DID YOU READ

Henry Silva is Coming For You, and More New DVDs

Henry Silva is Coming For You, and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection”
Directed by Fernando Di Leo
Released by RaroVideo

Fans of badass ’70s cinema and the stoic Henry Silva rejoice! Underappreciated Italian crime master director Fernando Di Leo finally comes to the U.S. via this set of four films — “Caliber 9,” “The Italian Connection,” “The Boss,” and “Rulers of the City” — that shows what made him an influence of filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino and John Woo.

“The Absent” (2011)
Directed by Sage Bannick
Released by Passion River

Twin brothers are bonded by the experience of having their parents try to kill them for insurance money, only to become killers themselves in this slasher film from Sage Bannick.

“Be My Teacher” (2011)
Directed by Lakisha R. Lemons
Released by Maverick Entertainment Group

A student’s (Derek Lee Nixon) flirtations with his English teacher (LaTeace Towns-Cuellar) has serious implications for her career as she debates whether to pursue an illegal relationship with him in this drama.

“BMX Bandits” (1983)
Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith
Released by Severin Films

This ’83 Aussie kids’ flick is best known for as Nicole Kidman’s first performance, but no less an authority than Quentin Tarantino has called it one of the gems of Ozploitation, centering on a trio of bike-riding pals who are being pursued by bank robbers after they discover a box of walkie-talkies. The new disc includes a commentary from director Brian Trenchard-Smith (worth it just for the stories of stunts on the set alone), the film’s trailer, a making-of featurette and more.

“The Fighter” (2010)
Directed by David O. Russell
Released by Paramount Home Video

With Oscar-winning performances from Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, “I Heart Huckabee’s” director Russell gets into the ring once more with Mark Wahlberg for this biography of underdog boxer “Irish” Micky Ward who has an easier time knocking out opponents than he does dealing with his drug-addicted brother (Bale) and momager (Leo), though he finds some support in a new girlfriend (Amy Adams). (Matt Singer’s review of the film is here.)

“Freestyle” (2011)
Directed by Kolton Lee
Released by Phase 4 Films

This British teen drama stars Lucy Konadu as a straight-A student with plans for Oxford until she meets a scrappy b-baller (Arinze Kene) on the court near her school and teams up with him to compete in an upcoming tournament, naturally leading to a decision of whether to defy her mother and her scholastic career to pursue a different path.

“Gamera vs. Zigra”/”Gamera: The Super Monster”
Directed by Noriaki Yuasa
Released by Shout! Factory

The final two flicks featuring the gigantic Japanese flying turtle have been remastered for this double feature which sees Gamera running rampant through cities to protect them from a host of monsters that seek to destroy the world.

“Hemingway’s Garden of Eden” (2010)
Directed by John Irvin
Released by Lionsgate

“Widow’s Peak” director Irvin’s drama concerns an American writer (Jack Huston), his wife (Mena Suvari) and the woman (Caterina Murino) with whom they both become romantically intertwined, based on the novel completed after Ernest Hemingway’s death, which has long been a source of controversy since it was edited posthumously.

“Hereafter” (2010)
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Released by Warner Home Video

Matt Damon can commune with the dead in this drama from Clint Eastwood penned by “The Queen” writer Peter Morgan that criss-crosses the lives of a British boy who loses his brother, a French journalist (Cecile De France) that barely escapes a tsunami and Damon’s medium who lives in San Francisco and does his best to hide his communicative abilities from others.

“Hidden Love” (2009)
Directed by Alessandro Capone
Released by Cinema Epoch

A Toronto Film Festival selection in 2007, Alessandro Capone’s drama starring Isabelle Huppert and Melanie Laurent as a mother and daughter with a terrible relationship will finally arrive on DVD in the States. Greta Scacchi co-stars as their psychiatrist.

“The Human Trace” (2008)
Directed by Jason Satterlund
Released by Celebrity Video Distribution

A recent spate of murders confounds a cop who can’t find any cause of death in Jason Satterlund’s 2008 thriller.

“Interplanetary” (2008)
Directed by Chance Shirley
Released by Shock-O-Rama Cinema

Brimingham-based filmmaker Chance Shirley’s sci-fi comedy takes place on Mars where a group of desk jockeys don’t know what to do when they’re attacked by aliens as well as a group that resembles them.

“A Marine Story” (2010)
Directed by Ned Farr
Released by Wolfe Video

A hit on the gay festival circuit where it won the audience award at L.A.’s Outfest for best dramatic feature, Farr’s drama concerns a Marine officer (Dreya Weber) who runs afoul of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and gets discharged early, leaving her to return to her conservative hometown where she trains a wayward teen (Paris P. Pickard) to follow her path, though their respective pasts threaten to haunt them both.

“No One Knows About Persian Cats” (2009)
Directed by Bahman Ghobadi
Released by MPI Home Video

“A Time for Drunken Horses” director Ghobadi goes to the Tehran underground music scene to follow two recently released prisoners (Negar Shaghaghi and Ashkan Koshanejad) who were incarcerated for performing Western music as they reclaim their lives and attempt to get passports so their band can skip to Europe to rock out at will. (Matt Singer’s interview with Ghobadi is here.)

“The Parking Lot Movie” (2010)
Directed by Meghan Eckman
Released by Passion River

After making the rounds of the festival circuit last year, Meghan Eckman is parking her doc on DVD where audiences will be able to observe a group of parking lot attendants in Virginia who are stuck at a crossroads in their lives.

“Sharktopus” (2010)
Directed by Declan O’Brien
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

While it may not play as well as it did during Fantastic Fest at the Paramount Theater in Austin, this Roger Corman production will arrive on DVD, continuing the producer’s crimes against biology for the benefit of a good time and bringing along Eric Roberts for the ride.

“A Shine of Rainbows” (2009)
Directed by Vic Sarin
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

A selection of the 2009 Toronto Film Festival, this family film based on Lillian Beckwith’s novel stars Aidan Quinn and Connie Nielsen as a couple that takes in a child who has trouble conquering his stutter, but must if he’s to impress his uncertain father-to-be.

“Spooner” (2009)
Directed by Drake Doremus
Released by Maya Entertainment

Before last year’s “Douchebag” and this year’s “Like Crazy” made Drake Doremus a staple of Sundance, the writer/director first went to Slamdance with this comedy starring Matthew Lillard as a 30-year-old underachiever who still lives with his parents that finally finds some initiative to get off the couch when he instantly falls for a young woman (Nora Zehetner) who unfortunately is en route for the Philippines.

“Step Off” (2011)
Directed by LaRon Austin
Released by Lionsgate

Conrad Clifton stars in this hip-hop drama about a struggling music producer starting over after a robbery who overcomes the odds to compete in a beat battle championship in Atlanta.

“Sugar Boxx” (2009)
Directed by Cody Jarrett
Released by Entertainment One

With Russ Meyer’s frequent collaborator Kitten Navidad, the late Tura Satana and legendary exploitation director Jack Hill onboard, Jarrett’s low-budget
women-in-prison flick is a throwback to ’70s films like “Caged Heat” and Hill’s own “The Big Doll House”

“The Switch” (2010)
Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck
Released by Lionsgate

An underrated romantic comedy that got lost in Disney’s unloading of Miramax, the sophomore film from “Blades of Glory” co-directors Gordon and Speck is an adaptation of “The Virgin Suicides”‘ author Jeffrey Eugenides’ short story about a man (Jason Bateman) who worries he impregnated his best friend (Jennifer Aniston) after he drunkenly knocks over a sperm sample and replaces it with his own when she’s trying to get pregnant.

“Thunder in the City” (1937)
Directed by Marion Gering
Released by VCI Entertainment

In this rare comedy featuring Edward G. Robinson, the tough-talking star plays an American who seizes upon the discovery of a worthless mineral in Africa that no one in England can identify and passes it off as a valuable export to the British.

“Urgency” (2010)
Directed by Kantz
Released by Entertainment One

Brian Austin Green strikes his best badass pose as a pharmaceutical exec who learns his wife has been kidnapped and he has just a half-hour to figure out how to get her back and why he was targeted. It’s directed by a man who goes only by the name of Kantz.

“Waste Land” (2010)
Directed by Lucy Walker
Released by New Video Group

The latest from “Countdown to Zero” documentarian Lucy Walker features a score from Moby to underline her exploration into the world of recycled art through the perspective of Vik Muniz, a Brazilian photographer who snaps pictures of the catadores who go through the world’s biggest landfill in Rio de Janeiro and come out creating things of beauty.

“The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest” (2010)
Directed by Anthony Geffen
Released by Virgil Films and Entertainment

Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman and the late Natasha Richardson lend their voices to this documentary that chronicles the climb of George Mallory, the mountaineer who was the first to conquer Mount Everest, and Conrad Anker, who made the same trek 75 years later to find Mallory’s remains.

New to Blu-ray: Louis Malle’s “Au revoir les enfants” (Criterion), the 2006 Andy Lau starrer “Battle of the Warriors”, “Yi Yi” (Criterion)

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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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