DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: July 20th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Jay Jonroy’s “David & Layla,” Jeff Lipsky, 2007]

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

“Cashback”

Expanding his original short film into a full-length feature, director Sean Ellis offers up a comedy featuring an English art student whose insomnia inspires him to begin working nights at a local supermarket. As he befriends the colorful characters who work the graveyard shift there, he slowly develops a crush on the quiet checkout girl who may be able to solve his sleeping problem. The film is getting a limited release, but will be out on DVD shortly after.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“David & Layla”

Suggested alternate title: “My Big Fat Judeo-Arabic Wedding.” Jay Jonroy directs this romantic comedy based on the true story of a Muslim woman and a Jewish man who fall in love in New York City against the wishes of their culturally divisive families. The film received the Best Feature award at the Washington DC Independent Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Goya’s Ghosts”

We’re glad to finally see Milos Forman return to the cinema after an eight year absence, we just wish it weren’t with… this. “Goya’s Ghosts” is an 18th century period piece set in Inquisition-era Spain, where painter Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgård) finds his muse (Natalie Portman) accused of atheism and tortured by her accuser (Javier Bardem). Forman seems perfect for period pictures, but while we love the film’s cast, early reviews claim that the film’s all style with no substance.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Hairspray”

A film based on the Broadway musical based on the 1988 John Waters film about how pleasantly plump star-struck teenager Tracy Turnblad makes waves on a local TV dance show amidst social unrest in 1962 Baltimore. Boo to casting a seriously creepy looking John Travolta, yay to casting everyone else (Michelle Pfeiffer as Velma Von Tussle, Christopher Walken as Walter Turnblad and newcomer Nikki Blonsky as Tracy). Early reviews generally find that the film captures the lighthearted tone of the Broadway musical; good thing, because we don’t think we can stomach another heavy summer movie.

Opens wide (official site).

“I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry”

Another summer, another Adam Sandler comedy. Sandler and “The King of Queens” star Kevin James play straight Brooklyn firefighters who pretend to be a gay couple in order to receive domestic partner benefits. We long for the days of more sensitive gay-themed comedies like “In & Out,” but we really weren’t expecting much from a Happy Madison production.

Opens wide (official site).

“Live-In Maid”

A wealthy woman and her live-in housekeeper must adjust their routine and relationship when Buenos Aires is plunged into an economic crisis in this drama from “The Secret Sea” director Jorge Gaggero. The film won the Special Jury Prize for dramatic World Cinema at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Sunshine”

British director Danny Boyle, last seen with 2005’s winning children’s film “Millions,” returns with a science fiction (!) film about a team of eight astronauts who must re-ignite the dying sun in order to save the earth.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Your Mommy Kills Animals”

Director Curt Johnson takes an in-depth look at the behind-the-scenes workings of the animal rights movement and the FBI’s declaration that extreme animal rights groups represent the most dangerous homegrown threat to the United States.

Opens in limited release (official site).

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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.