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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: August 17th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Nicole Kidman in “The Invasion,” Warner Bros. Pictures, 2007]

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

“Death at a Funeral”

While his “The Stepford Wives” remake was a pretty terrible film, we always knew that director Frank Oz could do better. His new film is a (thankfully) low-budget comedy about two brothers attempting to stop a blackmailer from exposing their recently deceased father’s secret as their family grieves. The casting of Alan Tudyk and Peter Dinklage alone in supporting roles is enough for us.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Delirious”

“Living in Oblivion” director Tom DiCillo returns with his first film in six years, an offbeat drama about a homeless youth (Michael Pitt), a pop music siren (Alison Lohman) and a member of the paparazzi (Steve Buscemi) who become entangled in each other’s lives. Elvis Costello cameos as himself — yes! The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Love for Sale”

Karim Ainouz directs this Brazilian film about a young woman who decides to raffle off her own body in order to earn a living. The film picked up the Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actress prizes at the 2006 Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Manda Bala”

Newcomer Jason Kohn directs this doc examining corruption and class warfare in Brazil as told through the eyes of a wealthy businessman, a plastic surgeon who assists kidnapping victims and a politician who owns a frog farm. The film premiered earlier this year to much acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Superbad”

Yes, we love the subtly awkward poster, the hilarious uncut trailer, the brilliant casting of Jonah Hill and Michael Cera as two socially inept friends, and… well, what isn’t there to love? The brilliant minds behind this summer’s “Knocked Up” bring this Seth Rogen-penned script to the screen in a tale of two friends who try to score alcohol for one last party before they graduate from high school. What can we say, we’re suckers for some McLovin’.

Opens wide (official site).

“The 11th Hour”

Leonardo DiCaprio gets all vice presidential on us with this environmental documentary taking a look at the state of the global environment while providing visionary and practical solutions for restoring our nature’s ecosystems.

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

“The Invasion”

German filmmaker Oliver Hirschbiegel (of 2005’s “The Downfall”) originally received credit for this science fiction update of the classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” story in which a psychiatrist (Nicole Kidman) unearths the origins of an alien epidemic and learns that her son may be the only way to stop it. Talk is that studio heads were dissatisfied with Hirschbiegel’s cut of the film and enlisted the help of Wachowski brothers disciple James McTeigue (of “V for Vendetta”) to oversee a rehaul. This is the fourth adaptation of the classic “Body Snatchers” magazine serial, and while we love the thought of Nicole Kidman fighting off brain-sucking aliens, we still prefer the 1956 Cold War original.

Opens wide (official site).

“The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters”

Don’t mind us if we get a little nostalgic over director Seth Gordon’s documentary about two diehard video game fans who compete to break the world record on the classic arcade game Donkey Kong. The film made quite the impression at Slamdance earlier this year, and New Line has attached Gordon to direct a feature film version of his own doc. Now that’s a pretty good start.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Last Legion”

Director Doug Lefler helms this swords-and-sandals epic about a soldier who escapes the crumbling Roman Empire as barbarians descend upon his land, and who must embark on a dangerous adventure in order to save his emperor. Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley and Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai provide supporting roles.

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.