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The Last Guardian Prepares to Melt Hearts for Holiday 2011

The Last Guardian Prepares to Melt Hearts for Holiday 2011 (photo)

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Team Ico has never made a bad game. Granted, the Sony-affiliated dev studio has only created two games over the last nine years, but each one stands as an inarguable classic of modern gaming. Their first title “Ico” delivered a poignant, dark fable about a banished, horned boy and a wan girl trying to escape a labyrinthine, crumbling castle, pursued by creepy shadow creatures. The spiritual sequel “Shadow of the Colossus” centered on a boy who stalks 16 giant mythological creatures so as to harness their life energy and bring his deceased love back to life. Keep in mind these quick summaries do no justice to the clever, spare and affecting experiences that the games offer.

Both “Ico” and “Shadow of the Colossus” appeared on the PS2 and fans have been eager to see what the studio’s moody, slight medieval aesthetic would look like on the more powerful PS3 hardware. Rumors of a new game have persisted for years and its existence was finally established at 2009’s E3. However, ever since it was officially announced, there’s been little news on “The Last Guardian.” Thankfully, this year’s Tokyo Game show held a bonanza for Team Ico acolytes. Not only did the faithful get new gameplay footage from “The Last Guardian,” but Sony also confirmed brewing speculation that the studio’s previous games would be getting high-definition reissues for the PS3. The “Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection” should be available in the spring of next year.

As for “Last Guardian,” little is known by way of plot details but there’s clearly a special bond between the young man in the game and his eagle/goat/dog/chicken companion. Last year’s E3 trailer for the game showed the mash-up creature chained in captivity, later freed and gamely venturing forth with the title’s plucky, presumable hero. This new clip shows off gameplay, not cutscenes, and testifies to the dev studio’s continued mastery of lighting. Both of their previous games boasted beautifully lit worlds and the play of sunshine and dust particles in the new LG trailer indicates that they’ve taking the environmental illumination to a new level.

Team Ico’s works have also made much of turning relationships and physical closeness into gameplay mechanics. In “Ico,” the title character has to constantly hold the hand of his enervated charge Yorda to keep her moving and their grasps and tugs were replicated by gentle vibrations in the controller. “Shadow of the Colossus” required players to climb and grip most of the Colossi’s hair or skin in the game’s sweeping battles. This mechanic put you in the paradoxical position of having to cling for dear life on the very thing you were trying to kill. There looks to be the same kind of spatial intimacy going on in the glimpses of “The Last Guardian” that I’ve seen so far and it’s almost a sure bet that the game’s emotional dynamics will be extremely heartfelt. And it’s gonna look hella pretty, too. “The Last Guardian” will be out exclusively for the Playstation 3 in the holiday season of 2011.

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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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