DID YOU READ

NYFF: “Marie Antoinette.”

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"Dear God, guide and protect us. We are too young to reign."Marie Antoinette led a frivolous and extravagant (if sometimes unhappy) life before meeting up with the guillotine at age 37, and that seems to be why so many critics at Cannes were quick to assign the same qualities to Sofia Coppolla‘s film. Certainly "Marie Antoinette" doesn’t circumscribe any typical biopic arc — the once Queen of France’s defining duties were to exist as a political token, to be on constant display, to visit with other nobles to reassure them of their social status, and to produce an heir. Not particularly personal tasks, and, if the film has any argument, it’s that Marie’s triumph was actually managing to find joy in them. But even that argument is beside the point — the film’s main purpose to bringing a historical icon to glorious, imperfect life. Versailles may have been a gilded prison, but why be coy? It was also extraordinarily swank, and "Marie Antoinette" revels, with a wink, in the luxury. There are montages of shoe shopping and confectionery, there are fabulous outfits, there are whirlwinds of parties and just plain delightful moments like the scene in which Marie and company run down the steps in the garden in full finery and watch the sun rise by the water.

The film’s much-discussed anachronisms — the 80s New Wave soundtrack, the defiantly contemporary casting (particularly a licentious Rip Torn and a befuddled Jason Schwartzman
as the Louis XV and XVI) and dialogue — are stylistic choices, but they’re also
attempts at humanizing life at court. Marie, the film urges, was just your standard flighty, irrepressible
teenager when she took her place as a political chesspiece…and yes, this does comes across a bit apologist. After all, her mother, Austrian Empress Maria Theresa (played in the film by Marianne Faithfull), established herself as a formidable political figure — Marie choose to swaddle herself in gossip and excess, only to discover that the increasingly remote real world was turning against her for reasons she seems barely able to grasp. That the latter third of the film accelerates through the birth of one child and barely sketched-in loss of another, the "let them eat cake" line, the shift in public sentiment, and the American Revolution with scarcely a pause shows exactly how concerned it is with historical developments over grand gestures, which would be not at all. And the film has one more grand gesture to celebrate: When the palace is being stormed, Marie goes out onto the balcony to greet the angry mob calling for her blood. She gathers herself, and then gracefully sketches a bow, and despite their fury and disdain, everyone in the crowd falls silent.

There’s no way around it — it just looks so good.

Screens October 13 and 14 at Alice Tully Hall; opens in theaters October 20th.

+ "Marie Antoinette" (NYFF)
+ "Marie Antoinette" (Sony)

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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.