DID YOU READ

Critic wrangle: “Juno.”

Posted by on

"That's one doodle that can't be un-did, homeskillet."

"Juno," the would-be sassy girl-child crossroads where "Little Miss Sunshine," "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Rushmore" meet, is being presented as this year’s sleeper indie darling, the soft-beneath-the-snark candidate Fox Searchlight’s hoping will sneak in to snag awards, hearts and box office dollars. We must admit, we watched it anticipating the fact that we would loathe it as we have many a heartfelt whimsyfest, but ended up laughing. But… also still sort of loathed it — there’s something about the relentless accessorizing of layers of quirk on top of all of the characters that we couldn’t get over when the film tried for emotional appeal. (We did love the parents, played by Allison Janney and JK Simmons.)

Anyway, the critics are generally quite fond, while echoing complaints about "Juno"’s first section. A.O. Scott at the New York Times admits to gnashing his teeth for the first 15 minutes before settling in to find "the film outgrows its own mannerisms and defenses, evolving from a coy, knowing farce into a heartfelt, serious comedy."  Stephanie Zacharek at Salon agrees that for the first 20 minutes, "Juno" "appears to be one of those movies clogged with quotation marks," but that "Instead of hiding these behind a scrim of quotation marks, Reitman, Cody and their actors put their hearts on their sleeves: Their movie is intimate and inclusive, the exact opposite of groovier-than-thou." "[T]he early-going rough patches that are more Wes Anderson than even Wes Anderson could imagine," writes Robert Wilonsky at the Village Voice, adding that "once it works its way through the first-timer’s lookatme! snark, Juno evolves into a thing of beauty and grace."

"[T]he movie’s biggest surprise, and reward, turns out to be the maturity and appreciation with which Cody and Reitman handle the grown-ups in the mix," lauds Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly, while Ella Taylor at the LA Weekly muses that "I’m not sure I’d call Juno ground-breaking — for that you’d need a pimply heroine who stays that way and still gets the guy — but what sets this engaging little movie above the pack of glib, brittle or sickly-sweet teen comedies is the clear eye it casts on the suburban American family, while stoutly defending that battered institution’s elastic ability to adapt."

Dana Stevens at Slate loves the performances, and notes Michael Cera’s character’s confession: "’I try really hard.’ So does Diablo Cody’s script, but like Paulie, it’s sweet-spirited enough to get away with it most of the time." "That’s Juno’s appeal in a nutshell," adds the Onion AV Club‘s Scott Tobias. "It comes off as calculatedly irreverent at times, and its Wes Anderson-isms are too precious by half, but its sweetness is genuine and next-to-impossible to resist." Andrew Sarris at the New York Observer believes that "Juno represents an almost magical configuration of very talented people with very much the same brand of whipsaw humor," and in a review from back at Toronto, Roger Ebert writes that "Every element in the movie, including her getting pregnant, and her non-boyfriend, and her parents, and the couple that wants to take the baby for adoption, is completely unlike any version of those characters I have ever seen before. And the dialogue is so quick and funny you feel the actors are performing it on a high wire."

Dissenters: David Edelstein at New York finds that "The relentlessly jokey banter of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is taken to a screechy new level. Every character’s wisecracks come from the same place, like in bad Neil Simon." He’s also unimpressed by the fact that "The jokes disappear for the end of each segment, when you’re supposed to shed a little tear." Michael Koresky at indieWIRE deems the film "self-satisfied" and writes that "taking a step back from the hype, it’s hard not to feel like this aggressively clever, ultimately sentimental high-school comedy is less true seasonal counter-programming than just another Hollywood wolf in indie sheep clothing."

Neurotica_105_MPX-1920×1080

New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

Posted by on

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_CC_Neurotica_Series_Image4

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.

Neurotica_series_image_1

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.

Posted by on
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?”

via GIPHY

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).

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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

PL_409_MPX-1920×1080

Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giffy

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

via GIPHY

If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.