DID YOU READ

Odds: Thursday – Torture, hair extensions.

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Ghosts.
Video: Michel Gondry solves a Rubik’s Cube with his nose here — the long-awaited (?) sequel to this (via Rex Sorgatz at Fimoculous).

Steven Winn at the San Francisco Chronicle finds that "[t]orture is a current preoccupation in the culture," from "24" to Fernando Botero‘s "Abu Ghraib" paintings:

I don’t think this is some accident or random coincidence. The artists are reading the map. They’re showing us where we are. Even the arrival of McDonagh’s 1994 play about the bruising interrogation of two brothers who may or may not be involved in three torturous child murders, seems uncannily tuned to the times. "The Last King of Scotland," "Pan’s Labyrinth" and "The Pillowman" come at their congruent themes in different, instructively complementary ways. All three lead us toward the dark heart of torture and the poisoned blood it pumps.

At Greencine Daily, David Hudson points to an interview on the site with Rory Kennedy, the director of doc "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" in which, when asked about "the value of documentary as a corrective or instructive ameliorative against fictionalized torture porn," she responds with an anecdote:

Tony Lagouranis – who is one of the characters that we interviewed in the film – was an interrogator at Abu Ghraib but was also on a mobile unit that traveled throughout Iraq. He interrogated people at a number of different facilities throughout the country. What he said was that there were a lot of interrogators who he worked with who said that they got their ideas of how to interrogate through television.

Television really does have a significant impact in terms of having a material effect. If you go to Iraq and somebody’s torturing somebody like they torture them on 24, it’s obviously inspired by that television show.

Meanwhile, Idi Amin’s son Jaffar breaks his family’s long media silence to speak out on the news wires against his father’s portrayal in "The Last King of Scotland." Via Katy Pownall at the AP: "I’d ask dad, what happened? He’d look at me and say ‘people fought me, I fought them but I never killed innocent people. God will be the one to judge me."

Elsewhere… At the Risky Biz blog, Borys Kit writes that Warner Bros. Pictures has picked up the rights to illustrated children’s novel "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick, with Martin Scorsese a possibility to direct:

Part of the idea for “Hugo Cabret” came to Selznick when he heard how George Méliès, the French film pioneer who made “A Trip to the Moon” (which features the iconic image of a rocket hitting the eye of the man in the moon), died a financial failure, having lost his collection of automata, which are complex windup toys. Thus came the idea of a mechanically minded orphan and an impoverished, dispirited pioneer of French cinema, set in 1930s Paris and replete with references to the heroes of French cinema, from the Lumière brothers to François Truffaut.

Aaron Gerow at Daily Yomiuri and Mark Schilling at the Japan Times each offer a review of "Exte," which stars Chiaki "Gogo Yubari" Kuriyama and haunted…hair extensions. Writes Gerow:

Our uncertainty over whether this is a horror film or a joke begins with the title: Is J-horror scraping the bottom of the barrel to find something artificial in our world, beyond cell phones and video tapes, to attack us? Or is that the first sign this is a parody?

And Marisa Meltzer at Slate wonders at the state of another genre — the slacker comedy. She looks over "Mutual Appreciation" and "The Puffy Chair" and wonders

If these movies are meant to celebrate slacking, why must the slackers always give it up at the end? Sure, everyone likes a character arc, but there are many ways to be an adult between the extremes of the wake-and-bake and the morning commute. It seems lazy that Bujalski and the Duplass brothers don’t try very hard to represent that. After two decades of slackers on film, the genre hasn’t grown up—it’s just moved to Brooklyn.

Well, these days, haven’t we all?

+ Michel Gondry Solves a Rubiks Cube with his Nose (YouTube)
+ From ’24’ to images on the big screen, our eyes are being opened to torture (SF Chronicle)
+ Interview. Rory Kennedy. (Greencine Daily)
+ Idi Amin’s son lashes out at movie (AP)
+ Scorsese Turns to Fantasy Genre (Risky Biz)
+ Horror film about haunted hair extensions skirts edge of parody (Daily Yomiuri)
+ Breaking out of the underground (Japan Times)
+ The Slacker Movie’s Quarterlife Crisis (Slate)

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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.