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DID YOU READ

Has 3D jumped the shark?

Has 3D jumped the shark? (photo)

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Okay, first of all, I have no idea whether it’s “3D” or “3-D.” The article I’m going to quote in a minute from The New York Times uses “3-D,” but movie posters like this, this or this all say “3D.” I’m a man of the people, so I put the question to Twitter: 3-D or 3D? Two out of every three responses I got ignored the question completely and replied “2D!”

In other words: who cares, we hate it either way.

Not a good sign for the movie studios who have invested so much money in the format, which is the point of that Times piece by Brooks Barnes. Apparently “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” director Michael Bay is working overtime to encourage people to see his movie in 3(-)D rather than 2(-)D, despite the increasing public perception that the format is a ripoff. Bay notes that the film was shot in 3D by James Cameron’s “Avatar” crew, and that he adjusted his signature run-and-gun visual style to suit the technical demands of shooting in three dimensions. He told the Times “If this was having my name on it, I was determined to make it technically perfect… we’ve spent an enormous amount of time making sure the eye is transitioned from shot to shot.” According to the article, Paramount spent an extra $30 million shooting “Transformers” in 3D.

I like 3D in theory (yeah, I’m going without the dash, it’s just easier to type). As a single tool in a filmmaker’s toolkit, I think it has a lot of potential. But a lot of things work better in theory than in reality — time travel, supply-side economics, “Star Wars” prequels — and so far 3D is one of them. I’ve enjoyed some of the films shot in 3D, but like most of the people on my Twitter feed, I’ve been burned over and over by movies shot in 2D and then hastily converted to 3D in post production. Since I live in New York City, where a 3D ticket can set you back $18, I’ve been burned more than most.

From the start of the recent 3D craze, there’s been a debate over what a modern 3D movie should be. Should modern 3D have dimensional gimmicks, like the old paddleball in the lens gag? Or should it just present a more immersive experience? To me, if I’m paying extra for something, I want to feel the difference. Maybe the most interesting quote in today’s Times piece comes from Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore.

“The consumer has had a reaction to bad 3D and subtle 3D,” Moore says. “They’re tired of sitting in a theater thinking, ‘Wait, is this movie in 3-D or not?’ Well, with ‘Transformers’ people are going to leave saying, ‘You absolutely must see this in 3-D.'”

“Subtle 3D?” Who wants to pay five dollars for subtlety? By diminishing if not completely rejecting the very thing that made 3D special, the format may have jumped the shark.

The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was “Thor,” which I saw in such dimly projected 3D that I could barely make out what was going on throughout the extended opening action sequence and many of the night scenes. Subtle is one thing; invisible is another. When I saw “Green Lantern” last week to discuss it on The /Filmcast, I did something I had never done before: I actively sought out a 2D screening. I was glad I did; the movie looked clear and bright. I didn’t miss the 3D for a single second.

I’ve heard from some friends that the “Green Lantern” 3D was better than the average post-production conversion job. But I’ve also heard from others that it was just as bad as the rest. Which is part of the problem: there’s so little consistency from theater to theater with these 3D movies. Sometimes you pay extra and get an extra dimension; other times you pay extra for a movie projected blurry and a pair of glasses that bring it into focus. What we need is some sort of consumer guide website devoted to cataloguing the 3D experience at movie theaters, pointing out which ones are doing it correctly and which ones aren’t so that you know where to go to spend your money. For seventeen bucks, you deserve at least three dimensions.

If you’re going to see “Transformers” are you going in 2D or 3D? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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.”

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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. 

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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-Craft

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?”

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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).

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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.

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