Alex Karpovsky

Girls I Saw You

In most cases, when one half of a seemingly happy couple moves out while still claiming to be dedicated to the relationship, it’s not a good sign – but “most cases” don’t appear to apply to the romance of Girls’ Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver). The duo have been through more ups and downs than your local Six Flags rollercoaster, and although our own Rob Hunter and myself have spent most of the show’s third season prepping for their inevitable demise, it sure is taking longer than we expected. Not that Hannah is helping – amid cries from Adam for her to “relax!” and assuring her that his moving in with Ray (Alex Karpovsky, finally back) is just to get his head right for his Broadway debut, she’s still being overemotional and untrusting. Hey, girl, we get it, but that doesn’t account for the rest of her behavior in this week’s episode, “I Saw You,” which soon spirals out to see Hannah setting fire to every aspect of her life. Elsewhere, Marnie (Allison Williams) and Beardy McSingsalot (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) hit their first open mic night, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) does something with her hair and her face that’s great, and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) gets a job. No, really. Patti LuPone also returns to drop some knowledge, and Elijah (Andrew Rannells) reacts spectacularly. Also, Ray and Adam hang out together in a bathroom.

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foxy merkins 2

“Oh, it’s a merkin salesman!” “What’s a merkin?” “It’s a toupée for your vagina.” Writer/director Madeleine Olnek has a gift for titles. The Foxy Merkins is her newest, a moniker just as ridiculous but more succinct than that of her last film, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same. It’s a buddy comedy about lesbian hookers in New York, starring Lisa Haas and Jackie Monahan, who also co-wrote the film. The synopsis invokes “bargain-hunting housewives” and “double-dealing conservative women” among their clients, both of which promise a certain degree of hilarity. Jo (Monahan) is the more experienced of the two, and resolutely identifies as heterosexual. Margaret (Haas) is the newbie, down on her luck and looking for cash. If this sounds a bit like Midnight Cowboy, that’s because it’s likely a satire, at least in part. Space Alien, which also starred both Monahan and Haas, was an irreverent send-up of old science fiction B-movies, complete with dirt-cheap sets and entirely unbelievable flying saucers. There’s a wonderful sense of love and wit in Olnek’s brand of spoof, which was recognized by IFP as one of 2011’s best undistributed films and part of that year’s Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You series. Its comedy is as understated as its production, which planted its absurdly dressed bald-headed lesbian aliens in diners and gay bars around Manhattan. The ensuing awkwardness, both in dialogue and visual juxtaposition, make it one of the most interesting indie comedies of the last few years. And you can rent it on […]

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Karpovsky Sleepwalk With Me

Let me start off this latest edition of Fund This Film with full disclosure: I don’t know Ryland Aldrich from Adam, unlike some of the writers and editors at Film School Rejects and our colleagues elsewhere. He follows me on Twitter, and I’m aware that he writes for Twitch, but that’s as close as we get. His email asking for his new project, Folk Hero & Funny Guy, to be spotlighted in this column received the same skepticism as every other email pitching a crowdfunding project that I get on a daily basis. Fortunately it turned out to be a campaign I could be excited about, because otherwise it might have been awkward. Not because of the relationship Aldrich has with others here at FSR so much as because the campaign video directly mentions FSR as the best, most important place for movie criticism on the web. That last bit is a tad exaggerated. But we are mentioned and our logo is even featured on screen. Turns out someone here (Luke Mullen) positively reviewed (A-) another movie Aldrich produced called Snaps, which was at SXSW this year. I haven’t seen it. I also haven’t seen It’s a Disaster, which is another movie someone else here (Kate Erbland) even more positively reviewed (A). With a grade like that, I should get to it, especially since it’s on Netflix Instant and would have been good to be familiar with since one of its producers and stars is Jeff Grace, the writer and […]

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Funny Bunny title

“If you love movies that are trying to tell real, unadulterated stories, pure, heartfelt stories, you need to be a part of supporting those films and helping them come into the world, because that’s the only way that they will.” – Alison Bagnall When we contribute to a crowdfunding campaign, we tend to think of the specific project at hand. The quote above reminds us that for movies that pledge can also be an investment in more than a single film. It’s about supporting and encouraging independent filmmaking overall and certain genres or kinds of movies. Bagnall acknowledges that she makes a particular sort of film, which maybe is not everyone, yet which is really, really loved by enough people that they need to be made. Studios and larger production companies might not see reason to make films that a small audience is really into when they get more money out of films that a large audience is just sorta into. The quote above comes from Bagnall’s Kickstarter campaign video for her next feature, Funny Bunny. And we can assume that if we like her previous works, 2003’s Piggie and 2011’s The Dish and the Spoon (one of our must-see picks for SXSW that year) and even Buffalo ’66, which she co-wrote, that we’ll want to see this too. As she describes it, the film is about “a friendless anti-obesity crusader, a trust fund manchild and a reclusive factory farming activist.  These three marginal people bump up against one another and […]

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Alex Karpovsky

Editor’s Note: This review originally ran during the 2012 LAFF, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. There are few things that navel-gazing filmmakers like gazing at more than, well, their own navels, which is why independent cinema is flooded with vaguely veiled stories that are obviously about their makers and little else. In Red Flag, writer/director/producer/star Alex Karpovsky embraces this mini-genre (to the point that his character is named “Alex Karpovsky” and he’s on the road showing his film Woodpecker, a film Karpovsky actually made and a trip he really did take) to characteristically witty and dry effect. But it’s Karpovsky’s willingness to make his own character not look like a sensitive genius (or “a charismatic mega-fauna” as a deranged fan calls him or even “an adroit filmmaker” as he eventually tries to tout himself as) that frees the film from ego and opens it up to actual humor and significant proficiency. For the sake of clarity, this review will refer to the character of “Alex Karpovksy” as “Alex” and Alex Karpovksy the filmmaker as “Karpovsky,” because this could get a bit confusing (fortunately for Karpovsky, his final film is not).

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Alex Karpovsky

You guys are fans of Alex Karpovsky, right? Oh, good, because we’ve got a double feature of exclusive clips from the writer/director/actor’s latest two films, the very funny Red Flag and the very unsettling Rubberneck, both of which are hitting the big screen in New York City today as part of a special engagement at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. What’s most impressive about these two features is how very different they are. In Red Flag, Karpovsky plays a familiar version of himself – no, really, the film is loosely based on his own experiences as a struggling filmmaker – as his character embarks on an ill-fated road trip to promote one of his films at some of the most random (and tiny) venues in America. When an old pal tags along, it seems like a good idea, until a big fan of Karpovsky’s (read: she’s a stalker) starts popping up everywhere, ultimately leading to one of the most awkwardly hilarious love triangles in recent memory. And if you like your love triangles slightly more dangerous, Rubberneck is the Karpovsky joint for you. In it, the multi-hyphenate plays the sort of guy we’re not used to seeing him as: an obsessive creep who cannot take a hint. After a one night stand with a co-worker, Karpovsky’s Paul can’t seem to let go of his desire, which causes some major problems when the object of his infatuation strikes up with yet another co-worker. No, really major. After the break, enjoy twice the Karpovsky bang for your post-reading buck, including the dry […]

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Supporting Characters

For fans of Girls, Alex Karpovsky‘s confusion over text messages, emoticons, and just what the hell they mean when sent in the context of a romantic relationship was a source of great hilarity during the show’s second season premiere, as Karpovsky’s Ray demanded to know what a wrapped gift, a panda, and a gun meant when sent to him by a lady he has bedded. Yet, it turns out that was not quite the first time that The Karp (go with it) was confused by text messaging. In Daniel Schechter‘s Supporting Characters, Karpovsky plays one half of an editing team tasked with cleaning up a terrible film by a moronic director – but that’s the least of their worries, as both guys (Karpovsky’s co-star is played by co-writer Tarik Lowe, who is just smashing in the film) are also struggling with romantic issues. Karpovsky’s Nick is engaged, but drawn to said terrible film’s star, played by Arielle Kebbel, even though she’s just getting out of a stupid relationship, one marked by all sorts of “winky face emoticons.” I saw the film at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, and enjoyed it quite a bit, writing that “the film is at its best when it’s not trying to expand on things too far, and its finest moments are little ones – a look that crosses over Nick’s face when he meets Jamie’s boyfriend, an offhand comment about lighting by an angry director of photography, a wordless shot that conveys the state of Nick and Amy’s relationship after a particularly […]

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Over the past few years, the idea of the traditional “nuclear family” has changed from a father, a mother, and 2.5 kids to any number of variations from two dads to two moms to a mom and two dads. Televisions shows like Modern Family and next season’s The New Normal have embraced this idea and show audiences on a weekly basis that no matter who makes up a family, at the end of the day, love is love. Gayby tells the story of a woman (“hag since birth” Jenn, played with aplomb by Jenn Harris) and her gay best friend Matt (Matthew Wilkas) who would both like to have a child and decide to do so together. Instead of going the ol’ turkey baster route (at least at first), the two agree to do it the “old fashioned way” to create their gayby. With Matt finding himself recently out of a long-term relationship and (unsuccessfully) getting back into the dating scene, both he and equally-single Jenn decide to try online dating. Things are made only more complicated when Jenn is forced to move in with Matt while her apartment is being painted, by her boss’ brother Louis (Louis Cancelmi) no less. As Jenn and Matt try and find new romantic relationships for themselves, they never stop their quest to have a baby together. After weeks of trying, the pregnancy test comes back positive, but thanks to their accelerated dating lives (and a box of expired condoms), things become even more complicated.

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Fans of indie darling (dudeling?) Alex Karpovsky and his brand of wry, dry humor are probably going to flip the hell out over the multi-hyphenate’s latest feature. Karpovsky wrote, directed, and produced the feature, which he also starred in as a loose-ish version of himself. Red Flag centers on a filmmaker named, err, Alex Karpovsky, who sets out on a mini tour to pimp his latest film while in the midst of a total emotional breakdown, thanks to his unfeeling now-ex-girlfriend. The film’s new trailer is Karpovsky through and through, and Red Flag looks to be unflaggingly (tee hee) hilarious and creative. Check out the first trailer from Red Flag after the break, along with screening information for the film, which will have its World Premiere at LAFF this week.

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What’s always most exciting about film festivals is the range of different films available for watching and enjoying – all within the same period of time, and often in the same venues. That’s just as evident as ever in this year’s Tribeca Film Festival line-up, a festival that has kicked off with The Five-Year Engagement, will end with The Avengers, and will show over 200 films in between. Our first round of Tribeca reviews only highlights that variety of films, as it include a French actioner, an true American independent, and a dramedy about ladies of the night. After the break, check out mini reviews for Sleepless Night, Supporting Characters, and Elles – all very different Tribeca Film Festival films, and all films likely to find their own unique audiences in the Big Apple and beyond.

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Tiny Furniture

Too often we’re made to feel as if we might root for characters who we’d otherwise want to smack, if they were real. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And in the case of Tiny Furniture, it doesn’t quite work. However, I will concede that it is the single most adorable movie I’ve ever seen that involves characters who I’d otherwise like to see get hit by a bus.

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With a small budget, three characters and (for most of its running time) one location, ‘Lovers of Hate’ manages to be one of the smartest and downright creepiest movies we saw at Sundance.

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