Running Amunk for the Holidays

Running Amunk for the Holidays (photo)

Posted by on

Happy holidays, everyone! Those willing and able to drag themselves away from the huge pile of swag under the tree can enjoy the late Heath Ledger’s final performance, a Jude Law double bill and a drolly comic Romanian police procedural underneath among other holiday presents that await at the multiplex.

“Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel”
With the tagline “Munk Yourself” sounding more like a threat than a come-on, the high-pitched trio of singing rodents return just in time for exhausted moms to plunk the rugrats down at the multiplex after the presents are unwrapped while they snore quietly in the back row. Betty Thomas, who has some kid-themed kid-themed hijinks with on her CV, steps in for the first film’s helmer Tim Hill and trades out her experience with real critters on “Dr. Dolittle” for these much less messy (not to mention non-union) digital substitutes. Jason Lee reprises his role as Dave, the caretaker of the furry three (voiced by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney) as Alvin and gang lose their musical supremacy and their hearts to the all-girl outfit, The Chipettes (voiced by Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate)
Opens wide on December 23rd.

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”
A director who seems only happy when it rains, Terry Gilliam has matched his wits against studios (as on “Brazil”) and tornadoes on the set of his first crack at “Don Quixote” (as seen in “Lost in La Mancha”). But surely nothing could have prepared him for the tragic death of his lead Heath Ledger in the midst of shooting his latest film, which has become a memorial of sorts for the late star. Ever the pragmatist, Gilliam called on Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law to play the refracted versions of Ledger’s character Tony, a rascally amnesiac who, after being rescued from a botched execution, becomes the wild card in a final round of betting between the 1000-year old Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) and a rasping Devil (Tom Waits) over the perfectly innocent soul of the doctor’s daughter, Valentina (Lily Cole).
Opens in New York and Los Angeles before expanding wide on January 8th.

“It’s Complicated”
After “Something’s Gotta Give” and “The Holiday,” Nancy Meyers returns to give the flagging rom-com genre a much needed shot of life and fly the flag for the under-sexed, underrepresented 50-plus crowd with a saucy story of second chances that goes to show you simply can’t put a clock on passion. Oscar magnet Meryl Streep stars alongside Emmy hog Alec Baldwin as Jane and Jake, a once-married couple who give each other a second look when Jake’s marriage to a much younger woman starts to fall apart. The venerable Steve Martin (being generous here Steve, don’t let us down) co-stars as the other other man, so to speak, in what is likely to be yet another dagger in the heart of Meyers’ real-life ex, director Charles Shyer.
Opens wide.

12212009_PoliceAdjective1.jpg“Police, Adjective”
Romanian writer/director Corneliu Porumboiu is fast becoming something of a Cannes darling, with this his sophomore feature matching the feat of his melancholic ensemble debut “12:08 East of Bucharest” in scooping a pair of prizes (FIPRESCI, Un Certain Regard) at the prestigious festival. This comically tinged police procedural also picked up the Transylvania Trophy in its native country, which we only mention here because it has a cool sounding name. Characterized by periods of silent observation punctuated by random arguments over semantics, Porumboiu’s morality play details the drudgery of police work as a young cop (Dragos Bucur) reluctantly stakes out a petty pot dealer, secretly hoping that the boy will lead him to a bigger fish. In Romanian with subtitles.
Opens in limited release on December 23rd.

“Sherlock Holmes”
Given his career-long fascination with swaggering, cockney wide-boys, it’s really not all that surprising that director Guy Ritchie gravitated to the character of Sherlock Holmes — arguably London’s first “geezer” problem solver — as merely a natural extension of his existing body of work. Cherry-picking some of the more cinematic (and less well known) character traits of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s renowned detective, Ritchie gives us a swashbuckling Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) who is as much a lover and a brawler as he is a master of deduction. Ably accompanied by his long-suffering stalwart, Dr. Watson (Jude Law), Holmes races around Victorian-era London in pursuit of the wily Lord Blackwood (the ever-more-impressive Mark Strong), a scheming occultist who fakes his own death to avoid Scotland Yard’s unwanted attention and take control of Parliament.
Opens wide.

[Additional photo: Dragos Bucur in “Police, Adjective,” IFC Films, 2009]


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

Posted by on

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.

Posted by on
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.

Posted by on
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.