DID YOU READ

Cannes: Weinsteins take Asia, everyone hearts “Babel.”

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Imminent new dad Mr. Pitt.
The juicy biz announcement du jour: via Gregg Kilday at Hollywood Reporter, "Bob and Harvey Weinstein unveiled a new label Tuesday called Dragon Dynasty, under which the Weinstein Co. will release Asian films." Given the Weinsteins’ track record releasing Asian films through Miramax, this announcement has probably sent fans shrieking in fear off into the distance (and straight to the bootleg import DVD store)…but don’t worry, all, Quentin Tarantino has been called in to advise on the new label, which will span DVDs and some theatrical releases.

Yeah.

At least this explains the fate lying in store for the various titles the Weinsteins have acquired over the months. "Ong Bak 2," "Tom Yum Goong"  and "Seven Swords" are among the planned releases, along with 50 films from the Shaw Brothers collection.

Elsewhere, "Babel" seems to be gaining steam, at least in the press, as the film to beat for the Palme d’Or. At Time‘s Big Picture blog, Richard and Mary Corliss have a back-and-forth on the film, with Mary pulling for the film and Richard less impressed. At the New York Times, A. O. Scott notes that fucking-with-chronology-friendly Alejandro González Iñárritu was treated to an unexpected plot leap himself at the film’s first screening, when the reels were mixed up:

A glitch like this is every director’s worst nightmare, literally so in Mr. González Iñárritu’s case. "I had this dream three days ago that exactly this kind of thing had happened," he said in an interview later on Tuesday. "I called my friend Guillermo del Toro" — whose own Cannes competition entry, "Pan’s Labyrinth," is to be shown on Saturday — "and he said he’d had the same dream." When Mr. González Iñárritu mentioned his premonitions at a technical check the day before the screening, he said that the projectionists assured him that such a mishap was impossible. "They acted like I was insulting them by bringing it up."

At indieWIRE, Eugene Hernandez, Brian Brooks and Kristina Woo report on some of the deals made over at the Market: Sony Pictures Classics will release "Persepolis," based on Marjane Satrapi’s best-selling graphic novel autobiography) in North America. Satrapi co-wrote and is co-directing the project with Vincent Paronnaud. And IFC Entertainment picks up "Destricted," a "concept for an ongoing franchise of erotic short films by well-known auteur directors, fashion designers, photographers, artists and actors." The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year.

And a few bits and pieces: At the LA Times, Robert W. Welkos interviews Peter Hoffman (in his yacht, natch). Hoffman, once president of the late Carolco Pictures, "helped throw a soiree that some say still ranks as the single most extravagant and star-studded event in the festival’s history." These days, he says Cannes is "less important" and too crowded.

Matt Dentler
turns up for a mysterious "surprise screening" — the film turns out to be "Borat," the film based on Sacha Baron Cohen‘s character of the same name. "The film we saw seemed fairly complete, and I hope that it is, because it was damn near perfect. Funny, offensive, and timely, ‘Borat’ could become the kind of college-campus classic that speaks to the tasteless teenager in us all."

At the Washington Post, William Booth discusses Pedro Almodóvar‘s "Volver" (another one being seen as a top Palme d’Or candidate), the party that followed, and the prosthetic ass Penélope Cruz had to wear for her role. Money quote:

Critics are saying it is the best role of Cruz’s career. She’s saying Almodovar has changed her life: "My life has more color because of him." That is the kind of thing that actresses say at Cannes.

Almodovar confesses the same. He tells us that, as we probably knew, he’s gay, and that his last heterosexual love affair was in 1984. "But with Penelope, I felt again desire. I was completely hooked on her body." He says: "I was horny." That’s very Cannes, too.

And, sending in a Cannes dispatch for IFC News, Mark Rabinowitz shares an anecdote about the charms of the international press junkets:

[M]y favorite was the Chilean journalist who, at the "X-Men: The Last Stand" press conference, stood up and began by telling Halle Berry how long he had to travel from Chile and how he had gotten hemorrhoids from sitting so long on the plane. "Too much information," was Berry’s response. The questioner then went on to tell how famous the X-Men films and comics were in Chile (I found it odd that he had a Russian accent, though) and that "little children play your character, Storm, in the streets." He then went back to his hemorrhoids, explaining how painful it was for him to sit down and how hard it was for him to find cream in Cannes, due to the language difference. This went on for three to four minutes before any hint of a question appeared. Finally he asked Berry the following brilliant nugget: "Do you like acting?"

+ Tarantino to advise Weinstein Asian label (HR)
+ One Auteur’s Bumpy Trajectory Through a Decade of Cannes Festivals (NY Times)
+ CANNES ’06 MARKET DAILY: Sony Classics to Release Satrapi’s "Persepolis" Memoir; IFC Picks Up "Destricted;" Wong Kar Wai’s New Film; and More (indieWIRE)
+ Remembering when he was on top (LA Times)
+ Cannes 2006.9: ‘Borat’ Screens. I Like. (Matt Dentler’s Blog)
+ Pedro Almodovar, Rounding Out Cruz’s, Um, Career (Washington Post)
+ CANNES DISPATCH: #2 – On The Third Day Fast Food Took A Hit (IFC News)

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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.