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Uwe Boll’s “Darfur” drama.

Uwe Boll’s “Darfur” drama. (photo)

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Like the part of Cannes you don’t usually hear about, the American Film Market is the largely unglamorous event held every year in L.A. where film buyers and distributors from across the globe come to put the business back in show business, looking at the latest Sofia Coppola film in the same way they look as “The Whiffler,” a comedy about a ‘roided up whiffleball player — that is, as products.

Beginning tomorrow, films like Coppola’s “Somewhere” will be debuting at AFM, as will Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg” and a host of other attention-worthy endeavors, like the latest from “Teeth” director Mitchell Lichtenstein, “Happy Tears”; the Tribeca fave “The Eclipse”; and two personal highlights of mine from Toronto — the Tilda Swinton melodrama “I Am Love” and Fatih Akin’s “Soul Kitchen.”

But it’s the weird stuff that makes markets so fun. A few I picked out from the AFM catalog:

Uwe Boll gets serious.
As pointed out by Cinematical, the prolific director of video game adaptations has no less than three films at AFM, including the execrable “Rampage” and the Lauren Holly-Luke Perry apocalyptic thriller “The Final Storm.” But the film sure to draw the most curiosity is “Darfur,” starring Billy Zane, Edward Furlong and Boll staple Matt Frewer as American journalists grappling with whether to put down their pens to get involved in the Sudanese conflict. Alas, chances are it won’t be snapped up for U.S. distribution in time for Oscar consideration.

Billy Zane is a triple threat.
Besides “Darfur,” the former “Phantom” star is as ubiquitous here as George Clooney was in Toronto, with the supernatural thriller “Magic Man” (which one IMDb commenter described not so charitably by saying, “Hocus Pocus! You just lost 80 minutes of your life”) and “The Gold Retrievers,” a family film with Steve Guttenberg.

Odd couples abound.
Did you ever think Michael Madsen and Natasha Lyonne would share the screen? Well, meet “Outrage,” a thriller where Lyonne unwittingly takes shelter in the hunting lodge of Madsen’s ex-military sniper. Or how about Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and ’90s teen heartthrob Andrew Keegan as a newfangled Crockett and Tubbs in “Kill Speed,” described as “a high-octane, youth-oriented, ‘Top Gun’ meets ‘Fast & Furious’ tale about best friends who fly home-built, high-tech planes to deliver Mexican-manufactured crystal-meth throughout rural California in order to fund their Hollywood lifestyle.” Throw in Tom Arnold and Greg Grunberg and I’m sold.

As for the old Crockett…
Well, Don Johnson is the lone American starring in the Norwegian comedy “Long Flat Balls II,” directed by sequelizer extraordinaire Harald Zwart, of “Pink Panther 2” fame. In it, he plays a U.S. admiral who meets up with six average Joes pulled into military service for the Norwegian National Guard and hijinks ensue.

Did no one learn from “Street Fighter”?
Even with Guillermo del Toro fave Luke Goss starring as Fox, it’s a bit surprising that the fighting game “Tekken” is being adapted into a feature film. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who’s been down this road before as Shang Tsung in 1995’s “Mortal Kombat,” co-stars in the film about the King of Iron Fist tournament, which, coming from the same writer that gave us “Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever” and “The Marine,” doesn’t give me high hopes that it’ll be a film that will buck the trend of bad video game adaptations.

Finally, there is the “Repo Man” sequel.
Alex Cox’s all-green-screen semi-follow-up to his 1984 cult classic, “Repo Chick,” is also out there in the market, looking for a distributor. Please, someone, pick it up. It’s timely.

[Photo: “Darfur,” Boll KG, 2009]

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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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