DID YOU READ

Odds: Tuesday – Cinema Scope, Cahiers.

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"Smooth. That's how we do it."
New Cinema Scope! Editor Mark Peranson calls this issue "the annual ‘let’s throw things together ahead of schedule, cross our fingers, and pray we’re done in time’" one, and among the online goodies are Michael Sicinski‘s interview with Scott MacDonald, Robert Koehler on the "seven-disc-plus-booklet box set of the works of Norman McLaren produced by the National Film Board of Canada" and Christoph Huber on Vienna’s New Crowned Hope Festival.

While you’re at it, there are also two new translated offerings on the Cahiers Du Cinema site: Cyril Neyrat writes about "Miami Vice" and attempts to crown Michael Mann a sort of new Brian De Palma:

At first glance, Miami Vice would only confirm the most widespread critical opinion about Michael Mann as an artist of exceptional talent, whose stylistic virtuosity makes up for the lightness of his intentions, the intensity of the form having the tendency to mask the incoherence of the intrigue or the vagueness of the thought. But his last film belongs to those that would require two viewings. The first, to make a list of its disappointed expectations and weaknesses, and the second, to attend to what it does do: exploit the aesthetic possibilities of high definition and to draw all the consequences for the narrative. Then the weaknesses are changed into hypotheses, undoubtedly fragile but unfailingly innovative, of a new regime of the visible, generating a new kind of action film.

Also, Jean-Michel Frodon on two exhibitions: Agnès Varda‘s "L’Ile et Elle" and Jean-Luc Godard‘s "Voyage(s) in Utopia."

At the New York Times, Lawrence Levi reviews David Thomson’s "Nicole Kidman": "Ostensibly a critical biography, it comes off as a weird and unseemly mash note." At the London Times, more of Thomson‘s mashing — on Kidman‘s upcoming project "The Visiting": "I’m not sure how proven a director [Oliver] Hirschbiegel is, but I suspect he was a large attraction in this project for Kidman. (If you were doing that story, would you have Kidman as the valiant heroine or the ultimate alien, with her staring blue eyes and her luminous pale skin?) It’s hard to be sure how these films will turn out." And over at the Independent, Shane Danielsen conducts an argument with Thomson over the merits of his subject, musing "Ah, you’ve got it bad…"

And a few quick things: Via Empire, John Krasinski of the US "The Office" has written a script based on David Foster Wallace‘s "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men," and plans to shoot it in November. We love DFW, and we cannot begin to comprehend how someone would adapt any of his books or stories for the screen, particularly that one.

Parker Posey makes fun of Patrick Goldstein‘s Toronto wiener at the LA Times:

One day, having grabbed a steaming hot dog from a street vendor to tide me over till dinner, I got into an elevator, hoping to slip upstairs unnoticed, when suddenly a swarm of festival-goers crowded into the elevator, led by Parker Posey, who mercilessly mocked my choice of condiment, wondering why I had picked ketchup when there were now so many other tantalizing alternatives available.

Also at the LA Times, Lorenza Muñoz reports that Fox "plans to produce as many as a dozen films a year under a banner called FoxFaith. At least six of those films will be released in theaters under an agreement with two of the nation’s largest chains, AMC Theatres and Carmike Cinemas." Transparently cynical marketing ploy, or savvy courting of ignored market? We report, you decide (ploy).

And Saeed Taji Farouky at BBC News sends a dispatch from Cinema Days of Beirut:

The city’s only art-house cinema had its official opening on 11 July, the day before the Israeli bombardment of the city began.

Hania Mroue, festival director and Metropolis founder, began housing refugees in the cinema space and organised workshops and screenings to keep the city’s besieged residents distracted.

"People continued coming to the cinema the next day, even though war had started," she says. "They came. I don’t understand how and why they came even though Beirut was being bombed, but they came. And even the third day they kept coming."

+ Issue 28 (Cinema Scope)
+ Very High Definition (Cahiers Du Cinema)
+ Godard and Varda in Space (Cahiers Du Cinema)
+ Star Struck (NY Times)
+ Nicole at forty (London Times)
+ Nicole Kidman: a debate (Independent)
+ John Krasinski Finds Hideous Men (Empire)
+ Toronto scene: Stars and substance (LA Times)
+ New Fox Unit to Produce Christian Films (LA Times)
+ Beirut festival’s defiant gesture (BBC)

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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.