C’mon, Get Unhappy

C’mon, Get Unhappy (photo)

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This week’s releases arrive draped in a pervasive air of dissatisfaction — Chris Rock’s daughter is unhappy with her hair, a ’70s feminist movement is unhappy with their options, and Jason Ritter and Jess Weixler are unhappy with each other. Elsewhere, British cultural icons are talked up while global corporate interests are torn down.

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“After The Storm”
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Oscar-winning filmmaker and activist James Lecesne’s decision to bring a production of the Off-Broadway musical “Once on This Island” to the storm-ravaged city of New Orleans was both obvious and inspired, with an extra layer of resonance provided in the casting of local kids affected firsthand by the disaster. Captured by director Hilla Medalia, this documentary takes us behind the scenes of the production to follow 12 young actors as they build characters on stage and rebuild their own lives offstage.
Opens in New York.

“Adventures of Power”
Ever since the explosion in popularity of “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band,” the act of enthusiastically pretending to play instruments that you really can’t isn’t only socially acceptable, it’s actively considered cool. Which might serve to negate a little bit of the absurdist humor in this underdog tale of an air drummer that was written and directed by Ari Gold, who also stars as the central bumpkin mineworker who uses his dad’s union’s copper mine strike as motivation to win the air drumming contest in New Jersey. Adding to the absurdity, Adrian Grenier joins his fictional “Entourage” agent’s namesake in a supporting cast that also includes Jane Lynch and Michael McKean.
Opens in New York; opens in Los Angeles on October 16th.

Despite sharing the International Critics Prize with Alain Resnais’ “Hiroshima Mon Amour” at Cannes in 1959, director Margot Benacerraf’s poetic rendering of a delicate relationship between a people and their land never received an American release. Restored and released for the first time in this country, Benacerraf’s self-described “tone poem” documentary captures 24 hours in the life of a community on the Venezuelan peninsula of Araya, following the workers in the salt mines as they continue to practice a way of life that has remained largely unchanged for more than 400 years. In Spanish with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

Continuing his career-long fascination with the criminal underworld, Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn takes an oblique trip to the reality gap between documented fact and self-aggrandizing fiction with this experimental portrait of British crime figure Michael Peterson (a.k.a. Charles Bronson). Bronson is a self-mythologizing lunatic whose monstrous reputation was constructed on the back of one 34-year-long prison sentence, the majority of which was spent in solitary confinement. Tom Hardy has earned raves for doing away with all vanity to play the magnetic title character.
Opens in New York; opens in Los Angeles on October 16th.

“Couples Retreat”
BFFs Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau make their third writing collaboration, with a little help from Dana Fox, that finds the swingers all grown up, paired off, shacked up and pissed off as an idyllic-sounding island getaway swiftly devolves into the vacation from hell. Serial rom-commer Vaughn is paired with Malin Akerman as a husband and wife who need to work on their marriage and invite their friends (Favreau and Kristin Davis, Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell, Faizon Love and Kali Hawk) along to a couples’ retreat where participation in therapy is not optional. The comedy also marks the directorial debut of Vaughn and Favreau’s frequent producing partner, “A Christmas Story” star Peter Billingsley.
Opens wide.

“The Damned United”
One of the great soccer managers that England has ever seen, Brian Clough’s triumphs with Derby County and Nottingham Forest were separated by a disastrous 44-day reign as the boss of Leeds United in 1974, during which time his notoriously mercurial personality angered the board, alienated the team and failed to win the club a single game. Under the direction of “John Adams” helmer Tom Hooper, “The Queen” screenwriter Peter Morgan and Michael Sheen once again team up to bring another British cultural icon to life with Sheen starring as the enigmatic maestro Clough, whose managerial ability was matched only by the size of his ego.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

Beginning with an exchange of lustful glances followed by a passionate embrace between an Israeli man and a Palestinian woman in a narrow train car heading to France, celebrated Israeli helmer Amos Gitai carves a small, intimate story out of a geopolitical hot potato. Regular Gitai muse Liron Levo plays the Israeli man, Uli, who is returning to France for his father’s funeral, where his stepsister Ana (Juliette Binoche) urges him to accompany her back to the Gaza Strip to search for the daughter she gave up 20 years earlier. Hiam Abbass and Jeanne Moreau co-star.
Opens in New York and will be available on VOD on October 7th.

“Eating Out: All You Can Eat”
Deception, sexual confusion and gym-toned abs are the trademarks of this gay comedy franchise, now in its third installment. Daniel Skelton, Chris Salvatore and Michael Walker are amongst the fresh meat on display, Rebekah Kochan is back as the perpetual girl in the boys club, and John Waters favorite Mink Stole is also set to make an appearance.
Opens in New York.


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.