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Opening This Week: October 1, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Trade,” Roadside Attractions, 2007]

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


Much has changed in the ten years since director Gregory Nava helmed “Selena,” the biopic about the late Latin music star that shot Jennifer Lopez to fame. Lopez went on to become a musical sensation, selling millions of CDs while working on award-winning films with directors like Steven Soderbergh, Oliver Stone and Martin Brest (a Razzie is still an award). Nava has kept a low-key profile, working on the Frankie Lyman biopic “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” and producing the PBS series “American Family.” This re-pairing of the two finds Lopez playing a journalist investigating a series of murders on the border of Juarez and El Paso — the film met with an infamously bad reception when in premiered at Berlin this year.

Opens in Dallas and El Paso (official site).

“The Darjeeling Limited”

Owen Wilson’s recent troubles saddened us, but there’s no better opportunity for a rebound than a starring role in frequent collaborator Wes Anderson’s latest — even if the part contains some uncomfortable real-life echoes. Wilson plays a man who hopes to reconnect with his two younger brothers (Jason Schwartzman and Anderson newcomer Adrien Brody) by taking them on a train trip across India. Jeer of the year goes to Fox Searchlight for cutting the 13-minute accompanying short “Hotel Chevalier,” which gives background on Schwartzman’s character and features a nude Natalie Portman: Boo!

Opens in New York (official site).

“Feast of Love”

Director Robert Benton, best known for helming the Oscar-winning “Kramer vs. Kramer,” hasn’t really directed anything that’s peaked our interest since the 1994 drama “Nobody’s Fool,” but if there’s one thing Benton is most known for, it’s getting strong performances out of his actors — the man’s directed eight different actors to Oscar-nominated performances. We’d be a little surprised if Benton’s latest gets any Oscar love, as this ensemble piece concerning the love lives of a small community in Oregon sounds a bit overdone, “Big Chill” style.

Opens wide (official site).

“The Game Plan”

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson attempted to shed his action star status with last year’s well-received football film “Gridiron Gang,” and this year the People’s Champion looks to tackle (sorry) the kid-friendly crowd with his family film “The Game Plan.” The Rock plays an NFL quarterback whose bachelor lifestyle gets turned upside down with the arrival of the seven-year-old daughter he never knew he had. Hey, it worked for Vin Diesel, sort of.

Opens wide (official site).

“I’ll Believe You”

Director Paul Francis Sullivan, who worked previously as a field producer for “The Daily Show,” makes his feature debut with this film about a late-night radio host who receives a panicked phone call in an indecipherable language and enlists the help of his friends to uncover the true identity of the first-time caller after the FBI gets involved. David Alan Basche, best known for “United 93” and last seen playing the Crab on “30 Rock,” stars alongside supporting actors Patrick Warburton, Fred Willard and Ed Helms.

Opens in limited release (IMDB Page).

“The Kingdom”

Before we become inundated with end of year “serious” movies featuring important stories about American influence in the Middle East, government conspiracies and Tom Cruise pretending to be a senator who watches too much Fox News, we have what looks to be a solid thriller courtesy of “Friday Night Lights” director Peter Berg and new screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan, about an FBI team sent to Saudi Arabia to investigate the bombing of American citizens living on Middle Eastern soil. We’re (truly!) glad to hear that Berg cut down on the politics and focuses more on the action — the film’s like a history lesson followed by a monster truck rally. Now that’s a rollicking good time.

Opens wide (official site).

“Lust, Caution”

Ang Lee’s hot and steamy follow-up to his Oscar-winner “Brokeback Mountain” has drawn some serious buzz ever since the project’s original inception — this Shanghai-set period piece has everyone from the MPAA to Chinese government officials all stuffed up. The film tells the story of a young woman (newcomer Tang Wei) who gets swept up in a dangerous game of emotional intrigue with a powerful political figure (Tony Leung, who just oozes sexuality). The film is to be released in the US with a dreaded NC-17 rating, while Chinese censors are cutting nearly 30 minutes for release in Lee’s native homeland. The film also recently won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, which should reassure you that this ain’t no “Showgirls.”

Opens in limited release (official site).


Director John Jeffcoat helms this indie comedy about an American novelty products salesman (Josh Hamilton) who must relocate to India to train his replacement after his entire department is outsourced. The film won the Golden Space Needle Award at this year’s Seattle International Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Price of Sugar”

Paul Newman narrates this Bill Haney-directed documentary about the efforts of a Catholic priest advocating for thousands of Haitian workers employed by the sugar trade. The film premiered earlier this year at South by Southwest, where it went on to win an audience award.

Opens in limited release (official site).


A Polish woman, a Texas cop, a young Mexican man come together when a girl is kidnapped and sold into slavery by sex traffickers. “Summer Storm” director Marco Kreuzpaintner collaborates with “The Motorcycle Diaries” screenwriter Jose Rivera on this adaptation of a 2004 New York Times Magazine article by Peter Landesman. The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles (



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.”


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. 


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.


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…


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.


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 ’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?”


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).



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.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.