DID YOU READ

Odds: Wednesday – The discreet charm of the Shaolin and the Marines.

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And never looked better.

SHAOLIN MONASTERY, CHINA —

That, our friends, is a dateline for you. Back in September there was word that the Shaolin monks were taking charge of their public image and making their own damn martial arts movies, and Geoffrey York at the Globe and Mail makes the hop over to Henan to check in on the monks and their reasons for making what will be a relatively bid-budgeted production entitled "Legends of the Monk Warriors of Shaolin Temple." The monks manage to both sound both extremely business-savvy and satisfyingly like the films they’re trying to disprove.

"When I am doing calligraphy, I am actually practising martial arts," says Mr. Shi, one of the temple’s most senior monks. "And when I am drinking tea with you, this too is part of martial arts. You have to understand what kinds of tea leaves to use, what kind of water, the temperature of the water and how many seconds to immerse the tea leaves. The timing is very important. You have to practise it every day to understand it. The same is true of calligraphy and martial arts."

He gives his visitors a paper he has written on the relationship between tea ceremonies, calligraphy and martial arts. "The water pouring into the tea cups is like the smooth and integrated movements of Shaolin martial arts — to attack like the release of a strong tiger and to withdraw like a swift cat," he writes in the paper.

The Hollywood Reporter‘s ever-reliable Anne Thompson now has a blog: the RiskyBiz Blog.

Ian Johns at the London Times bemoans the death of the great swooning screen kiss.

indieWIRE announces that its first Undiscovered Gems Film Festival, a travelling series of seven films picked off its annual top undistributed films list that kicks off this Monday at our own IFC Center. The films:

• "Dear Pillow"
• "House of the Tiger King"
• "Hotel"
• "No Rest for the Brave"
• "Awful Normal"
• "Liberia: An Uncivil War"
• "Speedo"

Susan King at the LA Times looks at our enduring cinematic fascination with the Marines:

"When I was growing up there was always this kind of special aura that
surrounded the Marine Corps," says Rick Jewell, film professor at the
USC School of Cinema & Television. "The Marines were the elite
branch of the service. There was this notion that the Marine Corps were
the group you called on first when you had a major military problem.
This is stretching it a bit, but it was almost like the Marine Corps
was the cult of the military. You wanted to be part of this because it
made you into something special — the best that America had to offer."

Via Gregg Goldstein at Reuters, Bob Saget is writing, directing and will narrate a dirrty mockumentary entitled "Farce of the Penguins": "A poster depicting penguins wearing a bra and panties with the tagline, ‘What happens in Antarctica, stays in Antarctica,’ already has been created to attract buyers at the American Film Market underway in Santa Monica."

"Battle in Heaven" director Carlos Reygadas talks to Sheila Johnston at the Telegraph about why Abel Ferrara‘s "Bad Lieutenant" is so great.

And Bollywood superultramegastar Shahrukh Khan turned 40 yesterday: Rediff has a whole special section to celebrate.

+ Battling cliches in birthplace of kung fu (Glove and Mail)
+ RiskyBiz Blog (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Action! Give me a little more mouth-to-mouth (London Times)
+ 7 Films Set for 9 Cities at indieWIRE Undiscovered Gems Film Festival (indieWIRE)
+ Eager to enlist the Marines (LA Times)
+ Saget roasts ‘Penguins’ in mockumentary (Reuters)
+ Film-makers on film: Carlos Reygadas (Telegraph)
+ SRK, 40 (Rediff)

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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.