What’s Old is New Again

What’s Old is New Again (photo)

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This week sees a couple of golden oldies trotted out alongside the customary summertime family fun, docs on science both good and bad, and another lesson from the Tony Scott school of flash-bang filmmaking.

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“Betty Blue: The Director’s Cut”
Having inspired everything from ardent film student party chatter to the pure cinematic showmanship of Luc Besson, Jean-Jacques Beineix’s 1986 Oscar-nominated romantic drama has a legacy that reaches far and wide. This new print of Beineix’s definitive 1991 cut of his oh so artsy tale of an aspiring writer Zorg (Jean-Hugues Anglade), his wild, volatile muse Betty (Béatrice Dalle) and her gradual descent into self-destruction contains more than an hour of additional footage that stretches out Betty’s madness and embellishes it with such antics as Zorg’s cross-dressing crime spree. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

With the great debate over science versus religion seemingly more heated than ever, this documentary showcases a relationship between Christian and non-Christian scientists who demonstrate that exploring the universe and exploring your faith don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The latest from “Power Trip” director Paul Devlin, “Blast!” chronicles the exploits of his brother Mark and a team of international researchers attempting the not-too-simple task of launching a multi-million dollar space telescope into the Earth’s atmosphere via a high-altitude balloon.
Opens in New York.

“Call of the Wild 3D”
An eclectic catalog of vicarious teenage wish fulfillment pictures, live-action animal hijinks comedies and, erm, softcore skin flicks (many of which he also starred in), the résumé of actor-turned-writer/director Richard Gabai makes for nothing if not interesting reading. Here, he plants himself firmly in family-friendly territory helming this very loose adaptation of the classic Jack London short story. Christopher Lloyd stars as the Montana widower Bill Hale, whose granddaughter Ryann (Ariel Gade) befriends and trains an injured wolf that her grandpa knows will one day have to be returned to the wild.
Opens in limited release and in 3D.

“Dim Sum Funeral”
The sophomore feature from Chinese-American helmer Anna Chi, “Dim Sum Funeral” gathers together a veritable buffet of fine ex-pat Asian talent (including Lisa Lu, Bai Ling and Steph Song) for a quirky confessional marbled with good old fashioned familial dysfunction. Following the death of their oppressively meddlesome mother (known amongst them as the Dragon Lady), a trio of far flung Asian-American siblings (Julia Nickson, Russell Wong and Francoise Yip) reunite in Seattle for the grueling traditional ritual of the seven-day funeral where each will come to terms with their loss and with their relationships to each other.
Opens in Los Angeles.

“Le Combat Dans L’île”
While somewhat overlooked at the time of its 1962 European release during the decline of the Nouvelle Vague movement, then-first-time director Alain Cavalier’s depiction of duality between the mindsets of terrorists and ultra-conservatives carries an extra air of poignancy in today’s politically polarized times. Finally gettings its first U.S. theatrical run, Cavalier’s romantic thriller stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as a spoiled right-wing activist whose fevered anger over his mentor’s betrayal gives way to some Ahab antics that ultimately serve to drive his wife Anne (Romy Schneider) into the arms of her liberal lover. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“Food, Inc.”
The latest leaf to drop off the fast-growing “we’re all doomed!” branch of documentary filmmaking, this feature debut from television producer/director Robert Kenner is an activist exposé of the food industry and their “bigger, faster, cheaper” mantra that puts profit ahead of the nation’s health. From genetically modified animals and vegetables to the seemingly universal applications of high-fructose corn syrup, Kenner paints an unflattering portrait of collusion between a handful of multi-national corporations and the bought-and-paid-for government regulators who are supposed to be our eyes and ears when it comes to what goes into our mouths.
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.