DID YOU READ

What to Watch If Not Watching the “Watchmen”

What to Watch If Not Watching the “Watchmen” (photo)

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Some homegrown interloping mixes with a strong international showing this week to give an overall balance to what’s playing at your local multiplex. Comic book fans can salivate over “Watchmen,” arthouse fans can enjoy a Louis Garrel double bill, and a Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse-inspired serial killer movie bridges the gap.

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“12”
A best foreign language Oscar nominee from 2008, Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov’s interpretation of the Reginald Rose’s 1954 play “Twelve Angry Men” puts a contemporary political spin on this classic tale of passion and prejudice. Tasked with discerning the guilt of a young Chechen boy accused of brutally murdering his military officer father, Sergei Makovetsky plays the lone voice of dissent voting for acquittal. As the audience witnesses the boy’s unfortunate childhood in flashbacks, Makovetsky’s mysterious juror preaches rationality and reason as he attempts to convince a room full of his peers of the boy’s innocence one by one. In Russian with subtitles.
Opens in New York on Wednesday, March 4th.

“Everlasting Moments”
Swedish auteur Jan Troell returns with this studied piece of period miserablism, continuing his informal trilogy of films about turn of the century upheaval against the backdrop of the socialist revolution, beginning with 1966’s “Here’s Your Life” and 2001’s “As White as in Snow.” In a story inspired by his wife’s grandmother, Troell tells of Maria (Maria Heiskanen), who finds respite from her humdrum existence under the tutelage of the solicitous Sebastian (Jasper Christensen), a local photographer who encourages her to employ the camera she wins in a lottery as a tool of intellectual independence as she toils to raise her seven children and keep tabs on her boorish, womanizing husband (Mikael Persbrandt). In Swedish with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

“Explicit Ills”
Premiering at last year’s SXSW Festival where it scooped a trio of awards, actor-turned-writer/director Mark Webber’s directorial debut is a disparate ensemble ramble through an impoverished South Philadelphia neighborhood that seems to genuinely have something to say. With a cast of largely unknown actors augmented by indie starlets such as Paul Dano and Rosario Dawson, Webber delves deep into modern life on the breadlines, orchestrating a multi-stranded story of those living a hand-to-mouth existence in South Philly where kindness and compassion often take the place of actual currency.
Opens in New York; expands to Los Angeles and Philadelphia on March 20th.

“Fados”
Born out of the immigrant slums of Lisbon in the early 19th century, Fado is a vigorous yet melancholic style of music reflecting struggle and promise that’s been dubbed the “Portuguese blues.” From the classical to the contemporary, from Reggae to hip-hop, Spanish helmer Carlos Saura traces the origins of the Fado (which literally translates to “destiny” or “fate”), exploring its development and continued legacy with his trademark fusion of music, dance and cinematic verve. In Portuguese with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“Frontier of Dawn”
Veteran French helmer Philippe Garrel directs his son Louis in this throwback to the heyday of the French New Wave sprinkled with elements of the supernatural that charts the fine line between blissful intoxication and insanity. Garrel Junior stars as François, a young photographer left reeling following the suicide of Carole (Laura Smet), an actress with whom he had an affair. A year later, François is looking to marry and move on, but becomes plagued by visions of the ghostly Carole, beckoning him to join her in the land of the dead. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“The Horsemen”
Although some might have considered Jonas Åkerlund’s druggie drama “Spun” a horror film, the music video vet is applying his splice-a-second technique to a real gruesome thriller this time, starring Dennis Quaid as an embittered detective investigating a series of viciously elaborate slayings whose characteristics mirror the exploits of the fabled Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. (Probably a compromise for a film with designs on “Se7en,” but having only the budget for two.) In what our own Matt Singer recently touted as one of the most anticipated performances of the spring, Ziyi Zhang co-stars as the mysterious woman suspected of masterminding the murders.
Opens in limited release.

“La Belle Personne”
Opening as the headliner for The Brooklyn Academy of Music Cinematik’s tribute to our sister company IFC Films, “Love Songs” director Christope Honoré helms this modern-day retelling of “La Princesse de Clèves,” the classic French novel of romance and scandal, which depicts the pain of growing up and the agony of unrequited love. Léa Seydoux stars as Junie, a troubled 16-year-old who catches the eye of all the boys at her new school and develops a friendship with Otto (Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet). But as Junie spurns Otto’s clumsy romantic advances, she cultivates a forbidden romance with her Italian teacher, Mr. Némours (Louis Garrel). In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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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.

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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.

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Forget Public Wifi

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

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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.

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Self Defense

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

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