Opening This Week: July 13th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Captivity,” Lionsgate, 2007]

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


The last we saw of director Roland Joffé was the 2000 period piece “Vatel.” Now the two-time Oscar-nominee is behind the wheel of controversy-magnet “Captivity,” the latest entry in the “torture porn” genre fronted by the “Hostel”s and “Saw”s. “Captivity” generated plenty of talk due to a scandalous and soon pulled marketing campaign featuring a bound and gagged Elisha Cuthbert — it remains to be seen if the film will be able to capitalize on the publicity.

Opens wide (official site).


Taking a page out of the Alejandro González Iñárritu handbook, Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo interlaces three separate stories — one following a suicidal old man, another a 15-year-old runaway girl, the third a young couple after their tragic breakup — all set against the Acapulco sunset. The film premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”

This July is set to be a big Harry Potter month, as everyone’s favorite Hogwarts student (depending on who you ask…) returns both in the series’ fifth film iteration and its seventh and final book. New and relatively unknown director David Yates helms the arguably darkest “Harry Potter” film to date. Ace casting of Imelda Staunton as the deliciously evil Umbridge makes us have high hopes for this one.

Opens wide (official site).

“Hula Girls”

A group of young women in a Japanese coal-mining town look to save their home from an economic and moral depression by building a Hawaiian village tourist attraction, despite knowing little about the culture. Korean-Japanese director Lee Sang-il’s film won the Best Director and Best Screenplay awards at this year’s Japanese Academy Awards.

Opens in New York (official site).


Steve Buscemi riffs on the cinema of murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in this American remake of van Gogh’s 2003 film of the same name. Buscemi stars as a faded political journalist forced to interview a shallow soap opera star — the two are seemingly from entirely different worlds, but each begin to reveal their true selves to the other. We’ve been generally unimpressed with Sienna Miller since “Layer Cake,” but early reviews claim that Miller holds up her own against Buscemi.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles (official site).

“My Best Friend”

Arthouse fave Patrice Leconte directs this situation comedy about an unlikable man (an irascible Daniel Auteuil) who enlists the help of a charming taxi driver (Dany Boon) to prove to his business partner (Julie Gayet) that he has a best friend.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Shortcut to Happiness”

We remember hearing about this film way back before star Jennifer Love Hewitt became a ghost whisperer — Alec Baldwin’s troubled directorial debut faced financial ruin until the Yari Film Group picked up the film for distribution in 2006. Previously titled “The Devil and Daniel Webster” and based on the short story by Stephen Vincent Benét, it seems ripe for… going straight to DVD. When a film’s trailer reminds one of 2000’s “Bedazzled,” that’s not a good sign.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Talk to Me”

While most filmgoers this summer seem to be busy living free or dying hard, we hope that Kasi Lemmon’s latest feature, which may be one of the strongest films of the season, won’t be overlooked. Don Cheadle stars as Ralph “Petey” Greene, an ex-con turned radio DJ with the help of program director Dewey Hughes (Chiwetel Ejiofor). We can’t wait for the pairing of Cheadle and Ejiofor; here’s hoping Academy voters remember that come the end of the year.

Opens in limited release (official site).


Director Michael Arias, one of the creative forces behind the “Animatrix” series, makes history as the first non-Japanese filmmaker to helm a major anime film with “Tekkonkinkreet.” The film follows two orphans with completely opposite personalities who must team up to prevent the destruction of Treasure Town. The film’s plot may seem a little silly, but the film itself is purported to be a visual delight.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles (official site).


A woman puts herself through extensive plastic surgery in order to save her failing relationship in this drama directed by “3-Iron”‘s Kim Ki-duk. The film won the Plaque for International Film at last year’s Chicago International Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).


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.