Surfers, Dancers and Wolverine

Surfers, Dancers and Wolverine (photo)

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With Tribeca well under way, there’s much in the way of art house fare this week for everyone with a rich international flavor. Go crazy!

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“A Wink and a Smile”
Seattle-based documentary filmmaker Deirdre Allen Timmons makes her debut by pulling back the velvet curtain on the world of burlesque, where art and erotica co-exist in the same spectacle. Timmons introduces ten game volunteers, comprised of eager housewives and bored professionals, to Miss Indigo Blue’s House of Burlesque, where the ladies find self-confidence and empowerment as they’re instructed by Miss Blue in the age-old art of theatrical titillation.
Opens in New York.

“Battle For Terra”
Having spent much of the last 15 years honing his skills as a digital artist on the likes of “Hellboy,” effects wizard Aristomenis Tsirbas wields the pixelated megaphone for his feature debut, a futuristic world-at-war saga adapted from his own 2003 short “Terra.” Marooned in deep space, the last remnants of humanity, led by the imperialistic General Hemmer (Brian Cox), set about eradicating the population of the peaceful planet of Terra so as to claim it for themselves. On the planet’s surface, two rebellious teens (Evan Rachel Wood and Justin Long) do whatever they can to prevent their planet’s destruction.
Opens wide and in 3D.

Belgian actor-turned-helmer Bouli Lanners’ follow-up to his 2005 debut “Ultranova” is a darkly comic road trip that served as his country’s official entry to the most recent Academy Awards. Lanners stars as Yven, a disgruntled, middle-aged car dealer who returns home to find a young man (Fabrice Adde) attempting to burgle his house. Rather than calling the police, Yven elects to drive him across country to his parents’ place on the French border. In French with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

“Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”
Employing the template of “A Christmas Carol” peppered with a little Valentine’s Day schmaltz, this latest incarnation of the battle of the sexes, courtesy of “Mean Girls” director Mark Waters, arrives in May (obviously!) to once more remind us that women are from Venus and men are from some planet where they embrace commitment like they embrace broadly drawn romantic comedies that patronize them for not embracing commitment. Matthew McConaughey is Connor Mead, a celebrity photographer and playboy who’s visited by three ghosts who lead him on a romantic retrospective of his many conquests on the way to his one true love, Jenny (Jennifer Garner).
Opens wide.

Mother-daughter bonds run deep in this labor of love feature from writer/director Mary Haverstick. Haverstick’s tale of grief and the ravages of disease, laced with her late mother’s poetry, finds Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden playing opposite her own daughter, Eulala Scheel, in the latter’s acting debut. Harden stars as Inga, a spectator to her disintegrating marriage to Hermann (Michael Gaston) following a mastectomy.
Opens in limited release.

“I Can See You”
Writer/director Graham Reznick’s no-budget debut is an abstract visceral parody of one of horror’s most noted clichés, which Reznick himself describes as “a psychedelic horror experience.” “You” is about three fledgling advertising executives (Ben Dickenson, Duncan Skiles, Chris Ford) looking to brainstorm the rebranding of a kitchen cleaner, who naturally decide that the best place to do that is in a cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere. When one of their girlfriends disappears, another suffers a mental breakdown, and the situation quickly begins to unravel.
Opens in New York.

“Ice People”
Having done much in recent years to bring light to the plight of the Rwandan people, French-American documentary filmmaker Anne Aghion paints a less harrowing but equally compelling portrait of the most inhospitable terrain on Earth. Focusing on a quartet of researchers, Aghion charts the vast, outer reaches of human endurance as the group commit to six months of “deep field” isolation in temperatures as low as minus-60° as they search for fossilized evidence of a once lush and verdant Antarctica that might enlighten us as to the history of our planet.
Opens in New York.

“The Limits of Control”
Through his eclectic career, director Jim Jarmusch’s fascination with genre-splicing and casting against type have yielded results good (“Dead Man”), bad (“Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai”) and downright anemic (“Broken Flowers”). This latest effort finds the divisive helmer returning to the theme of the enigmatic stranger operating according to his own mysterious code. Isaach De Bankolé stars as a mysterious loner hired to do a job in Spain, where he encounters a barrage of colorful characters that includes Bill Murray’s shady businessman, Tilda Swinton’s fixer and Paz de la Huerta’s sultry femme fatale. John Hurt, Gael García Bernal and Hiam Abbass round out the supporting cast.
Opens in limited release.


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.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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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.


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.


Forget Public Wifi

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



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.


Self Defense

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


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