Opening This Week: October 20th, 2006

Opening This Week: October 20th, 2006 (photo)

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A round-up of the indie and indie-ish films opening in theaters this week.

“51 Birch Street”

Doug Block’s acclaimed documentary is about as personal as a film can get — it looks into his parents’ marriage when, after the death of his mother, his 83-year old father announces he’s moving to Florida to live with his secretary from 40 years before.

Opens in New York (official site).


After premiering at Tribeca last year and winning the John Cassavetes prize at the Independent Spirit Awards this year, “Conventioneers” finally gets its moment in the theaters. The film blends doc and narrative, telling the story of a romance between a Republican and a Democrat that was filmed during the tempestuous 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Flags of Our Fathers”

We love the smell of Oscars in the morning! Clint Eastwood’s re-enactment of the Battle of Iwo Jima is written by no less than the man who wrote and directed last year’s Best Picture winner “Crash”: Paul Haggis. Plus, who doesn’t love World War II? So straightforward!

Opens wide (official site).

“Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple”

Stanley Nelson’s doc promises never-before-seen footage from the Guyana-based Peoples Temple led by preacher Jim Jones, who led his hundreds of followers to mass suicide in 1978. Kool-Aid was never the same.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Marie Antoinette” [pictured]

The joys of decadent Versailles life are set to an 80s New Wave soundtrack in Sofia Coppola’s unconventional biopic, which premiered at Cannes to mixed reviews and a few reported boos (some critics found it a little fluffy). Kirsten Dunst stars as the titular queen and “let them eat cake” line denier.

Opens wide (official site).


This German film is based on the true story of Anneliese Michel, who in 1976 died following an exorcism. Michel’s life also inspired last year’s religiousy horror flick “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” — this promises to be in better taste.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Running With Scissors”

The dysfunctional family dramedy is pretty much its own genre these days — the latest title to add to the pile is this adaptation of Augusten Burroughs’ best-selling memoir, which has an amazing cast that includes Annette Bening, Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes and Alec Baldwin.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Sleeping Dogs Lie”

If you’ve even seen comedian Bobcat Goldthwait’s indescribable directorial debut “Shakes the Clown,” then you have some idea of what to expect (and we’ll see you at the theater!). Supposedly the sweetest movie centered on an act of bestiality ever, “Sleeping Dogs Lie” premiered with the title “Stay” at Sundance this year.

Opens in limited release (official site).


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…


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. 


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 ’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?”


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).



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.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

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.


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.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



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.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.