DID YOU READ

NYFF: “Inland Empire.”

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"No more blue tomorrows."
Welcome to the David Lynch remix project. Where to even begin? With "Inland Empire," Lynch surveys his own domain, the unmistakable, weird auteurist landscape he’s carved out for himself, and in which he then proceeds to frolic (and yes, he totally frolics) for three hours with a unapologetic shrug and kick of the heels to anyone less than well-versed in his work. For those who aren’t, "Inland Empire" is a giddy joy, a swirl of actors from Lynch-works past (Laura Dern, Harry Dean Stanton, Justin Theroux, Grace Zabriskie, Naomi Watts as the voice of a rabbit), as well as themes (identity, duality, moviemaking, strange mythology) and general directorial twitches (red curtains! a possibly kidnapped son and husband! a log! industrial buzzing sounds!).

For those who are — we have no idea what to say. Even at Lynch’s most fractured, in films like "Lost Highway," there’s a sense that if you could somehow reach bottom, you’d find truth, some primal series of events that kaleidoscoped out of recognition in the telling. There’s no bottom to "Inland Empire," at least not one that we discern after one viewing. Initially, Dern plays Nikki, an actress who lands a coveted role after some time out of the spotlight (incidentally, the film also features a real life actress who seemed prime for greater stardom before dropping out of sight — Julia Ormond, wherever did you go?). She’s set to star opposite Devon (Theroux), who’s a bit of a Lothario…also, the script seems to be cursed. When it was first shot, both leads were murdered halfway through. It’s about an ill-advised romance that develops between a man and woman who are both married, and Nikki and Devon seem to be following suit until Nikki somehow becomes her character, suddenly living in a low-ceiling, carpeted house instead of her previous cavernous mansion, speaking with a halfway Southern drawl.

There’s a lot more — the Greek chorus of hookers who dance to "The Locomotion"; the integration of "Rabbits"; the brutally funny confessional monologue Dern delivers to mysterious man waiting in a room at the top of a long stairway; the whole Polish section. Rather than really cohering, the film just continues onward like some bizarro cinematic equivalent of jazz improv.

"Inland Empire" is shot on DV, which is jarring from Lynch, one of the great appreciators of the look and saturated reality of film (he told Dennis Lim in the New York Times that "Film is like a dinosaur in a tar pit. People might be sick to hear that because they love film, just like they loved magnetic tape. And I love film. I love it! It’s so beautiful…[But] I would die if I had to work like that again."). But video suits "Inland Empire," giving it a remove and a lightness that allows scenes that on film would have a ponderous semi-irony to just be funny. Playful, even. The film closes with an all-my-friends-are-here dance number that runs over the credits and is downright joyous — if it doesn’t make you grin like an idiot, then…then you probably fell asleep a while before, anyway.

It’s not for everyone, and we honestly can’t see it getting a distributor. But for the right people (and you know who you are), it will be grand.

Screens at Alice Tully Hall October 8 and 9.

+ "Inland Empire" (NYFF)

Update: According to Gregg Goldstein at the Hollywood Reporter, David Lynch will self-distribute "Inland Empire": "Lynch will work with well-known theatrical and home video partners to launch his epic fever dream of a film, retaining all rights to the low-budget project in each service deal. The partnerships will be announced within the next week."

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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.