Cannes pre-commencement bits.

Posted by on

Are you all watching the Cannes Cam? Opening ceremonies start soonish.

Speaking of, more inevitable "Da Vinci Code" stories (and we’ve avoiding the bulk of them). At the New York Times, Sharon Waxman writes about the unprecedented marketing of a film 96% of people polled were aware of and 60% "definite interest," and then slaps us with this:

Industry estimates of the film’s expected ticket sales for the opening weekend at the domestic box office range from $70 million to over $100 million.

Ouch! For a film that’s never going to keep the interest of most anyone under 16? We shall see.

Adam Edwards in the Telegraph writes about how, for all their varied fury or bemusement about the book and the film, many churches in England are happy about the cash infusion and renewed interest they’ve brought about.

[T]his cascade of freshly generated cash is putting kindly theologians in a hilarious quandary. These gentlemen may not want to be bothered by believers in Dan Brown’s fanciful notions – but also, they don’t want to dismiss new spending customers out of hand.

Take, for instance, the Dean of Lincoln Cathedral, the Very Rev Alec Knight, who, while cheerfully branding the book ”a load of old tosh”, happily agreed to let the film be shot at the cathedral after the producers made a donation of £100,000.

And Peter J. Bower in the New Yorker has an interesting piece on Sony Pictures’ spinning of the film for Christians.

So how is the damn thing? Fresh off the wires, AP‘s David Germain reports of last night’s press screening that "reaction from Cannes critics ranged from mild endorsement of its potboiler suspense to groans of ridicule over its heavy melodrama." And at the Risky Biz blog, the Hollywood Reporter‘s Anne Thompson, who found the film overly cautious, writes that:

The thing to remember about the Cannes press, especially the film
critics, is that they are global, sophisticated, pretentious and quite
often vicious. They love to slam the seats at a press screening, or
hiss a movie during the closing credits. That level of rejection did
not occur tonight. For the most part the movie unfolds like an
engrossing glossy international thriller, and hews fairly closely to
the book, which is a page-turner, if mechanically executed. But there
were uncomfortable waves of titters throughout the film tonight, and
when the BIG REVEAL comes, there was outright laughter.

[Update: David Hudson rounds up more early reviews at Greencine Daily.]

Feh. Far more entertaining than the film will probably turn out to be (two and a half hours?) is Laura Barton‘s interview with the film’s villain, Paul Bettany, in the Guardian, in which we are reminded that an evil albino is really the role the extremely beige Bettany was born to play:

Bettany has the type of bleached-out colouring that makes looking at
him something like blinking through the midday sun. On screen this can
be used to convey a peculiarly wholesome prettiness – as Tom, in Lars
von Trier
‘s "Dogville," or as a faded tennis player in "Wimbledon" – or to
unsettling effect, as a struttingly brutal upstart in "Gangster No 1,"
for example, or now in "The Da Vinci Code."

Inexplicable great quote from Bettany on living in America:

"[I]n America bread lasts so long. You buy bread, and then
it’s bread forever – it’s Forever Bread! I remember when I first went
over there and bought a pint of milk, and I kept going up to it, weeks
later, going I can’t believe this! It’s still fresh! It’s a miracle!
Miracle Milk!"

Jada Yuan at New York has a list (with apologies to NOAH) of "favorite albino villains."

At the Guardian, Sean O’Hagan examines Ken Loach‘s in-Competition "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" as the director’s first "Irish" film since 1990’s Cannes Jury Prize-winner "Hidden Agenda."

And at the Hollywood Reporter, Winnie Chung and Jonathan Landreth write that Lou Ye‘s in-Competition "Summer Palace," which is set to premiere tomorrow, has in fact not been approved by Chinese censors yet, which could cost the director distribution in his homeland along with many other problems.

+ ‘Da Vinci Code’: The Mystery of the Missing Screenings (NY Times)
+ Da Vinci double standards (Telegraph)
+ ‘Da Vinci Code’ Misses the Mark for Critics (AP)
+ Cannes Unveils Da Vinci Code (Risky Biz Blog)
+ The Da Vinci Code. (Greencine Daily)

+ When albino monks attack (Guardian)
+ Who Says Evil Albinos Are Such Bad Role Models? (New York)
+ Making waves on the Riviera (Guardian)
+ ‘Palace’ in China’s doghouse (Hollywood Reporter)


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

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

Posted by on

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…


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. 


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 ’90s Are Back

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

Posted by on
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?”


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).



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.


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


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giffy

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.


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.


Forget Public Wifi

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



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.


Self Defense

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


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