DID YOU READ

Vampires, “Antichrist”…and It’s Not Even Halloween Yet

Vampires, “Antichrist”…and It’s Not Even Halloween Yet (photo)

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This week finds early awards season contenders lining up alongside a queer cinema double bill, a troupe of unorthodox vampires and a horror movie franchise that’s become torturous in more ways than one.

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“Amelia”
Awards season takes flight with celebrated director Mira Nair’s biopic charting the early life and rise to prominence of pioneering aviatrix Amelia Earhart. Hilary Swank produced and stars as the elusive Kansas-born pilot as she perilously navigates the skies, the trappings of fame and her romances with publisher George Putnam (Richard Gere) and Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor). Christopher Eccleston, Cherry Jones and Mia Wasikowska join the heavyweight cast in this pic whose Oscar-friendly subject matter may allow it to fly under the Academy’s expanded Best Picture tent.
Opens in limited release.

“Antichrist”
Controversial from the word go, Danish provocateur Lars von Trier’s psychological horror yarn, replete with talking woodland creatures and graphic genital mutilation, sparked heated debate amongst viewers beginning with its very first press conference following its unveiling at Cannes. Von Trier’s latest exercise stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a nameless couple who retreat to a possibly haunted cabin in a deserted forest so that he, a therapist, can treat his wife’s grief over the recent accidental death of their child.
Opens in limited release.

“Astro Boy”
David Bowers’ first crack at the directorial whip — the rodent adventure “Flushed Away” – might have prematurely ended the fledgling partnership between Aardman and DreamWorks, but that didn’t dampen his enthusiasm he returns to work here for Imagi Entertainment, the Hong Kong computer animation outfit who brought us the recent “TMNT.” Based on the Japanese manga series first published in the ’50s, “Astro Boy” tells of a future where androids exist amongst us, leading Dr. Tenma (Nicolas Cage) to construct a robot child (voiced by Freddie Highmore) in the image of his deceased son, except with super powers. Kristen Bell, Bill Nighy, Eugene Levy, Samuel L. Jackson and Donald Sutherland round out the supporting voice cast.
Opens wide.

“The Canyon”
Why must filmmakers torment young couples? Following in the footsteps of relatable and skillfully executed thrillers like “Open Water” and “Paranormal Activity,” director Richard Harrah strands naïve honeymooners Eion Bailey and “Chuck” star Yvonne Strahovski at the bottom of the Grand Canyon after their unlicensed tour guide (Will Patton) is incapacitated, leaving the couple at the mercy of the elements in this less-is-more vacation nightmare.
Opens in Los Angeles and Denver.

“Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant”
With 18-25-year-old males not exactly falling over themselves to embrace Stephenie Meyer’s looky-no-touchy “Twilight” saga, studios are clamoring for any vampire fiction they can find that might get the guys to hand over their money with similar vigor. While the film’s subtitle is a bid to cash in on the recent bloodsucker fever, this adaptation of the first three installment in Darren Shan’s 12-book series trades passionate embraces for cool superpowers in the story of a young teenager (Chris Massoglia) who’s inducted into a fellowship of the undead when he trades in his humanity to ringmaster John C. Reilly’s Cirque du Freak to save his best friend (Josh Hutcherson).
Opens wide.

“Eulogy for a Vampire”
Queer cinema director Patrick McGuinn offers up another kind of vampire story with this
erotically charged supernatural mystery in the tradition of surrealist horror. Working from a script by Andre Salas, the film centers on a monastery that was the site of a murder 25 years earlier that comes back to haunt its head priest (Wilson Hand) when a mysterious young drifter (Angelo Tursi) infiltrates the sanctuary and sets about seducing its members one by one, transforming them into the undead.
Opens in New York.

“Hannah Free”
Playwright Claudia Allen adapts her own play for the screen as director Wendy Jo Carlton comes onboard to reflect on the long and arduous struggle for gay rights through the story of a forbidden romance between two women now in the twilight of their lives. With her mind and heart still willing after the rest of her body has given up, a bedridden Hannah (the venerable Sharon Gless) recounts to an eager young college student (Jacqui Jackson) her lifelong love affair with Rachel (Maureen Gallagher), who now lies comatose down the hall.
Opens in Los Angeles.

“Killing Kasztner”
Between stock market hype and mail-order brides, documentarian Gaylen Ross has shown something of a fascination with people who make big decisions and then later come to regret them. Here, she tackles the controversial legacy of divisive Jewish-Hungarian lawyer Israel Kasztner. Murdered in Israel in 1957 by right-wing extremists, Kasztner was a man whose negotiations to save more than 1,600 Jews during the Holocaust was celebrated by some and vilified by others who believed his collaboration with the Nazis made him a traitor to his people. Ross attempts to clarify matters with a history compiled from interviews with survivors and descendants of those who were affected by his wheeling and dealing.
Opens in New York.

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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.