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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: August 10th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Louis Garrel and Romain Duris in “Dans Paris,” IFC Films, 2007]

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

“2 Days in Paris”

Julie Delpy’s directorial follow-up to 2002’s “Looking for Jimmy” finds Delpy and Adam Goldberg playing a New York couple vacationing in Europe and trying to reignite the passion in their relationship. As non-English speaking French parents, flirtatious ex-boyfriends and constant insecurities test their relationship, the couple must find out if they are able to salvage what they have left. Kudos to Delpy for getting Goldberg to play her neurotic New York boyfriend — we couldn’t think of anyone better.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Crossing the Line”

This British documentary, directed by Daniel Gordon, follows James Dresnok, a US Army defector currently living in North Korean after having defected to in 1962.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Cut Sleeve Boys”

Director Ray Yeung directs this import about an aging British Chinese gay man who undergoes a midlife crisis and decides to begin life as a drag queen.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

“Daddy Day Camp”

We think it’s safe to say that Cuba Gooding Jr. can’t sink any lower. In this unnecessary sequel to the 2003 comedy “Daddy Day Care,” the former Oscar winner takes over for Eddie Murphy as a father who expands his day care business into a camp for kids. And why exactly is Kevin Arnold from “The Wonder Years” directing this?

Opens wide (official site).

“Dans Paris”

While director Christophe Honoré’s 2004 “Ma Mère” may have received a less-than-favorable reception from critics, reviews for his latest film claim the director presents an honest and well-studied take on depression. “The Beat That My Heart Skipped”‘s Romain Duris stars as a depressed man devastated by the erosion of his relationship who must move in with his divorced father and younger brother in order to overcome the pain. The film premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Descent”

Rosario Dawson plays a promising college student whose life devolves after she’s raped by a fellow classmate. Director Talia Lugacy makes her feature film debut.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Rocket Science”

The film’s trailer reminds us a bit of Wes Anderson’s “Rushmore,” though Reece Thompson’s Hal Hefner seems a lot less confident than Max Fischer as a high school student with a stuttering problem who joins his school debate team to try to win the heart of the girl of his dreams. The film is the first narrative feature from Oscar-nominated director Jeffrey Blitz, who previously directed the documentary “Spellbound.”

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

“Rush Hour 3”

Yeah, we’re just as put off as you are by the thought of sitting through a third “Rush Hour” movie, yet alone another Brett Ratner film. This time, fast-talking detective (and $20 million dollar man) Chris Tucker must once again team up with Hong Kong cop Jackie Chan to face off against Chinese gangsters in Paris. Roman Polanski makes a cameo as a French policeman.

Opens wide (official site).

“Skinwalkers”

Pushed back from earlier this summer, this supernatural thriller finds a 13-year-old boy targeted by two werewolf packs caught amidst a brutal civil war — the only one able to protect him is the boy’s mother. “Jason X” director (and David Cronenberg enthusiast) James Isaac directs.

Opens wide (official site).

“Stardust”

Cult graphic novelist Neil Gaiman’s previous cinematic adaptations been less than successful (2005’s snoozer “Mirrormask,” anyone?). While we’re willing to give his latest a shot, we have no idea what the hell the movie is about: something with a young man living in a countryside town making a promise to his beloved that he’ll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm on the outskirts of town. The film has an all-star cast, with Robert De Niro, Peter O’Toole, Ricky Gervais, Claire Danes and an evil Michelle Pfeiffer. “Layer Cake” director Matthew Vaughn opted out of the third “X-Men” film so that he could film “Stardust,” so that’s something.

Opens wide (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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GIFs via Giphy

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.