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Documentaries to “Exit” 2010 With and More New DVDs

Documentaries to “Exit” 2010 With and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Gasland” (2010)
Directed by Josh Fox
Released by New Video Group

“Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work”
Directed by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg
Released by MPI Home Video

“Exit Through the Gift Shop” (2010)
Directed by Banksy
Released by Oscilloscope Laboratories

If you haven’t caught up on the year’s best documentaries in time to fill out your top 10 list, three of them will be hitting DVD shelves this week, beginning with Josh Fox’s Sundance award-winning “Gasland,” an exploration of the “hydraulic fracturing” going on in own backyard, a type of drilling that has spread to 34 states in the U.S. and has left a host of reservoirs of toxic waste and frequent gas explosions along the way. For something less serious, but equally compelling, there is also Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” which follows the comedienne through one of the busiest years of her life as she works on her ever-evolving act, deals with her unique brand of fame and breaks through her legendarily retouched exterior to reveal the trials and tribulations of surviving over a half-century in show business. And last but certainly not least, art provocateur Banksy’s “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” which has been available on demand and on iTunes for a few weeks, is getting a deluxe DVD set courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories, though don’t expect any new revelations on Banksy’s identity in the special features for this film where a paparazzo named Thierry Guetta reverses roles with the elusive graffiti artist and becomes a cause célèbre named Mr. Brainwash. (Alison Willmore’s review of “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is here.)

“The A-Team” (2010)
Directed by Joe Carnahan
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

It took awhile for “Narc” director Joe Carnahan to find his niche, but bloated action blockbusters may be just his speed. That’s no backhanded compliment as “The A-Team” is far more fun than it has any right to be, reviving the ’80s TV series about a group of dishonorably discharged army specialists whose latest mission is to clear their names after being framed by their rivals, with a warped sense of humor and flying tanks. Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, “District 9″‘s Sharlto Copley and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson star as the quartet.

“The Back Nine” (2010)
Directed by Ron Vignone
Released by Magnolia Home Entertainment

This documentary features Jon Fitzgerald as an average golfer who aims to make the professional tour while barely keeping above par in balancing his day job and family.

“The Black Pirate” (1926)
Directed by Albert Parker
Released by Kino

Douglas Fairbanks’ silent swashbuckler, famous for being one of the first films to experiment with Technicolor, is getting a pristine new Blu-ray courtesy of Kino.

“A Complete History of My Sexual Failures” (2008)
Directed by Chris Waitt
Released by MPI Home Video

Chris Waitt turns the camera on himself for this 2008 Sundance fave in which he looks back at all his past relationships and figures out where they went wrong.

12112010_Cyrus.jpgCyrus (2010)
Directed by Jay and Mark Duplass
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

The Duplass brothers long avoided the overtures of Hollywood in favor of having total control of their projects, but early word is that they were able to bring their loose, improvisational style to their first film for Fox Searchlight, a comedy starring John C. Reilly as a middle-aged divorcé who finds love with a new girlfriend (Marisa Tomei), but must vie for her attention with her grown son (Jonah Hill) who lives with her. Consider the film a bit of a dream project for Hill, who places “The Puffy Chair” among his favorite films – and it didn’t disappoint, as Hill told Matt Singer at SXSW.

“Dear Mr. Gacy” (2010)
Directed by Svetozar Ristovski
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

Arguably the only thing creepier than a film with William Forsythe is a film where Forsythe plays John Wayne Gacy. Svetozar Ristovski directs this film based on conversations between the serial killer and a college student (Jesse Moss) who reaches out to him for a school project, developing an unusual relationship as they test each other’s limits.

“Despicable Me” (2010)
Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Released by Universal Home Entertainment

Before “Megamind,” “Despicable Me” was the year’s first computer-animated film to feature a supervillain who begins to change his ways. Steve Carell voices Gru, a dapper evil mastermind who takes in three orphaned girls for his latest plot to rule the world and winds up caring for them. The Neptunes provide the score.

“Disengagement” (2007)
Directed by Amos Gitai
Released by MPI Home Video

This politically-charged drama starring Juliette Binoche has taken its time to make it across U.S. shores, telling the story of a woman who travels to Israel with her estranged stepbrother after the death of her father to look for the daughter she abandoned two decades prior and get caught in the country’s military pullout of the Gaza Strip in 2005. Jeanne Moreau, Liron Levo and Hiam Abbass co-star.

12112010_DoubleTake.jpg“Double Take” (2010)
Directed by Johan Grimonprez
Released by Kino

Multimedia artist Johan Grimonprez’s latest continues to indulge his fascination with cinematic suspense that he examined with his surreal 2005 Hitchcock-inspired short “Looking for Alfred” by rejiggering film and television clips to create a parallel narrative to the 1960s that positions Hitchcock as a history professor caught up in the Cold War frenzy. British novelist Tom McCarthy co-wrote the script that sees Hitchcock battling his mirror image (Burrage) as television battles for supremacy over cinema. (Bruce Bennett’s review of the film is here.)

“Fishmen and Their Queen” (1995)
Directed by Sergio Martino
Released by Mya Communication

A sequel to “Island of the Fishmen,” schlocky Italian director Sergio Martino’s follow-up centers on two teens who navigate a radioactive wasteland to find an island where they’re enslaved by a sea queen and must fight for their survival.

“Frenemy” (2009)
Directed by Gregory Dark
Released by Lionsgate

Back when Zach Galifianakis was doing porn…actually, that’s not quite true, but it’s a testament to the “Due Date” star’s increasing level of fame that Lionsgate has dusted off this 2009 comedy, originally titled “Little Fish, Strange Pond,” from softcore-turned-legitimate director Gregory Dark. A veteran of the Hollywood, Austin and Cinequest Film Festivals, this comedy actually stars Matthew Modine as a killer whose conscience manifests itself into a companion named Mr. Jack (Callum Blue), sharing a deep conversation about existential matters until they’re rudely interrupted by a robbery at an adult bookstore owned by Galifianakis’s shady Bucky. Adam Baldwin, Paul Adelstein and Liza Weil co-star.

“Guy Maddin: Quintessential 5 Films from the Heart”
Directed by Guy Maddin
Released by Zeitgeist Video

Maddin’s 1990’s “Archangel,” 1992’s “Careful,” 1997’s “Twilight of the Ice Nymphs,” “Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary,” and 2004’s “Cowards Bend the Knee” fill out this four-disc set, but it’s the extras of this limited edition box that make the collection of the Canadian filmmaker’s recent works that make it really special with an hour-long doc narrated by Tom Waits, audio commentaries on each film by Maddin and assorted cast and crew, six of Maddin’s shorts, radio interviews, “imagined audition reels,” production design collages and more.

“The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle” (2009)
Directed by David Russo
Released by Tribeca Film

Seattle-based filmmaker David Russo’s first feature was reportedly inspired by his own experience as a janitor, serving up sci-fi/comedy hybrid that stars Marshall Altman as a recently laid off computer programmer who turns to mopping up floors and cleaning toilets for a new job, which becomes considerably more interesting when the cookies he eats at the corporation he works for result in his giving birth to a blue fish. Tania Raymonde, Vince Vieluf and Natasha Lyonne co-star.

“The IT Crowd: The Complete Fourth Season”
Released by MPI Home Video

We don’t feature many TV shows as part of this column, but we’ll make a shameless exception for “The IT Crowd” – if you can’t get enough on IFC, repair to the basement of Reynholm Industries where Roy, Moss and Jen toil away in this office comedy.

“Killjoy 3” (2010)
Directed by John Lechago
Released by Full Moon Entertainment

If you were aware there was a “Killjoy” 1 or 2, you might be interested to know there’s a third, continuing the rampage of Trent Haaga’s killer clown, who pulls in a group of college students through a magic mirror in order to torture them.

12112010_LastInternationalPlayboy.jpg“The Last International Playboy” (2008)
Directed by Steve Clark
Released by MTI Home Video

A veteran of the Slamdance and Oxford Film Festivals in 2008, Jason Behr steps into the titular role of a man whose luck with the ladies doesn’t extend to his true sweetheart from childhood (Monet Mazur) who’s getting married to another, which when combined with the suicide of his mother, leads him to befriend an 11-year-old neighbor (India Ennenga) to confide his troubles. Krysten Ritter co-stars.

“Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” (2010)
Directed by Zack Snyder
Released by Warner Home Video

After popularizing the use of CG environments with live actors, “300” and “Watchmen” director Zack Snyder went the whole way with computer animation in this adaptation of Kathryn Lasky’s series of novels about an army of owls who are tasked with protecting the owl kingdom against an uprising. Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren, Ryan Kwanten, Joel Edgerton, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham lend their voices to the birds.

“Micmacs” (2010)
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

“Amelie” director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s latest elaborate mouse trap of a movie stars French comedian Dany Boon as Bazil, a man who lives one day at a time, thanks to a bullet lodged in his brain from a freak gun accident. He then makes it his mission to initiate a war between the local arms factories and recruits a collection of oddballs including a human cannonball (Dominique Pinon) and a contortionist (Julie Ferrier) to put his plan into place. (Nick Schager’s interview with Jeunet and Matt Singer’s review of the film are here.)

“Mother and Child” (2010)
Directed by Rodrigo Garcia
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

“Nine Lives” director Rodrigo Garcia that takes a few notes from its executive producer Alejandro González Iñárritu in weaving together the stories of a nurse (Annette Bening) who gave up a baby as a teen, her grown-up biological daughter (Naomi Watts) and a woman (Kerry Washington) who is looking to adopt since she can’t conceive. Jimmy Smits, David Morse and Samuel L. Jackson play the men in their lives. (Matt Singer’s review is here.)

“Nanny McPhee Returns” (2010)
Directed by Susanna White
Released by Universal Home Video

Thanks to the mindboggling international success of Emma Thompson’s toothy caretaker, there was demand for a second installment which sees Nanny McPhee head to the farm of a mother of three (Maggie Gyllenhaal) while her husband’s away at war. Ewan McGregor, Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Smith and Rhys Ifans are among the heavyweights who offer support.

“The Nature of Existence” (2010)
Directed by Roger Nygard
Released by Walking Shadows

“Trekkies” director Roger Nygard goes to an even more final frontier than space in this doc that surveys such minds as Orson Scott Card, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Richard Dawkins, Leonard Susskind, the late Irvin Kershner and more in an effort to get the answer to one of most fundamental of questions.

12112010_OtherGuys.jpg“The Other Guys” (2010)
Directed by Adam McKay
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg play low-level cops who stumble into the case of their careers after a parking violation leads to the exposure of a massive Ponzi scheme in the latest from “Step Brothers” director Adam McKay. Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes, Steve Coogan, Samuel L. Jackson, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson co-star. (Matt Singer’s review is here.)

“Resonnances” (2006)
Directed by Philippe Robert
Released by Synapse Films

The good folks at Synapse usually know their stuff, so this low-budget French thriller about a guy and his three female pals whose trip into the mountains for a getaway that turns into a nightmare involving an escaped convict and an underground beast is probably worthwhile for horror fans.

“Seeing Heaven” (2010)
Directed by Ian Powell
Released by Breaking Glass Pictures

One man’s search for his twin brother in the underground world of gay hustling and porn shoots leads him to have unusual visions in this horror film from Brit director Ian Powell.

“Slave” (2010)
Directed by Darryn Welch
Released by Phase 4 Films

Natassia Malthe stars as a woman who thinks she’s going to meet the father of her fiancé in Spain when she’s abducted and sold into sex slavery as her fiancé tries to figure out where she’s disappeared to in this horror film from Darryn Welch.

“Taxi Zum Klo” (1980)
Directed by Frank Ripploh
Released by Breaking Glass Pictures

Frank Ripploh’s semi-autobiographical film about a gay school teacher in West Berlin torn between his public and private identity is getting a remastered director’s cut in honor of its 30th anniversary.

“The Town” (2010)
Directed by Ben Affleck
Released by Warner Home Video

Ben Affleck directs and stars in this adaptation of Chuck Hogan’s novel “Prince of Thieves” about bank robbers whose allegiance to each other is tested when a witness (Rebecca Hall) to their latest heist threatens their operation and the FBI, led by Jon Hamm’s dogged investigator, begins to close in. (My review of the film is here.)

12112010_TheTrotsky.jpg“The Trotsky” (2009)
Directed by Jacob Tierney
Released by Tribeca Film

Canadian actor/director Jacob Tierney has already finished his second collaboration with the very busy Jay Baruchel called “Good Neighbours,” but in the mean time, you can catch his first, this comedy that stars the “Undeclared” star as a high school student in Montreal who believes he’s the second coming of Leon Trotsky and aims to bring Marxism to the public schools after getting transferred there by his father.

“Trouble in Mind: 25th Anniversary Special Edition” (1985)
Directed by Alan Rudolph
Released by Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory is giving another spin to Alan Rudolph’s neo-noir starring Kris Kristofferson, Keith Carradine, Lori Singer and Genevieve Bujold as denizens of the shadowy Rain City.

“True Grit” (1969)
Directed by Henry Hathaway
Released by Paramount Home Video

For a point of comparison with the Coen brothers’ adaptation of Charles Portis’ novel about a grizzled U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger come to the aid of a young woman to find her father’s killer, Paramount is releasing the Blu-ray of John Wayne’s Oscar-winning version of the film.

[Additional Photos: “Cyrus,” Fox Searchlight, 2010; “Double Take,” Kino, 2010; “The Last International Playboy,” MTI Home Video, 2010; “The Other Guys,” Columbia Pictures, 2010; “The Trotsky,” Tribeca Film, 2010]

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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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