DID YOU READ

The week’s critic wrangle: Aristocratakitani.

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Gilbert Gottfried+ "The Aristocrats": Everyone loves Paul Provenza‘s dirty-mouthed doc, though they’re quick to throw around some high-falutin’ labels: David Edelstein refers to it as "practically a classical symphony, with a theme, variations, variations that turn the theme inside out, and a coda," while to A. O. Scott it’s "an essay film, a work of painstaking and penetrating scholarship, and,
as such, one of the most original and rigorous pieces of criticism in
any medium I have encountered in quite some time" (he then points out it’s also "possibly the filthiest, vilest, most extravagantly obscene documentary ever made"). Stephanie Zacharek finds that it "moves with an acrobat’s timing. (I’ve seen French art house movies that aren’t nearly so beautifully made.)" Ben Kenigsberg is the only one who finds its a little lacking in heft. And everyone has their favorites among the 60-odd deliveries of the film’s central joke: Scott likes Sarah Silverman, Edelstein singles out Gilbert Gottfried and Steven Wright, and Zacharek and Kenigsberg also go with Gottfried, who may have well inspired the film with what apparently serves as its centerpiece: his telling of the joke at the September 2001 Friar’s Club roast of Hugh Hefner. It was painfully close to 9/11 for any attempts at comedy at all, much less the Twin Towers joke Gottfried went for. As the audience booed, he quickly starts regaling them with the dirtiest joke in the biz. Zacharek: "His staccato, crisply enunciated, ear-splittingly nasal delivery turns the joke into a kind of ‘Mona Lisa’ of perfection."

Rie Miyazawa+ "Tony Takitani": An adaptation of a shorts story running a mere 75 minutes, Jun Ichikawa‘s melacholy feature can’t help be airy, "a delicate wisp of a film with a surprisingly sharp sting," as La Manohla puts it, based on what Dennis Lim refers to as "a mere wisp of a short story." Lim comes across as the biggest fan of the generator of the film’s source material, Haruki Murakami, angling his article toward how the film captures the author’s distinctive voice ("’Takitani’ is Murakami in miniature, a brief, precise inventory of the
novelist’s themes: cosmic loneliness, the shadow of mortality, jazz,
the coincidence of materialist abundance and spiritual barrenness."), while Jeff Reichert devotes more of his article to the writer than the film itself, which he finds too slight.

+ Zagat-style bonus — "Stealth": "The sort of movie that makes you pine for Michael Bay ," "Stealth" is "a sort of retarded ‘Top Gun,’" "a dumbed-down "Top Gun,’" or maybe just "a hash of ‘Top Gun’ and ‘Behind Enemy Lines.’" Most find stars Jessica Biel, Josh Lucas and Jamie Foxx to be merely "decorative," though some think Foxx "in his speech on Oscar night should have thanked God this movie wasn’t released while the voters were marking their ballots." The plot "resembles an out-of-work screenwriter’s garage sale," accompanied by "a year’s worth of whooshing noises on the soundtrack" and "snicker-inducing dialogue," but most find the film to just be "stupid," save one who declared it "an obscenity" "[f]or a movie to pretend, in the face of the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children directly or indirectly caused by our presence there, that we can wage war without anyone really getting hurt."

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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.