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Your Winter Indie Film Preview: Anywhere But a Movie Theater

Your Winter Indie Film Preview: Anywhere But a Movie Theater (photo)

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If it’s too cold to leave the house for your local theater, there’s plenty of options if you stay inside online, on demand and on DVD. What follows is your guide to all the new releases coming your way between now and April.

Online and On Demand


My French Film Festival

Thanks to bids for Oscar consideration, the winter is traditionally one of the rare times foreign films get plenty of attention in the States, particularly at West Coast festivals such as Palm Springs and Santa Barbara. However, Francophiles in particular will be excited to know you won’t have to go to California or New York — or even Paris for that matter — to be able to catch some of the most recent cinema from France since uniFrance is unveiling My French Film Festival, which is being billed as the “first exclusively online film festival celebrating French talent” that will run from January 14th through January 29th.

And there is a considerable amount of talent to celebrate. 2009 Cannes Critics’ Week winner “Goodbye, Gary Cooper,” with “The Taste of Others” star Jean-Pierre Bacri, “All About Actresses,” featuring Charlotte Rampling and Karin Viard, and the thriller “Spy (ies),” starring “Tell No One” director/actor Guillaume Canet are amongst the eleven features that will be available at your fingertips, as well as new films from exciting directors lesser known in the U.S. such as Christopher Thompson (“Bus Palladium”), Léa Fehner (“Silent Voices”), Patrick Mario Bernard & Pierre Tridivic (“The Other One”) and recent Cesar Award winner Riad Sattouf (“The French Kissers”). Ten short films will also be available and although films will be available individually, one will be able to stream the entire collection for under $20, which is better than trolling Amazon.fr for that region-less DVD of any one of these titles.


IFC Films and Sundance Selects

01112011_OtherWomanPortman.jpgSpeaking of bringing a film festival home, IFC Films’ offshoot Sundance Selects is wasting no time in delivering five films straight from this year’s Sundance Film Festival to their video-on-demand outlets to correspond with their premieres in Park City. These include “The Doom Generation” director Gregg Araki’s sextastic and satirical thriller “Kaboom” and “Hannah Takes the Stairs” director Joe Swanberg’s latest comedy “Uncle Kent” (January 21st), Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton’s films-as-history documentary “These Amazing Shadows” (January 22nd), “Cocaine Angel” (and /HammertoNail mastermind) Michael Tully’s backwoods family dramedy “Septien” (January 23rd), and the Australian director Brendan Fletcher’s cross-generational action flick “Mad Bastards” (January 24th).

Beyond the Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Selects and IFC Films will continue to release a deluge of international hits and festival favorites throughout the winter. In just the opening week of the new year, IFC jumped into 2011 with both feet with the VOD premieres of the Natalie Portman dramedy “The Other Woman” and the VOD-exclusive IFC Midnight titles “Exorcismus,” a Spanish chiller from Manuel Carballo, and “Tetsuo: The Bullet Man,” Shinya Tsukamoto’s third entry into his cyberpunk series. (The latter two are in English for the subtitle-weary.) But in the weeks to follow, IFC will present the acclaimed Korean thriller “The Housemaid” (January 21st), the VOD-only Hong Kong horror film “Dream Home” (February 9th), the Guy Pearce-Miranda Otto kidnapping drama “In Her Skin” (February 11), Mexican director Jorge Michel Grau’s cannibal family flick “We Are What We Are” (February 23rd), Jordan Scott’s debut feature, the British schoolgirl drama “Cracks” (March 18th) and Barry Blaustein’s ensemble comedy “Peep World” (March 25th) with Sarah Silverman and Rainn Wilson.

Meanwhile, Sundance Selects recently launched Elia Suleiman’s “The Time That Remains” on VOD, which will be followed by a slew of other critically acclaimed films hitting VOD and theaters simultaneously in the early months of 2011 including Aaron Katz’s visually acoustic detective story “Cold Weather” (February 4th), Xavier Dolan’s light romantic drama “Heartbeats” (February 25th), Zeina Durra’s “The Imperialists Are Still Alive” (March 4th), and Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy” (March 11th).


FilmBuff

The good folks over at Cinetic are starting the year off right with the only film besides “The Social Network” that landed on all three of IFC.com’s ten best lists in 2010 – “Dogtooth,” Yorgos Lanthimos’ darkly satirical look at a family that has kept their grown children confined to their home for their entire lives, will be available on VOD and iTunes beginning January 18th. Also available on iTunes that day is “Paper Man,” which has Ryan Reynolds playing a superhero, only it’s inside the mind of a writer (Jeff Daniels) having a mid-life crisis before he forms an unusual bond with a 17-year-old (Emma Stone) who was forced to grow up a little too quick in this dramedy. A week later on January 25th, the Chris Kattan camp comedy “Scout’s Honor: Badge to the Bone” arrives on VOD, iTunes and Amazon VOD, followed by the environmental doc “2012: Time For Change” on February 15th (available on VOD, iTunes, Amazon VOD, Xbox and PlayStation) and the acclaimed musical portrait “Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields” on February 28th (also available on VOD, iTunes, Amazon VOD, Xbox and PlayStation). In March, FilmBuff will debut the coming out drama “A Marine Story” on March 1st (available on VOD and iTunes) and the Broken Social Scene-infused Bruce McDonald-directed rock ‘n’ roll romance “This Movie is Broken” on March 15th (also on VOD and iTunes).


Gravitas Ventures

01112011_WhoLovestheSun.jpgGravitas continues to bring indie film to homes everywhere by the boatload – between January and March, they will release over 100 films on video on demand – and not surprisingly, they roared into the new year with the VOD premieres of the Charlie Murphy-Jayma Mays comedy “Bar Starz,” the Lukas Haas-Adam Scott dramedy “Who Loves the Sun?”, the Lyme disease doc “Under Our Skin,” Coury Deeb’s plea for peace “The New Sudan,” and the stoner comedy “Bad Batch” about the aftermath of a tray full of pot brownies. This week, those titles will be joined by the crime thriller “At the Sinatra Club,” based on the exploits of a young John Gotti (Danny Nucci), on January 11th.

February doesn’t let up with the VOD debuts of the 2009 festival fave romantic comedy “16 to Life,” the Rob Schneider comedy “Chosen One,” the Barbara Hershey drama “Bird Can’t Fly,” the Serbian zombie flick “2012: Apocalypse of the Dead,” the horrific circus chiller “House of Fears,” the conspiracy thriller “Zenith” and the black metal doc “Until the Light Takes Us” on February 1st. From there, there’s a little something for everyone with the inspirational breast cancer awareness doc “1 A Minute,” the ’09 Toronto Film Fest-selected coming-of-age tale “Down for Life” with Laz Alonzo and Danny Glover, and the wilderness thriller “Bear” on February 8th, followed by the teen drama “Sex and the U.S.A.,” about two girls caught between their abstinence pledge and their burgeoning sexual urges, on February 22nd.

In March, we can heartily endorse the Fantastic Fest-selected Korean drug trafficking thriller “The Man From Nowhere,” which will premiere on VOD along with the romantic comedy “Amanda,” on March 8th, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves. On March 1st, Gravitas will unveil a wave of nonfiction titles that include the basketball doc “Fathers of the Sport,” Kate Davis’ acclaimed gay flashpoint doc “Stonewall Uprising,” the maternity ward exposé “Pregnant in America,” and “A/K/A Tommy Chong” about the comedian’s stint in prison for selling bongs. Those will be accompanied on the same day by the race-against-the-clock thriller “An American Wreck,” the Alfred Molina drama “The Little Traitor,” the Melissa Joan Hart-Robert Guillaume road movie “Satin,” and the Mindy Cohn comedy “Violet Tendencies.” Gravitas will round out the month with the dual release of the Canadian sci-fi actioners “2022: Recon” and “2023 Recon: The Gauda Prime Conspiracy” on March 15th, followed by Doug Pray’s great doc on ad men “Art & Copy” on March 22nd and “Janis Joplin: The Final 24 Hours” on March 29th.


Magnolia Pictures

Even though “Ong Bak 3” and Brad Anderson’s latest thriller “Vanishing on 7th Street” have yet to hit theaters, they are very much available through the array of outlets that offer Magnolia’s Ultra VOD from Amazon on Demand to iTunes. Starting February 4th, the Sean Bean-Eddie Redmayne period horror film “Black Death” will make its Ultra VOD premiere, followed by the eagerly awaited debut of Quentin Dupieux’s Cannes sensation “Rubber” on February 25th.


SnagFilms

01112011_IThinkWereAloneNow.jpgFor once, the big news regarding SnagFilms doesn’t have to do with their latest acquisitions of amazing documentaries to add to their already considerable collection (though they’ve done that, too, just see below). No, to start the New Year, SnagFilms launched a free app for the iPad, which allows users to stream 50 of the doc site’s most popular titles including Ondi Timoner’s “DiG!”, “Confessions of a Superhero,” the James Toback doc “The Outsider,” and Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me.”

Yet of course they haven’t stopped finding nonfiction gems to make available for free and between the end of January through mid-February, audiences everywhere will have no excuse not to watch Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s funny and heartrending 2000 biopic “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” “At the Death House Door” director Peter Gilbert’s unusual climate change doc “Burning Ice” (with appearances from Robyn Hitchcock, Moby and Feist, among others), “A Small Act” director Jennifer Arnold’s beloved 2001 cult doc “American Mullet,” Herman Vaske’s short “Digital Bomb” and 2008’s “I Think We’re Alone Now,” Sean Donnelly’s kinda creepy doc about obsessed fans of ’80s pop star Tiffany (and yet so good, Matt Singer was hard-pressed to pick a favorite moment).

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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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