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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.

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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.

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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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