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Steve Zahn’s “Marshall” Plan, a Double Bill in Chelsea and More New DVDs

Steve Zahn’s “Marshall” Plan, a Double Bill in Chelsea and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Calvin Marshall” (2010)
Directed by Gary Lundgren
Released by Passion River

Steve Zahn exemplifies the adage those who can’t do teach as a college baseball coach who never was quite good enough to make the majors who sees something of himself in an enthusiastic but unskilled player (Alex Frost) that he keeps on the team in writer/director Gary Lundgren’s feature debut.

“Chelsea on the Rocks” (2009)
Directed by Abel Ferrara
Released by Hannover House

“Bad Lieutenant” director Ferrara compiles a biography of the famed Chelsea Hotel in New York through archival footage, reenactments and interviews with the many artists who have stayed there throughout the years from Milos Forman and R. Crumb to Ethan Hawke and Gaby Hoffman.

“Claang the Game” (2009)
Directed by Stefano Milla
Released by Triumphant Entertainment

A game of “Claang,” a strategy-heavy match of wits, leads to a discussion between a duke and a humble traveler in ninth-century England about its historical origins in this epic action film from Italy.

“Eclipse Series 24: Actuality Dramas of Allan King”
Directed by Allan King
Released by Criterion Collection

One of Canada’s most cherished filmmakers is getting some well-deserved exposure internationally with this Criterion Eclipse set of five of his humanist dramas and documentaries from the ’60s, ’70s and ’00s: “Warrendale,” “A Married Couple,” “Come On Children” “Dying at Grace,” and “Memory for Claire, Max, Ida and Company.”

“The Experiment” (2010)
Directed by Paul Scheuring
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

“Prison Break” mastermind Scheuring probably thought a remake of Oliver Hirschbiegel’s 2001 thriller “Das Experiment,” which was inspired by the “Stanford Prison Experiment” pitting a group of regular joes against each other as inmates and guards, was a natural segueway into features. However, it’s likely all didn’t go according to plan since this Adrien Brody/Forest Whittaker starrer is headed straight to video. (Matt Singer’s review is here.)

09212010_BurntBytheSun.jpg“The Films of Nikita Mikhalkov, Volume 1”
Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov
Released by Kino Video

Finally acknowledged in the U.S. with an Oscar for his 1994 drama “Burnt by the Sun,” legendary Russian director Mikhalkov is receiving a retrospective of some of his greatest hits in this new boxed set from Kino that features 1976’s “A Slave of Love,” 1979’s “Five Evenings,” 1980’s “Oblomov,” 1984’s “Without Witness” and of course, “Burnt by the Sun.”

“I.C.U.” (2009)
Directed by Aash Aaron
Released by Osiris Entertainment

Aaron puts a contemporary Australian spin on “Rear Window” with this thriller about three teens who believe they’ve stumbled onto a serial killer living next door to them in an apartment building, yet don’t know that they are the ones being watched by someone via the building’s many security cameras.

“Kandahar Break” (2009)
Directed by David Whitney
Released by Peach Arch

Hired by the Taliban to clear land mines in Afghanistan, a member of a British squadron goes rogue after falling in love with his interpreter, much to the chagrin of the local police chief who chases him across the border into Pakistan in this thriller.

“The Locksmith” (2010)
Directed by Brad and Todd Barnes
Released by First Look Studios

While fellow low-budget Sundance NEXT selections Drake Doremus’ “Douchebag” and Katie Aselton’s “The Freebie” are making their way into theaters in the next couple weeks, Brad and Todd Barnes’ comedy that was the actual winner of the group will premiere on DVD. Back when it debuted in Park City, Alison Willmore called the film, starring Anslem Richardson as the titular locksmith who gets roped into helping out a woman (Ana Reeder) who suspects her boyfriend is cheating on her, “a slight but charming comedy that keeps undermining its own strenuously quirky set pieces with an overwhelming generosity towards its characters.”

09212010_Ondine.jpg“Ondine” (2009)
Directed by Neil Jordan
Released by Magnolia Pictures

After directing the Jodie Foster revenge thriller “The Brave One,” Neil Jordan delivers a fairy tale for adults with this drama starring Colin Farrell as an Irish fisherman who catches what his daughter believes to be a mythical selkie (Alicja Bacheda). (Interviews with Jordan and Farrell are here.)

“Racing Dreams” (2009)
Directed by Marshall Curry
Released by Hannover House

The latest from Oscar-nominated “Street Fight” director Marshall Curry won best documentary prizes at Tribeca and Jacksonville last year, which probably didn’t especially impress the kids depicted in “Racing Dreams,” three of the top go-kart racers in the country who are used to awards at ages 11-13. But Curry goes beyond the track to follow the rather extraordinary lives of Annabeth, Josh and Brandon, the trio of pre-teen drivers on the fast track to NASCAR who face roadblocks in the form of balancing school with racing, the cost of competing and in Brandon’s case, a family situation that’s ever evolving. After capturing 500 hours of footage, Curry captures one year in their lives. (An interview with Curry is here.)

“Robin Hood” (2010)
Directed by Ridley Scott
Released by Universal Pictures

Originally intended to be a radical reworking of the story told through the eyes of the Sheriff of Nottingham, this redo with Russell Crowe handling the bow and arrow opted for the familiar, with Cate Blanchett as a more forward-thinking Maid Marian. (Matt Zoller Seitz’s review of the film is here.)

“The Secret in Their Eyes” (2009)
Directed by Juan José Campanella
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

After a sojourn in American television directing episodes of “Law & Order,” among other shows, “Son of the Bride” director Campanella travels back to Argentina for this Oscar-nominated adaptation of Eduardo Sacheri’s novel about a state prosecutor (Ricardo Darin) reflecting on a rape and murder investigation that occurred 25 years earlier for a book he’s writing and discovers new evidence in the case as well as the spark of rekindling a romance with the judge in the case (Soledad Villamil). (Bilge Ebiri’s review is here.)

“Stomp the Yard: Homecoming” (2010)
Directed by Rob Hardy
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Hardy, an executive producer on the original “Stomp the Yard,” moves into the director’s chair and even brings back star Columbus Short to put in an appearance in this DTV sequel that sees another student with mad dance skills (Collins Pennie) trying to keep up with his classes as he gets ready for a major step competition.

“Stripped Naked” (2009)
Directed by Lee Demarbre
Released by Anchor Bay

A stripper (Sarah Allen) stumbles upon $90,000 lying next to three dead men after a drug deal goes awry and goes on the run in this thriller from the director of “Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter.”

“Triple Dog” (2009)
Directed by Pascal Franchot
Released by Well Go USA

“Life Unexpected” star Brittany Robertson shows off her dark side in this sleepover gone horribly wrong when a group of high schoolers challenge each other to riskier dares during a popular girl’s birthday party. Judging from the trailer, it’s not PG-13.

09212010_AdamGoldbergUntitled.jpg“(Untitled)” (2009)
Directed by Jonathan Parker
Released by Screen Media Films

If last week was Duncan Ward’s turn to send-up the British art scene with “Boogie Woogie,” “Bartelby” director Parker takes his turn in the U.S. with this comedy starring Adam Goldberg as an eccentric composer who falls for a gallery owner (Marley Shelton) in Chelsea. Vinnie Jones, Eion Bailey and Lucy Punch round out the community around them.

“Vigilante” (1983)
Directed by William Lustig
Released by Blue Underground

Fred Williamson and Robert Forster team up in Lustig’s sweaty thriller where the two factory workers attempt to take back the streets from the local gangs in New York on their own terms since the police don’t seem interested in protecting their turf.

Also making their first appearance on Blu-ray: “American Beauty,” “The Peacemaker”

[Additional Photos: “Burnt by the Sun,” Sony Pictures Classics, 1994; “Ondine,” Magnolia Pictures, 2010; “(Untitled),” Screen Media Films, 2009]

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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.