DID YOU READ

Odds: Monday.

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"Did you lose anyone?"Oy. New issues of Midnight Eye and Senses of Cinema are up. We can’t be bothered to break them down today — meet us back here later this week and we’ll talk.

Slate Wars redux: this is getting juicy. Salon‘s Stephanie Zacharek weighs in on the Tim Noah/David Edelstein debate as to whether or not Steven Spielberg’s references to 9/11 in "War of the Worlds" were exploitative, meaningful, or meaningless.

But even though science-fiction is allowed to be, or even expected to be, about larger issues, moviegoers have every right to bristle when a filmmaker uses images of real-life suffering — in this case, images of a tragedy that, for the citizens of New York at least, is still pretty raw — for something so puny as dramatic effect. There’s nothing inherently wrong with invoking 9/11 metaphorically (and many artists have already done so); but using it as a cheap prop, as Spielberg does, makes him clueless at best and callous at worst.

John Patterson in the Guardian wishes "Europeans would stop thinking they can make better movies about America than Americans." Word, John, word. And maybe we could force Lars Von Trier to take a vacation from movie making for a while? Like, a long while? Every kid coming out of film school dragging a DV camera wants to make an overly simplistic critical grand view of America — what makes him think we need to import any at the moment? Particularly self-important slop like…anyway, anyway, what actually sets Patterson off here is Bruno Dumont‘s "Twentynine Palms."

David Carr in the New York Times pays a visit to the set of the explosion of Americana that is Robert Altman/Garrison Keillor production "A Prairie Home Companion," and answers some of the rumors floating around about Paul Thomas Anderson ghost-directing the film:

A thin young man kept popping up on Mr. Altman’s shoulder during shooting recently, offering bits of advice. Paul Thomas Anderson, director and Altman-phile, is ostensibly on the set for insurance purposes; Mr. Altman is 80, so a backup director is part of the package. But he stays keenly involved because, he said, "it is invaluable to spend as much time around Bob as I can." He has no position as to whom the movie belongs to, other than that it is not his.

"Whatever chef is going to take credit for it, it is going to be a very spicy dish that I will be more than happy to dine on," Mr. Anderson said.

A month after her death and Aida Edemariam’s profile in the Guardian, Chris Lee in the LA Times offers a considerably less romanticized look at Domino Harvey, the subject of Tony Scott’s upcoming film:

A mythology grew up that like her mother, Domino was a model and that, unlike her mother, she had turned her back on the glamour of the runway for a fringe existence. But according to several family members and friends, Harvey never worked as a model.

According to Lee, Harvey was not upset about the film, as previously reported: "family and friends say Harvey was delighted with the movie."

And Anne Thompson in the Hollywood Reporter turns to Joss Whedon‘s "Serenity," and the art of marketing a film with a built-in cult fanbase (apparently, you should make good use of your blog).

+ New issue (Midnight Eye)
+ Issue No. 36, Jul-Sept 2005 (Senses of Cinema)
+ "War" skirmish (Salon)
+ The States we’re in (Guardian)
+ Lake Wobegon Goes Hollywood (or Is It Vice Versa?), With a Pretty Good Cast (NY Times)
+ The fall of a thrill hunter (LA Times)
+ Whedon flock ready for ‘Firefly’ resurrection (HR)

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.