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“Dogtooth,” “Enter the Void” and a Week of DVDs on the Edge

“Dogtooth,” “Enter the Void” and a Week of DVDs on the Edge (photo)

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“Dogtooth” (2009)
Directed by Giorgos Lanthimos
Released by Kino

“Enter the Void” (2010)
Directed by Gaspar Noé
Released by MPI Home Video

Somehow it’s fitting that two of last year’s most dangerous films will be hitting DVD shelves the same week, both being favorites of the IFC.com staff. “Dogtooth,” Lanthimos’ much-debated Un Certain Regard winner from Cannes, concerns the lives of three culturally isolated children — two daughters and a son, who range from mid-teens to early 20s — fenced in by their parents’ country home, who receive a reeducation when their lone connection to the outside world, a female security guard for their parents’ business, introduces them to the joys of sex and Sylvester Stallone films. Meanwhile, “Irreversible” provocateur Noé’s latest is a wildly ambitious 155-minute extravaganza set inside the mind of a drug dealer told from the first-person perspective. Nathaniel Brown and “Boardwalk Empire” star Paz de la Huerta play siblings torn apart after their parents died in a car accident who reunite in Tokyo just before Brown’s drug dealer is shot and left to observe his sister from above. (Alison Willmore’s review of “Dogtooth” and Aaron Hillis’ interview with Noé can be found here.)

“Aaron Bacon: Troubled Youth Collection” (2010)
Directed by Nick Gaglia, Jonathan Heap, Kether Donohue, and Charlie Vaughn
Released by Vanguard Cinema

“Avatar” supporting player Joel David Moore and “Firefly” fave Alan Tudyk make appearances in this collection of dramatic shorts including Nick Gaglia’s “Aaron Bacon,” Jonathan Heap’s “Bedridden,” Kether Donohue’s “The Babydaddy,” and Charlie Vaughn’s musical coming out tale “Flight to Sinai.” Also available on VOD.

“Alligator” (1979)
Directed by Sergio Martino
Released by Mya Communication

Barbara Bach and Mel Ferrer are just two of the tourists who make the unfortunate booking at a resort in Africa where a flesh-hungry crocodile, thought to be the reincarnation of an angry island god, is eating the guests in this exploitation flick made in the wake of “Jaws.”

“Eclipse Series 25: Basil Dearden’s London Underground” (1959-1962)
Directed by Basil Dearden
Released by Criterion Collection

The 25th entry in the Criterion Eclipse Series offers a spotlight to the oft-overlooked British director Basil Dearden with four of the films he made after exiting Ealing Studios to make the crime thrillers “Sapphire” and “The League of Gentlemen,” in addition to the landmark gay drama “Victim” with Dirk Bogarde and the jazz-infused “All Night Long.”

“The Bird Can’t Fly” (2008)
Directed by Threes Anna
Released by Vanguard Cinema

Barbara Hershey plays a woman who almost literally can’t return to her desert home for her daughter’s funeral since it has been deluged by sand, but finds a reason to stay with the discovery of a grandson she hadn’t known about previously in this 2008 drama from Dutch director Threes Anna. Also available on VOD.

01242011_BroadcastNews.jpg“Broadcast News” (1987)
Directed by James L. Brooks
Released by Criterion Collection

Although there are few films even his most diehard fans can agree upon, Brooks’ one consensus masterpiece after moving from being a legendary executive producer on TV shows like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Taxi” to film is this comedy set inside the high-pressure world of network news where a producer (Holly Hunter) is caught between a witless, attractive anchor (William Hurt) and an experienced, albeit sweaty reporter (Albert Brooks). The new Criterion reissue includes a documentary on Brooks’ career thus far, an alternate ending and deleted scenes, an audio commentary with Brooks and editor Richard Marks and more.

“Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer” (2010)
Directed by Alex Gibney
Released by Magnolia Home Entertainment

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney reunites with “Enron” author Peter Elkind to chronicle Eliot Spitzer’s fall from grace as part of a prostitution ring. But that’s only one facet of this portrait of the former New York governor, which is equally interested in probing the cutthroat political scene that Spitzer largely rose above as the state’s attorney general, only to reap the consequences of ignoring it when his name was discovered on a madam’s list of johns. (My review and interview with Alex Gibney are here.)

“Crippled Masters 2: Two Crippled Heroes” (1980)
Directed by Shia Yue
Released by Apprehensive Films

“Crippled Masters 3: Fighting Life” (1981)
Directed by Wang Chung Kwong
Released by Apprehensive Films

The legless Jackie Conn and the armless Frankie Shum continued one of the most unusual (and some would say exploitative) martial arts series around, though only one is a true follow-up to 1979’s original “Crippled Masters” where the Taiwanese twosome team up to make up for each other’s disabilities and battle local corruption. There’s less action in “Crippled Masters 3,” where Conn and Shum play completely different characters as brothers who try to fit into a community where they’re looked down upon.

“Dead Space 2: Aftermath” (2011)
Directed by Mike Disa
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

A spinoff of the EA video game series, this anime feature carries on where the sci-fi game left off.

01242011_EverythingStrangeandNew.jpg“Everything Strange and New” (2010)
Directed by Frazer Bradshaw
Released by IndiePix Films

Recently nominated for a Spirit Award for Best First Feature, Frazer Bradshaw’s drama centers on a carpenter who has become disillusioned by his life and ponders what to do to change it one long-take at a time.

“Feed the Fish” (2010)
Directed by Michael Matzdorff
Released by Strand Releasing

Also suffering from a mid-life crisis, Tony Shalhoub’s author of children’s books decides to literally take a plunge in this comedy when he joins a group of daredevils who jump into Lake Michigan in the dead of winter. “The League” and “The Freebie” star Katie Aselton lends him support.

“Final Spawn” (2011)
Directed by Fabrice Lambot
Released by Platinum Disc

How do you chase a serial killer that may or may not be human? “Flags of Our Fathers” star James Horan finds out in this sci-fi tinged thriller about a cop who must conquer his own problems before solving a series of murders, though he has the help of a local pimp (Lance Henriksen).

“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest” (2009)
Directed by Daniel Alfredson
Released by Music Box Films

The third and final installment in the first film adaptation of the Millennium Trilogy sees a Mohawk-donning Noomi Rapace reprise her role as the punk computer hacker Lisbeth Salander who is holed up in a hospital in critical condition as she awaits trial for three murders while journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) tries to make a case for her innocence.

“House of Bones” (2010)
Directed by Jeffrey Scott Lando
Released by Millennium Media Services

Corin Nemec and Charisma Carpenter star as seekers of the paranormal in this thriller where a TV crew’s tour of a haunted house turns into murder spree.

“Inhale” (2010)
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur
Released by MPI Home Video

After the director bounced back from his little-seen English-language debut, the Julia Stiles-Jeremy Renner drama “A Little Trip to Heaven,” with the much-awarded 2006 thriller “Jar City,” Kormákur is back in the States with this thriller about a district attorney (Dermot Mulroney) and his wife (Diane Kruger) who are forced to come to terms with their ethics when faced with finding a lung donor for their young daughter and discovering the most viable solution may be turning to a surgeon who performs illegal transplants in Mexico. (My interview with Mulroney about the film’s strange journey to the screen is here.)

01242011_InspectorBellamy.jpg“Inspector Bellamy” (2010)
Directed by Claude Chabrol
Released by MPI Home Video

While Chabrol’s 50th film is cause for celebration, it is also a bittersweet occasion since the director known outside of France as the country’s answer to Alfred Hitchcock sadly passed away last year. However, the French master of suspense was able to check one thing off his bucket list by working with another icon in Gérard Depardieu for the first time in his final thriller about a police commander whose idyllic vacation away from the city with his wife (Marie Bunel) is rudely interrupted by a man (Jacques Gamblin) accused of insurance fraud who wants to clear his name, as well as Bellamy’s bothersome half-brother (Clovis Cornillac).

“Land of Confusion” (2011)
Directed by Jeremy Zerechak
Released by Virgil Films and Entertainment

Jeremy Zerechak’s documentary follows a squadron of the Pennsylvanian National Guard as they become soldiers policing the streets of Baghdad.

“Like Dandelion Dust” (2009)
Directed by Jon Gunn
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

Mira Sorvino and Barry Pepper star in this adaptation of Karen Kingsbury’s novel about the fight over an adopted child (Maxwell Perry Cotton) between the parents he’s come to know and the ones that gave him up and hope to restart their lives after a history of abuse and alcoholism.

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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.

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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.

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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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