IFC News

The new IFC site cuts off every article halfway through, so each of the following ends with an exciting cliffhanger.

Jennifer Lopez’s Working Class Roots April 22, 2010

The prevailing story of Jennifer Lopez’s film career has been one of decline, the promise of “Out of Sight” collapsing in a string of simple romantic comedies. Watching these post-Soderbergh movies as a group, though, reveals that Lopez is actually a sly, insolently funny performer, and one who repeatedly selects roles that are defined by their work.

The Most Subversive Performances of 2009, December 23rd, 2009

In his 1966 essay entitled “The Subverters,” Manny Farber hoped “for a new award at the year’s end: Most Subversive Actor.” His complete film criticism, “Farber On Film,” was published this year, and in his honor I’m submitting a list of five nominees for this wished-for fake trophy…

The Naughts: The Actor of the ’00s, November 30th, 2009

Quietly and unexpectedly, Matt Damon has become the premier Hollywood actor of the past decade. He’s lent his minutely constructed, surprisingly athletic performances to the films of directors Steven Soderbergh, Gus Van Sant, Paul Greengrass, Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood, a roster that’s not coincidentally produced some of the most vital and successful films of…

The Claustrophobic Cinema of Paul (W.S.) Anderson, September 24th, 2009

The old Hollywood studio-hand W.S. Van Dyke — who directed, amongst countless other things, “The Thin Man” — once advised a young Orson Welles to “just keep it close, and keep it moving.” And an unlikely inheritor of this wisdom is Paul W.S. Anderson, whose latest work to hit screens is this week’s “Pandorum,” which…

Getting Versed in Versus Movies, March 31st, 2009

There has to be no easier movie pitch than unveiling a “versus” in the title. Everyone, even studio heads, has at one time or another dwelt on the existential question of “who would win in a fight?” The conflict is clear, the characters are established, the action implied — all they have to do is…

Rotterdam 2009: The Wrap-Up, February 4th, 2009

The Rotterdam Film Festival has had a history of promoting the weird, the obsessive and the cultish in cinema, and there’s been little change as this year’s edition reaches its close. They’ve programmed a survey of recent Asian horror films, complete with a “haunted house” installation, and they’ve maintained their loyalty to unfashionable provocateurs …

Rotterdam 2009: Alexis dos Santos Rolls Around “Unmade Beds” February 3rd, 2009,

The buzz is building around Alexis dos Santos’ swoony sophomore effort, “Unmade Beds.” Premiering at Sundance to no small acclaim, it made its way to Rotterdam and continues to impress. A jaunty, romantic tale of restless youth and their search for identity and a little sex, the film’s real star is its set, a bohemian’s…

Rotterdam 2009: Guy Maddin Will “Send Me To the ‘Lectric Chair” January 29th, 2009

Guy Maddin is a hoarder of uncanny images, from the candy-colored Alpine tableaus of “Careful” to the frozen horse heads of last year’s “My Winnipeg.” A commission from the Rotterdam Film Festival centers around another: Isabella Rossellini blasted out of an electric chair. It’s the basis for his new short film, “Send Me to the…

Rotterdam 2009: Carlos Reygadas and Guy Maddin, January 27th, 2009

The 38th International Film Festival in Rotterdam has streamlined its program into three sections, but it hasn’t lost its focus. The fest still throws its weight behind young filmmakers, and a previous beneficiary, Carlos Reygadas, has emerged as a central figure early on this year. He’s credited as producer on two films, Carlos Serrano Azcona’s…

List: The Five Greatest Pratfalls of 2008, December 30th, 2008

A pratfall can be a work of art, a study in disruptive motion, a klutz’s ballet. This choreography of humiliation is perhaps the least garlanded act in contemporary film, as no Oscars will ever be won for kicks to the groin or tumbles down the stairs, regardless of their originality. Only…

Jason Statham, Working Class (Action) Hero, November 26th, 2008

Jason Statham is a worker. He’s released three films in 2008 alone (“Transporter 3″ hits theaters today), and his characters are defined by labor, whether he’s playing a driver, a thief or an assassin. They have names evocative of union workers and hockey players: Frank Martin, Terry Leather, Chev Chelios. These are single-minded anti-heroes out…

An Appreciation of Anna Faris, August 21st, 2008

Anna Faris may finally be getting her due. After years of fearless and sparkling work in lowbrow spoofs and indie doodles, she’s starring in and executive producing a big Hollywood comedy, “The House Bunny.” Whether it’s worthy of her talents is yet to be seen, but it definitely heralds a new stage in her circuitous…

Interview: Johnnie To on “Mad Detective” July 11th, 2008

Since the formation of his Milkyway Image production company in 1996 in Hong Kong, Johnnie To has been the most imaginative (and prolific) director of genre films in the world. Mainly known stateside for self-reflexively stylish gangster flicks like “The Mission” (1999) and “Exiled” (2006), he’s also produced a slew of…

When Mixed Martial Arts Meet the Movies, April 29th, 2008

Mixed martial arts (MMA) have come a bloody long way since John McCain legendarily dubbed the sport “human cockfighting” in 1996. Its flagship organization, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), aired eight of the top 15 pay-per-view programs in 2007 (boxing had four), while two smaller outfits (Strikeforce and EliteXC) have recently…

Funny or Die: DIY Comedy Takes a Victory Lap, February 29th, 2008

While the Oscar telecast was drawing its smallest audience ever on Sunday night, Will Ferrell’s Funny Or Die Comedy Tour was finishing up its sold-out eight date run with a raucous show at Radio City Music Hall. It was a carnivalesque take on your basic stand-up comedy gig — with glittery…

Rotterdam Dispatch #3: The Prizewinners, February 4th, 2008

The 37th edition of the Rotterdam Film Festival is kaput after a low-key closing ceremony this past Friday night. The big prize was for the VPRO Tiger awards, which hands three first or second time filmmakers $15,000 towards future projects. The jury, headed by ace Iranian director Jafar Panahi (“Offside”), handed…

Rotterdam Dispatch #2: A Luminous Masterpiece From Chile, January 31st, 2008

IFC News [Photo: “The Sky, The Earth, and The Rain,” Jirafa Films/Charivari/Peter Rommel Productions, 2008] It’s a week into the Rotterdam Film Festival, and the one title that keeps popping out of the mouths of inebriated critics is “The Sky, The Earth, and The Rain,” a world premiere Chilean film directed…

Rotterdam Dispatch #1: Enigmas and Insanity From Japan and Thailand, January 28th, 2008

As I sit in the crowded hall of the International Film Festival Rotterdam’s main building, I’m drowning in an atmosphere of harried conviviality. At the table next to me, three ladies promoting “Lucky 7,” an omnibus Thai film, are exchanging…

Everybody Loves Jason: Why Even Contrarians Like The Bourne Trilogy, January 14th, 2008

Matt Damon’s furrowed brow is saving Hollywood. Gracing each of the three insanely popular “Bourne” films, Damon’s agitated wrinkles have implacably faced down an army of psychotic CIA stooges without so much as a sweat, and brought in nearly a billion dollars…

2007: The Five Best Retreads, December 17th, 2007

Every year a slew of newspapers run trend pieces about the lack of originality in Hollywood, citing the flood of remakes and sequels. This year, the blathering reached a numbing level of regularity — as if recycling…

2007: The Awesomest Action Scenes, December 10th, 2007

With as many mindless explosions and shootouts that the film industry churns out every year, there are almost more mindless condemnations of them. So we’d like to take a moment to celebrate the technical expertise and genuine imagination that are needed to create…

Why The Farrelly Brothers Deserve Your Love, October 1st, 2007

Bobby and Peter Farrelly, like it or not, are two of the most fascinating American directors of the past two decades. Despite taking routine critical beatings, the brothers have created a unified body…

The Many Movie Lives (and Deaths) of Jesse James, September 14th, 2007

When Bob Ford shot infamous outlaw Jesse James through the back on April 2, 1882, James the man turned into James the myth, a martyr to Unionist repression, corporate…

Foreign Borne Identities: The 2007 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, June 11th, 2007

Conspicuously absent at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the subject of the Iraq War has slowly receded as the flashpoint topic of political filmmaking. Whether a matter of over-saturation or simply fatigue at the implacable pace…

Guy Maddin on “Brand Upon the Brain!”, May 7th, 2007

Guy Maddin’s latest — silent — celluloid concoction can only be called an event.

An 80-Year Backstage Pass: Dreamgirls and the Backstage Musical December 26, 2006

The advent of sound in cinema made the movie musical possible, but also created a vexing question: how to have characters burst into song without causing the audience to burst into laughter?

2006 Top Ten December 18, 2006

“Inland Empire” and “Stick It” would make a canny double bill.

“Essential” Moviegoing November 20, 2006

Seeing the Janus icon before a movie builds the same kind of anticipation for the art-house crowd that the hopping lamp of the Pixar logo elicits from amped-up children (and some adults).

“Babel”, the New “Crash” October 30, 2006

It’s the scariest time of the year, and not only because of the healthy release of arterial spray in “Saw III.”

Guy Maddin’s “Brand Upon the Brain!” October 23, 2006

Guy Maddin’s latest fever dream of a film, “Brand Upon the Brain!,” descended upon the Walter Reade Theatre on October 15 to close out the Views From the Avant-Garde section of the New York Film Festival.

“Imprint,” Takashi Miike’s Snuff “Rashomon” September 28, 2006

Of all the bloody stumps and bared bosoms of the “Masters of Horror” series on Showtime, those depicted in “Imprint” were a bit too bloody and bare even for indulgent cable execs (the discarded fetuses were rumored to have been the tipping point).

An Appreciation of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson September 15, 2006

He stands, with perfect posture, brandishing a 2×4, a scimitar, a rail gun — searching for an endpoint to a tale test-screened and ghost-written until it’s been sapped of any life and coherence.

Idle Hands – Bryan Barber’s Small Screen Showpieces August 25, 2006

There is no art form as critically ignored as the music video.