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A Geekgasm of “Cronos,” “Inception,” “Videodrome” and More New DVDs

A Geekgasm of “Cronos,” “Inception,” “Videodrome” and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Cronos” (1993)
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
Released by Criterion Collection

After years of being out of print, Guillermo del Toro’s feature debut is getting the Criterion treatment and del Toro has gone all out to make it one of the best discs ever with new interviews, his 1987 short “Geometria,” two audio commentaries, a video tour of his home office, and more.

“300 Killers” (2010)
Directed by Matt Jaissle
Released by Midnight Releasing

A police chief (Johnny Andrews) who sees his city falling under the thumb of a ruthless drug dealer and sends out his best detective (Anthony Tomei) to put a stop to it in Matt Jaissle’s action film.

“Across the Line: The Exodus of Charlie Wright” (2010)
Directed by R. Ellis Frazier
Released by Maya Home Entertainment

Aidan Quinn stars as a billionaire who flees to Tijuana after he’s on the run for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme in search of a woman he left behind decades earlier while a federal agent and some less savory folks are in hot pursuit. Writer/director R. Ellis Frazier surrounds Quinn with Andy Garcia, Mario Van Peebles, Luke Goss, Gina Gershon, and Danny Pino.

12072010_BarryMunday.jpg“Barry Munday” (2010)
Directed by Chris D’Arienzo
Released by Magnolia Home Entertainment

Chris D’Arienzo’s directorial debut found quite a few fans when it premiered earlier this year at SXSW, with Patrick Wilson playing against type as the smarmy ladies man in the title who loses his testicles in an attack only to finally man up when he discovers he may be a new father soon to a woman (Judy Greer) he barely recalls in this comedy. Chloë Sevigny, Malcolm McDowell, Jean Smart, and Cybill Shepherd co-star. (Interviews with Wilson and Sevigny are here.)

“Boys Life 7”
Released by Strand Releasing

Strand Releasing’s latest collection of gay themed shorts features Julian Breece’s “The Young and Evil,” Larry Kennar’s “Spokane,” Gary Huggins’ “First Date,” and Martin Deus’ “Raw Love.”

“Caged Animal” (2010)
Directed by Ryan Combs
Released by Phase 4 Films

Now that he’s appearing in DTV titles like “Death Race 2,” apparently it’s time to accept Ving Rhames a star of the Blockbuster realm. Even though he once again collaborates with director Ryan Combs from “Animal 2,” this isn’t necessarily a continuation of the prison saga from that DTV series, but instead the origin story of Miles “Cain” Skinner, who must defend his turf against his rival from the outside (Robert LaSardo). Robert Patrick co-stars.

“A Dog Year” (2009)
Directed by George LaVoo
Released by HBO Films

In the midst of all the excitement surrounding Jeff Bridges’ performances in the upcoming “Tron: Legacy” and “True Grit,” HBO is releasing this family friendly drama that was orphaned by the end of the indie label Picturehouse in 2009. Bridges stars alongside Lauren Ambrose as a writer who emerges from a midlife crisis with the help of an abandoned border collie he takes in from the pound.

“Escape from Zahrain” (1962)
Directed by Ronald Neame
Released by Olive Films

Ronald Neame directs this 1962 Yul Brenner vehicle in which the “King and I” star revolts against his country’s corrupt government and makes a desperate attempt to exit.

“Fistful of Brains” (2008)
Directed by Christine Parker
Released by Brain Damage Films

This zombie western involves two brothers’ feud that tears a North Carolina town apart during the 1800s when the murder of a herd of cattle leads to a series of unfortunate events.

“Fox 75th Anniversary Collection”
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

There are 75 films to celebrated 75 years of the venerable Hollywood studio, but only one is actually a DVD debut: the 1933 adaptation of Noel Coward’s “Cavalcade.” However, the studio is more than making up for it with a set that includes everything from “All About Eve” to “The Devil Wears Prada” and a hardcover book celebrating Fox’s history.

12072010_MtHead.jpg“Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor and Other Fantastic Films”
Directed by Koji Yamamura
Released by Zeitgeist Films

KimStim has collected legendary Japanese animator Koji Yamamura’s shorts for U.S. consumption for the first time, including the 2003 Oscar-nominated “Mt. Head.”

“Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre” (2009)
Directed by Julius Kemp
Released by Image Entertainment

The original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”‘s Gunnar Hansen adds to the killer cred of this Icelandic slasher flick where a group of whale watchers make the mistake of getting onto the wrong boat when their own vessel runs into rough waters.

“Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist, and Rebel” (2010)
Directed by Brigitte Berman
Released by Phase 4 Films

Canadian documentarian Brigitte Berman studies the impact of the Playboy founder on America’s changing attitude towards sex, as well as the country’s bumpy journey towards civil rights equality in this biography. Given unprecedented access by Hefner, Berman goes beyond the grounds of the Playboy Mansion with interviews with libertines such as James Caan, Jim Brown and Gene Simmons as well as the likes of Dr. Ruth, Pat Boone, Jesse Jackson and George Lucas. (My interview with Berman is here.)

“Hunter Prey” (2009)
Directed by Sandy Collora
Released by Maya Entertainment

Sandy Collora, director of that great Batman short “Dead End” from 2003, gets to helm a full-length sci-fi film about a spaceship where the crew becomes hunted by an extraterrestrial prisoner that escapes their clutches.

“Inception” (2010)
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Released by Warner Home Video

Arguably the most debated film of the year, Christopher Nolan’s thriller about dream theft will now be held up to even closer scrutiny on home video where one can endlessly pause and pore over every visual twist and turn. (Plus, it can get you ready for that video game sequel.) Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Ken Watanabe and Tom Hardy star.

Mademoiselle Chambon
Directed by Stephane Brizé
Released by Lorber Films

Recently nominated for a Spirit Award after winning a César Award last year for best adapted screenplay and being nominated for two more, Brizé’s drama centers around a construction worker (Vincent Lindon) whose idyllic family life is upset when he volunteers as a substitute teacher at his son’s school and meets the titular Mademoiselle Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain), a vibrant, violin-playing homeroom teacher who seduces the married father.

12072010_milkofsorrow1.jpg“The Milk of Sorrow” (2009)
Directed by Claudia Llosa
Released by Olive Films

Famous for being the first Oscar-nominated film from Peru, if nothing else, Claudia Llosa’s drama is centered on a woman (Magaly Solier) who believes her mother passed on a life of misery at birth and attempts to escape her past. (Alison Willmore’s review of the film is here.)

“The Mission” (1986)
Directed by Roland Joffe
Released by Warner Home Video

Long before Roland Joffe was directing treacle such as “Captivity” and “The Scarlet Letter,” he was at the helm of this Palme D’Or winning drama that’s making its Blu-ray debut about the defense of a South American tribe by a group of Jesuit missionaries led by Jeremy Irons against a slave trader (Robert De Niro).

“My Normal” (2010)
Directed by Irving Schwartz
Released by Wolfe Video

Also debuting the same day on VOD, Irving Schwartz’s New York-set drama centers on a woman (Nicole LaLiberte) who supports her desire to become a filmmaker as one of the city’s most wanted dominatrixes, but just as her plan starts to come together, a new relationship threatens to tear it apart.

“Only When I Dance” (2010)
Directed by Beadie Finzi
Released by Film Movement

“Unknown White Male” producer Beadie Finzi travels to Rio de Janeiro for this dance documentary that traces the journey of two fleet-footed teens, Irlan and Isabela, from the favelas of Brazil, where they face daily violence in the streets and discrimination from the national ballet companies for the color of their skin, to the Youth America Grand Prix in New York where the competition is fierce.

“Patrik, Age 1.5” (2008)
Directed by Ella Lemhagen
Released by Entertainment One

Ella Lemhagen’s comedy shows the perils of not reading the fine print when a gay couple in Sweden expect to adopt a 15-month-old orphan and wind up with a 15-year-old hoodlum who objects to their lifestyle.

Directed by Darren Flaxstone and Christian Martin
Released by TLA Releasing

This British drama centers on the romance that develops between a priest incarcerated on charges of pedophilia and a prison guard who believes in his innocence.

12072010_Restrepo.jpg“Restrepo” (2010)
Directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington
Released by Virgil Films and Entertainment

Long respected for his investigative journalism, “The Perfect Storm” author Junger joined forces with photojournalist Hetherington for a look at life inside an American platoon in Afghanistan that naturally will appear in book form (“War”) as well serve as the subject of this film which captures a year in the war-torn Korengal Valley. The National Geographic release was widely lauded at Sundance where Alison Willmore called it an “artful, excellent doc” that is a “nonfiction companion to ‘The Hurt Locker.'” The U.S. military has since shut down the outpost in April. (My interview with Junger and Hetherington is here.)

“Shrek Forever After” (2010)
Directed by Mike Mitchell
Released by DreamWorks Animation

If Jeffrey Katzenberg is to be believed, this will be the last time we see the big ol’ green ogre, in which case, the series might’ve saved the best for last with this entry that reimagines Shrek’s entire trajectory when a deal with Rumpelstiltskin leads to an alternate universe where Shrek hasn’t yet met his true love Fiona or become a local celebrity, though if he is to survive, he must still find true love’s kiss.

“The Stranger In Us” (2010)
Directed by Scott Boswell
Released by Breaking Glass Pictures

After leaving an abusive ex-boyfriend, a man (Raphael Barker) who has little experience in the urban life of San Francisco outside of his past relationship is taken under the wing of a hustler who offers both a bit of protection and danger in this drama.

“Strapped” (2010)
Directed by Joseph Graham
Released by TLA Releasing

A male hustler spends the night at an apartment building full of eccentric tenants in this drama from San Francisco filmmaker Joseph Graham.

“Videodrome” (1983)
Directed by David Cronenberg
Released by Criterion Collection

Although this appears to be a direct port from Criterion’s already impressive 2004 edition of David Cronenberg’s headtrip about a TV exec (James Woods) whose discovery of a hardcore Malaysian program leads him into a dangerous world where real life and television have no barriers. However, it’s quite likely that the new hi-def transfer for this Blu-ray will be so good, it’ll make your head explode.

“The Year of Getting to Know Us” (2008)
Directed by Patrick Sisam
Released by Entertainment One

Maybe this comedy will be known mostly as a trivia answer for what was the last vestige of Jimmy Fallon’s attempt to transition from a “Saturday Night Live” star into a leading man in the movie business before returning to late night as a talk show host. But two years after writer/director Patrick Sisam’s feature debut played at Sundance, a wide audience will finally get their chance to see Fallon as a man trying to overcome a privileged but dysfunctional childhood with detached parents (Tom Arnold and Sharon Stone) by returning home at the behest of his girlfriend (Lucy Liu). (trailer)


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



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.