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A Good Reason to Be “Bitter” This New Year and More New DVDs

A Good Reason to Be “Bitter” This New Year and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Bitter Feast”
Directed by Joe Maggio
Released by MPI Home Video

When a food critic (“Humpday”‘s Justin Leonard) takes a butcher knife to the restaurant of a celebrity chef (James LeGros), the chef plots the ultimate revenge in this gory satirical thriller from director Joe Maggio. (My review from the Los Angeles Film Festival is here.)

“Case 39”
Directed by Christian Alvart
Released by Paramount

2010 is probably a year best forgotten by Renee Zellweger, who not only appeared in the execrable “My Own Love Song,” which went straight to Netflix, but also this thriller that was filmed in 2006, but didn’t see a release until last fall. Zellweger stars as a social worker whose latest case involving a child (Jodelle Ferland) that she believes is a victim of abuse leads to something far more terrifying. Bradley Cooper and Ian McShane co-star.

“Catfish”
Directed by Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost
Released by Universal Home Video

The secret may be out, but if you’re only catching up to the conversation now, all you need to know about Joost and Schulman’s (possibly) nonfiction film is that it’s about a man who befriends an eight-year-old girl online and becomes infatuated with her older sister before deciding to meet them both in person. (Alison Willmore’s insightful yet spoiler-filled review of the film is here.)

“Celestial Films: The Supreme Swordsman”
Directed by Li Pai-ling
Released by Funimation

After killing his 99 other foes, the second most feared swordsman in China seeks to filet the only one considered better in this 1985 epic from Shaw Brothers’ protégé Li Pai-ling in the director’s chair.

“Dinner for Schmucks”
Directed by Jay Roach
Released by DreamWorks Video

A remake of French director Francis Veber’s “The Dinner Game,” Roach’s take on this comedy about a corporate climber (Paul Rudd) who is forced by his boss to find the most socially awkward person around (Steve Carell) to invite to a feast where he will be mocked and humiliated relies far more on physical humor than the wordplay of the original, but is worthwhile for the opening sequence of mice dioramas alone.

“The Edge of Dreaming”
Directed by Amy Hardie
Released by Kino Lorber

Director Amy Hardie looks into human subconscious in this documentary that resulted from the death of her horse only hours after dreaming it would occur.

“Fright Flick”
Directed by Israel Luna
Released by Vicious Circle Films

“Ticked Off Trannies With Knives” director Israel Luna keeps the blades out for this campy satire of slasher films where the set of a horror film is stalked by a killer on the loose. From early reports, Luna wasn’t shy about spilling blood.

01052010_Gun.jpg“Gun”
Directed by Jessy Terrero
Released by Image Entertainment

Already at work on the third film together (“Blood Out”), 50 Cent and Val Kilmer are threatening to become this generation’s Paul Newman and Robert Redford. As for their second film together, they play a gunrunner and cop respectively who help each other in Detroit when there’s a crackdown on arms dealers, though there are enemies neither could anticipate. Annalynne McCord and John Larroquette co-star in “Soul Plane” director Jessy Terrero’s thriller.

“Howl”
Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Released by Oscilloscope Laboratories

“The Life and Times of Harvey Milk” documentarians Epstein and Friedman make the leap to narrative features by profiling another San Francisco icon in beat poet Allen Ginsberg during the 1957 obscenity trial that followed the publication of his landmark poem (with a little animation thrown in to illustrate its hallucinatory nature). James Franco stars as Ginsberg with “Mad Men”‘s Jon Hamm onhand to defend him in court as Jake Ehrlich.

“The Last Exorcism”
Directed by Daniel Stamm
Released by Lionsgate

The marketing pushed Eli Roth’s role as executive producer on this low-budget horror flick to great effect, but it was director Daniel Stamm and writers Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko’s dark sense of humor and unflinching depiction of a backwoods family’s attempt to exorcise their daughter with the help of a preacher who lost his faith that makes this a welcome addition to canon of demon-chasing flicks. (My review of the film is here.)

“Machete”
Directed by Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Manquis
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

The smart folks at Sony decided to put out Rodriguez’s greatest hits — “Desperado”/”El Mariachi” and “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” — on Blu-ray to accompany the director’s latest, which puts Danny Trejo’s vigilante front and center amongst an all-star cast that includes Robert DeNiro, Jessica Alba, Cheech Marin, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez and Don Johnson.

“Sci-Fi High”
Directed by Daniel Belusci and Steve Dispensa
Released by Midnight Releasing

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe there’s too many other films in the alien invasion/’50s-style musical genre, so this one from Dan Bellusci and Steve Dispensa is a bit of a rarity. It’s hard to describe otherwise, but the trailer is here.

“Ticking Clock”
Directed by Ernie Barbarash
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as a journalist who may be in over his head after he finds his girlfriend’s corpse accompanied by a journal that lists the killer’s next victims, pitting him in a race against time to protect them. Neal McDonough co-stars.

01052010_TouchingHome.jpg“Touching Home”
Directed by Logan and Noah Miller
Released by Millennium Media Services

The no-budget making of this drama from Northern California-based brothers Logan and Noah Miller was so riveting it inspired a bestselling book “Either You’re In or You’re In the Way”, so now it has a DVD to sit next to it on the shelf, detailing the Miller brothers’ real-life travails after their failed pursuit of minor league baseball careers leads to figuring out what they want to do with their lives as they face the additional challenge of maintaining a relationship with their alcoholic father (Ed Harris).

“Who Loves the Sun?”
Directed by Matt Bissonnette
Released by Osiris Entertainment

Lukas Haas, Molly Parker and Adam Scott star in this dramedy from “Passenger Side” director Matt Bissonnette about the return of a man (Haas) who left town without explanation years earlier only to offer not much of an explanation when he comes back to his wife (Parker) and best friend (Scott).

“Wolvesbayne”
Directed by Griff Furst
Released by Millennium Media Services

One of those delightfully random casts you usually only find on DVD shelves, Jeremy London, Mark Dacascos, “Even Stevens” star Christy Carlson Romano and Yancy Butler appear in this vampires versus werewolves thriller.

“The Yellow Handkerchief”
Directed by Udayan Prasad
Released by Millennium Media Services

“My Son the Fanatic” director Prasad helms this drama about two teens (Kristen Stewart and Eddie Redmayne) who pick up a just-released inmate (William Hurt) and drive through post-Katrina Louisiana contemplating the solitude that has brought them together and the lure of relationships that could set them free.

Oldies But Goodies Resurfacing or Appearing for the First Time on DVD: Jack Lemmon’s “Good Neighbor Sam”, “The Notorious Landlady”, “Phffft!”, “Under the Yum Yum Tree”

New to Blu-ray: “Backdraft”, “Coraline” (3D Blu-ray), “Ever After”, “Hope Floats”, “Lost in Translation”, “A Walk in the Clouds”

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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