DID YOU READ

Gothams, Pusan and snuff films.

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Leo.
This, with a few additions, would have been our "Odds" post last night if we hadn’t rushed off to see "Babel," which in retrospect we probably could have lived without.

Gotham Award nominees! The Best Picture list include "Half Nelson" and "Old Joy," as well as, laughably, "The Departed," "Marie Antoinette" and "Little Children." What does the "I" in IFP stand for again? If this is the trend, then it’s going to be another year in which the Indie Spirit Awards and the Oscars are near-identical.

Via CRI, "[s]peaking at the Rome Film Festival, Hollywood star Nicole Kidman said
she will give up the role in Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai‘s project
‘Lady from Shanghai’. The Oscar-winning actress said she wanted to accompany her newlywed
singer husband Keith Urban, who entered a rehabilitation treatment
center Thursday for alcohol abuse." She could have probably stuck it out — it’s possible that WKW will be shooting "My Blueberry Nights" for, like, eight years anyway.

Via Empire, George Clooney will appear in "Burn Before Reading," the next Coen brothers film, though he won’t play the lead. The film, loosely based on Stansfield Turner’s book of the same name, is "a semi-comic CIA pic about an agency man who pens a book detailing some of his missions and then loses the disc with his manuscript on it."

At indieWIRE, Brian Brooks reports that Chinese director Heng Yang’s "Betelnut" and Malaysian director Chui Mui Tan‘s "Love Conquers All" shared the Pusan International Film Festival’s New Currents Best New Asian Filmmaker of the Year award. Grady Hendrix at Kaiju Shakedown was also at Pusan, and reports on the festival’s first Asian Film Market:

Cluelessness is pandemic. People don’t see what they don’t want to see and some of the sellers had little to no idea about the American market. The price tags attached to some truly dodgy pictures were in the six digits, an amount that anyone who’s not the Weinsteins would find prohibitively expensive since there’s no way you can pay a six figure minimum guarantee, pay P&A on a theatrical release and hope to make your money back in this lifetime. Better to take your acquisitions money and head out to Vegas where the chance of a return is greater. But comments from sellers ranged from, "America is a big country" to "This is the best I can do" while showing off price tags from Mars.

And, while on the topic of Korea, Jason Burke at the Observer writes that Jang In-hak‘s "The Schoolgirl’s Diary" was picked up by Paris-based film distributor Pretty Pictures, making it the first North Korean film to be sold to a Western distributor for decades.

[Pretty Pictures’ head James] Velaise hopes to secure a slot for the film at the Cannes Film Festival next May. ‘If the film arrives in Cannes it’ll show another side to North Korean culture. They’re not all out to do nuclear crazy things. There are normal people in that country.’

We wish we’d thought of the "respectable snuff film" angle in Dennis Lim‘s  Sunday New York Times piece first. Our goal for next year: to coin a film phrase.

+ IFP Announces 2006 Gotham Award Honorees and Nominations (IFP.org)
+ Nicole Drops Wong Kar-Wai Plan? (CRI English)
+ Clooney Says Burn After Reading (Empire)
+ "Betelnut" and "Love Conquers All" Take Pusan Prizes; American Presence Slowly Increases (indieWIRE)
+ WHAT I LEARNED IN PUSAN (Kaiju Shakedown)
+ Cinematic bombshell from Kim (Observer)
+ Mondo Multiplex: The Snuff Film Turns Respectable (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.