DID YOU READ

The boys.

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"There's no more surprises."
At the Washington Post, Ellen McCarthy comes up with an amusingly hostile piece on "The Last Kiss" based around a phoner with Casey Affleck. Someone was not fond of the film, we take it?

"I think one of the issues is, how do you make a relationship work when you didn’t have any role models? A lot of people from our generation — their parents are divorced and their friends’ parents are divorced," he says. "And if you never saw a couple make it work, what guide do you have?"

Hmmmm. That’s interesting. Blame the folks who brought you into this world.

Meanwhile, Janice Page at the Boston Globe has an interview entitled "So how adorable is Zach Braff?" that’s studded with moments that lead us to assume "Not as much as he thinks he is."

"You can’t be fully in [a relationship] if there’s baggage," Braff says. "Even at the cost of losing the love of his life, [Michael] chooses his integrity, and I think that’s what buys the character back."

But isn’t there always baggage in a relationship?

"There’s always baggage. But there’s large baggage and then there’s carry-ons," the performer quips.

In the New York Observer, Sara Vilkomerson is the latest to add herself to the "Borat" media love-pile (a side effect of an otherwise apparently disappointing Toronto). She recounts the premiere that wasn’t:

So just to see a bunch of screaming fans who wouldn’t recognize—or care about—the influence of Truffaut if it fell from a burning, metaphor-laden sky is a happy novelty for a film festival. And all for a movie that will be equally dismissed as a cerebral retread of Jackass territory and celebrated as a vehicle for the first truly dangerous comedy since Andy Kaufman. Like South  Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone, [Sacha] Baron Cohen creates comedy that refuses to be co-opted by the political right, left or middle.

Well, perhaps — but that hasn’t stopped people from trying. We have our own reading of the Borat character, but we’ll save it for when we’ve seen the film.

Paige Ferrari has an ode to Gael Garcia Bernal at MSNBC:

Bernal specializes in grit and gravitas, not rescuing people from invading spaceships, sucking snakes out of planes, or hunting down bad guys as a cop with a temper.  His characters do not always get the girl.  Often, they make us squirm in our seats.  But no matter how taboo a film’s subject, Bernal’s characters are always fascinatingly human — flawed, seeking redemption.  Who cares if we relate? We find it nearly impossible to look away.

And some typical Gondryisms from the director in Lynn Hirschberg‘s New York Times Magazine profile:

"When I first moved to America, in 1997,” Gondry told me one morning this summer, “I understood one word out of 10. So I would recreate whatever was said based on those few words…It was even worse with music,” he continued, as he perched on a makeshift desk in a corner of the dimly lighted sound stage. “When I first started making videos, I didn’t understand the English lyrics. So I looked at the rhythms, and I replicated an abstraction, which made my videos closer to what the musicians usually meant in the beginning. I could never be exact in my work, and that was a good thing.”

Some typical Jet Li-isms from G. Allen Johnson interview with the actor for the San Francisco Chronicle:

"When they translate ‘wushu’ into English, they call it martial arts," Li explains. "But if you translate it from Chinese, it is from two words: ‘stop.’ ‘war.’ You can expand it to ‘stop fighting.’ So I took a (historical) martial artist’s life and put my beliefs, my story into the film to talk about not just physical, but also mental philosophy about how to be a martial artist.

"Who’s your enemy? Who’s the most dangerous enemy in your life? I believe it’s myself. I am fighting myself. The enemy is not from outside, but inside."

At the New York Times, Terrence Rafferty pens a fairly nice piece in praise of the action star that does contain this clunker: "Except for the violence, what Mr. Li does is ballet," a comparison that should have been laid to rest after that great exchange in "Irma Vep."

In an interview from last week with Mark Bell at Film Threat, Richard Kelly tried to clarify or at least control the "Southland Tales" talk:

People have taken a rumor about the editorial situation of the film and kind of blown it out of proportion, that you’re unhappy. What’s the real situation?
Well, the real situation is that everything’s great. Sony bought the film right after the Cannes Film Festival and there was some old quote that was taken out-of-context and made in passing about how there was something bad happening with the film, and quoted as being recent news. But actually everything is great. I’m almost done with my final cut of the film. It looks like they’re setting a release date and we’re going to have a great release for the film. I’m actually incredibly happy to have had the extra time, breathing room, to finish it. You know, it’s been a long haul with this movie and so the film is in the best possible shape I think it’s ever been in, and I think it’s been like a Rubix cube, and I just needed time to solve it, and I’ve definitely solved it. Just exciting to finally show a trailer to people, just get the concept of the film out there, have them advertise and market it. It couldn’t be better, I couldn’t be happier. I think I’ve been fortunate to finally land at a big studio and have them kind of take me in and say "we believe in this film, and we’re going to let you finish it" and so… keeping my fingers crossed. You never know until that weekend, but so far it’s been amazing so, yeah, that article was, unfortunately, not accurate. It was old information and old out-of-context information. It’s all good.

Hmmm.

+ ‘Last Kiss’: Love in the Time Of Cynicism and Divorce (Washington Post)
+ So how adorable is Zach Braff? (Boston Globe)
+ A Star Is Borat (NY Observer)
+ Is America ready for Gael Garcia Bernal? (MSNBC)
+ Le Romantique (NY Times Magazine)
+ ‘Fearless’ Li Moves On (San Francisco Chronicle)
+ Exit Kicking: Jet Li’s Martial Arts Swan Song (NY Times)
+ HOW THE WORLD ENDS: CONVERSATION WITH RICHARD KELLY (Film Threat)

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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.