DID YOU READ

I’m a Polar Bear, Get Me Outta Here

I’m a Polar Bear, Get Me Outta Here (photo)

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On the nonfiction side of cinema this week, you’ve got portraits of a famous banjo player, an infamous boxer and, er, nature, while the fiction side delves into a dystopic, mutant-infested future, a bedraggled small town in Korea and Bret Easton Ellis’ decadent ’80s Los Angeles.

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“Earth”
The Mouse House launches its brand new nature documentary arm Disneynature with an Earth Day premiere of this year-in-the-life-of-our-planet feature. The bad news is that “Earth” recycles a lot of the footage from the BBC series “Planet Earth,” which anyone who feels the least bit smug about their TV already owns. The good news is that “Planet Earth” is pretty sick, and seeing it on the big screen is bound to be an improvement over even the glossiest home HD experience.. Patrick Stewart narrated the U.K. version of the film, but here in the U.S. Lord Vader himself, James Earl Jones, lends his gravelly vocal gravitas to the inevitable environmental message.
Opens Wednesday, April 22nd in limited release.

“Treeless Mountain”
Two young Korean girls are put in the care of their neglectful, alcoholic aunt while their mother tries to track down their absentee father in this second film from director So Yong Kim, whose 2006 debut “In Between Days” was a critical favorite. Left to their own devices, Jin and Bin must fend for themselves, but “Treeless Mountain” doesn’t give in to easy sentimentality, instead choosing to tell its delicate and absorbing story from an immersive child’s eye view.
Opens Wednesday, April 22nd in New York.

“Baby on Board”
Heather Graham and Jerry O’Connell play a workaholic couple whose lives are thrown into chaos by their unplanned pregnancy in this film from Brian Herzlinger, who you may remember from “My Date with Drew.” The most notable thing about this comedy may be that distributor Angry Monkey Entertainment is launching it exclusively in digital theaters classified as “E-Cinema,” as opposed to those meeting the “D-Cinema” standard, a distinction that likely won’t matter to any average moviegoer.
Opens in limited release.

“Empty Nest”
Argentinean filmmaker Daniel Burman’s last feature, “Family Law,” was about the relationships between fathers and sons. His new film, “Empty Nest,” skips ahead to a post-parenting era. The comedic drama looks into the lives of a prosperous and supposedly happily married couple who find that, their children grown and gone, they have no choice but to deal with decades of accumulated annoyances and resentments. The husband, a playwright suffering from writer’s block, escapes into flights of fancy he begins to have trouble separating from reality.
Opens in New York.

“Fighting”
Writer, punk rocker and former model Dito Montiel made a splash with his filmmaking debut, 2006’s autobiographical Queens-set “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.” For his next trick, Montiel’s trying out more mainstream territory with this action flick starring “Saints”‘ Channing Tatum as a streetwise (naturally) hustler who’s brought into the world of underground bare-knuckling brawling by a man who becomes his manager (Terrence Howard).
Opens in wide release.

“The Garden”
Also known as the nonfiction film no one had heard of at the Oscars, Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s “The Garden” was up for an Academy Award for best documentary feature earlier this year, but is only now getting its turn in theaters. The film delves into the battle to preserve a 14-acre community garden in South Central Los Angeles that developers hope to bulldoze in order to build warehouses.
Opens in Los Angeles.

“Il Divo”
How dead-on you’ll find Paolo Sorrentino’s savage satire will depend on your familiarity with Italian politics — the film skewers the less-than-honorable Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, who’s been elected to the Italian parliament seven times despite, or because of, his shady connections. Even if you’ve never heard of Andreotti, who reportedly walked out of a screening declaring “no, no — that is really too much,” there’s something to be said for Sorrentino’s visual style, which juxtaposes its flashiness with an intentionally and amusingly flat performance from lead Toni Servillo.
Opens in New York.

“The Informers”
Though he’s credited as one of the screenwriters on this adaptation of his 1994 short story collection, Bret Easton Ellis backed away from the film in a recent interview with MTV, saying “as a writer, you definitely feel a certain lack of control.” Maybe it’s that “The Informers,” a tale of ’80s L.A. excess starring Kim Basinger, Billy Bob Thornton, Brad Renfro (in his last film) and many others, was shredded by critics when it premiered at Sundance, with Variety claiming it rated “less than zero on the sophistication scale.”
Opens in limited release.

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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.