A Trip Through “Fantasia” to “Valhalla” and More New DVDs

A Trip Through “Fantasia” to “Valhalla” and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“The Fantasia Collection”
Released by Disney Home Entertainment

While the headliner of Disney’s incredible group of releases on November 30th will be the four-disc Blu-ray double feature of “Fantasia” and “Fantasia 2000,” it’s what’s less publicized that should be exciting to both Disneyphiles and film fans in general. Starting with the hi-def debut of the two “Fantasias,” Disney will finally include amongst the films’ copious special features (many ported over from the out-of-print DVD set) the 1946 Salvador Dali-Walt Disney collaboration “Destino,” along with an 82-minute making-of documentary. And incidentally, Disney is also releasing three standalone documentaries that shouldn’t be overlooked in “The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story” about the songsmiths behind the studio’s most famous musicals like “Mary Poppins,” “Walt & El Grupo,” which details the company-shifting trip Walt Disney took with his animators to Latin America as part of the Good Neighbor Policy during World War II, and the most acclaimed of the bunch, “Waking Sleeping Beauty,” which chronicles the resurrection of Disney’s animation division during the late ’80s and early ’90s.

“Alarm” (2008)
Directed by Gerard Stembridge
Released by MPI Home Video

“About Adam” director Gerard Stembridge’s latest film is a psychological thriller about a woman (Ruth Bradley) who moves from hustle and bustle of Dublin for the Irish countryside, only to be freaked out by how quiet her new hometown is during the day, leading to the installation of an alarm system after she finds someone has broken into her home and the idea that she could be of more danger to herself than those around her.

“Anotherworld” (2010)
Directed by Fabiomassimo Lozzi
Released by Breaking Glass Pictures

A selection of Frameline and the Chicago International Film Festival, Lozzi blends fiction and nonfiction with this collection of 43 monologues about the gay male’s experience in Italy.

11272010_CairoTime.jpg“Cairo Time” (2010)
Directed by Ruba Nadda
Released by MPI Home Video

A romantic drama both in its subject matter and setting, Patricia Clarkson stars as the wife of a U.N. official who is left adrift in an Egyptian hotel, where her only company is her husband’s friend (Alexander Siddig), during a three-week stay in the Middle East.

“Going the Distance” (2010)
Directed by Nanette Burstein
Released by Warner Home Video

Refreshingly foul-mouthed for a romantic comedy while not being of the gross-out variety, the narrative debut for longtime documentarian Nanette Burstein (“American Teen”) invovles a pair of young lovers (Drew Barrymore and Justin Long) whose relationship is born out of unfortunate timing as Barrymore’s journalist moves to San Francisco while Long’s A & R rep must stay in New York. While criticism about Long’s face proved more enduring than the actual film during its September release, it’s quite possible the comedy will find its audience on home video.

“Henry Jaglom Collection: Love & Romance”
Directed by Henry Jaglom
Released by Rainbow Releasing

On the eve of his latest film “Queen of the Lot,” the director rereleases his romantic dramas 1985’s “Always…But Not Forever,” 1997’s “Deja Vu” and 1992’s “Venice/Venice” (with appearances from David Duchovny and Melissa Leo).

“Knight and Day” (2010)
Directed by James Mangold
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

Although Tom Cruise’s return to action proved to be a box office disappointment domestically, this thriller, in which he stars as a secret agent who must protect a civilian (Cameron Diaz) who gets unwittingly involved in a massive conspiracy, wound up being an international success, perhaps partly because it has a pretty awesome chase scene through Spain. Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Dano, Maggie Grace and Viola Davis co-star.

“La Braconne” (1993)
Directed by Serge Pénard
Released by Pathfinder Pictures

A selection of Cannes, this French coming-of-age story tells of an 11-year-old who lives with his two uncles and gets them into trouble when he is responsible for the disappearance of some chickens in town and lets one of them take the fall.

“Life in Flight” (2008)
Directed by Tracey Hecht
Released by MPI Home Video

Patrick Wilson stars as an architect who seemingly has it all with a great marriage and a wonderful son until his flirtations with an urban designer (Lynn Collins) suggest that even though his life has gone according to plan, that isn’t what he wanted from life in director Tracey Hecht’s feature debut. Amy Smart co-stars. (My interview with Hecht is here.)

11272010_LiverpoolLisandroAlonso.jpg“Liverpool” (2009)
Directed by Lisandro Alonso
Released by Kino

Back in 2009, R. Emmet Sweeney called Lisandro Alonso’s latest film “one of the most challenging and rewarding films at Rotterdam,” unspooling the character study of a sailor who travels in search of his mother and admires all the sights to be seen on the bottom tip of South America.

“Lulu” (2002)
Directed by Jean-Henri Roger
Released by Pathfinder Pictures

Mathieu Amalric and Tony Gatlif put in appearances in this drama about a transsexual bar owner (Elli Medeiros) accused of murder who becomes romantically entangled with the journalist (Jean-Pierre Kalfon) who tries to set her free.

“Shadowland” (2010)
Directed by Wyatt Weed
Released by Pirate Pictures

In this horror film from director Wyatt Weed, Caitlin McIntosh stars as an amnesiac vampiress who doesn’t know whether to run from or towards a bounty hunter dispatched by the Vatican who claims he can save her soul.

“The Sicilian Girl” (2009)
Directed by Marco Amenta
Released by Music Box Films

Amenta dramatizes his 1997 documentary about the 17-year-old daughter of a mafioso who agrees to testify against the mob after the deaths of her father and brother in this Italian thriller that I thought “resembles a Hollywood B-picture of the 1940s” when I saw it last year.

“The Special Relationship” (2010)
Directed by Richard Loncraine
Released by HBO Home Video

Screenwriter Peter Morgan and Michael Sheen’s third entry into their shared Tony Blair series ultimately landed without director Stephen Frears and on HBO, but critics suggested Richard Loncraine filled in Frears’ shoes admirably in recounting the bond that formed between Blair and Bill Clinton (Dennis Quaid) between 1992 and 2000.

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (2010)
Directed by Jon Turteltaub
Released by Disney Home Entertainment

If old school Disney doesn’t do the trick this week, Jerry Bruckheimer’s bombastic spin on the “Fantasia” staple is also being released on DVD and Blu-ray, with “Undeclared” star Jay Baruchel getting the magic wand after he accidentally unleashes the mortal enemy of Nicolas Cage’s sorcerer and must send him back to hell. And win the girl (Teresa Palmer).

11272010_ValhallaRising.jpg“Valhalla Rising” (2010)
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
Released by MPI Home Video

Arguably one of the most visually striking depictions of Viking life ever forged, “Vahalla Rising” reunites Refn with his “Pusher” star Mads Mikkelsen for this elegiac journey across the Scottish Highlands interrupted by disembowlings, bludgeonings and beheadings at the hands of a warrior named One-Eye (Mikkelsen) in 1000 AD.

“Vampires Suck” (2010)
Directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

We’re completists at IFC.com, which is why we’re including the latest from cinematic arsonists Friedberg and Seltzer (“Date Movie” and “Meet the Spartans”) in this column. Ken Jeong and Diedrich Bader are present in this “spoof” of “Twilight” and whatever else has caught their fancy recently.



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.