The Fantastic and the Apocalyptic

The Fantastic and the Apocalyptic (photo)

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Richard Curtis sets out to the high seas to rock our world, Roland Emmerich just obliterates it and Wes Anderson reenvisions it in stop-motion animation, while as a group of documentaries ponder real world issues of war, God, poverty and Glenn Gould.

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On behalf of moviegoers everywhere, we here at IFC would like to thank that schoolyard bully who must have so traumatized a young Roland Emmerich that he has spent his recent career ritualistically laying waste to our world one famous landmark at a time. Having previous employed such excuses for mass destruction as alien invasions and global warming, this time cinema’s most destructive director turns to an ancient Mayan prophecy that foretells the end of all mankind, and once again batters humanity — specifically John Cusack and assorted stragglers — like the fist of an angry god through a barrage of CGI natural disasters that rapidly consume our planet.
Opens wide.

Stretching their 2005 short of the same name into a feature, writer David Brind and director Adam Salky offer up a multi-strand narrative about a trio of romantically confused teenagers in their last semester of high school that impressed at its Sundance unveiling earlier this year. Emmy Rossum stars as Alexa, an overachiever and aspiring actress chasing validation, alongside Ashley Springer, who plays Ben, a closeted homosexual struggling for self-acceptance. “Friday Night Lights”‘ Zach Gilford rounds out the trio as Johnny, a privileged bad boy whose anti-social antics mask deep personal insecurities.
Opens in limited release.

“The End of Poverty?”
Employing the anti-capitalist theories and writings of historian Clifford Cobb (on board as an exec producer) for a foundation, activist filmmaker Philippe Diaz delivers a broad view of recent economic history as it relates to the developing world, positing that capitalism is merely the extension of colonialism by other means. With interviews with experts like Joseph Stiglitz and Chalmers Johnson, the left-leaning director points his finger firmly at the West, arguing that the wealth gap has become so severe that the only viable solution is nothing less than the total abolition of privatization.
Opens in New York.

“Fantastic Mr. Fox”
Having got his animation feet wet orchestrating those whimsical underwater sequences that decorated “The Life Aquatic,” Wes Anderson dives right in for this stop-motion adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl kiddie fable. But do not be fooled, we’ve been here before. From the familiar voices of Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson to the preoccupation with wardrobe choices, Anderson’s latest is another tale of a pompous parental figure reconnecting with bruised, neglected offspring, full of deadpan moments of introspection. George Clooney voices the eponymous forest dweller whose ego-stroking, chicken-stealing ways put his wife (Meryl Streep) and children in the crosshairs of a trio of furious farmers.
Opens wide.

“Four Seasons Lodge”
Directed by New York Times journalist Andrew Jacobs, this documentary follows a group of Auschwitz survivors who’ve gathered at the same Catskills resort for the past 26 years to mourn the dead and celebrate the fortune of their lives through shared memories, fellowship and dancing. (No one puts these gals in a corner.) But with their numbers gradually dwindling year after year, group president Hymie Abramowitz, a man who left his own faith back behind the barbed-wire fences, proposes the dissolution of the colony and marks it with one more coming together for a final hurrah.
Opens in New York.

“Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould”
A study of the most celebrated and documented classical musicians of our time, this intimate character piece from French-Canadian filmmakers Michèle Hozer and Peter Raymont attempts to unravel the myriad of contradictions between Gould’s buttoned-down public persona and his hedonistic private life. Laced with telling interviews from key people in his life, the film touches on the pianist’s drug use and his long-standing affair with artist Cornelia Foss in an attempt to form a full portrait of a man many saw, but that few really knew.
Opens in Los Angeles.

“The Good Soldier”
Taking firsthand accounts from five combat veterans from different conflicts, the husband and wife filmmaking team of Michael Uys and Lexy Lovell deliver a pointed anti-war message from men profoundly affected by their experience that pierces the veil of political rhetoric that so enshrouds our military. Uys and Lovell chart the way in which war alters the perception of ideology through a mix of frank interviews with current and future veterans and archival war footage from the wars they fought.
Opens in New York.

“The Hand of Fatima”
More than three decades after the celebrated music journalist and author Robert Palmer traveled the deserts of Morocco on a Rolling Stone assignment to interview the Master Musicians of Jajouka, a band of performers whose music predates recorded history, his daughter Augusta Palmer sets out to retrace his steps. Timed to coincide with the publication of a new anthology of Robert Palmer’s writing, Augusta’s odyssey of self-discovery blends vérité footage captured during her father’s original journey, her visits to the Ahl-Srif mountains and animated interludes together to form a travelogue for musical transcendence.
Opens in New York.

“Love Hurts”
Richard E. Grant, one of the great unsung comedy actors of our age, injects this sophomore effort from TV writer-turned-director Barra Grant with his singular brand of intellectualized mania as Ben Bingham, a newly separated father who throws himself back into the dating game at the behest of his son Justin (Johnny Pacar). But when the younger Bingham zeroes in on becoming a one-woman man himself, Ben realizes that his series of dates with the likes of his personal trainer (Janeane Garafalo) and a local nurse (Jenna Elfman) are just a way of treading water until he can figure out a way to recapture the love of his former wife (Carrie-Anne Moss).
Opens in Los Angeles.


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.