DID YOU READ

I’m a cyborg, but that’s just life (in rose).

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We haven’t been keeping abreast with Berlinale news, so we thought we’d take a break to look at what’s been said about two of the more talked-about films from the festival, Olivier Dahan‘s opening night Edith Piaf biopic "La Vie En Rose (La Môme)" and Park Chan-wook‘s "I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay."

Heureux, heureux à en mourir
"La Môme": Dennis Lim, reporting for indieWIRE, salutes star Marion Cotillard (late of "A Good Year") for her "gutsy, whole-hog performance" as Piaf, but finds there’s little else to the film. James Christopher at the London Times has similar complaints, admiring the performances while remaining otherwise unmoved: "Ultimately Dahan leans too heavily on the blasts of pure sentiment unleashed by the immortal songs. Despite the best efforts of Cotillard, that is never quite enough."

At Like Anna Karina’s Sweater, Filmbrain calls the film "thoroughly entertaining," again calling out Cotillard while finding the direction problematic.

Dahan doesn’t shy away from portraying little sparrow in a less than flattering light, but it seems to lack the courage to dig a bit deeper into how these events helped shape her into the artist she was. A good bit of fun, but leaves you wondering what it would have been like in the hands of another director.

At Greencine Daily, David Hudson calls Cotillard "magnificent" while finding the film both "nearly twice as long as it should be" and lacking in important biographical details. At Variety, Lisa Nesselson has only praise, writing that "the portrait feels rich and rounded… Sweeping, slightly dreamlike result has plenty of forward momentum but also feels unhurried." At the Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt declares the film a kind of messy success, one that is "unafraid of extravagant gestures even when they fail to come off."

At the Guardian, Angelique Chrisafis writes that as the film opens in France today, hopes are high that it will be the new "Amelie," and that "Piaf-mania is reaching extreme proportions":

EMI is forecasting record-breaking sales of soundtracks, Piaf’s acquaintances have released books, a musical hits Paris this week and television specials have attracted millions of viewers. Politicians on the presidential campaign have seized on the cult of Piaf – the destitute daughter of a street acrobat who grew up in a brothel, and whose tragic lyrics and piercing voice have made France nostalgic for the postwar years.

"La Vie en Rose" is set for June 8th release from Picturehouse.

 

Maybe it's not.
+ "I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK": At Greencine Daily, David Hudson discusses Park Chan-wook’s insane asylum-set…romantic comedy?…with his daughter Adrienne. David had a hard time warming up to the film, though as it went on "the mythology, or alternative reality that’s conjured between the two leads does eventually take on breadth and depth, making the film’s second half much better than its first." Adrienne is much fonder, writing that "The film is very much like a fairy tale, with its journeys into almost magical worlds and its themes of friendship, revenge and love."

At indieWIRE, Dennis Lim writes the film off as "a failed feature-length extrapolation of Bjork’s ‘All Is Full of Love’ video."

In the trades, Kirk Honeycutt at the Hollywood Reporter calls the film a "major disappointment from a hot director" and the performances overdone; Derek Elley at Variety thinks the film is a success, if overlong.

And over at Cinematical, Erik Davis likes the film, crediting the writing: "The script, written by Chan-wook and Jeong Seo-Gyeong, delicately dances along that line between comedic and dramatic, presenting us with an eccentric tale about eccentric people who desperately want to believe that they’re special; that they have a purpose in life beyond the white walls of a mental hospital."

"I’m a Cyborg, but That’s Okay" does not yet have a US distributor.

+ Adventurous "Chatterley" Atop Berlinale Crop; Cotillard Shines, Costanzo’s Latest Leads Competition, So Far (indieWIRE)
+ La Mome (London Times)
+ Berlinale Diary 1: No Regrets (Like Anna Karina’s Sweater)
+ Berlinale Dispatch. La Môme. (Greencine Daily)
+ La Vie en rose (Variety)
+ La vie en rose (Hollywood Reporter)
+ France swoons on a wave of Piaf nostalgia (Guardian)
+ Berlinale Dispatch. I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK. (Daily Greencine)
+ I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK (Hollywood Reporter)
+ I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK (Variety)
+ Berlinale Review: I’m A Cyborg, But That’s Okay (Cinematical)

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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.