DID YOU READ

“Taxi Driver” is Indeed Talkin’ to You and More New DVDs

“Taxi Driver” is Indeed Talkin’ to You and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD and Blu-ray today:

“Taxi Driver” (1976)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

One can read about the extensive restoration of what many consider to be Martin Scorsese’s finest film at The Digital Bits, but if you’re a film fan, you might not need convincing to pick up the latest edition of the film about the disillusioned cabbie, which includes all the special features from the previous DVDs of the film (a feature-length making of doc, a score of shorter featurettes) while adding the commentary track between Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader that originally appeared on the 1986 Criterion laser disc. All in all, it’s the definitive edition that the film deserves.

“Casino Jack” (2010)
Directed by George Hickenlooper
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

Even at the height of his powers, disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff might not have been able to maneuver his way through all the pre-release craziness that plagued Hickenlooper’s dramedy about Abramoff’s rise and fall as a political power player, beginning with the “Factory Girl” director’s tussle over the film’s title with documentarian Alex Gibney and then ultimately the director’s untimely death before it made it into theaters. However, Hickenlooper’s final film sees Kevin Spacey in his element, wheeling and dealing with partner-in-crime Michael Scanlon (Barry Pepper) to swindle from Indian gaming interests to win favor with politicians like Tom DeLay (Spencer Garrett). (Matt Singer’s review is here.)

“The Heroes of Telemark” (1965)
Directed by Anthony Mann
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

It’s been a long wait for this Anthony Mann World War II drama, but for fans of the Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris, it should be well worth it as the two stars go head-to-head leading the Norwegian resistance to destroy a water plant the Nazis have commandeered to aid their efforts to create a nuclear bomb.

“Little Fockers” (2010)
Directed by Paul Weitz
Released by Universal Home Video

If you were to go by the advertising for the third installment of the Robert DeNiro-Ben Stiller family comedy, you’d believe the central plot would involve a staring contest, but alas, it concerns Greg Focker (Stiller) once again proving his worth to his father-in-law when he starts selling pharmaceutical drugs to compliment his salary as a male nurse to support his growing family and a series of complications result from when Jack (DeNiro) doesn’t believe him. Barbara Streisand, Owen Wilson, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner and Dustin Hoffman are all back, in addition to newcomers Laura Dern, Harvey Keitel and Jessica Alba.

“I Love You Phillip Morris” (2009)
Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Released by Lionsgate

As Jim Carrey told Matt Singer at Sundance ’08, the directorial debut of “Bad Santa” scribes Ficarra and Requa is just about “a guy who needs love and goes to any lengths to get it.” For a script he rated as high as “The Truman Show” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Carrey went to great lengths to get the role of Steven Jay Russell, a police officer-turned-con artist who leaves his wife (Leslie Mann) in Texas to live an openly gay lifestyle in Miami, only to find his true love (Ewan McGregor) in prison when one of his schemes goes awry.

“The Mountain” (1956)
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Released by Olive Films

Spencer Tracy stars with Robert Wagner in this drama about brothers who must scale a treacherous peak to reach the survivors of a plane crash, but although Tracy’s motivations are purely altruistic, Wagner is after the monetary remains of the dead.

“The Night of the Generals” (1967)
Directed by Anatole Litvak
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

A Sam Spiegel production, his “Lawrence of Arabia” stars Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif lead the cast of this World War II-set thriller about three German generals (O’Toole, Donald Pleasence and Charles Gray) who are the suspects in an investigation into the death of a Warsaw prostitute.

“The Taqwacores” (2010)
Directed by Eyad Zahra
Released by Strand Releasing

Michael Muhammad Knight’s novel about the Islamic punk rock scene serves as the basis for Zahra’s feature debut about a Pakistani college student (Dominic Rains) who falls in with a group of Koran-reading punk rockers in Buffalo.

“Tron”/”Tron: Legacy” (1982/2010)
Directed by Steven Lisberger/Joseph Kosinski
Released by Disney Home Entertainment

Ah, remember those terrible days of December 2010 shortly before “Tron: Legacy” opened when the DVD of the 1982 original was going for more than $100 on the open market since it had been long out of print? Well, of course, only four months later, it is being released once more separately or in a five-disc package with its sequel, which tell the story of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) in the original and his son (Garrett Hedlund), both hackers who are drawn into the computer world and have to win a series of games to escape. Besides seeing those pretty lightcycles once more, the main attraction on the “Legacy” disc is the inclusion of a short epilogue called “The Next Day,” featuring original “Tron” star David Warner that acts as a bridge to a follow-up film, should there ever be one. (Evan Narcisse’s review of “Tron: Legacy” is here.)

New to Blu-ray: “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence”, “Benny & Joon”, “Jawbreaker”, “Lars and the Real Girl”, “Much Ado About Nothing”, “Mystic Pizza”, “The People Vs. Larry Flynt”, “Peter Pan”

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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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