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Fantastic Fest: Uwe Boll, Auteur

Fantastic Fest: Uwe Boll, Auteur (photo)

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Two things spread quickly at film festivals: upper respiratory tract infections and buzz. And the buzz spreading around Fantastic Fest last week was that the impossible had happened: that Uwe Boll, the infamous director of notoriously (and, at times, enjoyably) terrible films like “Alone in the Dark” and “BloodRayne,” had made a good movie. Film School Rejects declared Boll’s new film “Rampage” “sick, violent, and fun”; /Film called it “not just good in comparison to the rest of his filmography, but a good movie in its own right.”

Usually Boll’s movies aren’t just bad, they’re splendidly bad. They’re lazily plotted, haphazardly shot and confusingly edited, and yet, somehow, in the alchemical confluence of all that badness they take on a certain transcendent magic. Many of his past efforts were financed through a now-defunct German tax shelter that, if I understand it correctly, only required independent film investors to pay taxes if their films turned a profit, providing a financial incentive for failure. Nevertheless, the buzz was quite insistent: “Rampage” was good. Lured by curiosity to the film’s final Fantastic Fest screening, I discovered that while “Rampage” is far more competently made than Boll’s worst films (or best, depending on your point of view), it’s also stripped of much of those earlier films’ charm and it tells a story that, while lucid (if ludicrous), is completely revolting. To put it another way, “Rampage” announces that Boll isn’t a terrible filmmaker, just a terrible misanthrope who hates humanity and wants nothing more than to see it destroyed.

“Rampage” is about a sullen young man named Bill (Brendan Fletcher) who’s grown tired of his coddling parents, his anarchist best friend and the guy who makes his macchiato in the morning with too little foam. Convinced by the mainstream media of the world’s impending doom at the hands of war, overpopulation and environmental decay, Bill, a Travis Bickle with no Iris to focus his madness upon, straps on a homemade suit of armor and goes on a killing spree in his hometown, taking revenge on the people who’ve crossed him (let that be a lesson in coffee making, baristas), as well as any random bystanders he happens upon.

10062009_Rampage.jpgThere are times when Boll seems to be critiquing the hypocrisy of killing someone in order to make a political point, an idea with more than a little relevance in our modern world. And only the staunchest of right-wingers would disagree that our civilization could very well consume itself into oblivion. But is genocide the best solution? “Rampage” seems to argue that it is. By replaying audio clips that recite our society’s excesses and misplaced values (the figure of 70 million new people brought into an already crowded world every year comes up quite a bit) and by filming Bill’s mayhem with a fetishistic macho zeal, Boll essentially argues that anyone who disagrees with his viewpoint is unworthy of the gift of life. You have to wonder if Boll, who’s been an enormous punching bag for much of his directorial career and has even taken to physically fighting his critics on occasion (including at Fantastic Fest), has come to genuinely despise opposing viewpoints. “Rampage” is a blast of pure venom at the viewer, a “Funny Games”-style provocation from a filmmaker who might not necessarily want to challenge his audience or make them question their complicity in the violence that takes place onscreen, but wastes no opportunity to show how much he simply and utterly hates them.

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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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