DID YOU READ

“A Serbian Film” and the End of Torture Porn…?

“A Serbian Film” and the End of Torture Porn…? (photo)

Posted by on

“A Serbian Film,” directed by Srdjan Spasojevic, has the questionable distinction of standing at the (current) far reaches of extreme cinema — so much so that it was pulled from the schedule of London’s FrightFest after the British Board of Film Classification demanded four minutes of cuts in order for it to be screened. Festival co-director Ian Jones told the Guardian that “FrightFest has decided not to show A Serbian Film in a heavily cut version because, as a festival with a global integrity, we think a film of this nature should be shown in its entirety as per the director’s intention.”

Also writing at the Guardian, Pete Cashmore takes the incident as an opportunity to wonder if the age of torture porn is finally over, regardless of how you’d classify “A Serbian Film”:

Its few-and-far-between defenders cite Srdjan Spasojevic’s film as not TP at all, rather an articulation of the horrors that the Serbian nation has had to live through in recent times. Hmm. What one hopes, at least, is that it provides an effective point for us all to reflect, weigh things up, and decide that – once the shagging of vacated eyeholes comes into the equation – it might be time to fold up the tables and call it a day.

My review of the film from its premiere at SXSW is here, and the (NSFW, to be sure) trailer is below:

I’d always understood “torture porn,” a phrase coined by New York‘s David Edelstein to describe “Hostel” and similar titles hitting theaters four to five years ago, to refer to films in which the realism and explicitness of the violence wasn’t only upped, it was moved front and center. What was once the money shot became everything — and so, it’s implied, there’s no heft to torture porn films beyond sadism, because they have only one note, shock, which they hit over and over again until the impact is gone.

As a sucker for extreme imagery (I can never turn down a film that’s inspired mass walkouts, whether for pace, subject matter, incomprehensibility or causing physical distress), I’ve found Edelstein’s summing up of what seemed like a zeitgeisty moment in mass culture smart and helpful, quickly overapplied as a term and ultimately stripped of meaning, and I’m about ready to let it go. It was the omnipresence of these movies, the fact that suburban teens were taking them in at the mall, their popularity that made them noteworthy. But as a mainstream phenomenon, films that sell themselves on splatter alone do seem on their way out (goodbye, “Saw” franchise!), and thank god — they tend to be, ultimately, boring, like listening to music with the volume turned so high it sounds like on giant shriek.

Really, “A Serbian Film” is part of that subgenre of movies that’s been around long before the coining of the phrase “torture porn,” ones whose main hook is a moment or two of infamy, ones that will never see a multiplex screen. It’s tough route to hack — being the most extreme feature out there is only a sell point until you’re outdone by the next, even more disturbing contender in grotesquerie. “A Serbian Film,” whose main shock setpieces seems to be lifted from one notorious Japanese comic book and given the barest glaze of social relevance, is, like so many of these films, more significant and interesting before you’re seen it.

CBB_221_ComedyBangBangTonight

Road Trip

Scott Aukerman Is Hitting the Road for a Comedy Bang! Bang! Live Tour

Scott and Comedy Bang! Bang! are coming to a town near you.

Posted by on

Comprised of countless characters, hilarious guests, and running gags, Comedy Bang! Bang! simply can’t be contained in just its podcast and TV forms. As such, host Scott Aukerman is taking the show and its oddball cavalcade on the road in a brand new live tour. Fan favorites Lauren Lapkus, Paul F. Tompkins, and Neil Campbell will be along for the ride (either as themselves, as their show personas, or both — we’re not at liberty to say!), and there will surely be a few surprise drop-ins as well. And maybe…a little magic?

Scott Magic

Check out the tour dates below and catch the Comedy Bang! Bang! live tour when it swings nearby. And be sure to check back for updates on Comedy Bang! Bang!‘s new season, debuting this spring on IFC with new bandleader and cohost “Weird Al” Yankovic.

April 30 – Theater at the Ace—Los Angeles, CA
May 6 – Convocation Hall—Toronto, ON
May 7 – Wilbur Theatre—Boston, MA
May 8 – Keswick Theatre—Philadelphia, PA
May 9 – The Lincoln Theatre—Washington, DC
May 10 – The Carolina Theatre of Durham—Durham, NC
May 11 – The Tabernacle—Atlanta, GA
May 13 – Gramercy Theatre—New York, NY
May 17 – Texas Theatre—Dallas, TX
May 18 – Paramount Theatre—Austin, TX
May 19 – Pantages Theatre—Minneapolis, MN
May 20 – Athenaeum Theatre—Chicago, IL
May 21 – Royal Oak Music Theatre—Detroit, MI
May 22 – Paramount Theatre—Denver, CO
May 23 – Fox Theater—Oakland, CA
May 24 – Revolution Hall—Portland, OR
May 25 – The Moore Theatre—Seattle, WA
May 26 –Vogue Theatre—Vancouver, BC

It’s a Quadruple Scary Feature Fright Night Horror Fest!

It’s a Quadruple Scary Feature Fright Night Horror Fest! (photo)

Posted by on

It’s the middle of August, meaning summer is almost over. (Oh the horror!) So get a running start on one of your last summer weekends by staying up all night watching super scary movies with IFC.

The blood-soaked fun starts with Saw at 7 p.m. ET. In the twisted film, Cary Elwes awakes to find himself locked in a cell with a diabolical dilemma. He must either murder his cellmate or his family will be killed in a suitably appropriately horrible manner. Needless to say, this is a big change his role in ‘The Princess Bride’.

Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects follows at 9:45 p.m. The film is a follow-up of sorts to his 2003 blood-and-gore fest ‘House of 1000 Corpses’. In this delightful feature, a band of sociopathic killers are on a bloody roadtrip while their crazed mother is being held by the sheriff. Recipe for revolting fun, right?

What better to follow those two classic family values films (kidding, kidding) than Hostel and Hostel Part II? In the original Hostel, two horny American backpackers head to Slovakia for some easy girl action. And get themselves gloriously murdered for giving American backpackers such a bad reputation. In ‘Hostel Part II’ it’s the ladies’ turn for torture and mayhem as three lovely students abroad get to the bottom of a unique (and lethal) European beauty secret.

Pro Tip: Don’t watch alone.

‘Saw’ airs at 7 pm ET; ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ starts at 8:45 pm ET; ‘Hostel’ is on at 10:35; and ‘Hostel Part II’ is on at 12:15 am ET.

Season 6, Episode 2: Going Grey

Munici-Pals

10 Best Pop Culture Mayors

Catch Kyle MacLachlan on an all-new Portlandia this Thursday, Feb. 4th at 10P.

Posted by on

Fictional municipalities are rarely clockwork operations. There wouldn’t be much of a story if local governments were run with lockstep efficiency, and the source of the dysfunction and bureaucratic mismanagement usually falls to the very top: The Mayor. Even with the best of intentions and the noblest of corruption, the administrations of fictional mayors tend to be unconventional at best and disastrous at worst. But no matter what, they’re always pretty funny.

To celebrate Kyle MacLachlan‘s ever chipper mayor returning to Portlandia this Thursday at 10P on IFC, check out 10 pop culture mayors that gave us multiple terms of hilarity. (Click here to find IFC on TV in your area.)

1. Mayor of Portland, Portlandia 

Keep it weird

Laid back (not counting the exercise ball) and diligent (not counting the “real roots reggae” band), Portland’s fictional mayor is the absolute ideal in “dream of the ’90s” leadership. Hands-on, idealistic, and ably assisted by real-life Portland mayor Sam Adams, he is the only candidate to keep the largest city in Oregon weird in a way that’s totally different from Austin. (Check out behind-the-scenes Portlandia photos and anecdotes from Kyle McLachlan’s Instagram takeover.)


2. Mayor “Diamond” Joe Quimby, The Simpsons

If you ever wondered how far a suitcase full of money could get you in politics, look no further than the man in charge of Springfield, USA. There’s nobody who isn’t in the mayor’s pocket (and vice versa) and no good-lookin’ broad who doesn’t have his hotel key. But incumbency is always a lock thanks to the low-information voter, i.e. every single Springfieldian, and what can’t be excused can be defended with something as simple as “I didn’t do it.”


3. Mayor Goldie Wilson, Back to the Future

It’s rare to actually witness first-hand the humble beginnings of an elected official. Tales of blue-collar origins and “common man” rhetoric come cheap, so it’s always refreshing to see a young, starry-eyed go-getter rise from sweeping the floors to cleaning up the town. And to think, it all stemmed from a casual comment from your average, everyday time traveler.


4. The Mayor of Jefferton, Tom Goes to the Mayor

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim quickly established their acid-trip sensibilities with the Adult Swim series Tom Goes to the Mayor. Heidecker plays community-minded citizen Tom who attempts to corral Wareheim’s clinically insane mayor but typically winds up bruised and defeated in the process. Actual government work is entirely incidental.


5. Mayor Lenny, Ghostbusters movies

Trying to fill the big shoes left behind by Fiorello H. La Guardia — and occasionally chatting with his ghost — scrappy New York mayor and man of the people Lenny (his only identifier) is an open-minded leader who will listen to and healthily fund paranormal exterminators for the good of the island and its people. And any genitally-impaired suit from the EPA won’t stand in his way. (Click here to check future airings of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II on IFC.)


6. Mayor Adam West, Family Guy

Speaking of clinically insane mayors, mellifluous actor Adam West plays a crackpot alternate version of himself as the mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island. His administration is teeming with conspiracy (he’s convinced someone is stealing his plant’s water), paranoia (he’s cemented coffins shut as a sure-fire prevention against zombies), and flat-out insanity (he’s entered into matrimony with his own hand).


7. Mayor Clarence Royce, The Wire

The lying, cheating, backstabbing snake of a mayor Clarence Royce is the grinning embodiment of institutional failure, so it’s always a delight to see the system bite him in the ass. And much to the credit to actor Glynn Turman, his fall from backroom puppet master to ousted primary candidate is filled with schadenfreude hilarity — especially when he tries to cover it with that mile-wide smile.


8. Mayor of Townsville, Powerpuff Girls

Consistently demolished due to wanton superhero destruction, the city of Townsville is in desperate need of strong, determined leadership. Unfortunately, they’ve elected a dimwitted, diminutive worrywart mayor whose panicky bewilderment puts the entire community at risk. If it weren’t for the cogent and level-headed assistance of Ms. Sara Bellum, the city would be in peril even more often than it is.


9. Mayor Richard Wilkins III, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In a town filled with demons, goblins, and vampires, one can’t provide effective authority without some shape-shifting powers of his own. Such is the case with Sunnydale mayor Richard Wilkins III, a centuries-old sorcerer who is hell-bent (heh) on becoming an immortal purebred demon — all while maintaining the image of a conservative, family-values politician. Which is perhaps the most realistic version of a politician in this list.


10. Mayor McCheese, McDonaldland

Glorified figurehead Mayor McCheese governs McDonaldland practically by proxy. Citizens have long known — and visitors quickly come to find — that frantic clown Ronald McDonald is the sole public figure who brings the town together and makes it run smoothly (with the exception of the rampant hamburglary). Suffering through term after term of that loopy Ed Wynn-inspired voice, McDonaldland deserves a leader that isn’t half-morphed into a second-rate menu item.

Meet Austin’s mayor on this week’s brand-new Portlandia, Thursday at 10P on IFC.

Powered by ZergNet