DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: July 27th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Romain Duris in “Molière,” Sony Pictures Classics, 2007]

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

“Arctic Tale”

Pretty much exactly like “March of the Penguins”, but with a polar bear and a walrus at the film’s center instead of our favorite tuxedoed birds. Director Sarah Robertson reportedly spent six years filming in the Arctic, which according to National Geographic will no longer exist by the year 2040. Queen Latifah takes over the narration duties (what, Morgan Freeman was busy?) while the film features music by the Shins, Cat Stevens, and more.

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

“The Camden 28”

Director Anthony Giacchino’s debut film documents the story of 28 antiwar activists who were arrested for conspiring to remove and destroy files from government agencies located in Camden, NJ. The film features archival footage and current interviews with FBI agents involved in the case.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Devil Came On Horseback”

Filmmakers Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg follow-up this year’s “The Trials of Darryl Hunt” with a documentary that exposes the genocide raging in Darfur through the eyes of a former U.S marine who returns home to make the story public. The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“I Know Who Killed Me”

Lindsay “Downward Spiral” Lohan’s first post-rehab film (but who can keep track?) finds her playing a girl physically and mentally altered after a brutal attack by an assailant in this thriller directed by “The Lost” director Chris Sivertson. The film promises to be as confusing as its trailer as LiLo plays dual personalities and strips… for some reason. Neal McDonough and Julia Ormond co-star as Lohan’s parents (or are they?).

Opens wide (official site).

“Molière”

“The Story of My Life” director Laurent Tirard helms this historical fiction about the “blank” period of French satirist Molière’s life when the recently imprisoned young playwright assumes the identity of a priest in order to help a wealthy man stage a play he wrote for his would-be mistress. Hotcha Gallic up-and-comer Romain Duris stars.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“No End in Sight”

Still angry after last month’s release of “Sicko”? Then get ready for the Charles Ferguson-directed Iraq War exposé “No End in Sight,” which examines the manners in which U.S. policy errors in Iraq created the insurgency and chaos that engulfs the nation today. The film won the Special Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and features interviews with former White House officials, including Richard Armitage, Barbara Bodine and Colin Powell.

Opens in New York and Washington D.C. (official site).

“No Reservations”

While there’s no surprise that Hollywood would remake the excellent German film “Mostly Martha,” we’re hoping this Catherine Zeta-Jones vehicle will be able to match up to its source material. Mrs. Michael Douglas plays a neurotic, tightly wound chef whose life changes when she unexpectedly becomes the guardian of her young niece. The film sounds like it would’ve been stronger in the hands of Diane Keaton 20 years ago, but here’s hoping supporting cast members Abigail Breslin and Aaron Eckhart are the icing on the cake.

Opens wide (official site).

“The Simpsons Movie”

Hooray, it’s the film everybody was looking forward to about ten years ago. While recent seasons “The Simpsons” haven’t equaled what the show used to be, we still can’t hide our excitement over this much talked about film, courtesy of show creator Matt Groening. While we’re glad to hear many former writers from “The Simpsons”‘ golden years returned for this film (no Conan?), there’s still little news about its mysterious plot (Terrorists? Global warming? Green Day?).

Opens wide (official site).

“This Is England”

Indie director Shane Meadows, previously known for “Dead Man’s Shoes” and “Once Upon a Time in the Midlands,” delivers another film about a troubled time in English history in this semi-autobiographical tale about the director’s own experiences in a skinhead gang. The film made a splash at film festivals last year following its premiere at Toronto. Plus, the film offers music from Toots and The Maytals, Dexys Midnight Runners and The Specials. Best soundtrack of the year, perhaps?

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.