DID YOU READ

“Blitz,” reviewed

“Blitz,” reviewed (photo)

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It’s not a cinematic adaptation of the classic arcade football game, sadly, but Jason Statham‘s new movie “Blitz” provides about as much cartoonishly manly entertainment as a couple hours with Midway’s long running NFL franchise. The tagline of the film reads “Killer-cop versus cop-killer,” and it’s very possible that is an unabridged copy of the screenplay as well. This is not a movie about dialogue, but about good and bad man alternately glaring at and chasing after each other, and then sitting down for drinks before they get up and run around all over again.

Statham stars as Sgt. Brant, a loose cannon of a cop with a reputation for excessive violence and brutality on the job. He drinks too much, he curses too much, and when he catches some goons jacking a car, he beats them all to within an inch of their lives with a field hockey stick (I’m just going to assume Statham is currently out of the country, otherwise the London riots would never have gotten off the ground). Brant’s tedious routine is doubly shattered by two major developments on the force: his boss, the Chief Inspector, retires after his wife’s death and is replaced by a new man from another district (Paddy Considine) and a mysterious hooded figure (Aidan Gillen, a.k.a. Mayor Carcetti from “The Wire”) is bumping off cops one and a time. Statham and the new man in charge have to figure out who’s killing policemen and why before they wind up on “The Blitz”‘s (his preferred nickname) target list.

Directed by Elliott Lester and written by “Moon” screenwriter Nathan Parker from a novel by Ken Bruen, “Blitz” does, in fact, provide a few clever twists on the psycho cop killer genre. Maybe most interesting and least explored is the fact that Considine’s character is openly gay, and Statham’s character doesn’t have the greatest reputation for, let’s say, sensitivity to those with views on sexuality different from his own. A buddy cop movie with one straight partner and one gay partner is a great idea, and in the one scene Statham and Considine get to flesh out their relationship, they’ve got great chemistry. Sadly, the movie is just 97 minutes long, and way too busy with Gillen’s character to really let that dynamic blossom to its full potential.

Gillen is good, though, as your garden variety sociopath. He’s certainly having a lot of fun dressing in hideous track suits and neon green sunglasses and running through the streets of London topless. He’s pretty obviously guilty from the first moment the police interrogate him, but the film repeatedly insists that there’s no evidence to convict him, which enables The Blitz to continue his crimes, and forces Statham and Considine to try to figure out a way to catch their mad killer in the act. It’s an enjoyable trope of loose cannon cop movies in the style of “Dirty Harry,” but in this case it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’m no expert on the English judicial system, and the legal requirements to charge someone with a crime. But I have to imagine that if someone was murdered while in possession of a manilla envelope stuffed with £50,000, and then a suspect turned up with the exact same manilla envelope with the exact same amount of money, that’s probably enough evidence for an indictment. Evidently not; the gloating Blitz walks out of the police station waving his pile of money for all the media cameras to see.

Dopey stuff like that, and a pointless subplot involving a friend of Statham’s on the force who’s a recovering drug addict, keep “Blitz” from entering the pantheon of greatest Jason Statham vehicles (a distinction I would bestow on the first and third “Transporter,” “The Bank Job,” the two “Crank” films, and “Killer Elite,” even though that last one isn’t even out yet). Still, all three leads give strong performances and Parker’s screenplay has enough twists and turns (including a good surprise ending) to make “Blitz” a solid thriller. It’s going straight-to-DVD in the States today, but I’ve seen much, much worse movies in theaters than this one. And recently too.

“Blitz is available now on DVD & Blu-ray. If you see it, we want to know what you think. Tell us in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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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