“Outrage,” Reviewed

“Outrage,” Reviewed (photo)

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Reviewed at Fantastic Fest 2010.

“Outrage” may be Takeshi Kitano’s return to the yakuza movie on which his international reputation as a filmmaker was built, but it’s not a return to the elegiac, melancholy tone those movies embraced. When the killing starts, and there is a lot of killing, it arrives with a shrug of inevitability — what, did anyone really expect these duplicitous, aggressive, violent men to get along? “Outrage” may come up empty in the end, but it’s an entertaining ride to nowhere that pokes fun at the ritual and rules that its characters pretend to abide by even as they ruthlessly stab each other in the back.

The first domino falls when Ikemoto (Kunimura Jun), the head of a gang that’s part of the Sanno-kai, a larger crime syndicate, is taken to task by the chairman (Kitamura Soichiro) because he’s been partnering up with another gang, headed up by Murase (Renji Ishibashi), that’s not part of their organization. Ikemoto and Murase formed a partnership when they were in prison together, but in order to demonstrate to his boss that they’re not that cozy, Ikemoto sends his own subordinate Otomo (Kitano) to subtly pick a fight.

That scene defines the bluster and double-dealing that will follow — one of Otomo’s men pretends to be a guileless salaryman and allows himself to get pulled into a nightclub scam run by some of Murase’s low-level thugs. A young yakuza bullies him all the way back to the Otomo gang’s office, where he realizes exactly who he’s netted and is immediately cowed by the trouble he’s gotten himself and his colleagues in. Trying to preserve the pact between the two gangs, Murase orders the lieutenant responsible for the scheme to make amends by cutting off his finger. It won’t be the last digit chopped before the credits roll.

“Outrage”‘s portrayal of underworld loyalty as a lie, a gloss obscuring a dog-eat-dog world of greed, arrogance and territoriality, isn’t exactly unheard of — it’s much rarer these days to find a film that actually buys into the mythology of honor among organized criminals, and “Outrage” at times seems like a less fleet-footed Japanese cousin to Johnnie To’s similar “Election” films. But “Outrage” is remarkable for the way its characters use yakuza organization and structure against each other. It’s got to be one of the most passive aggressive mobster movies of all time, with gangsters refusing apologies in order to escalate conflicts they actually started and sending their men out on nefarious errands they then claim to have no prior knowledge of to the aggrieved party.

Plot machinations take the place of developing any members of the large cast of characters — the only standouts are Ryo Kase (“Letters from Iwo Jima”) as the gang’s sardonic head of finances and Kitano himself, whose bluff presence fits the midlevel Otomo, a man baffled but not surprised to find himself maneuvered into increasingly undesirable situations.

“Outrage” currently has no US distribution.


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.