DID YOU READ

Cannes-d.

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If you only knew the power of the Dress Code.
Anything exciting happen while we were gone?

So everyone’s talking about John Anderson‘s piece in yesterday’s New York Times about the tough time winners of film’s most prestigious festival award have had in the US, more specifically last year’s Palme d’Or recipient, "L’Enfant." In fact, solely "L’Enfant," which prompts David Poland at The Hot Blog to dig up numbers for past, more successful Palme d’Or winners and Anthony Kaufman to write:

"L’enfant," the Dardenne brothers’ marvelous morality fable and winner of last year’s Palme, may have not made $2 million at the box office, but that’s because it’s in French and focuses on the dour conditions of the under-class. And as has been written about extensively before, there are several changing factors in the U.S. market that make it harder and harder for foreign-language art-films to perform here. (And with box office receipts nearing $500,000, "L’enfant" is a hit — for what it is. What’s the point of comparing it to MI:3? Just silly.)

Arguing over the Palme d’Or’s relative bankability seems silly, but there’s that undercurrent that any year now it’ll become fashionable to write Cannes off as a wizened old gal who wears too much bronzer and not enough clothing for her age. Feh! Cannes means as much as it ever did, to the relatively small group of people who care about such things. If anything has put pressure on "L’Enfant" (which, seriously, no one is expecting to rake in $20 million on a holiday weekend anyway), it’s the fact that there are so many films competing for limited arthouse theater space that even a fairly big arthouse title like the Dardenne’s will get pushed out without constant, solid crowds.

Elsewhere: Hollywood Elsewhere‘s Jeffrey Wells reports that "Clerks II" will premiere out of competition at the fest this year, and has an interview with Alejandro González Iñárritu, whose "Babel" will be premiere in competition. The Guardian has a report on how "Donnie Darko"‘s Richard Kelly, whose "Southland Tales" is in competition, has had his passport held up "under review" by the US government, because "According to the Department of Homeland Security he is a suspected terrorist who may now be prevented from traveling to Cannes next week." Also in the Guardian, Whit Stillman ‘fesses up to what he’s been doing all this time, shares that he’ll be at Cannes with a new project (a screenplay), and offers the following advice:

Silence is one of the greatest and least used weapons in the film
business arsenal. The best rule seems to be: when a project is
completed or nearly so, don’t shut up about it. But when it’s still in
its early stages, don’t say a word. That rule will be massively
violated next week when the annual Cannes non-existent-film festival
gets under way. This event, running parallel to the actual film
festival – or the festival of actual films – features the trumpeting of
entire slates of films that will never be made, at least not by the
people announcing them.

Via CRI, Feng Xiaogang is apparently arriving at Cannes with plans to burn through 4 million yuan promoting fantasy-martial arts epic (and "Hamlet" adaptation?!) "The Banquet." Lavish, though last year Chen Kaige‘s  backers reportedly spent over twice that promoting "The Promise" at the festival, and clearly that was was totally worth it. And we’d read that "Summer Palace," partially set during the troubled Tienanmen protests, had yet, as of a week ago, to clear Chinese censors.

Exciting!

At The Age, Stephanie Bunbury writes that "This year, as the Australian Film Commission is shouting from the housetops, is Australia’s biggest at the Cannes Film Festival in the last two decades." Jason Solomons at the Observer predicts that the winner will be "Babel": "the combination of Iñárritu, [writer Guillermo] Arriaga and [star Brad] Pitt, a mix of thrills, philosophy and glamour, three key ingredients to a great Cannes."

At the Toronto Star, Geoff Pevere tries to explicate Cannes’ inexplicable aura "of, well — and apologies for indulging in such an obvious but unavoidable cliché — of je ne sais quois."

And of course there’s The Da Vinci Premiere, which is tied up in the general fervor over the film (which we must confess to be completely uninterested in — who needs a tepid "Indiana Jones" ripoff mixed with bludgeoning religious provocation? Give us sex ‘n’ violence any day), which in his Cannes preview the Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips refers to as "an obscure experimental Icelandic short subject still looking for a distributor" (hee!). And Alan Riding at the New York Times chats with screenwriter Akiva Goldsman about adapting such a beloved book for the screen.

We’re not going to Cannes this year (and, we hate to say it, but thank God), but IFC News will be offering a live, 24-hour-a-day webcam of the red carpet for the duration of the festival here, starting, knock on wood, tomorrow, barring however many 3am tech support phone calls we’ll doubtless be making to the south of France.

+ Cannes Gold Tarnishes in U.S. (NY Times)
+ Cannes Winners At The Box Office (The Hot Blog)
+ What Cannes Really Means — And How the Times Gets It Wrong (Anthony Kaufman’s Blog)
+ Clerks II at Cannes (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ Bullet Time (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ Donnie Darko director investigated for terrorist links (Guardian)
+ Confessions of a serial drifter (Guardian)
+ "The Banquet" to Spend 4 Million at Cannes (CRI)
+ Hope Remains for Lou Ye’s SUMMER PALACE (MonkeyPeaches)
+ Are we back in the swim at Cannes? (The Age)
+ The stars who will shine over Cannes (Observer)
+ Code red carpet: Mixture of promise, prestige, premieres (Chicago Tribune)
+ Mystery of the ‘Da Vinci Code’ Film: Will We Love It? (NY 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.