DID YOU READ

Odds: Friday – Finishing with Sundance.

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"There goes the châteaubriand I planned for dinner."
We’ve got such Sundance fatigue (haven’t you?), but Eugene Hernandez‘s indieWIRE poll of what 50 critics and journalists who covered the festival liked best is a great way to get a sense of what will actually be worth watching for at future festivals and in theaters. Ryan Fleck‘s "Half Nelson" comes out on top for "Best Narrative Feature" (incidentally, the short Fleck expanded to make this film, "Gowanus, Brooklyn," is playing as part of part of one of this month’s short film collections here on IFC).

We’ve got a touch of Oscar fatigue too (fragile, we are), but we certainly have no complaints about the selection of "The Corpse Bride," "Howl’s Moving Castle," and "Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and nothing else for Best Animated Feature. Sheigh Crabtree at the Hollywood Reporter discusses this lack of CGI.

Tragic, dignity-free downfall du jour: Lee Tamahori, who, before he went off to Hollywood to make flashy, mediocre action flicks, was the director responsible for 1994’s great "Once Were Warriors," was arrested, in drag, still in Hollywood, for offering to perform a sex act for money on what turned out to be an undercover cop. Via BBC.

In the new issue of Moviemaker, Wim Wenders shares his "golden rules" of filmmaking. Our favorite:

12. Don’t shoot a western if you hate horses. (But it’s okay to not be fond of cows.)

At Slate, Bryan Curtis makes an oddly poignant point at the end of a piece on the things that plague him at art house theaters:

As much as I love them, I’ve often felt lonely in art houses. It needn’t be a Charley Chase retrospective at which four people showed up, either. Even in a sold-out show, the art house seems to be filled with 150 people who came alone. You might chalk that up to the sad state of moviegoing, which forces anyone who goes to subtitled French dramas to fly solo. Or you might say, as with the multiplex, that there’s something about the nature of the place. Moviegoing, we’re told, is dying as a communal activity, thanks to DVDs and video-on-demand. And yet every time I hit the multiplex and sit among the teenage hordes, I feel like moviegoing has gotten new life—loud and often obnoxious life, but new life all the same. Try this thought experiment: You’d go to an art house by yourself. When would you ever do that at a multiplex?

For 40 years, South Korea has had a screen quota system to protect its film industry: local cinemas are required to show domestic movies for at least 146 days a year, and which is, inarguably, the reason that the country has such a thriving film industry. Kim Sung-jin reports in the Korea Times that last week the government decided to halve this quota as part of negotiations towards finalizing a free trade agreement with the US. Kim Tae-jong looks in on the filmmakers preparing to fight back.

And at the London Times, Derwent May seems to be finding the International Film Festival Rotterdam to be all torture, masturbation, and animate cuts of meat:

[Czech director Jan Svankmajer] also provides an extra thread of horror: the film keeps cutting to revolting but all too memorable shots of slabs of meat slithering through the world with a life of their own. "There goes the châteaubriand I planned for dinner," I heard one audience member say.

+ PARK CITY ’06: "Half Nelson" Dominates Survey of Sundance 06 Critics and Journalists (indieWIRE)
+ Oscar shuns CGI toons (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Bond director ‘tried to sell sex’ (BBC)
+ My Golden Rules (Moviemaker)
+ Cinema Purgatorio (Slate)
+ Korea to Halve Screen Quota (Korea Times)
+ Film People Begin Protest Against Screen Quota Cut (Korea Times)
+ Lessons from the Marquis de Sade (London Times)

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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.