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DID YOU READ

Glancing through Toronto.

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"Not being like everyone else."
The problem with Toronto, beside the fact that we don’t get to go, is that its films and coverage blend in and overlap with that of Venice, Telluride, New York and the general fall season. Not that there isn’t plenty happening there; a few quick links:

Roger Ebert, clearly thrilled to be back out and watching movies, loves "Juno," the second film from "Thank You For Smoking"‘s Jason Reitman: "the dialogue is so quick and funny you feel the actors are performing it on a high-wire."

Michael Phillips at the Chicago Tribune gives the praise to the film’s star, Ellen Page. Otherwise, he’s underwhelmed by two of the bigger, glossier titles to screen:

Sunday morning one of the p.p.’s (prestige pictures) was screened for the first time: "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," in which Cate Blanchett revisits the role of the Virgin Queen and makes eyes in the direction of Clive Owen’s Walter Raleigh, of cape-and-mud-puddle fame. It is a highly overwrought historical epic, as is Ang Lee’s curiously static World War II Shanghai-set "Lust, Caution," the latest example of the Motion Picture Association of America’s insanity when it comes to ratings. It should have gotten an R, but "Lust, Caution" has received an NC-17 for three fairly explicit encounters between a young revolutionary (Tang Wei) and her target, a collaborationist flunky (Tony Leung). Otherwise, the caution is overwhelming.

Michael Lerman at indieWIRE finds the Midnight Madness line-up mixed. Of Takashi Miike’s "Sukiyaki Western Django," he writes that the film "fails miserably at keeping the film up to speed." George Romero’s "Diary of the Dead," on the other hand, successfully toggles between being "uproariously crowd-pleasing with its cast of characters and range of deaths and painfully heavy handed with lots of meandering on its mock doc style"; Dario Argento’s "The Mother of Tears" is "what seems like a conscious effort to poke fun at the b-cinema that was being shot while he was making a name for himself… Argento provides the audience with a nearly incomprehensible plot that is secondary to hilarious tropes of cheap filmmaking."

Wesley Morris at the Boston Globe is particularly fond of Nina Davenport’s "Operation Filmmaker."

Eric Kohn at The Reeler checks in with Werner Herzog, there with his Antarctica documentary "Encounters at the End of the World": "I have to say that, for the first time in my life as a filmmaker, I was scared, because I had no idea who I was going to meet. There was no scouting. There was no preparation for it, because you only go to Antarctica under special circumstances. I went there to come home with a movie."

Joe Friesen at the Globe and Mail talks to Guy Maddin about his "docu-fantasia" about his home town, "My Winnipeg": "I think it would be hilarious to hold captive a very large audience in a world capital abroad to see a travelogue on Winnipeg… There are so many things specific to Winnipeg in it, but I hope that it’s so specific that it’s universal – that people will begin to see their own hometown materialize before their eyes in Winnipeg."

And Peter Howell at the Toronto Star interviews Lt.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire and Roy Dupuis, the actor who plays him in "Shake Hands With the Devil," the narrative adaptation of Dallaire book of the same name, itself recently made into a documentary.

+ Toronto #5: Great performances, strong stories (RogerEbert.com)
+ Young Canadian actress captures filmgoers’ hearts (Chicago Tribune)
+ Midnight Madness Mixed, With Duds "Sukiyaki," "Frontier(s)," Standouts "Dainipponjin" and "Inside" (indieWIRE)
+ The Iraq war, testy teenagers take Toronto (Boston Globe)
+ Herzog on Ice (The Reeler)
+ His own private Winnipeg (Globe and Mail)
+ Two vs. the devil (Toronto Star)

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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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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.