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The “Afterschool” Special, Amanda Seyfried x2 and More New on DVD

The “Afterschool” Special, Amanda Seyfried x2 and More New on DVD (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Afterschool” (2009)
Directed by Antonio Campos
Released by MPI Home Video

Nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, Campos’ polarizing debut stars Ezra Miller as a high schooler whose AV club assignment leads him to capture the drug-induced deaths of two of his popular prep school classmates. [Sam Adams’ review of the film is here.]

“All Men Are Brothers” (1975) and “Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms” (1978)
Directed by Chang Cheh and Wu Ma/Chang Cheh
Released by Well Go USA

Well Go USA do long-suffering American kung fu fans a solid and finally release “All Men Are Brothers,” the sequel to the Shaw Brothers’ epic “Seven Blows of the Dragon” (a.k.a. “Water Margin”) featuring David Chiang and Chen Kuan-tai as warriors battling against the tyranny of despots, and “Return of the 5 Deadly Venoms,” which pits Shaw brothers favorites’ the Venom Mob against the master that crippled them.

“The Black Cauldron” (1985)
Directed by Ted Berman and Richard Rich
Released by Disney

Once considered a black mark on Disney when it was a box office failure in 1985, the company is now celebrating the 25th anniversary of this hero’s journey of a farmboy who must retrieve a prized pig to prevent the rise of a league of undead warriors. The new disc includes a new deleted scene, notable since the film was trimmed during its initial release after being the first Disney film to receive a PG.

“Boogie Woogie” (2009)
Directed by Duncan Ward
Released by MPI Home Video

Ward sends up the art world with an all-star cast including Danny Huston, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Seyfried, Alan Cumming, Heather Graham and more battling it out in London’s fierce gallery scene. [Aaron Hillis’ interview with star Danny Huston is here and Bilge Ebiri’s review of the film is here.]

09072010_CasinoJack.jpg“Casino Jack and the United States of Money” (2010)
Directed by Alex Gibney
Released by Magnolia Pictures

Oscar-winning “Enron: The Smartest Guy in the Room” director Gibney ruffles some feathers with all the Washington higher-ups included in this look at disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s rise within the Republican Party as a trusted operative and bagman, including former U.S. representatives Bob Ney and Tom DeLay, who both sit down for interviews.

“Just Wright” (2010)
Directed by Sanaa Hamri
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

“Something New” director Hamri helms this romantic comedy about a physical therapist (Latifah) who starts to have feelings for her patient (Common), a New Jersey Nets star whose recent knee injury threatens his career. Unfortunately for her, he starts up a relationship with her best friend (Patton) first. One can expect true love will find a way, but even with the NBA’s blessing, just don’t expect true b-ball action.

“Letters to Juliet” (2010)
Directed by Gary Winick
Released by Summit Entertainment

Amanda Seyfried makes her second appearance on DVD shelves this week with this light romantic comedy from “13 Going on 30” director Winick about a young woman who travels to Verona with her foodie boyfriend (Gael Garcia Bernal) and helps out a fellow tourist (Vanessa Redgrave) find a lover from decades earlier.

“Looking for Eric” (2009)
Directed by Ken Loach
Released by MPI Home Video

Soccer star Eric Cantona is featured in “Wind That Shakes the Barley” director Loach’s comedy as the life coach to a down-on-his-luck Manchester United fan and mailman (Evets) who is trying to recapture some of the old magic with one of his former flames. [Matt Zoller Seitz’s review of the film is here.]

“Madchen in Uniform” (1958)
Directed by Géza von Radványi
Released by Wolfe Video

Romy Schneider stars as a boarding school student who falls for her female teacher in this 1958 German remake of a 1931 classics that has largely been out of public rotation since it was brought overseas in 1965.

09072010_MySonMySonWhatHaveYeDone.jpg“My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done” (2010)
Directed by Werner Herzog
Released by First Look Studios

David Lynch executive produced this drama based on the true story of a murderer, played by Michael Shannon, who killed his mother after being inspired by the Greek tragedy “Oresteia.” Chloë Sevigny, Udo Kier, Grace Zabriskie, Michael Pena and Willem Dafoe are on hand to fill out the cast. [Aaron Hillis and Bilge Ebiri have interviews with Herzog.]

“The Next Hit” (2008)
Directed by Antwan Smith
Released by Lionsgate

Flo Rida and Rick Ross lend street cred to this thriller set in the world of Miami hip hop where a rap label takes advantage of the death of one of the artists for bigger posthumous sales, amid growing suspicion that they might’ve been responsible for his death.

“Outrage” (2010)
Directed by Ace Cruz
Released by Phase 4 Films

Make it three weeks in a row for Michael Madsen direct-to-DVD debuts (and amazingly the first we’ve mentioned that was produced in his “magical” 2009). Here, he plays an ex-military sniper who decides to make some urban visitors (including Natasha Lyonne) his prey in the woods of Georgia.

“The Penitent Man” (2010)
Directed by Nicholas Gyeney
Released by Synergetic Distribution

A selection of this year’s Seattle Film Festival, “The Penitent Man” stars Lance Henriksen as a man who claims to be from the future, which confounds his put-upon psychiatrist (Lathrop Walker) who wonders whether his patient is actually telling the truth and how that might affect his own life.

“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” (2010)
Directed by Mike Newell
Released by Disney

Jake Gyllenhaal shows off his tanned abs as a prince who, with the help of former Bond girl Gemma Arterton, must seize a dagger with the potential to turn back time from a mustache-twirling Ben Kingsley in this Jerry Bruckheimer-produced summer diversion that got the thumbs up from our resident game expert Evan Narcisse.

09072010_PrincessKaiulani.jpg“Princess Ka’iulani” (2009)
Directed by Marc Forby
Released by Roadside Attractions

Four years after beating out countless actresses to play Pocahontas in Terrence Malick’s “The New World,” Kilcher reintroduces herself to audiences once more as the half-Hawaiian, half-Scottish crown princess who fought against U.S. annexation of Hawaii after the islands’ kingdom was overthrown in 1893. Longtime producer Forby (“Prom Night”) makes his directorial debut on this $9 million production that stirred controversy and won an audience award when it premiered at the Hawaiian Film Festival last year. [Matt Zoller Seitz’s review is here.]

“Raging Phoenix” (2009)
Directed by Rashane Limtrakul
Released by Magnet Releasing

A martial arts flick from Thailand, Jeeja Yanin follows up her star turn in “Ong Bak” helmer Prachya Pinkaew’s “Chocolate” as yet another woman done wrong who fights back.

“Starcrash” (1978)
Directed by Luigi Cozzi
Released by Shout! Factory

This Roger Corman-produced sci-fi extravaganza arrives on Blu-ray for the first time where this cult classic and the exploits of Caroline Munro’s bikini-clad space ranger Stella Star might best be appreciated. David Hasselhoff and Christopher Plummer co-star.

“Stiffs” (2010)
Directed by Frank Ciota
Released by Monterey Video

Danny Aiello plays a hearse driver who drums up business for his mob-owned funeral parlor by bringing in some unwilling customers in this comedy. Mafia flick staples Jon Polito and Frank Vincent, as well as Lesley Ann Warren co-star.

“The Twenty” (2009)
Directed by Chopper Bernet
Released by Osiris Entertainment

If you thought this was a remake of the 1993 Brendan Fraser drama “Twenty Bucks,” you wouldn’t be so far off as Bernet gathers an ensemble including Clancy Brown, Laraine Newman and Lisa Darr to surround himself with as an alcoholic who finds a message on the back of a $20 bill that sends him on a road to recovery that isn’t necessarily what his friends and family had in mind.

09072010_UnderStillWaters.jpg“Under Still Waters” (2008)
Directed by Carolyn Miller
Released by MPI Home Video

The Newport Beach Film Festival bestowed a Best Actress prize to Lake Bell for this thriller from first-time director Miller about a married couple (Bell and Jason Clarke) who seek some R & R in the woods before finding their vacation derailed by a stranger (Clifton Collins Jr.) they nearly hit on the road.

Also making their first appearance on Blu-ray: The Jean Claude Van Damme double feature “Bloodsport/Timecop,” Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless,” Stanley Donen’s “Charade” (Criterion), Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Delicatessen,” the horror flick “Feast,” Phillip Kaufman’s “1978 remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” Adrian Lyne’s “Jacob’s Ladder,” “Lord of the Rings” (available separately), Richard Fleicher’s controversial “Mandingo,” a 3D Blu-ray of “Monster House,” Heath Ledger’s “The Order,” “Return of the Living Dead,” “Se7en,” the non-Criterion re-release of “The Third Man,” Jet Li’s “Unleashed”

[Additional photos: “Casino Jack and the United States of Money,” Magnolia Pictures, 2010; “My Son My Son What Have Ye Done,” First Look Studios, 2009; “Princess Ka’iulani,” Roadside Attractions, 2010; “Under Still Waters,” IFC Films, 2008]

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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.