DID YOU READ

Out of “Nowhere,” “Four Lions” Attack and More New DVDs

Out of “Nowhere,” “Four Lions” Attack and More New DVDs (photo)

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“The Man From Nowhere” (2010)
Directed by Lee Jeong-beom
Released by Well Go USA

Matt Singer said there’s a sequence in this Korean revenge thriller that has “already taken up permanent residence in the Movie Hall of Fame section of my brain,” so what more do you need? “Mother” star Won Bin stars as the man who is framed by local gangsters and seeks to retrieve the young girl he lives next door to after she’s been kidnapped.

“Abducted” (2011)
Directed by Jon Bonnell
Released by Brain Damage Films

Originally called “Match.Dead,” this 2009 thriller details the perils of online dating when a teen girl (Kathleen Benner) arranges a date with a man she soon learns is a psychopath (James Ray). Alan Smithee is the credited screenwriter on IMDb, so one might not want to go in with high expectations.

“Babysitters Beware” (2011)
Directed by Douglas Horn
Released by Phase 4 Films

If you’re the type to be intrigued by the box art for this children’s film with the young “Modern Family” star Rico Rodriguez proudly hovering over a ticked-off Danny Trejo tied up in caution tape, then this comedy about a kid who wants to act so badly as to eliminate the need for babysitters in his life may be for you.

“The Chaperone” (2011)
Directed by Stephen Herek
Released by WWE Studios

WWE star Paul “Triple H” Levesque stars in this comedy as a former getaway driver for a bank heist crew who leaves prison and faces the decision to get behind the wheel once more for his old thieving pals or be the chaperone for his daughter’s field trip to the Natural History Museum.

“The Dorm that Dripped Blood” (1982)
Directed by Jeffrey Obrow and Stephen Carpenter
Released by Synapse Films

A very young Daphne Zuniga appears in this low-budget indie slasher flick that is getting the Blu-ray treatment to make the kills particularly bloody in this story about a dorm set for renovation with the young women residing there getting some help from a killer in clearing the place out first.

“Every Day” (2010)
Directed by Richard Levine
Released by Image Entertainment

Back during the premiere of this dramedy at Tribeca, “Defiance” star Schreiber said he was drawn to role of a harried family man in the middle of a midlife crisis because “it’s a simple story and simple stories are often overlooked.” He wasn’t the only one pulled in by this debut from former “Nip/Tuck” writer/producer Levine, who mines his past for this story of a TV showrunner (Liev Schreiber) who feels the pressure of a relationship with his wife (Helen Hunt) that’s descended towards routine, a son (Ezra Miller) who’s gradually coming out of the closet, a cranky father-in-law (Brian Dennehy) who moves in when his health is on the wane and a comely co-worker (Carla Gugino) that suggests the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. (My review of the film is here.)

“A Film Unfinished” (2010)
Directed by Yael Hersonski
Released by Oscilloscope Laboratories

Tel Aviv-based filmmaker Hersonski’s visit to a Berlin film archive led to her first feature documentary, this investigation of a 62-minute piece of Nazi propaganda, shot by German soldiers, that presented Jews living the high life in the Warsaw Ghetto when in fact the Holocaust was well underway. Using personal diaries and interviews with some of the survivors, Hersonski gives context to what was really going on behind the scenes.

03042011_FourLions.jpg“Four Lions” (2010)
Directed by Chris Morris
Released by Magnolia Home Entertainment

After spending three years doing extensive research, Brit improv vet Chris Morris makes his feature directorial debut with a script co-written by “In the Loop”‘s Jesse Armstrong on this comedy that shows the lighter side of Jihad, tracking the movement of four British Islamic extremists who can’t get their act together. (Bilge Ebiri’s interview with Morris and Alison Willmore’s review of the film are here.)

“Half Moon” (2010)
Directed by Jason Toler
Released by Vicious Circle Films

Porn star Tori Black crosses over for the horror film about a prostitute’s encounter with a man she suspects to be a serial killer, only to discover he may actually be another kind of monster entirely.

“Helena From the Wedding” (2010)
Directed by Joseph Infantolino
Released by Film Movement

It’s chilly in upstate New York and not just because of the snow in Infantolino’s directorial debut. “Oz” star Lee Tergesen stars as a playwright named Alex, whose recent marriage to Alice (Melanie Lynskey) takes a backseat to bad reviews for his latest production as the couple heads up north from Manhattan to host a New Year’s Eve retreat for his friends, though once at his cabin, he quickly finds that he isn’t at home when a comely stranger to the group (“Community” star Gillian Jacobs) draws his attention and the relationships of those around him all seem to be in flux.

“Inside Job” (2010)
Directed by Charles Ferguson
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Fresh off its win for Best Documentary at this year’s Oscars, Ferguson’s documentary about the financial meltdown with interviews with many of the major players is arriving on DVD and Blu-ray. (My review of the film is here.)

“Jackass 3D” (2010)
Directed by Jeff Tremaine
Released by Paramount Home Video

Although only 3D-enabled TV sets will be able to show off the stunts and stupidity of Steve-O, Wee Man, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Ryan Dunn and of course, Johnny Knoxville in their full glory, everyone will now be able to enjoy the small pleasures from the comfort of home of seeing a man’s tooth being pulled out with the help of a Lamborghini, a poop volcano, and if you stay for the end credits, Jeremy Renner being launched up into the sky in a port-a-potty. (Matt Singer’s review is here.)

03042011_LettersToFatherJacob.jpg“Letters to Father Jacob” (2009)
Directed by Klaus Härö
Released by Olive Films

A veteran of film festivals as varied as Camerimage in Poland to Pusan, this small Finnish tale of a recently paroled woman (Kaarina Hazard) who finds a job working for a blind priest who answers people’s letters to give them comfort, but must find a way to help the priest when the letters stop.

“Morning Glory” (2010)
Directed by Roger Michell
Released by Paramount Home Video

Rachel McAdams stars as a producer who hopes to resurrect a basement-dwelling morning TV show with a legendary anchorman considered past his prime (Harrison Ford) in this comedy from “Notting Hill” director Roger Michell. Patrick Wilson and Diane Keaton co-star.

“Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: XX”
Released by Shout! Factory

Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo and Joel Robinson host another batch of schlocky gems in this latest collection that compiles their takes on “Project Moonbase,” “Master Ninja I,” “Master Ninja II,” and “Magic Voyage of Sinbad.” In addition to the running commentary provided on the films, this box also includes an interview with “Master Ninja” star Bill McKinney and a documentary with the show’s cinematographer Jeff Stonehouse on creating the look of the show.

“The Next Three Days” (2010)
Directed by Paul Haggis
Released by Lionsgate

Though it arrives in the thick of awards season, the latest from “Crash” director Haggis appears to have only pure entertainment on its mind. An adaptation of the 2008 thriller “Pour Elle,” this thriller stars Russell Crowe as a professor who must use his wits to hatch a prison escape plan for his wife (Elizabeth Banks) when she’s accused of murder. Liam Neeson puts in a cameo as an escapee who teaches Crowe the tricks of the trade.

“Off Limits” (1953)
Directed by George Marshall
Released by Olive Films

Mickey Rooney and Bob Hope match wits in this comedy about a boxing manager (Hope) whose prize-fighter (Stanley Clements) is drafted into the army and decides to enlist himself to keep an eye on him, though an aspiring pugilist (Rooney) threatens to divide his attention.

“On the Double” (1961)
Directed by Melville Shavelson
Released by Olive Films

Danny Kaye stars as an American soldier whose ability to impersonate a British colonel is of great use to his home country, though it puts him directly in the line of fire in this World War II-set comedy.

03042011_Pelt.jpg“Pelt” (2010)
Directed by Richard Swindell
Released by Osiris Entertainment

A group of girlfriends don’t have such a great time during their camping trip in the woods in this horror film from Richard Swindell.

“Rage” (2011)
Directed by Sebastian Cordero
Released by Strand Releasing

Like Cordero’s last film “Cronicas,” Guillermo del Toro produced this thriller that tells of a construction worker (Gustavo Sanchez Parra) who’s involved in the accidental murder of his boss, but whose desire to remain close with his girlfriend, the live-in maid for a well-to-do family, keeps him in hiding on their estate as he’s pursued by investigators.

“The Shriven” (2010)
Directed by Brian Schiavo
Released by Shriek Show

Ah, there might just too many obstacles to overcome in this low-budget sci-fi flick revolving around Ben, a man who finds out the woman he loves is a shape-shifter who hunts humans at night to subsist.

“Son of Terror” (2011)
Directed by Antony De Gennaro
Released by Midnight Releasing

Billed as “a horror thriller black comedy from Seattle,” Antony De Gennaro’s directorial debut covers nearly all the bases with this story of a mentally ill man who finds that the world around him may be crazier than he is.

“Tales from Earthsea” (2006)
Directed by Goro Miyazaki
Released by Disney Home Entertainment

Based on Ursula K. Le Guin’s epic fantasy series, Hayao’s son Goro Miyazaki makes his feature debut on this animated film about a wizard and a prince who team up to save the prince’s homeland which has come under siege by dragons and internal strife.

“Zombie Farm” (2009)
Directed by Ricardo Islas
Released by Maya Entertainment

With that kind of title, there isn’t a lot left to the imagination, especially when you consider director Ricardo Islas’ previous body of work including “Night Fangs” and “Headcrusher.”

New to Blu-ray: “Excalibur”, “Exit Through the Gift Shop”, Hayao Miyazaki’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”, the Andy Goldsworthy doc “Rivers & Tides”

[Additional photos: “Four Lions,” Drafthouse Films, 2010; “Letters to Father Jacob,” Olive Films, 2010; “Pelt,” Osiris Entertainment, 2011]

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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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