we pass the one-year anniversary of the AIG bailout, the self-described “most feared filmmaker in America” Michael Moore returns to remind us that it’s our money at stake in his latest documentary. Making stops at both the recently concluded Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, this blanket indictment of our government-sponsored culture of greed finds Moore employing his singular brand of political theater, such as cordoning off various corporate buildings with crime scene tape, to make his points, interspersed with interviews with those who lost everything and those who run the system.
Opens in limited release; opens wide on October 2nd.

“Coco Before Chanel”
From orphan to icon, Coco Chanel’s impish assertiveness is perfectly captured by the sprightly Audrey Tatou in French helmer Anne Fontaine’s lavishly designed retelling of the designer’s stratospheric ascent to the top of the fashion world and the feathers she ruffled along the way (or in the case of hats, removed entirely). Abandoned by her father upon the death of her mother, Chanel’s life is charted from her humble beginnings as a penniless seamstress and part-time cabaret singer, through her troubled romance with English playboy Arthur “Boy” Capel (Alessandro Nivola), to the upper echelons of French high society, ably propelled by her unique take on refined simplicity as the mark of true elegance. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“Fame”
Better than the TV show it spawned (though that’s not saying much), Alan Parker’s quintessentially ’80s cult favorite is notable not only for championing the value of individualism as relates to the American Dream, but also for taking the time to note the tragedies of those who take their shot and miss (drug abuse, prostitution). Ripe for a revamp in these celebrity-obsessed times, “Fame” 2009 is helmed by choreographer Kevin Tancharoen, who directs an ensemble of relative unknowns for this singing and dancing four-years-in-the-life-of story of fledgling performing artists with stars in their eyes. Veterans Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth, Charles S. Dutton and Debbie Allen provide support as their mentors.
Opens wide.

“I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell”
Having garnered much notoriety chronicling his debaucherous lifestyle first as a blog, then later as a bestselling memoir, self-confessed “asshole” Tucker Max takes on the big screen, surely with an eye on the meteoric rise of Diablo Cody, with a comedy based on his book. Matt Czuchry stands in for Max, a modern day libertine, who must smooth things over when a bachelor party goes hideously awry and the subsequent wedding is on the brink of disaster. Keri Lynn Pratt, Geoff Stults and Jesse Bradford co-star.
Opens in limited release.

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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.

via GIPHY

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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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