DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: July 6th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Brenda Blethyn in “Introducing the Dwights,” Warner Independent, 2007]

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

“Dynamite Warrior”

With the long-delayed release of “Tears of the Black Tiger,” the rising popularity of actioner Tony Jaa, and the arthouse appreciation of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, we say it’s about time Thai cinema found some respect on American shores. This latest Thai action film comes courtesy of “The Protector” camera operator Chalerm Wongpim, and finds “Born to Fight” star Dan Chupong kicking some serious ass in 1920s Thailand as he sets out to avenge the death of his parents. The trailer makes the film look like a Muay Thai Western, but c’mon, just check out this dude riding a missile.

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

“Introducing the Dwights”

While this Aussie rom-com features all too familiar “Meet the Parents”-esque wackiness, early reviews state the film exudes a warmth that is nothing but charming. A shy 20-year-old brings his new girlfriend home to meet his aging comedienne mother, who, in a bit of ace casting, is played by Brenda Blethyn in full-on “Little Voice” mode. We would’ve loved to see her paired with Geoffrey Rush as the Neil Diamond-esque Dwight patriarch.

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

“Joshua”

From “The Omen” to “The Shining,” from “The Sixth Sense” to “The Ring,” that whole “creepy little kid” thing seems ready to be put to rest, but then along comes “Hell House” director George Ratliff’s debut, featuring an adorable little tyke bent on familial destruction. Indie darlings Vera Farmiga and Sam Rockwell star as the parents of newborn daughter Lily and nine-year-old prodigy son Joshua, who begins to display a dark side after the arrival of his new sister. We’ll watch this for Rockwell, who was recently cast as Victor Mancini in the adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s “Choke” (squeal!).

Opens in limited release (official site).

“License to Wed”

We look forward to a new Robin Williams movie about as much as a root canal, so it’s no surprise that our hopes for this movie are pretty slim. Williams stars as a preacher who does annoying things to newlyweds-to-be Mandy Moore and John Krasinski (yes!) for some reason or another. The poster itself suggests the film has way too much Robin Williams, but, hey, at least several cast members of “The Office” will also make appearances. That’s good enough to last us until September.

Opens wide (official site).

“The Method”

This film looks a little like “The Apprentice” meets “Battle Royale,” but, you know, tolerable. “The Sea Inside” screenwriter Mateo Gil wrote this Spanish film about seven eager businessmen who are called upon to interview for a position with a mysterious company, and are enlisted to participate in a bizarre test known only as the Grönholm Method. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2005.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Rescue Dawn”

Werner Herzog’s latest feature may find him with the largest budget he’s had to date (a whopping $10 mil!) and may seem a bit more mainstream than his usual fare, but that doesn’t stop us from being excited over his first fiction film since 2005’s “The Wild Blue Yonder.” Christian Bale stars as a German-American fighter pilot who ends up in a Vietcong prison camp shortly after his plane is shot down over Laos, and who must organize an escape with a small band of captives. Steve Zahn co-stars, and is surprisingly good.

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

“Transformers”

Michael Bay sets out to destroy our collective childhoods with this live-action take on this popular 80s cartoon franchise. Our gripes: Megatron isn’t a giant gun that resembles an NES Zapper (he’s a jet), Bumblebee is a Chevy Camaro instead of a VW Beetle (damn you, product placement!), and Optimus Prime has lips (nipples on the Batsuit, anyone?). What we’re looking forward to: Peter Cullen returns as the original voice of Prime (yay nostalgia!), Hugo Weaving voices Megatron, and lots of stuff blows up.

Opens wide (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.