This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


“Red Hill,” Reviewed

“Red Hill,” Reviewed (photo)

Posted by on

“Red Hill” is a movie smoothie: a whole bunch of different movies blended together in one mixture that combines the tropes of several genres. Take a couple parts American Western, throw in a handful of 80s slasher film, a dash of 70s revenge and vigilante movies, and sprinkle in some racial injustice as the crunchy granola social commentary on top. In movies like this, as with smoothies, it’s all about the recipe: balancing out all the ingredients so they work in harmony and your concoction isn’t too sweet or gritty. For the most part, “Red Hill” goes down smooth, though there are a few chunky bits that could have used an extra pulse through the blender.

The setting and setup are pure Western, albeit one set in the high country of modern Australia rather than nineteenth century United States. Even the hero’s name, Shane Cooper, comes from the West, obviously inspired by the movie “Shane” and actor Gary Cooper, whose most famous Western, “High Noon” bears certain similarities to “Red Hill.” We meet Cooper at his first day on the job as a member of the Red Hill police force. His wife is pregnant, and after a previous miscarriage, doctors told Shane to move his family out of the city and into the country, where things are quiet and peaceful. Bad idea, since just as he’s introduced around the Red Hill police station, news reports on television warn about an explosion at a nearby prison and the escape of convicted murderer Jimmy Conway (Tommy Lewis). Naturally, Jimmy makes his way to Red Hill, and it’s up to Shane, the grizzled town sheriff (Steve Bisley), and a good old fashion posse to catch him.

At that point, “Red Hill” switches from a Western-tinged police procedural to a Western-set serial killer movie. Though he shares a name with Robert De Niro’s character in “Goodfellas” and a wardrobe with Clint Eastwood, Jimmy shares a hunting technique with Michael Myers: stoic, silent, merciless, super pissed off, and really good at moving around without ever being seen. This middle chunk, where Shane struggles to survive (mostly off-screen) as Jimmy stalks his prey, is “Red Hill”‘s weakest. It’s repetitive too, as Jimmy brutally murders one middle-aged white dude after another in exactly the same fashion: sneaking up on them, shooting them with his shotgun, pumping his shotgun menacingly, following them as they crawl away injured, letting them beg for their life, and then killing them anyway. Thematically, these scenes certainly have their place, but there’s not nearly enough variety to the slaughter or enough urgency to Lewis’ performance. Sticking a tattered William Shatner mask on a silent murderer creates this air of mystery and menace. As a sort of slasher without a mask, Jimmy just looks glum and kind of bored. He’s waited almost a decade for this night, but it’s like his mind is somewhere else.

Things recover, though, in the film’s final act, when the Jimmy’s (admittedly predictable) secrets are revealed during a suspenseful series of chases and standoffs. After spending most of the second act off-screen, Kwanten morphs into a believable Western lawman, and director Patrick Hughes peppers the climax with a series of striking, iconic visuals — one man on horseback silhouetted against a stormy sky, another standing in front of an enormous fire, his rifle resting on his hip — that lend the finale an epic feel. Suddenly this isn’t just a movie about homages to other movies. It’s a story about a country trying to sweep the dirtiest bits of his history under the rug (or, in this case, burn it away). You may question a few of Hughes’ ingredient choices, but you can’t deny the taste “Red Hill” leaves in your mouth: sharp, peppery, and wonderfully bitter.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

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

Posted by on
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

Posted by on

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.

Posted by on
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.