DID YOU READ

What weekend?

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DreamWorks' great non-white Oscar hope.
A few quickies:

"The Da Vinci Code": Color us bemused. $77 million opening weekend, despite those reviews.

At Cannes, people are plotzing over DreamWorks’ 20-minute preview of Bill Condon‘s "Dreamgirls," which stars Beyoncé and Jamie Foxx and which is based on the Broadway musical based on the rise of Diana Ross and the Supremes. Bob Tourtellotte at Reuters:

Shouts of "more" echoed round the room after the four brief scenes were shown — the first ever screening of the clips — and when Foxx addressed the crowd, Oscar whispers filled the air.

We imagine that’s like smoke filling the air, but less breathable. David Poland:

My favorite unspoken bit is when [Eddie] Murphy‘s Early (a performance that
stinks of Oscar, even in this small quantity) wants two back up
singers, but accepts the three, figuring without a word that there is
the beauty, the singer, and the one to whom he is immediately attracted
and that if the girls were forced to drop one member, his hoped for
lover would be the one to go. And of course, this is an early echo of
what is to come in the film.

Again! Oscar buzz is not unlike some form of conical incense. Mary Corliss, blogging for Time:

Twenty minutes, even the 20 shown at the Martinez, do not make a movie. There’s no telling how the entire film will play. But the Friday-night tastes were savory. It was apparent that the film, designed by John Myhre ("X Men," "Chicago," "Memoirs of a Geisha") with special lighting by Broadway legend Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, looks fabulous. Choreographer Fatima Robinson put the non-dancing actors through brilliant moves.

And the teaser, for you the judge yourself. All this Oscar buzz is going to our head, we need some fresh air. The film’s not even done yet, and it has a late December premiere date attached.

Speaking of, the trailer for Oliver Stone‘s "World Trade Center," backed with wall-to-wall sappy strings and headed by Nicolas Cage (attempting what may be an even less convincing accent than the one he assumed for "Captain Corelli’s Mandolin") is still oddly comforting — we don’t particularly want to see it, but if 9/11 films are an inevitability, we’d rather see them a-drip with sentimental cinematic goo than sparse and lean and delivered like a dose of medicine.

Also at Cannes, via Todd at Twitch:

Apparently Choi Min-Sik and Bong Joon-Ho have been leading nightly vigils in from of the Palais Lumiere every night at eight, just on time for the big nightly galas. The duo are there protesting, once again, the reduction of the Korean screen quota system. Bong’s presence makes good sense as he’s there with "The Host" this year, but as near as I can tell Choi has nothing at the festival whatsoever, not even in the market, which means he’s made the trip solely for this purpose.

Incidentally, "The Host," which is part of the Directors’ Fortnight, and which IMDb sums up with "a mutant emerges from Seoul’s Han River and focuses its attention on attacking people," has been generating advance rumblings for ages.

Via Gregg Kilday at Hollywood Reporter, Todd Solondz is apparently at Cannes trolling for cash for a new film "inspired by his black comedies ‘Happiness’ and ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse.’ " Because, boy, save his embarrassing 1989 semi-studio film "Fear, Anxiety & Depression," his films have just been all over the extremely bleak black comedy map.

Finally, via (yes!) the New York Post‘s Page Six, Lionsgate’s promotional efforts surrounding forgettable horror flick "See No Evil" reportedly sidestep the slight issue of helmer Gregory Dark‘s previous career directing and producing pornos (as if they were required to trumpet the fact?). Title highlights include "The Creasemaster," "Between the Cheeks," and our personal favorite, "Dr. Penetration." We do feel they’ve missed out on a key marking hook here: "From the makers of ‘Hootermania’…" beats out "Hey! This movie stars a pro-wrestler!" any day. It does also add a mildly ironic twist to that whole "torture porn" discussion.

+ The Da Vinci Code (Boxoffice Mojo)
+ "Dreamgirls" casts spell over Cannes audience (Reuters)
+ Dreamgirls On The Croisette (The Hot Blog)
+ Dream a Little Dream (Time)
+ Teaser: Dreamgirls (Apple)
+ Trailer: World Trade Center
(Apple)
+ Choi Min-Sik and Bong Joon-Ho Holding Screen Quota Vigils at Cannes (Twitch)
+ Solondz finds more "Happiness" with new film (Hollywood Reporter)
+ HISTORY EXCISED (NY Post)

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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.