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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: April 20th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

A round-up of the best (or worst) $10 you’ll spend this week.

[Photo: Daniel Auteuil and Alice Taglioni in “The Valet,” Sony Pictures Classics, 2007]

“Fracture”

Anthony Hopkins gets all serial killer-y on us once again in this thriller featuring Academy Award-nominee Ryan Gosling (the male Clarice Starling?) as a young district attorney out to get Hopkins for the attempted murder of his wife, whilst David Straithairn hams it up for a big paycheck. We’re hoping director Gregory Hoblit is in full-on thriller mode (“Primal Fear”) rather than courtroom drama mode (“Hart’s War”), but judging from the previews, we won’t be holding our breath.

Opens wide (official site).

“Hot Fuzz”

British comic geniuses Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright follow up their brilliant 2004 horror-comedy “Shaun of the Dead” with a film that spoofs action and cop clichés. Pegg stars as a hot London cop with the highest arrest record on the force who’s sent to a sleepy village in the country and paired with a bumbling action-craving loser (Frost). Much like “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” finds Pegg and co. assembling a stellar British cast that ranges from Jim Broadbent to Paddy Considine. Expect some serious funny with this one.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“In the Land of Women”

Now that “The O.C.” has finished its four-season run on the FOX network, 27-year-old teen heartthrob Adam Brody can move on to a slew of more ambitious emo roles. Brody’s first post-“The O.C.” work finds him moving from L.A. to Michigan to live with his grandmother (Olympia Dukakis), shack up with young Kristen Stewart and learn all sorts of life lessons from the single mom next-door-neighbor (Meg Ryan). We’re expecting a Fray song somewhere in the film’s third act.

Opens wide (official site).

“Stephanie Daley”

Writer-director Hilary Brougher (“The Sticky Fingers of Time”) premiered this film, in which a 16-year-old girl (Amber Tamblyn, nominated for a Spirit Award for the performance) is accused of concealing her pregnancy and murdering her infant, at last year’s Sundance. Tilda Swinton co-stars as the forensic psychologist assigned to her case. We’re glad to see this film get a limited release, regardless of its vaguely Lifetime movie premise.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Syndromes and a Century”

Thai wunderkind Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s latest film is loosely based on the story of his parents’ courtship. The film was commissioned as a part of the New Crowned Hope festival hosted in Vienna to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang (Rock Me!) Amadeus Mozart and premiered at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“The Tripper”

A Reagan-obsessed serial killer (boo!) murders a bunch of hippies (yay!) at a music festival in this low-budget horror film courtesy of “Scream” star David Arquette. The film was originally featured as a part of the After Dark Horrorfest last November and recently has been gaining attention as a result of MySpace and Arquette’s college touring. Fratboys getting stoned on 4.20 (the film’s release date, get it!?) are totally stoked.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Vacancy”

Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson star as a married couple locked in a motel room trying to evade killers who want them to star in a low-budget snuff film. Hopefully Hungarian director Nimrod Antal can keep up the suspenseful tone he maintained in his last film, “Kontroll,” before the film becomes another “Scissors.”

Opens wide (official site).

“The Valet”

In order to save his reputation, his marriage and his affair, a big business CEO sets up his mistress with a valet after the three are caught in a photograph by a paparazzo’s camera in Francis Veber’s latest comedy. Much like 2001’s “The Closet,” this film features Veber finding comedy through the characters’ secret relationships and their attempts to keep them hidden. Gad Elmaleh, Alice Taglioni, Daniel Auteuil and Kristin Scott Thomas co-star.

Opens in limited release (official site).

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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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.