DID YOU READ

Wong Kar Wai! And other international types…

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Forces of Darkness, forces of Light...etc, etc.
Hot gossip of the day: via CRI, our beloved, eternally sunglassed Wong Kar Wai is planning on making a movie "based on moving true events in New Orleans when the city was attacked by Hurricane Katrina last year." He’s hoping to cast Adrien Brody as the lead, but Brody apparently wants to read a final script before committing, and as any WKW-phile knows, he’s shit out of luck if that’s the case.

Also, since this news first appeared in the mostly respectable Hong Kong paper Apple Daily, it probably shouldn’t be labeled as gossip, but this is the third project Wong has announced in recent memory (he’s still attached to "The Lady from Shanghai" with Nicole Kidman and that biopic of Bruce Lee‘s trainer, Ye Wen, with Tony Leung), and given his endearingly dawdling pace of production, we’re not going to hold our breath here.

In the Japan Times, Mark Schilling has a two-fer, reviewing Zhang Yimou‘s latest, "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles," a distinct departure from the florid wu xia films that have lately given him, for better or worse, international recognition. Schilling likes the film, and also has nothing but praise for "Gratitude," the latest from Jun Ichikawa, who also directed "Tony Takitani."

Sahm Venter at the Sydney Morning Herald reports on South African film "SMS Sugar Man," the first feature film shot entirely on cell phone cameras.

The award-winning director Aryan Kaganof shot the film entirely on Sony Ericsson W900i mobile phones in 12 days and is editing the 60 hours of footage, blown up to 35 millimetre, into a feature for distribution in May. Asked why he shot the film with mobile phone cameras, Kaganof answered: "Somebody had to do it."

At the New York Times, Ross Johnson chats with Timur Bekmambetov, whose hyped, then delayed Russian horror/fantasy blockbuster "Night Watch" is finally getting released  in the US by Fox Searchlight on February 17th. We managed to see the film last week and will hopefully have a full review next, but wanted to say, while we enjoyed it quite a bit, it was also one of the most over-the-top displays of visual effects we’ve ever come across, not unlike having one’s head stuck in a blender filled with dozens of Aphex Twin videos and a handle of vodka.

Also at the Times, Dennis Lim writes that:

"Battle in Heaven," the second feature by the 34-year-old Mexican director Carlos Reygadas, is an anomaly among today’s explicit art films, which often deploy sex more as a stunt than a subversion. In the languid, graphic scenes of fellatio that bookend his movie, what is startling isn’t so much the frankness of the sex as the glaring disparity between the participants: Ana (Anapola Mushkadiz), the attractive young daughter of a general, and Marcos (Marcos Hernández), a homely, obese, middle-age man who is the general’s driver.

"Sympathy for Lady Vengeance," by far our favorite installment of Park Chan-wook‘s celebrated and debated "vengeance trilogy," opens in the UK this week. At the Telegraph, Benjamin Secher interviews Park in his Seoul office.

Two vast noticeboards are nailed across its windows, keeping out most of the natural light. Sprawling across them, artworks, adverts and film posters jostle with snapshots of children, actors and naked women. It’s the kind of chaotic visual index that occasionally appears in films, adorning the walls of a serial killer’s hideout. And there in the middle, right above Park’s desk, is the familiar, doughy face of Tom Hanks.

Chilling indeed.

Finally, at the Independent, Anthony Barnes reports that Robin Hardy, the director of the original 1973 "The Wicker Man," is so unhappy with Neil LaBute‘s upcoming US remake that he’s apparently called his lawyers in an effort to have his name removed from the production (he’s currently listed as a screenwriter).

+ Wong Kar-Wai to Do Hurricane Katrina Inspired Movie (CRI)
+ Master auteurs deliver classics on dealing with impending death (Japan Times)
+ The actors phoned it in… (Sydney Morning Herald)
+ From Russia, With Blood and Shape-Shifters (NY Times)
+ No Plot. No Professional Actors. No Holds Barred. (NY Times)
+ Magnificent obsessive (Telegraph)
+ Director to sue over Hollywood’s new ‘Wicker Man’ (Independent)

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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.