DID YOU READ

A Week Of Discoveries on DVD* (Not Requiring a Gun to Find Them)

A Week Of Discoveries on DVD* (Not Requiring a Gun to Find Them) (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Meskada” (2010)
Directed by Josh Sternfeld
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

When this thriller premiered at Tribeca this past spring, Alison Willmore wrote, “the second film from writer/director Josh Sternfeld (“Winter Solstice”) has ambitions reaching beyond being a straightforward police procedural,” though critics, including her, were mixed about the end result. Nick Stahl and Rachel Nichols star as small-town sleuths who investigate a botched home invasion case that claims the life of a young child in an affluent community and enflames class divisions when the main suspects are from the poorer community nearby. Grace Gummer, Meryl Streep’s second daughter to go into the family profession, makes her film debut.

“Anywhere USA” (2008)
Directed by Chusy Haney-Jardine
Released by Cinevolve Studios

Winner of a Spirit of Independence prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Chusy Haney-Jardine’s collection of three comic vignettes involves a relationship that threatens to go sour when a woman consistently beats her boyfriend at tennis, an elder gentleman’s epiphany, and a young girl whose curiosity gets the best of her. Writing for Cinematical, James Rocchi approved quite heartily of the film back during its debut, though it may have been too absurdist for a wider release.

“The Associate” (1979)
Directed by Rene Gainville
Released by Pathfinder Home Entertainment

This French comic thriller stars Michel Serrault as a down-on-his-luck businessman who finds success after creating a fictional partner only to become jealous when his wife and child become infatuated with the partner they’ve never seen, leading Serrault to plot a murder of the man who doesn’t really exist.

“Battle of Los Angeles” (2011)
Directed by Mark Atkins
Released by The Asylum

Kel Mitchell and Nia Peeples headline this disaster flick that has completely, absolutely, positively nothing to do with the Aaron Eckhart blockbuster “Battle: LA,” though both share a premise of aliens descending upon Los Angeles and the words “Battle, Los, and Angeles” in the title.

“Bedrooms” (2010)
Directed by Youssef Delara
Released by Osiris Entertainment

“Dexter”‘s Julie Benz, Xander Berkeley, and Moon Bloodgood are all part of this ensemble drama featuring several couples facing make-or-break moments in their relationship as a married couple (Benz and Berkeley) grapple with one sleeping with the pizza delivery man, an older couple (Dee Wallace Stone and Barry Bostwick) who are threatened by a past relationship, and a younger couple (Jordan Belfi and Bloodgood) who are having problems connecting to each other intimately.

“The Big I Am” (2010)
Directed by Nic Auerbach
Released by Entertainment One

Nic Auerbach’s first feature fits nicely into the tradition of British crime dramas as it features a low-level hood (Leo Gregory) on the rise if only he can come to terms with how ruthless he must become. Michael Madsen co-stars because why not?

“Blood” (2010)
Directed by Ten Shimoyama
Released by Well Go USA

A vampire (Aya Sugimoto) bewitches both a swordsman (Jun Kaname) and a detective (Kanji Tsuda) looking into a murder committed at her home in this Japanese thriller with a horror twist.

“Consinsual” (2010)
Directed by Paul Hannah
Released by Entertainment One

Director Paul Hannah explores the aftermath when a woman accuses her husband of rape in this martial drama.

“Dark Fields” (2009)
Directed by Doug Schulze
Released by Entertainment One

The slow march of the late David Carradine’s final films continues with Doug Schulze’s horror film (originally called “The Rain”) about a family farm cursed over three generations to sacrifice one of their own to bring rain. Dee Wallace Stone and Richard Lynch co-star.

03222011_Devolved.jpg“Devolved” (2011)
Directed by John Cregan
Released by MPI Home Video

The much-beloved cult DVD label Severin dipped their toe into first-run distribution with this teen comedy about a group of high schoolers whose spring break doesn’t go according to plan when their cruise ship gets lost off the Mexican coast and the already existing tensions between two cliques deepen further between those who are ready to leave high school and those who are afraid to face the future. At least they have kegs and Chris Kattan to keep them company.

“Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse”
Directed by Mikio Naruse
Released by Criterion Collection

Despite being nearly as acclaimed in his native Japan as the internationally worshipped Yasujiro Ozu, Mikio Naruse’s character studies aren’t nearly as well known, yet Criterion aims to change all that with this collection of the director’s only five silent films to survive, which have never been released in the U.S. on DVD before, including “Flunky, Work Hard,” “No Blood Relation,” “Apart From You,” “Every Night Dreams” and “Street Without End.”

“Family Secret” (2010)
Directed by Geno McGahee
Released by Tempe Video

The grandmother in Geno McGahee’s horror film is not kind.

“How Do You Know” (2010)
Directed by James L. Brooks
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

James L. Brooks’ much-maligned romantic comedy may get a second life on home video where the more eccentric charms of this Reese Witherspoon-Owen Wilson-Paul Rudd love triangle. Witherspoon stars as a softball player who’s set up on a blind date the same day she gets cut from her team, which coincidentally is also when the man she’s going to meet (Rudd) becomes the target of a massive criminal indictment. Jack Nicholson co-stars.

“Kluge in the Beginning”
Directed by Alexander Kluge
Released by Facets

Facets’ dedication to the pioneering German director continues with this four-disc collection of his earliest work including the features “Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave,” “Artists: Under the Big Top: Perplexed,” “The Big Mess,” and “Willi Tolber and the Decline of the 6th Fleet,” in addition to six of his short films.

“Looking for Palladin” (2009)
Directed by Andrzej Krakowski
Released by Monterey Media

Ben Gazzara stars as an ex-pat movie star enjoying life in Guatemala who needs to be wooed back to Hollywood by a young agent (David Moscow) in this comedy that also features Talia Shire and Vincent Pastore.

“Our Hospitality” (1923)
Directed by Buster Keaton and Jack Blystone
Released by Kino

In addition to already sterling editions of “Steamboat Bill Jr.” and “The General” on Blu-ray, Kino is releasing yet another Buster Keaton classic in high definition with this comedy where he takes a train ride to claim his inheritance and discovers it is nothing like he thought it would be. There’s a score by Carl Davis, a making-of documentary, a 49-minute alternate cut of the film called “Hospitality” and more.

03222011_PeopleIveSleptWith.jpg“The People I’ve Slept With” (2009)
Directed by Quentin Lee
Released by Maya Entertainment

“My So-Called Life” star Wilson Cruz stars in Quentin Lee’s ensemble comedy about a woman (Lynn Chen) whose promiscuity leads to a pregnancy where she doesn’t know who the father is.

“The Perfume of the Lady in Black” (1974)
Directed by Francesco Barilli
Released by RaroVideo

Another rarity brought to you by the folks at RaroVideo, Barilli’s giallo stars Mimsy Farmer as a chemist named Sylvia who is haunted by the titular “Lady in Black” that appears in mirrors, though Sylvia doesn’t know who she is and must recall some particularly painful moments in her past to figure it out.

“The Quiet Arrangement” (2009)
Directed by David C. Snyder
Released by HWIC Filmworks

Chuck D puts in an appearance in this thriller from David C. Snyder about an attorney frustrated by efforts to retrieve his wife from a kidnapping plot who takes action to get revenge.

“Sasha” (2011)
Directed by Dennis Todorovic
Released by Strand Releasing

Dennis Todorovic’s drama centers on a young gay pianist (Sascha Kekez) who hides his sexuality from his father, though his secret may be revealed when his best friend who pretends to be his girlfriend starts an affair with his brother.

“Siren” (2011)
Directed by Andrew Hull
Released by Lionsgate

Andrew Hull’s British thriller starts as many do, with a group of vacationing pals who make the mistake of following a beach babe to their potential demise when they reach a set of islands where they’re not alone.

“Skyline” (2010)
Directed by Greg and Colin Strause
Released by Universal Home Video

Don’t be distracted by the Universal logo or the Strauses’ inauspicious directorial debut on “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem” — their second feature was purely independent, financed and created by their special effects shop Hydraulx, which has worked on films ranging from “2012” to “Avatar.” Inspired by the success of “District 9” and “Paranormal Activity,” the brothers set out on their own to make an alien invasion tale with a small crew and big “crazy shit that when you try to get it through the 20 other producers and studio people, everyone always filters down,” as Colin told audiences at Comic-Con. The result is a film no one knows much about yet, other than it’s a race-against-the-clock thriller for a group of Angelenos who fear being sucked into the sky by ginormous spaceships.

“A Streetcar Named Desire” (1995)
Directed by Glenn Jordan
Released by Image Entertainment

This much-hyped TV adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ drama that featured Alec Baldwin as Stanley Kowalski and Jessica Lange as Blanche DuBois, not to mention John Goodman and Diane Lane in supporting roles, will finally make its debut on DVD after more than 15 years.

03222011_JohnnyDeppTourist.jpg“The Tourist” (2010)
Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Now best known in the U.S. as one of Ricky Gervais’ most wicked punchlines on the Golden Globes, this Angelina Jolie-Johnny Depp throwback to the globetrotting thrillers of the 1960s wherein a chance encounter on a train between the two leads to Depp’s American adventurer unwittingly being caught up in a web of international intrigue. Paul Bettany and Timothy Dalton co-star in the latest from “The Lives of Others” director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.

“The Twist” (1976)
Directed by Claude Chabrol
Released by Pathfinder Home Entertainment

Bruce Dern and Ann-Margret appear in this comedy about a poet (Dern) frustrated by both his work and his wife’s sexual fantasies that the French master Chabrol considered to be one of his lesser works, perhaps explaining why it’s taken so long to see an American DVD release. Stéphane Audran, Jean-Pierre Cassel and Sybil Danning help fill out an all-star cast.

“Vanquisher”
Directed by Dean Gold
Released by Magnolia Home Entertainment

Writer/Director Dean Gold’s low-budget sci-fi flick is set in the future where a salesman (Ben Seton) comes to confront the technological virus he once sold and becomes the charge of a stealthy, ass-kicking agent (Dominika Wolski).

“The Windmill Movie” (2008)
Directed by Alexander Olch
Released by Zeitgeist Films

A New York Film Festival selection in 2008, this documentary is the end product of Alexander Olch’s attempt to finish what his mentor, the late filmmaker Richard P. Rogers, had started by collecting over 200 hours of footage from his life to make his autobiography.

“Women on the Verge: Rembetiko / Another Sky” (1983/1954)
Directed by Gavin Lambert and Costas Ferris
Released by Facets

For this decidedly estrogen-heavy double bill, Facets pairs Ferris’ 1983 Greek drama “Rembetiko” about a blues singer who channels her struggles into her music and Lambert’s 1954 British drama “Another Sky” about a governess who travels to Marrakesh and becomes enchanted with the exoticism of Morocco.

“Yogi Bear” (2010)
Directed by Eric Brevig
Released by Warner Home Video

Sadly, Warner Brothers probably isn’t including that awesome (fake) alternate ending where Boo Boo reluctantly puts an end to his relationship with Yogi in no uncertain terms, but instead you can see Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake yukking it up as the voices of the CG-animated bears who find their beloved Jellystone Park under the threat of closure until a documentarian (Anna Faris) and Park Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) team up to try to keep the park open.

New to Blu-ray: The Jeff Bridges-Rachel Ward romance “Against All Odds”, the 1997 animated flick “Anastasia”, “Awakenings”, Wayne Wang’s 2005 children’s film “Because of Winn Dixie,” John Huston’s “The Bible”, the Eddie Murphy remake of “Dr. Dolittle,”, “Ernest Goes to Camp/Ernest Goes to Jail”, “Flicka”, “Random Hearts”, the 2005 CG animated “Robots”, “Scary Movie 4”, “Stand by Me”, “The Times of Harvey Milk” (Criterion)

[Additional photos: “Devolved,” Severin Films, 2011; “The People I’ve Slept With,” Maya Entertainment, 2009; “The Tourist,” Sony Pictures, 2010]

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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.

JaniceAndJeffrey_106_MPX-1920x1080

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.

geowash_flat

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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