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Danny Huston is Back in “Black,” a Complete “Grindhouse,” and More New DVDs

Danny Huston is Back in “Black,” a Complete “Grindhouse,” and More New DVDs  (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Fade to Black” (2010)
Directed by Oliver Parker
Released by Image Entertainment

It looks like we’ll have to update our list of actors who’ve played Orson Welles with this long-delayed drama from “The Importance of Being Earnest” director Parker, which stars Danny Huston as the “Touch of Evil” auteur who gets caught up in a murder mystery all his own on 1948’s “Black Magic” in Italy when he finds out his name is on a hit list. Christopher Walken, Diego Luna and Paz Vega co-star.

“30 Days of Night: Dark Days” (2010)
Directed by Ben Ketai
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Rare for a direct-to-video sequel, original author Steve Niles returns to co-write this follow-up to the 2007 graphic novel adaptation about a vampire attack in Alaska. This time, “Lost” star Kiele Sanchez is protecting her neck, along with Diora Baird, Harold Perrineau, Rhys Coiro and Mia Kirshner, to seek vengeance against the bloodsuckers that took her husband.

“Black Mountain Madman” (2010)
Directed by Ryan Marshall
Released by Cyber Pictures

Marshall sends up the slasher flick by heading into the woods of Oregon with five pot-smoking friends who go in search of the legendary local bogeyman.

“Bomber” (2010)
Directed by Paul Cotter
Released by Film Movement

A SXSW selection of 2009, Cotter’s road trip comedy centers on an elderly couple whose ne’er do well son joins them on a journey to Germany where the family’s patriarch seeks forgiveness.

“Destined to Be Ingested” (2010)
Directed by Sofian Khan
Released by Midnight Releasing

Since the title “Cannibal Holocaust” was already taken for one of the most infamous horror films of all time, producers of this island-set cannibal tale threw out the delightfully redundant “Holocaust Holocaust” in favor of the title you see now for this film about a couple who strike it rich in the stock market and book a cruise that’s a one-way ticket into the clutches of a group of people eaters.

“Don’t Let Me Drown” (2010)
Directed by Cruz Angeles
Released by Image Entertainment

A veteran of Sundance and Seattle 2009, Angeles sets his romantic drama against the post-9/11 landscape where a Brooklyn-based teen (E.J. Bonilla) meets a young woman (Gleendilys Inoa) whose sister died during the attacks and both find comfort in each other as a safe haven from their overbearing parents.

“‘The Evil’/’Twice Dead'”
Directed by Gus Trikonis
Released by Shout! Factory

Roger Corman presents these two ’80s-set haunted house flicks in a double feature: “The Evil,” starring Richard Crenna as a drug rehabilitation counselor who finds an evil presence in the basement of his new clinic in an abandoned mansion, and “Twice Dead,” which sees Todd Bridges and Tom Bresnahan find their new home inhabited by the ghost of a dead actor.

“Fire” (2010)
Directed by Raoul W. Heimrich
Released by Maverick Entertainment

“CSI” alum Gary Dourdan inadvertently becomes the center of a conspiracy when he and his wife apply for a bank loan and are taken hostage by a group of thieves. According to the single quote on the film’s poster, Quentin Tarantino thinks it’s a “great movie.”

10032010_Grindhouse.jpg“Grindhouse” (2007)
Directed by Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino
Released by The Weinstein Company

Speaking of Tarantino, his homage to exploitation with Robert Rodriguez is finally being released in the original form it played theaters back in 2007, complete with trailers from Eli Roth (“Thanksgiving”), Rob Zombie (“Werewolf Women of the SS”), and Edgar Wright (“Don’t”). For the updated set, Zombie, Wright and Roth have all done new commentaries and director’s cuts, not to mention a new installment of Rodriguez’s 10-minute cooking school, and making-of featurettes that weren’t on the previous separate releases of Tarantino’s “Death Proof” and Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror.”

“The Human Centipede” (2010)
Directed by Tom Six
Released by MPI Home Video

After introducing the world to heretofore unknown surgical procedures, Six’s horror film grew from cult status to cultural mass when Stephen Colbert referred to it on this year’s Emmys. Now, one can watch the exploits of the crazed Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser) in the comfort of home, as the German surgeon experiments on two American women whose car breaks down.

“Humphrey Bogart Essential Collection”
Released by Warner Brothers

Blu-ray fans will applaud the coinciding release of “The Maltese Falcon” and “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” in hi-def for the first time, but for Bogart fans with slightly deeper pockets, Warner Brothers has released this 24-film collection spread across 12 discs, including everything from “The Roaring Twenties” to “Key Largo.” The set also includes a collectible book, a bonus disc with newsreels and cartoons from the era and postcards of Bogie one-sheets, among other goodies.

“The Karate Kid” (2010)
Directed by Harald Zwart
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

One of the surprise hits of the summer, Jaden Smith fills in for Ralph Macchio in this update of the 1984 coming-of-age film that has Smith moving to China to learn kung fu from Jackie Chan’s Mr. Han.

“The Last Rites of Ransom Pride” (2010)
Directed by Tiller Russell
Released by Screen Media Films

For some, the mere idea of “Party Down”‘s Lizzy Caplan armed with a shotgun as the lead of this western is enough to warrant a rental, but throw in Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, Peter Dinklage and Jason Priestley and you’ve got yourself an intriguing oater about a woman who must bring her dead husband home for burial.

“Listen to Your Heart” (2010)
Directed by Matt Thompson
Released by Osiris Entertainment

Writer/Director/Actor Thompson makes his directorial debut on this drama about a New York singer/songwriter (Kent Moran) whose muse (Alexia Rassmussen) can’t hear his music, but finds a more formidable obstacle in her overprotective mother (Cybill Shepherd) who keeps her from pursuing a relationship with the musician.

“Mid-August Lunch” (2010)
Directed by Gianni Di Gregorio
Released by Zeitgeist Films

Even though “Gomorrah” director Matteo Garrone is listed as a producer, expect the only mob presence in this light Italian comedy to be around the dining room table where a middle-aged man (played by writer/director Di Gregorio) is forced to take in his landlord’s mother and aunt and his doctor’s mother during the holiday of Ferragosto in order to pay off some debts. Di Grigorio earned a Donatello Award for Best New Director in his native country for the film. (Reviews from Alison Willmore and Lisa Rosman are here.)

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (2010)
Directed by Samuel Bayer
Released by New Line

After directing legendary videos for Nirvana and Green Day, Bayer finally made his feature debut with this update of Freddy Krueger, starring Jackie Earle Haley as the man with the knife gloves who terrorizes the dreams of a group of high schoolers.

“The Oxford Murders” (2010)
Directed by Alex de la Iglesia
Released by Magnolia Pictures

Delayed for so long that Alex de la Iglesia’s next film “The Last Circus” is already on the festival circuit, the mischievous Spanish auteur’s first English-language foray is finally hitting American shores, with Elijah Wood and John Hurt playing a student and professor who attempt to solve a series of murders that appear to be rooted in mathematical code. (An interview with de la Iglesia is here.)

“The Rig” (2010)
Directed by Peter Atencio
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

William Forsythe leads a group of roughnecks to survive the crushing waves of a tropical storm while trapped on an oil rig in this aquatic thriller.

“Rust” (2010)
Directed by Corbin Bernsen
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Corbin Bernsen wrote, directed and stars in this religious drama about a minister whose friend is accused in the arson murder that has rattled the town. Behind the scenes, the real Canadian town of Kipling helped finance the film.

“The Secret of Kells” (2010)
Directed by Tomm Moore
Released by New Video

The big surprise of this year’s Oscar nominations in the animated feature category, don’t expect this “Secret” to be held much longer. Brendan Gleeson is among the vocal contributors to this Irish adventure about the creation of the Book of Kells and the 12-year-old who blossoms under the tutelage of a matter illuminator to give life to the book. (Lisa Rosman’s review is here.)

“Splice” (2010)
Directed by Vincenzo Natali
Released by Warner Bros.

Genetic mutation goes horribly awry in this thriller from “Cube” director Natali that stars Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley as the proud parents/scientists behind a new creature out of human and animal DNA that quickly groes into something out of their control. (Bruce Bennett’s review is here.)

“Tomboys” (2009)
Directed by Nathan Hill
Released by Dreamscape

The feature debut of Australian actor/director Hill is a revenge thriller involving a group of rape victims who capture their tormentor and then decide whether they’ll torture him as much as he did to them.

“The Undertaker” (1988)
Directed by Franco Steffanino
Released by Code Red

In this horror flick from the ’80s, Joe Spinell stars as the titular mortician who takes in unwilling customers to keep him company at his funeral home.

“Woke Up Dead” (2010)
Directed by Jon Fasano
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Once a series of Web shorts, this Jon Heder-starring comedy has been compiled into a feature-length film with the “Napoleon Dynamite” star playing a college student who believes he’s dead after waking up in a bathtub and gets his pal (Josh Gad) to record the days that follow. Krysten Ritter, Wayne Knight and Jean Smart co-star.

New to Blu-ray:

[Additional Photos: “Grindhouse,” The Weinstein Company, 2007; “The Oxford Murders,” Magnolia Pictures, 2008]



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.


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.