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The Lost Michael Winterbottom/Colin Firth Film and More New DVDs

The Lost Michael Winterbottom/Colin Firth Film and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD this week:

“A Summer in Genoa”
Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Released by Entertainment One

Of the many films Michael Winterbottom (“A Mighty Heart,” “9 Songs”) has directed in recent years, you wouldn’t guess the one starring recent Oscar winner Colin Firth as a father who must take care of his two daughters in the wake of a car accident involving their mother (Hope Davis) would be the one to have trouble making it to the U.S. But here we are three years after “Genova,” as it’s known in much of the rest of the world, was shot and it’s finally arrived on DVD, a mix of supernatural thriller and human drama that’s actually getting reasonably good reviews upon its delayed release. Catherine Keener co-stars.

Directed by Annika Glac
Released by Osiris

Glac’s debut as a writer/director centers on a man whose upcoming nuptials have led to more than just cold feet, but inspired terrible visions involving witches in a forest he can’t seem to escape in this romantic fantasy.

“Black Heaven”
Directed by Gilles Marchand
Released by MPI Home Video

French director Marchand follows up the thriller “Who Killed Bambi?” with another potboiler about a couple that picks up someone’s lost cell phone while on vacation and learn that returning it might lead them into a dangerous world…or worlds since the only person who can help them is involved with a video game that makes the real world and virtual world almost interchangeable.

“Country Strong”
Directed by Shana Feste
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

“The Greatest” director Feste is once again at the helm of a tearjerker, though this time set in the realm of country music where a recently rehabbed star (Gwyneth Paltrow) goes back on the road to reclaim her career while an upstart (Leighton Meester) threatens to take her spotlight. Garrett Hedlund and Tim McGraw co-star as the somewhat creaky support system.

Directed by Christian Carion
Released by Terra Entertainment

Oscar-nominated “Joyeux Noël” director Carion’s latest film is set during the Cold War, based on the real-life relationship between disillusioned KGB agent Sergei Gregoriev (Emir Kusturica) and Moscow-based French engineer Pierre Froment (Guillaume Canet), who became a conduit for all of Gregoriev’s confidential knowledge about Soviet spy networks, ultimately leading to the fall of the Soviet Union. (Though there is some controversy about this.) Americans Fred Ward, doing his best Ronald Reagan impression, and Willem Dafoe, as a CIA director, are among the parties interested in Gregoriev’s intel.

Directed by Philip Ridley
Released by MPI Home Video

Hard to imagine “21” and “Across the Universe” doe-eyed heartthrob Jim Sturgess as an unsightly outcast, but with a heart-shaped birthmark across the right side of his face, he has few friends and spends his time dabbling in photography until he makes a pact with the Devil (nicknamed “Papa B” here) to change his looks, resulting in new relationships with a model (Clemence Poesy) and “The Weapons Man” (Eddie Marsan) who comes to collects the Devil’s end of the bargain. The film marks cult director Ridley’s first in 15 years since the Viggo Mortensen/Ashley Judd thriller “The Passion of Darkly Noon.”

Directed by Dana Brown
Released by Image Entertainment

“Step Into Liquid” director Brown continues to chronicle those that ride the high tides with this documentary about surfing’s Triple Crown in Oahu featuring boarders like Kelly Slater, amongst others as they compete to catch the perfect wave.

“The Inheritance”
Directed by Robert O’Hara
Released by Image Entertainment

Keith David, Golden Brooks and Adriane Lenox star in this horror film about a family assembled by a mysterious uncle (David) to learn of what fortune will be coming their way from a recent death, only to learn that they must undergo a series of terrifying rituals in order to make their claim.

“Last Breath”
Directed by Ty Jones
Released by Shriek Show

Couples therapy has never been as brutal as it is in this horror flick from Ty Jones where a married couple questions their relationship after a killer ensnares and toys with them.

“Mask Maker”
Directed by Griff Furst
Released by Screen Media Films

Originally titled “Maskerade,” this horror film features former “Laguna Beach” star Stephen Colletti and a score of other fresh-faced twentysomethings in the story of a couple that learns that the 19th century farmhouse they just purchased is haunted by evil spirits, which isn’t good news since all their friends are coming in for the weekend housewarming party.

“The Paranoids”
Directed by Gabril Medina
Released by Oscilloscope Laboratories

Tensions rise for a struggling writer in Argentina when a friend fashions the lead of his successful Spanish television show on his childhood pal and returns to visit with a smoking hot new girlfriend and news that he’ll produce a local version of the show in this comedy from director Medina.

Directed by François Ozon
Released by MPI Home Video

Many have suggested it’s best to walk into this film from “Potiche” and “Swimming Pool” director Ozon knowing nothing, but for the purposes of this preview, we’ll say that the film is based on Rose Tremain’s short story “Moth” about a young couple (Alexandra Lamy and Sergi Lopez) who are about to give birth to their first child together, while the mother’s seven-year-old from a previous relationship becomes suspicious of her new baby brother.

“The Secret of Dorian Gray”
Directed by Massimo Dallamano
Released by RaroVideo

The classic Oscar Wilde tale of an ageless man (Helmut Berger) gets the Italian horror treatment in this 1970 version.

“The Speed of Thought”
Directed by Evan Oppenheimer
Released by Maya Entertainment

Nick Stahl and Taryn Manning star as people with telepathic abilities that have been sheltered from the outside world by the government after being told they risk a disease that neither can fully believe in this thriller.

“Summer Lover”
Directed by Robert Crombie
Released by Phase 4 Films

There’s an obvious pun for this Ukranian-produced romantic drama about an American couple who travel to the Greek island of Lesbos where the new Missus (Avalon Barrie) becomes enchanted by another woman, leading to complications galore. But I won’t make it.

“Tracy and Hepburn: The Definitive Collection”
Released by Warner Bros.

One of the silver screen’s most famous couples receives a 10-disc boxed set featuring all of their collaborations together including “Woman of the Year,” “Without Love,” “State of the Union,” “Adam’s Rib,” “Pat and Mike,” “Desk Set,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and two previously unavailable titles that are have also been released separately: George Cukor’s 1942 drama “Keeper of the Flame” and
Elia Kazan’s 1947 farmhouse-set battle of the wits’ “The Sea of Grass”

“White Material”
Directed by Claire Denis
Released by Criterion Collection

During its premiere at the 2009 New York Film Festival, Denis told that “this film was demanded by Isabelle Huppert and it took me a long time to answer her demand,” and so it is that the “Chocolat” director is back in Africa with this story of Maria (Huppert), a white French woman who won’t cede her coffee plantation to the locals after French forces pull out amidst civil unrest in the area. While war rages on around her and her husband (Lambert) looks for a buyer, Maria insists on continuing to harvest the land as a wounded stranger (Isaach De Bankolé) and her lazy son (Nicholas Duvauchelle) take refuge on the property.

New to Blu-ray: Pixar’s superhero adventure “The Incredibles” and Jean Pierre-Melville’s legendary crime thriller “Le Cercle Rouge”



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.