DID YOU READ

Laughs, Loathing and Lyme Disease

Laughs, Loathing and Lyme Disease (photo)

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This week finds a couple of small screen favorites treated to big screen outings, comedies both black and blacker, as well as the ballad of the real-life Spinal Tap.

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“Anvil! The Story of Anvil”
With its singer’s proclivity to play the guitar with a dildo, a disastrous tour managed by a churlish Swiss-Italian fan with little professional experience, and a drummer really named Robb Reiner), comparisons to the 1984 mother of all music mockumentaries are inevitable. But ladies and gentlemen, this really is Spinal Tap, and so much more. First-time director Sacha Gervasi, who served as Anvil’s roadie for a time in the ’80s, follows the legendary underground Canadian rockers throughout their ill-fated European tour in preparation for their 13th studio album. Still chasing the dream and that ever-elusive break, they subsist on a strained friendship, bad food and blind optimism to the tune of “at least there is a tour for everything to go wrong on.”
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“Dragonball: Evolution”
Over the course of his varied and underrated career output (go rent “Space: Above and Beyond” and thank us later), writer/director James Wong has shown, amongst other things, that he’s adept at handling both mythology and elaborately cartoonish live-action set pieces. As luck would have it, these are two things crucial to preventing this FX-heavy adaptation of the beloved Japanese comic book series from becoming just another digitally induced headache. From producer Stephen Chow, “Dragonball: Evolution” centers on the headstrong young Goku (Justin Chatwin), who embarks on a dangerous quest to obtain the seven mystical Dragon Balls following the death of his grandfather at the hands of sorcerer Lord Piccolo (James Marsters). Hard to believe it’s not in 3D, really.
Opens wide.

“Hannah Montana: The Movie”
With Disney alum Christina Aguilera going dirrty and her fellow Mouseketeer Britney going barmy, it’s left to little Miley Cyrus to fly the white flag of purity for the Mouse House’s tween target audience, reminding good little girls that the fame game is a sham and it’s friends and family that count. This mildly meta big screen outing for “Hannah” finds her real-life alter ego Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) letting things go to her head, culminating in some devilishly diva-esque antics involving Tyra Banks and a shoe store catfight. Deciding his daughter needs an extended time out, father Robby (Billy Ray Cyrus) drags Miley back to the farm and her hometown of Crowley Corners, Tennessee where her childhood pals Lilly (Emily Osment) and Oliver (Mitchel Musso) bring her back down to Earth.
Opens wide.

“In a Dream”
Winner of an audience award at last year’s SXSW, director Jeremiah Zagar’s intimate documentary is both a tribute and a love letter to his wildly eccentric father Isaiah, a street artist who’s enriched the lives of thousands with his inimitably beautiful designs along the streets of Philadelphia, even though few know him by name. The younger Zagar showcases his father’s great works of tile, glass and shard that are at once striking and beautiful, as well as the fractured genius behind them — a man who’s spent much of his life putting his considerable talents to work giving back to his beloved city and fracturing some of his closest relationships in the process.
Opens in limited release.

“Lymelife”
From “Blue Velvet” to “American Beauty,” one thing that’s become abundantly clear is that beyond the white picket fence of suburban bliss lurks unimagined horror and volatile repression. The talk of Toronto last year, where it scooped the coveted International Critics Award, “Lymelife” marks the directorial debut for Derick Martini, who, with his brother Steven, fashioned a darkly comic script from their own experiences growing up in 1970s Long Island. In addition to serving as a producer, Alec Baldwin stars alongside Jill Hennessy as the mutually loathing parents of Jim (Kieran Culkin), who prepares to ship out to war, and Scott (Rory Culkin), who idly watches their marriage deteriorate as an outbreak of Lyme disease sparks paranoia throughout the neighborhood.
Opens in New York; opens in Los Angeles on April 17th.

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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.