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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.

“Belladonna”
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.

“Farewell”
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.

JimSturgessHeartless04122011.jpg“Heartless”
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.”

“Highwater”
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.

“Ricky”
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 IFC.com 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”

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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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