DID YOU READ

Odds: Tuesday – The 80s, Miyazaki the younger, FoxFaith.

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Faith will give you strength...TO RULE THE BOX OFFICE!
Need a job?

(Yeah, yeah, you’ve seen it already.)

Other randomness: Larry Carroll and Shawn Adler at MTV have a fairly thorough list of upcoming film remakes of 80s shows — we considered putting together a list like this before, but were a breathless combination of too ashamed and too lazy. Thanks, MTV.

Charles Solomon at the New York Times talks to poor Goro Miyazaki, son of Hayao and director of the latest Ghibli film, "Gedo Senki (Tales From Earthsea)," which has turned out to be both a box office hit in Japan and a disappointment to some of the older Miyazaki’s very demanding fans.

The younger Miyazaki said it was [Studio Ghibli president] Toshio Suzuki who initially persuaded him to take the considerable risk of following in his father’s footsteps, after having worked as a landscape planner and serving as managing director of the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, the wildly popular shrine to the work of the senior Miyazaki and [Isao] Takahata.

“I had never thought about becoming an animation director,” he said. “I was deceived by Mr. Suzuki, who was very clever about making me feel I could do it.”

Andrew Gumbel at the Independent talks to Eric Steel about "The Bridge" — which out-badasses "Shortbus," in a way. What’s real sex got on real death? Also, why are we so going to hell?

At the Washington Post, Peter Whoriskey writes about "Facing the Giants," an indie Christian high school football film that’s managed to become a stealth box office success:

The movie has made $2.7 million in 10 days, and ticket sales were good enough last weekend to place it 13th in the box office rankings, one notch below "Flyboys," a war movie with a $60 million budget and starring James Franco.

Hah! "Flyboys." "Facing the Giants" was torn apart by what critics actually saw it, but this isn’t one for the critics, and, as Whoriskey reminds us: ‘The industry considers the huge success of ‘The Passion of the Christ’ a sign of the untapped Christian market. Last month Fox created FoxFaith, which will release as many as a dozen religious films annually. ‘Love’s Abiding Joy,’ based on the novel about a frontier family by the Christian writer Janette Oke, is showing in four theaters in the D.C. area."

We are so not the market for films like "Facing the Giants," but we are fascinated by them as an example of both changing times for theatrical distributors and the increasing nichification of independent film. A traditional arthouse film release usually goes from either just New York or New York and L.A. to top ten markets to beyond, depending on box office. "Facing the Giants" isn’t playing anywhere near New York; we’re sure the filmmakers could care less about the press they’d get here, as it would probably not be favorable or helpful.

FoxFaith has another Bible-friendly flick lurking out there at the moment (though one that’s more Old Testament than Born Again) — "One Night With The King" is an adaptation of the Book of Esther that has the approval of the American Bible Society and that features Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif in their first film together since "Lawrence of Arabia," though word is they don’t share screen time. Novelty value: it does feature Luke Goss, late of 80s UK boy band Bros, as King Xerxes. Gloria Goodale at the Christian Science Monitor looks over it and other religion-friendly or just plain religious releases, incidentally noting that "Warner Brothers has a multipicture deal with Legendary Pictures, which hopes to bring John Milton’s epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’ to the screen." That‘s going to be a winner.

Richard Owen at the Australian notes that they forgot to invite Sophia Loren to the inaugural Rome Film Festival:

Maria Scicolone, Loren’s sister, who lives in Rome, said the 71-year-old legend of Italian cinema was offended at not having been invited to the opening ceremonies or any other festival event.

"We sat at home and ate chocolates," she said.

Ms Scicolone said festival officials had belatedly realised their gaffe and sent an invitation at the last minute, but that this had only added insult to injury.

"A last-minute invitation does not seem to me the proper way to go about things," she said.

"Sophia is not exactly an unknown."

In last week’s Village Voice, J. Hoberman crowned "Tideland" "kamikaze auteurism." We like that a lot — it seems to be, what with "The Fountain" and "Inland Empire" and, from all appearances, "Southland Tales," a trend this year.

And in the New York Observer, Andrew Sarris responds to Manohla Dargis’ calling out of the festival for giving precious program space to "white-elephant frippery," at least on one account.

Finally, I do not agree with one of my esteemed colleagues that The Queen doesn’t belong in the New York Film Festival because its selections should be confined to difficult foreign-language films in more need of public exposure. While I agree that The Queen is not difficult, it is sufficiently and, yes, marvelously artistic enough to qualify for inclusion.

Sarris personal anecdote watch, while deriding "Old Joy": "But that’s just me; I have never had the slightest desire to go camping with anyone else, male or female."

+ Film Editor (Craigslist)
+ From Mr. T To ‘Transformers,’ The ’80s Are Back And Gnarlier Than Ever (MTV)
+ The Son of the Anime Master Begins His Quest for Honor (NY Times)
+ Bridge to nowhere: Filming the final act (Independent)

+ Filmmakers Say God Was Their Co-Producer (Washington Post)
+ Hollywood takes a leap into faith (CS Monitor)
 + Sophia furious at film festival snub (The Australian)
+ Collision Course (Village Voice)
+ Sublime Queen Opens Festival With Mirren’s Crowning Role (NY Observer)

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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.