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Spring Indie Film Preview 2010

Spring Indie Film Preview 2010 (photo)

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Fans of Ewan McGregor, Kristen Stewart and James Van Der Beek (!) will be seeing double this spring, as arthouses and multiplexes host an array of indie films ranging from the travails of septuagenarian New Yorkers looking for love (“The Last New Yorker”) to 13-year-old assassins on the hunt for their first kill (“Kick-Ass”). If real life is more your speed, there are new documentaries about reviving animation strips (the Disney doc “Waking Sleeping Beauty”) and stripping down (the burlesque history “Behind the Burly Q”), while foreign wonders like the French crime epics “A Prophet” and “Mesrine” mix with Korean treasures “Mother” and “The Good, The Bad and The Weird.”

But of course, why limit yourself to just what’s playing in the first-run theater near you? We’ve also included a look at the films that will be playing Anywhere But a Movie Theater (online, on demand, and on DVD) in the next few months, as well as a tri-coastal calendar of repertory theaters that are hosting all kinds of one-night-only events, including a screening of “Up in the Air” writer/director Jason Reitman’s favorite films in Los Angeles. All in all, why risk being caught out in the rain or snow when the perfect storm of movie magic is happening inside.


February 19

“The Ghost Writer” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Timothy Hutton, Eli Wallach, Jim Belushi, Tom Wilkinson
Director: Roman Polanski
Fest Cred: Berlinale
The Gist: Arthouse fans may turn their nose up at the “Twilight” franchise, but you can probably thank the Cullens for empowering Summit to pick up the latest from Polanski, an adaptation of former political journalist Robert Harris’ novel about a disgraced British prime minister, Adam Lang (Brosnan), who holes up at an island retreat to pen his memoirs with the help of a ghost writer (McGregor). But when the new co-author begins to piece together the truth of an investigation into Lang’s involvement in torturing terrorist suspects, he begins to fear he may end up like the mysteriously disappeared writer he replaced on the project.

“2010 Oscar Nominated Shorts”
The Gist: Magnolia Pictures is once again teaming with the British-based Shorts International to present two programs — animated and live-action — of this year’s Oscar-nominated shorts on the big screen. In the animated category, those films include the latest adventure of Wallace & Gromit in Nick Park’s “A Matter of Loaf and Death,” Nicolas Schmerkin’s “Logorama,” Javier Recio Gracia’s “The Lady and the Reaper,” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell’s “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty,” and Fabrice O. Joubert’s “French Roast.” In the live-action program, you will be able to see Juanita Wilson and James Flynn’s “The Door,” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström’s “Instead of Abracadabra,” Gregg Helvey’s “Kavi,” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey’s “Miracle Fish,” and Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson’s “The New Tenants.”

“Blood Done Sign My Name” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: Nate Parker, Ricky Schroder, Afemo Omilami, Lela Rochon, Nick Searcy, Michael Rooker, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Gattlin Griffith
Director: Jeb Stuart
The Gist: Not known for heavy dramas, “Die Hard” and “The Fugitive” screenwriter Stuart adapts fellow North Carolinean Tim Tyson’s autobiographical tome about the coalition of civil rights activists and religious leaders who came together to tame the social unrest that followed the acquittal of three white men of a racially charged murder of an African-American war vet in ’60s Oxford. As Stuart recently told the New York Times, this isn’t going to be “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“Bulletproof Salesman” (IMDb, trailer)
Director: Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker
Fest Cred: SXSW, Silverdocs, Woodstock
The Gist: “Gunner Palace” and “How to Fold a Flag” docmakers Epperlein and Tucker are back with the story of Fidelis Cloer, an armored car dealer who traverses Iraq looking for sales and in the process reveals the reality of the wartorn nation. Los Angeles’ Downtown Independent is hosting the film’s exclusive one-week run.

“Dreamkiller” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: Dario Deak, John Savage, Tyrone Power Jr., John Colton, Diandra Newlin, Penny Drake
Director: Catherine C. Pirotta
The Gist: This psychological thriller stars Deak and Colton as two doctors who aren’t allowed to celebrate for too long after their discovery of a cure for fear backfires when their patients’ previously held murderous inclinations begin to manifest into reality.

“The Good Guy” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: Alexis Bledel, Scott Porter, Bryan Greenberg, Anna Chlumsky, Aaron Yoo, Andrew McCarthy
Writer/Director: Julio DePietro
Fest Cred: Tribeca
The Gist: Imagine if John Hughes had continued to probe the quarterlife crises of the Brat Pack generation that he seemingly abandoned with “Career Opportunities” in ’91 well into the glossier ’00s and you have a good idea of Chicago hedge fund manager-turned-director DiPietro’s feature debut, which stars “Friday Night Lights”‘ Porter and Greenberg as Wall Street day traders who ultimately vie over the same girl (Bledel).

“Happy Tears” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: Demi Moore, Parker Posey, Ellen Barkin, Rip Torn
Writer/Director: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Fest Cred: Berlinale, Mill Valley, Starz Denver
The Gist: Unlike some who want to distance themselves from their famous lineage, “Teeth” director Lichtenstein is making no secret of being the son of Roy with his second feature, named after one of his dad’s paintings (and even uses it for the poster) and perhaps touches on something personal with the story of two sisters (Moore and Posey) who head back to their hometown of Pittsburgh to tend to their ailing father (Torn).

“The Last New Yorker” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: Dominic Chianese, Dick Latessa, Kathleen Chalfant, Josh Hamilton
Director: Harvey Wang
The Gist: “The Sopranos” Chianese co-stars with Latessa as a pair of 70-year-old Manhattanites whose lifelong friendship is tested when Chianese’s Lenny decides to embark on a romance that may lead him out of living in the big city, much to the chagrin of his pal who can’t stand its ever-changing nature.

“Lourdes” (IMDb, trailer)
The Cast: Sylvie Testud, Léa Seydoux, Bruno Todeschini, Gilette Barbier, Gerhard Liebmann, Irma Wagner
Writer/Director: Jessica Hausner
Fest Cred: Venice, Toronto, Pusan, Warsaw, London, Vienna, Sundance
The Gist: Once again proving to be an elusive filmmaker to categorize, “Hotel” director Hausner took home a bucket of awards from last year’s Venice Film Festival for this drama about a multiple sclerosis-afflicted woman, confined to her wheelchair during a pilgrimage to the Pyrenees, whose deeply held skepticism is put to the test when she actually experiences something miraculous at the religious shrine.

“Phyllis and Harold” (IMDb, trailer)
Director: Cindy Kleine
Fest Cred: Iowa Independent, Toronto Jewish, Jewish Eye, Santa Fe
The Gist: Following the death of her father, the titular Harold, Kleine makes a sequel to her 1998 doc “Til Death Do Us Part” about her parents’ different perspectives on their 55-year marriage. This time around, Kleine focuses more on her own upbringing and her relationship to her mother, who was indulging in an affair that Kleine had to protect from her father during the later years of their marriage.

“Scream of the Bikini” (IMDb)
The Cast: Kelsey Wedeen, Rebecca Larsen
Director: Kiff Scholl
Fest Cred: Thrillspy
The Gist: A spoof of ’60s spy thrillers, Wedeen and Larsen star as supermodels who moonlight as bounty hunters in this low-budget midnight movie that is being advertised as a lost South American production that was only recently uncovered.

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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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