The week’s critic wrangle: “Factory Girl,” “The Situation,”

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"Your work is so important!"
+ "Factory Girl": After garnering an impressive amount of gossip column inches for various perfunctory scandales, George Hickenlooper‘s Edie Sedgwick biopic finally arrives in theaters. At Slate, Dana Stevens sighs that "For a movie about the tumultuous friendships among artists, musicians, and filmmakers during one of the 20th century’s periods of creative ferment, Factory Girl is remarkably incurious about cinema, music, and art." She faults the script for weighing the film down. At Slant, Ed Gonzalez sums the film up as yet another biopic "spectacles of bad accidents, VH1 aesthetics, sketchy (almost nonexistent) period detail, and armchair psychology," allowing that "[w]hat’s novel about Factory Girl is Hickenlooper’s singular revulsion for Warhol as a human being."

At the New York Times, Stephen Holden declares "Factory Girl" a "deluxe photo spread of a film," calling out Sienna Miller‘s performance as Sedgwick as "furious, thrashing," while dismissing Hayden Christensen‘s not-Bob Dylan impersonation (in the film, he’s known only as "The Musician") as "abysmal." Stephanie Zacharek at Salon writes that the film "often feels torpid and listless," but does like Hickenlooper’s treatment of Sedgwick as a subject:

Hickenlooper doesn’t take the all-too-common tack of luring us in with pleasurably decadent images only to punish us later for having enjoyed them — this isn’t a "Look where loving style over substance will lead you!" morality tale à la "Blow-Up." Instead, Hickenlooper takes pleasure in Sedgwick’s allure, and he invites us to do the same. His approach suggests a kind of quiet generosity, the opposite of raking the bones of a famous dead person who met a bad end.


"The situation is all anybody talks about."
+ "The Situation": Fearlessly claiming to be the first U.S. feature film to deal with the occupation of Iraq (an assertion we feel a mystifying need to disprove, though we’ve yet to come up with a prior film on which we could bestow this title), "The Situation" is the latest work from director Philip Haas, of "Angels and Insects," and stars It’s attracting a wide range of reviews — on one end, J. Hoberman at the Village Voice calls it "an incitement to rage and despair—the most vivid critique of Bush’s War yet put on screen," and on the other, Manohla Dargis at the New York Times labels it "[e]xploitation cinema of the most narcoleptic kind," finding that the director "fails to invest this devastating situation with the thoughtfulness and the urgency it deserves."

In between: At the New Yorker, Anthony Lane (who argues that "Turtles Can Fly" is actually the first feature to deal with the occupation of Iraq, though not a US one) calls "The Situation" an "awkward and half-digested movie"; at Slant, Nick Schager finds it "noble in intention but less than successful in execution"; at Entertainment Weekly, Lisa Schwarzbaum writes it off as an "overstuffed, unengaging drama."

Fonder is Andrew O’Hehir at Salon, who thinks the film is "uneven but impressively ambitious," and writes that "’The Situation’ is a highly developed moral landscape, painted…in rapidly shifting colors rather than black, white or gray. No one is demonized."  David Edelstein at New York admits the film is "a spotty piece of work," but does find that when it works, it "catches the mood of the best recent journalism—the visceral feeling that, as one character puts it, ‘a box has been opened and all the bad things have come out.’"

At indieWIRE, Kristi Mitsuda faults "The Situation"’s "defensive timidity": "Though notable for its early attempt to sift through the mess even as Bush calls for more troops, the film’s overly solicitous manner surely stems from this same lack of historical distance." And at the AV Club, Noel Murray observes that "At times, the movie plays like one long monologue, spread between a dozen characters. And its feeble attempt at a romantic triangle leads nowhere, except to unintentionally campy scenes of Nielsen and Lewis grinding away while the sound of gunfire echoes in the streets."


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.