s.e. smith

LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN and other cases of mistaken identity

LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN and other cases of mistaken identity

It’s one of the oldest entertainment tropes there is, dating right back to ancient Greek and Roman times. Whether the audience is in on the trick or not, there are dozens of ways to play with identity confusion from rom-coms to thrillers. Some of them can leave you wondering if anyone is who you think they are! LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN — which airs on Friday at 10P and throughout the month — takes us deep into the heart of tangled identities, the mob, and more, but it’s not the only thriller relying on this trope to keep audiences tingling with anticipation…

Top 10 reasons we love "True Blood" star Kristin Bauer van Straten

Top 10 reasons we love "True Blood" star Kristin Bauer van Straten

Don’t let those fangs mislead you. Kristin Bauer, or Kristin Bauer van Straten as we’re supposed to call her now that she’s a married woman, is quite possibly the sweetest woman on Earth. While she might make your knees knock in roles like Pam on True Blood, Kristin’s passionate about animal welfare and environmental issues and she’s an outspoken advocate for whales and victims of animal testing. We can’t imagine what she might have to be mortified about, but we’ll be finding out this week on THE MORTIFIED SESSIONS…won’t you join us? Here are ten reasons we’re hyped about this sweetheart from Wisconsin!

Tune into see Kristin Bauer van Straten on THE MORTIFIED SESSIONS, Monday November 12th 10p.

Atmosphere, nostalgia, and media commentary in HOUSE OF PLEASURES

Atmosphere, nostalgia, and media commentary in HOUSE OF PLEASURES

HOUSE OF PLEASURES, airs Saturday night at 12:15A (with an encore on Tuesday) and takes us deep into the private life of a French maison close, a turn of the century brothel catering to wealthy and picky clients. It’s a rich, atmospheric, slow film that joins a long list of venerable and illustrious entries in the genre; we have a collective social fascination with sex work and are particularly interested in period pieces that allow us to indulge our voyeurism without the immediacy of looking at the modern sex industry head-on. Like other films of its ouvre, it presents a simultaneously rosy and jaded view of sex work, creating a tension on the screen that may evade some viewers.

Top 10 reasons we love Adam Goldberg

Top 10 reasons we love Adam Goldberg

Are you ready to get mortified with Adam Goldberg? We’re excited to get a peek into this renaissance man’s most embarrassing moments on THE MORTIFIED SESSIONS this week, although with a man who lives as out loud as he does, it’s hard to imagine which secrets he might be keeping. YGoldberg’s got a whole laundry list of tricks up his sleeve, and he’s got both comedy and drama down to a science. You might know him from his role as Mellish in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, a high school outcast in DAZED AND CONFUSED, or as the lovable romantic in 2 DAYS IN PARIS.

Tune into see Adam Goldberg on THE MORTIFIED SESSIONS, Monday November 5th 10p.

5 shockumentaries to scare yourself awake

5 shockumentaries to scare yourself awake

Are you ready to get spooked? Whether you’re trick or treating for Halloween or staying home with the lights off and a bowl of popcorn, few things are quite as delightful at this time of year as getting scared silly–especially with a friend to grab on to during the freakiest parts. When it comes to films bound to make you flip your wig, we favor the shockumentary, and we mixed up quite an assortment for you; we dare you to sleep with the lights off after watching THE POSSESSION OF DAVID O’REILLY, airing at 2 AM on Halloween morning (set your DVR).

Sex tapes go to the movies: THE ORGASM DIARIES, HARDCORE, and more!

Sex tapes go to the movies: THE ORGASM DIARIES, HARDCORE, and more!

How far are you willing to go for a role? Shia LaBeouf claims he sent a sex tape to notorious director Lars von Trier to secure his role in NYMPHOMANIAC, a film that promises to be so wild that it will come in both a hardcore and a softcore version. He says he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make the film a success… and we started thinking about the long and illustrious history not just of sex tapes, but sex tapes as cinematic devices. Luckily for us (and you), THE ORGASM DIARIES airs Saturday at midnight, and we assembled a little list to, ah, get you in the mood.

Being a housewife is scary! JU-ON and PARANOMAL ACTIVITY prove it

Being a housewife is scary! JU-ON and PARANOMAL ACTIVITY prove it

With Halloween right around the corner, there’s a plethora of scary movies to choose from here on Sundance Channel, including JU-ON tonight at midnight. In this chilly offering from Japan (seriously, Japanese filmmakers know how to give you the willies!), the death of a housewife creates a gift that keeps on giving in the form of a curse that won’t let go once it grabs on. It was terrifying enough that it was later remade as THE GRUDGE with Sarah Michelle Gellar in the leading role for U.S. audiences. But those are far from the only films where housewives make enticing victims…

WRISTCUTTERS, THE SIXTH SENSE and more wild trips to the afterlife

WRISTCUTTERS, THE SIXTH SENSE and more wild trips to the afterlife

Since the dawn of time, we’ve been fascinated by what happens in the afterlife — and whether there is one at all. Between appeasing the gods and preparing our dead for their final journey, we just can’t seem to get enough. With the advent of film, we turned that primal fear and curiosity into narratives from the humorous to the tragic. In WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY, the Sundance Film Festival favorite airing tonight at 11:30P, you’ll find out whether there really is life — and love — after death.

Top 10 reasons we love Busy Philipps

Top 10 reasons we love Busy Philipps

Busy Phillips is comedy gold, and she’s so softhearted, yet unreserved, that she’s a blast to be around. We’re hooking up with her in the season premiere of THE MORTIFIED SESSIONS on Monday at 10P to get the backstory on what makes Busy, well, Busy! — complete with her most embarrassing childhood moments. But first it’s time to take a little walk through the archives to remember why we love this multitalented star of stage, screen and radio so very much; not only did she star in Dawson’s Creek, Cougar Town, and Freaks and Geeks, she’s also got quite a few other surprises up her sleeve. Read on to find out why we just can’t get enough Busy Phillips.

Five hot women of horror

Five hot women of horror

Horror pushes characters to their limits — especially female characters, who generally have to stay alert and fight back if they want to make it through two hours alive. To be a horror hottie, it’s not enough to have good looks. You need smarts, resourcefulness, strength and a special something extra. In THE WIG, airing tonight at midnight, you’ll see just how hot horror heroines can be and how, sometimes, good deeds become their own punishment.

5 kick-ass feminist exploitation films

5 kick-ass feminist exploitation films

Feminist exploitation movies have a way of turning violence against women on its head, taking the kick-ass female heroine to an extreme, turning women from victims into predators. They make radical ultraviolence a commentary on the treatment of women in society — and reclaim female power, especially when they come from female directors like the Soska sisters, the women behind DEAD HOOKER IN A TRUNK, airing tonight at midnight.

5 girls so bad they're good

5 girls so bad they're good

Talk about strong female characters who aren’t afraid to challenge notions of violence and femininity. In HARD CANDY, airing tonight at 10P, Ellen Page plays a 14-year-old vigilante takes on a pedophile, messing with his head — and ours. We’re supposed to tell you violence won’t solve the world’s problems, but let’s be honest: Sometimes, payback’s a bitch. Here are five of our favorite film girls who are so bad, they’re good.

5 funny ladies with foul mouths

5 funny ladies with foul mouths

With SARAH SILVERMAN: JESUS IS MAGIC on Sundance Channel tonight, we thought it was high time to pay homage to some of our favorite foul-mouthed funny ladies. Sure there are plenty of notable male comedians who have embraced the filthy, but comediennes have their own brand of twisted, crass, sardonic humor. Here’s to closing the gender gap in comedy! Oh, and in case it wasn’t obvious? These clips are seriously NSFW. But that’s why we love ‘em.

Top 10 world's greatest underdogs

Top 10 world's greatest underdogs

Photo credit: GET TO WORK

Everyone loves an underdog, right? They’re the people who manage to make something out of nothing by transforming themselves — and the world along the way. From tenth-century Japanese courtesans to twentieth-century chess sensations, it’s the underdogs and their uncompromising internal will that we remember in the history books, not the people who gave up or left the work to someone else.

7 mockumentaries you can sink your fangs — er, teeth — into

7 mockumentaries you can sink your fangs — er, teeth — into

There’s no denying the importance of real documentary work, but sometimes we just want to blur the line between reality and fiction, play with tropes and expectations. And nothing does that quite like mocumentaries.

Friends forever on PUSH GIRLS

Friends forever on PUSH GIRLS

What a wild ride it’s been this season on PUSH GIRLS, and who else is super excited about the season two renewal? We hope that you laughed, cried, learned and loved with us over the course of this season, and along the way, maybe some of your ideas about living with disability were broken down, too. What stands out about Auti, Angela, Tiphany, Mia and Chelsie isn’t their chairs: It’s their personalities and the strong bonds among them.

Pushing for accessible taxis in New York

Pushing for accessible taxis in New York

Tonight on PUSH GIRLS, you’ll get a glimpse of a major ongoing accessibility problem: people with disabilities trying to hail cabs in the Big Apple. It’s an uphill battle — New York’s taxi problem is notorious among disabled transit users — and some people are working to change that. Activists in New York have been fighting for decades now for accessible taxis, through negotiations, court cases and protests.

Why THE U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON matters more than ever

Why THE U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON matters more than ever

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, leading Republicans feared that John Lennon was going to be a threat in the 1972 election, thanks to his pop culture stardom and anti-war activism. They went on a quest to deport him in the hopes he wouldn’t influence the youth vote in the United States. Now here we are, 50 years later, and we’re still facing some of the same problems when it comes to fair and free elections. Except that instead of deporting the people who lead movements, the government has taken the war directly to the voters.

Crossing the finish line on PUSH GIRLS

Crossing the finish line on PUSH GIRLS

We got to see not one but two of our fabulous strong women pushing for the finish line this week, bringing some serious push girl spirit to competition against able-bodied athletes in the pool and on a 5k marathon. Mia and Tiphany both had their ups and downs, but they accomplished something important: They proved to themselves that they had what it took to finish. And sometimes, proving something to yourself is the hardest thing to do.

Physical fitness has been a thread for Mia and Tiphany throughout this season; remember how we saw them working out in the very first episode? These ladies are seriously ripped; you have to be to push a manual chair, especially in the rough environment of the Los Angeles streets. It’s not surprising to see Tiphany astounding an able-bodied fitness class with her muscular upper body or Mia yanking the weight of herself and her chair up over a curb one-handed.

Pushing your way to slow parenting

Pushing your way to slow parenting

First there was slow food. Now there’s slow parenting. Susan Sachs Lipman decided she was fed up with the hectic life of modern-day parenting, and it was time for her and her family to take a time out. In a world with a gajillion parenting styles, hers stands out as both revolutionary and a return to old ways: To build family relationships, try spending time as a family. I’ve got parenting on the brain this week, and you’ll see why when you tune in for tonight’s PUSH GIRLS, so I was particularly interested to learn more about Lipman’s approach.

GET TO WORK: Attitude matters

GET TO WORK: Attitude matters

Are you ready to roll up your sleeves? I’m certainly feeling like it after watching the inaugural episode of GET TO WORK. This week we got to meet the core team at Second Chance, which partners with the national organization Strive to get people back to work — especially if they’ve had some rough knocks in life.

PUSH GIRLS: Everyone hates moving

PUSH GIRLS: Everyone hates moving

What a week on PUSH GIRLS! We got to see Chelsie hit the stage with her dad, and Mia finally moved out of her antiquated apartment and into some sweet new digs. But, as most of us know, the problem with moving is, well, the moving part. Everyone hates moving, because it’s a huge pain in the patootie, whether you’re seated or standing. But, as Mia herself reminded us, eventually everyone has to move on, and when you change something radical in your life, it can open up something new, too.

Push girls on the Huffington Post!

Push girls on the Huffington Post!

You’ve seen the fabulous push girls onscreen, but did you know you can read them in print, too? Mia, Auti, Angela and Tiphany have been talking up a storm over on The Huffington Post, with a lot of great insights and expansions on what you see on PUSH GIRLS. If you haven’t yet checked them out on HuffPo, here’s a sample of what they have to say…

GIRL MODEL exposes the truth behind the modeling industry

GIRL MODEL exposes the truth behind the modeling industry

The documentary GIRL MODEL provides a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of the fashion industry, viewed from two perspectives: a former model turned scout, and a young Siberian girl being recruited. Co-director Ashley Sabin tells SUNfiltered that she hopes GIRL MODEL encourages viewers to “look beyond the image” and become more media-literate about fashion editorials, advertisements and models. The film brings to light the people and labor behind such images, challenging viewers to think about where their media come from. Modeling can demand a high cost of people, one that many consumers aren’t aware of.