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“Let” Them Entertain You and More New DVDs

“Let” Them Entertain You and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Let Me In” (2010)
Directed by Matt Reeves
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

“Never Let Me Go” (2010)
Directed by Mark Romanek
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

Two of 2010’s most underrated films that approach their respective genres from radically different perspectives than most, “Cloverfield” director Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In” and Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go” will finally have the opportunity to stand out on home video. In “Let Me In,” Reeves applies some of his own biographical touchstones for this remake of Tomas Alfredson’s horror film about the unlikely friendship between a vampire (Chloe Moretz) and a lonely young boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Romanek’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s much-beloved sci-fi novel about a group of children raised apart from the rest of society for purposes that are unknown to them. (Alison Willmore’s reviews for “Let Me In” and “Never Let Me Go” and her interview with Romanek and Matt Singer’s interview with “Let Me In” composer Michael Giacchino can be found here.)

“Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2” (2011)
Directed by Alex Zamm
Released by Disney Home Entertainment

Yes, there’s a direct-to-video sequel featuring the George Lopez-voiced tough-talking pooch who must save his owner’s home from foreclosure by entering into a dog show.

“Chain Letter” (2010)
Directed by Deon Taylor
Released by Image Entertainment

“Thirteen” star Nikki Reed and the gruff-voiced Keith David and Brad Dourif star in this horror flick about a high school circle of friends who are killed off one-by-one if they decide against passing along a threatening letter to each other.

“Conviction” (2010)
Directed by Tony Goldwyn
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

Hilary Swank stars as Betty Anne Waters, the real-life attorney who went to law school solely to free her brother (a scene-stealing Sam Rockwell) who she believes has been wrongly accused in this drama directed by Tony Goldwyn. (Matt Singer’s interview with Rockwell and my interview with Goldwyn can be found here.)

“Death Tube 2” (2010)
Directed by Yohei Fukuda
Released by Cinema Epoch

Yohei Fukuda directed this second installment in the J-horror series about a group of killers who prey on each other online.

01282011_ElenaUndone.jpg“Elena Undone” (2010)
Directed by Nicole Conn
Released by Wolfe Video

Already noted for breaking the record for the longest onscreen kiss, Nicole Conn’s romantic drama concerns a lesbian author who finds love with the wife of a pastor.

“11 Harrowhouse” (1974)
Directed by Aram Avakian
Released by Shout! Factory

Charles Grodin and Candice Bergen star in this comedy where Grodin plays a diamond cutter whose job divided a top-grade rock turns into his inadvertent involvement in a jewelry heist.

“Farm Girl in New York” (2010)
Directed by J. Robert Spencer
Released by Maverick Entertainment Group

Not surprisingly a favorite of the upstate New York festival circuit in 2008, J. Robert Spencer’s romantic comedy centers on two smalltown guys who take off for the big city and soon find themselves writing a play about their experience as a way to meet women who audition for it.

“Forgotten Pills” (2009)
Directed by David Hefner
Released by Synkronized USA

A winner at last year’s Dances With Films festival, “Hell Ride”‘s Larry Bishop stars in David Hefner’s thriller about a group of friends who decide to raise hell when they have a vial of pills that erases their memory from the night before, though unfortunately it won’t erase the memories of who they harm in the process.

“Giulia Doesn’t Date at Night” (2009)
Directed by Giuseppe Piccioni
Released by Entertainment One

This Valeria Golino romantic drama from Italy about a man whose interest is piqued by his daughter’s mysterious swim teacher (Golino) was originally intended to get a U.S. theatrical release that never came, so this will be the first opportunity for Americans to see the multiple David Di Donatello nominee.

01282011_Hatchet2.jpg“Hatchet II” (2010)
Directed by Adam Green
Released by Dark Sky Films

Since Adam Green’s unrated slasher thriller controversially played less than a week in theaters, it’s fair to say this will also be the first chance for horror fans to see Danielle Harris’ Marybeth take revenge on the swampbound serial killer Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), with additional creepiness thrown in by Tony Todd’s Reverend Zombie.

“Lucky Lady” (1975)
Directed by Stanley Donen
Released by Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory unearths this 1975 prohibition-set comedy that pits moonshine-runners Burt Reynolds and Gene Hackman against each other for the love of Liza Minnelli. Stanley Donen directs from a script by George Lucas collaborators William Huyck and Gloria Katz.

“Mean Girls 2” (2011)
Directed by Melanie Mayron
Released by Paramount Home Video

Although Lindsay Lohan might’ve been up for reprising her role as Cady Heron, only Tim Meadows will be returning for this DTV sequel to the 2004 comedy, which presumably will keep the meanness of high school cliques without neccessarily the wit of Tina Fey. (trailer)

“Monsters” (2010)
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Released by Magnolia Home Entertainment

Now that he’s been tapped to direct a new version of “Godzilla,” it’s high time audiences get familiar with this low-budget sci-fi wonder about a journalist (Scoot McNairy) and his boss’ daughter (Whitney Able) as they travel across Mexico after an alien invasion to a supposedly safe zone just across the U.S. border. (My interview with Edwards and Matt Singer’s consideration of the film is here.)

“Night Catches Us” (2010)
Directed by Tanya Hamilton
Released by Magnolia Home Entertainment

Tanya Hamilton’s labor of love about stars Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington as Marcus and Pat, two ex-Black Panthers whose romantic reunion in Philadelphia after being apart for the better part of a decade is short-lived, thanks to a current Panther (“The Wire”‘s Jamie Hector) who wants Marcus’ head, a detective (Wendell Pierce) who wants to blackmail him and an unpredictable client (Amari Cheatom) of Pat’s pro bono law practice.

Pre-Code: “Hell Harbor”/”Jungle Bride” (1930/1933)
Directed by Henry King/Harry O. Hoyt
Released by VCI Entertainment

A double bill of uncensored tales of murder and mayhem with a foreign flavor, this set includes “Hell Harbor,” the story of a woman who flees an arranged marriage with an eye toward Havana with an American she falls for, though he’s targeted for murder. “Jungle Bride” also takes place in a tropical locale as a woman convinced of her imprisoned brother’s innocence in a murder takes her fiancé on a hunt to find the real killer and winds up deserted on an island off of South America.

“The Prowler” (1951)
Directed by Joseph Losey
Released by VCI Entertainment

Then-blacklisted Dalton Trumbo helped write the script without credit for this favorite noir of Manny Farber and James Ellroy about a policeman called to the residence of a deejay and his wife and becomes infatuated with the missus while plotting to murder the husband. Matt Zoller Seitz’s video essay gives a taste.

“Quantum Apocalypse” (2010)
Directed by Justin Jones
Released by First Look Pictures

A comet is on a collision course towards Earth and it’s up to four scientists to stop it in this low-budget sci-fi flick.

“Red River” (2010)
Directed by Jacob Ennis
Released by Bloody Earth Films

Not to be confused with the John Wayne classic, Jacob Ennis’ horror film tells the story of Roland Thatcher, a private man in Kentucky who really doesn’t like it when a group of kids begin to encroach on his property.

“Rhineland” (2007)
Directed by Chris Grega
Released by VCI Entertainment

Chris Grega’s 2007 World War II drama focuses on a soldier who is thrust into the heat of conflict and comes to rely on a lieutenant and sergeant who have long since lost the desire to be on the battlefield.

01282011_Skin.jpg“Skin” (2008)
Directed by Anthony Fabian
Released by Entertainment One

A festival favorite, “Hotel Rwanda”‘s Sophie Okonedo stars as Sandra Laing, a black South African born to white parents (Alice Krige and Sam Neill), causing upheaval in her community and her family during apartheid in this true-life drama.

“The Tillman Story” (2010)
Directed by Amir Bar-Lev
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

“My Kid Could Paint That” documentarian Bar-Lev demystifies the 2004 death of the NFL star-turned-soldier in Afghanistan. Through interviews with Pat Tillman’s mother Dannie and his widow Marie, as well as friends and fellow soldiers, the film goes into the U.S. military’s cover-up of his death caused by friendly fire and the true heroism of the former Arizona Cardinal that far exceeded the image cultivated by the government in his wake. (Aaron Hillis’ interview with Bar-Lev and my review are here.)

“Welcome to the Rileys” (2010)
Directed by Jake Scott
Released by Samuel Goldwyn Films

This drama stars James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo as Doug and Lois Riley, an Indiana married couple that’s still struggling with the death of their daughter eight years earlier when Doug is shaken out of his stupor by his nonsexual encounter with Kristen Stewart’s lady of the night during a business trip to New Orleans. (Coverage of the film’s premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival.)

“A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop” (2010)
Directed by Zhang Yimou
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

“Hero” director Yimou helmed this rare Chinese remake of an American film with his own spin on the Coen brothers’ “Blood Simple” where the humble owner of a the titular noodle shop in Imperial China plots to murder his unfaithful (and neglected) wife and her lover.

New to Blu-ray: Blake Edwards’ “10”, “An Affair to Remember”, Disney’s 1960 animated classic “Alice in Wonderland”, “All About Eve”, Sean Penn’s “Bad Boys”, “Boys Don’t Cry”, “The Double Life of Veronique” (Criterion), the Forest Whitaker basketball drama “Hurricane Season”, “Pleasantville”, “Ray”, Paul W.S. Anderson’s “Shopping”, “You’ve Got Mail”

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Scarface Movie Al Pacino

Wanna Play?

Say Hello to Our Scarface Quiz

Play along with movie trivia during "Scarface" tonight at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Tony Montana is all about money, power and respect. And while we can’t promise you’ll get money or power by taking our Scarface quiz below, you will get respect if you get a perfect score. One out of three ain’t bad. Click below to take the quiz, and catch Scarface this month on IFC.

take-the-quiz-quotes-image

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Hank Azaria Commencement

Best Speech Ever

Hank Azaria’s Simpsons Advice For Grads, Questionable Shark Facts and More of This Week’s Funniest Videos

This week we're laughing at Hank's Tufts commencement speech, Jason Alexander's shark facts and more.

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Photo Credit: YouTube/Tufts University

We’ve made it! Memorial Day weekend! But before we can complain that it’s over too quickly, take a moment to bask in the pre-break lack of productivity and enjoy some lighthearted videos.

From Hank Azaria channeling Chief Wiggum and other Simpsons characters while talking to college grads to “Shark-spert” Jason Alexander sharing questionable shark facts, here are five funny things from this week you need to watch.

1. Kermit Informs Fozzie Bear That They’ve Been Canceled

It’s never easy to see someone receive bad news, much less a Muppet. But if anything, Kermit’s poise and acceptance during a time of crisis is impressive, admirable even. Fozzie Bear, on the other hand, reacts with greater similarity to how we would: with baseless anger and utter despair.


2. Jason Alexander Offers Shark “Fin Facts”

Memorial Day weekend means the start of beach season, aka Shark Feeding Season. As part of IFC’s Shark Half-A-Day Memorial Day marathon, “sharks-pert” Jason Alexander offers up some interesting “fin facts” about our sharp-toothed friends from the deep. You can also check out Jason’s beach tips, and catch the Jaws movies with more “fin facts” from Jason this Memorial Day on IFC.


3. Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke Confirms Dothraki Is a Real Language

With eyes still dewy from the climax of this past Sunday’s Game of Thrones (Hold the door!), the Mother of Dragons herself Emilia Clarke dropped by Late Night with Seth Meyers to throw the diehard fans a reason to smile: Yes, Dothraki is a real language. Watch Clarke discuss the phonetics and grammar involved with vying for Westeros rule.


4. Hank Azaria Gives Advice Through Simpsons Characters

Hank Azaria — star of The Simpsons, The Birdcage, and Brockmire, premiering in 2017 on IFC — gave the commencement speech at his alma mater Tufts University. In the hilarious speech, Azaria discusses how he got through college, recounts his early career struggles, and offers up life advice via fan favorite Simpsons characters like Chief Wiggum and Comic Book Guy.


5. X-Men: The Animated Series Gets Honest

Screen Junkies are back this week with another round of Honest Trailers. This entry focuses on the cartoon mutants that comprise X-Men: The Animated Series — an ultra-’90s Marvel property that predates the comic book adaptation boom of the 21st Century. But looking back at the decade of Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane, this video finds much to mock.

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Weird Al Comedy Bang Bang Season 5

Call Him Al

“Weird Al” Talks Comedy Bang! Bang!, His Upcoming Tour, Favorite Videos and More

Weird Al comes to Comedy Bang! Bang! starting June 3rd at 11P on IFC.

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With a career spanning five decades, “Weird Al” Yankovic has defined the song parody genre and become a beloved pop culture icon. Starting June 3rd, you’ll be able to catch him as the brand new Comedy Bang! Bang! bandleader Fridays at 11P on IFC.

We recently chatted with Al about joining Scott Aukerman on the new season, his upcoming tour, favorite CB!B! characters and his future dream projects. (Hint: it might involve actors spontaneously breaking into song.)

The Comedy Bang! Bang! bandleader gig seems like a natural fit for you. Did it take any time to get acclimated?

Weird Al: Yeah. It’s a slightly different skill set. The accordion is my main act, but I don’t use it on the show at all. It’s a keyboard setup. The actual setup is a little bit of a combination of what Reggie [Watts] had and [Kid] Cudi had. And a few extra things thrown in. So I’m trying to do my own version of what they brought to the show.

You’ve been on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast and the show many times. Do you have a favorite CB!B! character?

Weird Al: I’d probably have to say Doctor Time. Every time Scott wants me to do an evil character, he’s always got a bad English accent. [Laughs] Any time my character goes evil, he becomes sort of British.

Any favorite guests you’ve worked with?

Weird Al: Gosh, I love them all. Paul F. Tompkins is always fun. His Andrew Lloyd Webber character, Cake Boss, everything he does. And Andy Daly as well. They’re so versatile and so amazing at improv. That’s the one thing I was a little nervous about because I’ve never been super confident with my improv skills. But Comedy Bang! Bang!, particularly the TV version, is good for that because it’s all heavily edited. So it kind of gives me permission to try out whatever comes to my mind, so if it really sucks, they’re not gonna use it. [Laughs]

Scott Aukerman Weird Al

Your upcoming tour is a continuation of your Mandatory Fun tour from last year. Any new elements to the show?

Weird Al: Well, it is the same tour, so it’s not that much different. I might freshen some video a little bit. I’m hoping to use a bit or two from the current season of Comedy Bang! Bang! and slip that into the show somewhere.

The tour starts June 3rd in St. Petersburg, Florida and ends September 24th at Radio City Music Hall. How do you keep up the pace? 

Weird Al: It’s just a mindset. I’m really only working for two hours a day, so I basically just save up my energy for the show. I relax, surf online, watch satellite TV, read a book, rest my voice, and then give it all I got when I’m onstage.

Looking back at your vast song catalog, was there ever a parody that came to you immediately upon hearing the song?

Weird Al: Yeah, that’s happened a few times. More often than not, I have to think about it and analytically work out all the variations on a theme that I can and pick out the one with the most potential. But there’s been a few times where the idea came to me spontaneously. I think the first time I saw Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video, before it was even over, I thought, “Oh! I gotta do ‘Fat’! Super-plus-sized actors trying to get through a turnstile on a subway! I gotta do that!”

Do you have a favorite of your many hilarious videos?

Weird Al: Oh boy, it’s hard to say. “White and Nerdy” has been my biggest hit and that was a really fun video to do. But in terms of making a video, “Tacky” was really fun to do because it was so easy and I got to work with amazing people like Jack Black, Margaret Cho, Kristen Schaal, Eric Stonestreet, and Aisha Tyler. And we knocked it out in a couple of hours. We were having so much fun while making it, I kinda wish we weren’t so efficient and professional. [Laughs] I could’ve done that all night.

Was it filmed all in one take or was it stitched together?

Weird Al: That was all one take. Some people say, “Oh, I see where the edit is,” but it was all one shot. We did a total of six takes, and I think four of those takes were usable, but the last one was the best.

And you were directing while performing?

Weird Al: I directed that one, yeah. We location scouted and found a building in downtown LA that I thought was good for the shoot. I’ve since seen that building in a lot of other movies and TV shows — I think it was used in The Big Lebowski and a few others. It was difficult because I start the video in one set of clothes and I also end the video in a completely different set of clothes. So while the cameras were off me, because there’s only one elevator in the building, I had to run down five flights of stairs, quickly change my clothes, and hit my mark for the end. And after the take, we’d all just watch what we did, and say, “OK, let’s do it again.”

Is there a director you’d love to work with in the future?

Weird Al: Oh gosh, yeah, but I mean, music videos are notoriously low-budget so that’s why I end up directing them myself. [Laughs] But I’d love to be in a movie codirected by Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino.

Do you have a particular genre of music that you love parodying the most? Or is it more of the moment and different for each song?

Weird Al: It doesn’t necessarily revolve around personal taste so much. It really depends more on the song than the genre. But I found rap songs tend to lend themselves to parody, mostly because there’s a lot of words to play with. A lot of pop songs are repetitive, and that’s sometimes been an issue. With rap, there’s no shortage of syllables to mess around with.

Given that you’ve been so prolific and done so much, is there any type of art left that you’d like to dip your toe in? Dramatic acting, perhaps?

Weird Al: Well, if Spielberg and Tarantino want me for their film, I wouldn’t want to turn them down. But there’s no burning desire to do drama. I love doing comedy and feel comfortable doing that. Writing a musical might be something I do down the line. I don’t know when but I might take a shot at something in that area. Other than that, I’ve done pretty much all I wanted to do in my life so far. A lot of it not successfully. [Laughs] But I took a stab at it and feel gratified by that.

You’ve had such a eclectic career in music and comedy. What do you attribute your longevity to?

Weird Al: [Laughs] I don’t know what I’d attribute the longevity to. There’s a modicum of talent, but it’s mostly because I surround myself with very talented people. I’ve got a great support group, I’ve got the same band since the early ’80s, and I’ve worked with the same people for decades. And I got a very loyal fan base and I love what I do. And somehow I’ve been very lucky and it’s worked out so far.

Watch “Weird Al” in an episode from the new season of Comedy Bang! Bang! right now, before the season premiere on Friday June 3rd at 11P.

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