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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.

“Release”
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)

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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.

JaniceAndJeffrey_106_MPX-1920x1080

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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