DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: June 1st, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Day Watch,” Fox Searchlight, 2007]

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

“Crazy Love”

Some couples quite possibly shouldn’t be together. When your spouse spends 14 years in the slammer for throwing acid on your face, that’s by our indication that it just might be time to, you know, stop responding to phone calls and move very far away. Dan Klores’ thrilling documentary charts the turbulent relationship of Burt and Linda Pugach, a love story that begins with an affair, moves on to jealousy and a jail sentence, and turns into a modern-day marriage, offering insight into the human psyche, contemporary relationships, and sheer, perverse stupidity.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Day Watch”

That vague, Russian battle between good and evil continues in this sequel to 2004’s surprise hit “Night Watch,” based on the science fiction trilogy by Sergei Lukyanenko. The trailer for this one doesn’t make a lick of sense, but then neither did the first film. Some pretty impressive action sequences (including a hotrod skidding along the side of a glass-paned building) make us look forward to it anyway.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Gracie”

Disney Channel mainstay Carly Schroeder stars as a teenage girl who fights to play on the boys’ varsity soccer team after her brother is killed in a car accident in 1970s New Jersey. This film is based on the life experiences of Elizabeth Shue, who also stars and co-produces, and is directed by her hubby Davis Guggenheim. Andrew “Billy Campbell” Shue and Dermot Mulroney co-star.

Opens wide (official site).

“I’m Reed Fish”

“Million Dollar Baby”‘s Jay Baruchel stars in this quirky indie comedy about a small-town radio personality whose life is thrown into chaos after an old flame from high school re-enters his life just days before he is to be married to his longtime girlfriend. The film, which, surprisingly, isn’t written by Zach Braff, won the Best Actor award for Baruchel at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. Look for Alexis Bledel and Schuyler Fisk in supporting roles.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Knocked Up”

Girl meets boy. Girl and boy have drunken sex. Girl finds out she’s pregnant eight weeks later. That’s the gist of Judd Apatow’s latest comedy, starring Seth Rogen and Katharine Heigl as a couple whose one night stand results in… well… lasting consequences. Early reviews hint that this may be the funniest film of the summer season, if you’re up for raunchy-yet-morally-centered comedies.

Opens wide (offical site).

“Mr. Brooks”

Writer-director Bruce A. Evans, perhaps best known for the easily forgettable Christian Slater-helmed “Kuffs,” pretends its still 1992 with this thriller starring Kevin Costner and Demi Moore. A detective (Moore) investigates a serial killer (Costner), a normal successful businessman with a dangerous alter ego (William Hurt). Honestly, this film sounds more like something that would come from Donald Kaufman. And Dane Cook in a drama? We can’t even bear to see him attempt comedy.

Opens wide (official site).

“Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman”

British thespian Timothy Spall stars as Albert Pierrepoint, Britain’s most prolific hangman who moonlit as a grocery deliveryman while keeping his day job secret from his wife (Juliet Stevenson). The film premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Rise: Blood Hunter”

After she wakes up in a morgue, a journalist (Lucy Liu) realizes she’s one of the undead and enlists the aid of a police detective (Michael Chiklis) to hunt for those responsible for her death. It’s a lot like “The Crow,” only with Lucy Liu kicking ass and possibly playing for both teams. Yeowch.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Ten Canoes”

This acclaimed Australian film tells the story of ten Aboriginal men who go hunting for geese and tell each other tales from their people’s pasts. Rolf de Heer’s film won the Special Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“The Trials of Darryl Hunt”

This documentary from filmmakers Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg chronicles the brutal rape and murder case of a wrongfully convicted black man who was exonerated based on DNA evidence in 2004. The film premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.

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.