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When Silents Are Golden: Chaplin, Keaton, “Metropolis” and More New DVDs

When Silents Are Golden: Chaplin, Keaton, “Metropolis” and More New DVDs  (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Modern Times”
Directed by Charlie Chaplin
Released by Criterion Collection

Granted, Warner Brothers released an extensive two-disc collection of arguably Charlie Chaplin’s finest film back in 2003, but Criterion Collection is bringing the silent comedian to Blu-ray for the first time with a newly remastered edition of the Depression-era classic with an array of special features including the Dardenne brothers’ 2003 tribute to the film, the 1916 two-reeler “The Rink,” the Alistair Cooke home movie with Chaplin and Pauline Goddard, “All at Sea,” two deleted sequences from the film, a new featurette on the film’s special effects with Ben Burtt and Craig Barron and much more.

“Avatar: Extended Collector’s Edition”
Directed by James Cameron
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

After a bare bones edition was released in April, James Cameron’s box office world-beater receives a three-disc set with all the bells and whistles one might expect for a more suitable gift-giving edition, offering 16 minutes of new footage, over an hour of deleted scenes, an hour-and-a-half making-of documentary, and countless featurettes and galleries documenting the film’s production.

“31 North, 62 East”
Directed by Tristan Loraine
Released by MTI Home Video

John Rhys-Davies stars in Tristan Loraine’s political thriller about a British prime minister’s dirty dealings coming back to haunt him when he secures an arms deal by leaking the location of one of his squadrons in Afghanistan who are thought to be killed in short order as a result. But when one of them survives the attack, the female soldier (Heather Peace) will stop at nothing to get revenge.

“Barking Water”
Directed by Sterlin Harjo
Released by Kino

After its weeklong run at the Museum of Modern Art over the summer, Sterlin Harjo’s road trip drama arrives at home on DVD, telling the story of a Native American (Richard Ray Whitman) who is accompanied by a former lover (Casey Camp-Horinek) to visit the capital of Seminole nation where his estranged daughter and granddaughter live.

“Bear City”
Directed by Douglas Langway
Released by TLA Releasing

For a comedic history of the gay male fetish towards the large and hirsuite, see Malcolm Ingram’s doc “Bear Nation.” But for a comedy about the bears, look no further than Langway’s film about a weeklong convention of bears in New York where a thin, young and largely hairless man looks for love among a community where he’s not an easy fit.

“Beneath the Blue”
Directed by Michael D. Sellers
Released by Inception Media Group

Having David Keith withdrawal after the quick cancellation of Fox’s “Lone Star”? (Okay, I may be the only one.) This environmentally-themed thriller might be just the fix as Keith plays a scientist whose daughter (Caitlin Wachs) has to choose between her principles as a dolphin researcher and a naval officer (“The Vampire Diaries'” Paul Wesley) with orders to investigate a series of dolphin deaths suspected to be the result of the government’s sonar.

11162010_BestWorstMovie.jpg“Best Worst Movie”
Directed by Michael Paul Stephenson
Released by New Video Group

Fans of “Troll 2” may have been disappointed that star Michael Paul Stephenson’s loving documentary about the cult of fandom that has followed the truly horrific horror flick wasn’t included on the recent “20th Anniversary Nilbog Edition” will be heartened to see it as its own stand-alone release. The DVD of this festival fave includes an audio commentary by Stephenson, deleted scenes and interviews.

“Brotherhood”
Directed by Nicolo Donato
Released by Olive Films

Donato’s drama finds the inherent tension in a gay romance between two neo-Nazis in Denmark.

“Coopers’ Christmas”
Directed by Warren P. Sonoda
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

A selection at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival, “The Daily Show”‘s Jason Jones and Samantha Bee star in this mockumentary about a calamitous family get-together over the holidays, complete with a nude Dave Foley.

“Disney’s A Christmas Carol”
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Released by Disney Home Entertainment

To place alongside his adaptation of “The Polar Express,” Robert Zemeckis’ second motion-capture Christmas tale is coming out on DVD and Blu-ray just in time to place under the tree, starring Jim Carrey as Scrooge in the Charles Dickens’ classic.

“A Crime”
Directed by Manuel Pradal
Released by Phase 4 Films

You know Manuel Pradal’s crime thriller falls into the fantasy realm when Emmanuelle Beart has to invent a suspect in the murder of Norman Reedus’ wife to take his mind off her death. Harvey Keitel shows up as a cabbie who gets involved and soon learns he doesn’t want to be in this 2006 potboiler.

“Don’t Look Back”
Directed by Marina de Van
Released by MPI Home Video

Speaking of European actresses whose looks could kill, Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci play the dual role of Jeanne, a biographer who notices her life and appearance starts to change when she tackles her own experience for her next book and becomes psychologically tortured when no one else seems to notice in this thriller that premiered at Cannes in 2009.

“Exam”
Directed by Stuart Hazeldine
Released by MPI Home Video

Luke Mably heads up a lit of eight applicants for the job interview from Hell involving one enigmatic question, 80 minutes to answer it and a locked windowless room where the applicants must rely on each other before competing against them to figure out what exactly they’re answering in Stuart Hazeldine’s twisty thriller.

“Exhibit A”
Directed by Dom Rotheroe
Released by IndiePix

One teenage girl’s digital camera captures the destruction of her family when her father’s secret debt is revealed and results in unexpected ramifications for his brood in this British thriller starring Brittany Ashworth and Bradley Cole.

“The Extra Man”
Directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
Released by Magnolia Pictures

“American Splendor” co-directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini worked with “Bored to Death” author Jonathan Ames to adapt his comic novel about a sexually confused, recently fired prep school teacher (Paul Dano) who comes under the tutelage of a failed playwright-turned-escort (Kevin Kline) for well-to-do women on the Upper East Side. (Aaron Hillis’ interview with Paul Dano is here)

11162010_FearMeNot.jpg“Fear Me Not”
Directed by Kristian Levring
Released by MPI Home Video

“The King is Alive” director Kristian Levring teams with frequent Susanne Bier collaborator Anders Thomas Jensen for this Danish drama about a 42-year-old (Ulrich Thomsen) whose financial situation forces him into the quick cash of a drug trial, though he soon regrets his decision after his behavior becomes erratic as a result of the experimental meds he’s taking.

“The Gunslingers”
Directed by Adam Oxsen
Released by Lionsgate

Originally titled “Ecstasy of Gold,” Adam Oxsen’s oater stars John Elliott as a bounty hunter who just wants a fair shake as a frontier town descends into chaos over a cache of gold, particularly his rival (Brad Allen) who intends to horde the gold for himself.

“A Lure: Teen Fight Club”
Directed by Bill McAdams Jr.
Released by Osiris Entertainment

Oh Bill McAdams Jr., you’re a brave soul for inviting comparisons to David Fincher, but I’m guessing few will do so after watching this thriller about an undercover cop assigned to sneak her way into the bowels of the local high school where girls must put up their dukes or be killed.

11162010_KidsAreAllRight.jpg“The Kids Are All Right”
Directed by Lisa Cholodenko
Released by Focus Features

“High Art” director Lisa Cholodenko teamed with frequent Edward Norton collaborator Stuart Blumberg to write this Sherman Oaks-set comedy that stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore star as a well-to-do lesbian couple whose teenage children (Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska) begin to wonder about the identity of their biological father (Mark Ruffalo). (Alison Willmore’s review is here)

“The Last Airbender”
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Released by Paramount Home Entertainment

Once competitors for the title of “Avatar,” James Cameron’s action flick and M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon show once again will duke it out on the DVD shelves. This home edition will feature a nine-part documentary about the making of the film that will hopefully explain to fans how Shyamalan took this beloved property about a teen tasked with keeping the peace in a world divided into the four elements and scored just a six percent amongst critics on Rotten Tomatoes this summer.

“The Lightkeepers”
Directed by Daniel Adams
Released by Image Entertainment

This turn-of-the-century romance stars Richard Dreyfuss as a crusty seaman and lighthouse operator in Cape Cod whose vow to never fall in love again after the death of his wife is threatened by the arrival of two women (Blythe Danner and Mamie Gummer) who take residence in the neighboring cottage.

“Lottery Ticket”
Directed by Erik White
Released by Warner Home Video

Bow Wow hits the jackpot in this comedy where he must wait out a weekend to cash in a lottery ticket worth $370 million while everyone in his neighborhood from Charlie Murphy, Mike Epps, Terry Crews and Ice Cube try to pry it away from him.

“Metropia”
Directed by Tarik Saleh
Released by New Video Group

There might not be a more eclectic voice cast ever assembled than the one Tarik Saleh put together for this animated dystopian thriller about a world where the Trexx Corporation rules and a desk jockey (Vincent Gallo), suspicious of their motives, begins to follow the voice (Alexander Skarsgård) he hears inside his head and an intriguing shampoo model (Juliette Lewis) with the hope that it will free him from the drudgery of his daily routine. (Aaron Hillis’ interview with star Alexander Skarsgard is here)

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

geowash_flat

Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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