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Holiday Preview: Anywhere But a Movie Theater

Holiday Preview: Anywhere But a Movie Theater (photo)

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More Holiday Preview: [Theatrical Calendar]
[Repertory Calendar] [Anywhere But a Movie Theater]

On Demand

IFC Films (with whom, full disclosure, we obviously share a parent company) will be delivering new films all holiday season to homes across the country through their Festival Direct and Sundance Selects labels. These include the cross-cultural romantic dramedy “I’ll Come Running” (Nov. 4), Josiane Balasko’s farce “A French Gigolo” (Nov. 6), the Inuit tribal drama “Necessities of Life” (Nov. 11), the Brit crime thriller “Adulthood” (Nov. 18), the Indian love story “Return to Rajapur” (Nov. 25), the Christopher Masterson-Bijou Phillips celibacy satire “Made for Each Other” (Dec. 2), “Harry Potter” helmer David Yates’ gritty two-part drama “Sex Traffic” (Dec. 2 and 9), the Korean comedy “Night and Day” (Dec. 23) and “The Ghost” (Dec. 30).

Meanwhile, in the newly launched Sundance Selects series, there’s a pair of harrowing documentaries VOD premieres: Kief Davidson’s coming-of-age boxing doc “Kassim the Dream” (Nov. 27) and the unvarnished biopic “Nick Nolte: No Exit” (Dec. 30).

IFC Films is also releasing four titles simultaneously with their release in theaters including “Uncertainty” (Nov. 13), the latest thriller from “The Deep End” directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins; Lukas Moodysson’s “Mammoth” (Nov. 20), starring Michelle Williams and Gael García Bernal; “Swimming Pool” director François Ozon’s “Ricky” (Dec. 16), and Cannes Un Certain Regard-winning “Police, Adjective” (Dec. 23) from “12:08 East of Bucharest” director Corneliu Porumboiu.

11022009_RedCliff.jpgMagnolia Pictures is also unwrapping a few presents in anticipation of the holidays. We’d suggest big-screen TVs only for John Woo’s Han Dynasty-set action epic “Red Cliff,” which is already available on VOD in advance of its November 18th release in theaters. But smaller screens will suffice for “Serious Moonlight,” Cheryl Hines’ directorial debut from one of “Waitress” writer/director Adrienne Shelly’s last screenplays that stars Meg Ryan as a woman who puts her husband (Timothy Hutton) through a different kind of couples therapy when she learns he’s cheating on her with another woman (Kristen Bell), premiering on VOD on November 6th before hitting theaters on December 4th; and “Wonderful World”, a dramedy starring Matthew Broderick as a former children’s singer who regains his groove when he meets the sister of his Senegalese roommate (Sanaa Lathan), premiering on VOD on December 4th before coming out in theaters a month later.


11022009_CodeUnknown.jpgWhile the online cinematheque The Auteurs makes us wait with anticipation to find out what new films will be presented in their next festival of free films (curated by the Criterion Collection) in November, they have plenty of recent highlights now playing to keep cineastes inside during the cold winter. With the click of a mouse, one can currently access a large part of “Cargo 200” director Aleksey Balabanov’s oeuvre, including the dramas “It Doesn’t Hurt,” “The River,” “Of Freaks and Men,”, “Brother” and “Happy Days”; the award-winning 2001 Uruguayan festival fave “25 Watts”; “Caché” director Michael Haneke’s first pairing with Juliette Binoche, the 2000 drama “Code Unknown”; Takeshi Kitano’s 1995 sex comedy “Getting Any?”; and Claude Chabrol’s 1959 thriller “À double tour.” The Auteurs also have made some hard-to-find gems available with the online debuts of “La Belle Personne” director Philippe Garrel’s 1993 family drama “The Birth of Love,” “A Christmas Tale” helmer Arnaud Despleschin’s directorial debut “The Life of the Dead,” and a double bill of Kazakhstani filmmaker Darejan Omirbaev’s 2001 comedy “The Road” and the 1998 thriller “Killer.”

A nice bookend to one of their other new releases, the music education doc “Chops,” B-Side Entertainment is already making their recent acquisition “Still Bill” available to the masses. Fresh from a festival run that spanned SXSW, Silverdocs and London, Alex Vlack and Damani Baker’s profile of legendary soul singer Bill Withers will have audiences singing “Lean on Me” anywhere where people enlist in B-Side’s “Theatrical-on-Demand” program that allows moviegoers to host their own screenings. The company is also contributing to the national health care debate with the doc “Money-Driven Medicine,” Andrew Fredericks’ screen adaptation of Maggie Mahar’s exposé of American health care practices. “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” helmer Alex Gibney serves as a producer on this doc, which is currently holding “Watch-Ins! For America’s Health” across the country through November 10th, but is available to anyone through B-Side’s web site.

11022009_LetThemChirpAwhile2.jpgJust in time for Christmas, Cinetic Rights Management will offer “Clarkworld,” a documentary about the life and work of Bob Clark, the cult director behind two of the holiday’s most renowned (and replayed) film classics “A Christmas Story” and “Black Christmas,” on their cable VOD channel FilmBuff, starting in December. In January, FilmBuff will also premiere “Let Them Chirp Awhile,” a romantic comedy featuring “Mutual Appreciation” star and Bishop Allen frontman Justin Rice as a screenwriter who hopes to win over his neighbor (Laura Breckinridge) by taking care of her dog as he attempts to free himself from a crippling case of writer’s block.

And since ’tis the season of sharing, it’s only fitting that in November, Cinetic will team with iTunes to present the online debuts of the 1988 Sherlock Holmes mystery “The Hound of the Baskervilles” in time to compare notes with the new Guy Ritchie interpretation, and the 1997 Ian McKellen Holocaust drama “Bent,” which not only features the young Clive Owen and Jude Law, but also Mick Jagger as a Berlin-based transvestite. Cinetic will also celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th with the release of two documentaries honoring soldiers: “When I Came Home,” the award-winning 2006 look at homeless vets, and “Jerabek,” the story of a Wisconsin family coping with the death of their son in Iraq. Both films will be available on SnagFilms and Hulu. The company is also doing something special for December 6th, releasing Robert Greene’s geoengineering doc “Owning the Weather,” which will be released online and on cable VOD day-and-date with its screening at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

11022009_Forgiven.jpgThe independent film store and distributor has recently revamped their Web site with a new look and a more user-friendly experience that continues to offer films from truly independent filmmakers that you can find nowhere else. To celebrate, they’re kicking things off with the release of writer/director/star Paul Fitzgerald’s drama “Forgiven,” a political potboiler about a small-town district attorney (Fitzgerald) whose bid for a U.S. Senate seat is complicated by questions surrounding his prosecution of a death row inmate who is later exonerated. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2006, the film will be available for VOD rental and DVD purchase through IndieFlix starting on November 10th and DVD rental through NetFlix beginning December 8th.

Computer savvy documentary fans can indulge in some self-reflection with SnagFilms upcoming slate of free films, which include Jim Killeen’s 2007 doc “Google Me” about one man’s search on his computer and beyond to find those who share his name, and “MacHeads,” Kobi and Ron Shely’s 2009 look at the fanatical users of Apple Computers who worship at the alter of Steve Jobs. Tricia Todd and Eric Matthies’ “Agile, Mobile, Hostile: A Year With Andre Williams” also arrives straight from the festival circuit, chronicling a year in the life of the 70-year-old R & B musician behind such hits as “Shake A Tail Feather” before a cocaine addiction left him homeless and without a career. For something you can watch immediately, SnagFilms also just released the doc “From Mara to the Marathon,” which follows former “ER” doc Anthony Edwards as he travels to Nairobi to reunite with Ole Kane Lettura, a native Kenyan who met Edwards as a scout for a safari company and discovered that the two shared a passion for running. In return, Edwards tries to convince Lettura to fly overseas to run in the New York City Marathon.

Continue to November »



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.


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.