DID YOU READ

Will Arnett and Jason Bateman pair with Activision for “Call of Duty” content

Will Arnett and Jason Bateman pair with Activision for “Call of Duty” content  (photo)

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Activision’s looking to make this year a banner one for the best-selling “Call of Duty” franchise. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” ramps op the action to heretofore never-before-seen stakes, thrusting players into a multi-front conflict erupting in New York, London, Prague, Berlin and other major Western cities. Online players will be able to compare stats, form groups and mine through the game’s performance data to their hearts’ content on the game’s “Call of Duty” Elite social network, already in beta testing with last year’s “Black Ops” title. And the publisher’s taking things real-world with the upcoming “Call of Duty XP” fan fest on Labor Day weekend, where attendees can shoot it up in paintball matches massive reproductions of multiplayer maps and compete in a $1 million dollar tournament.

The Elite social platform’s going to be a key part of the “COD” strategy moving forward, and Activision’s announce that they’ll have a premium tier of the service that fans can shell out an undisclosed monthly fee for. It’s also been mysterious as what extras premium Elite members would be getting for their money. Possibilities like celebrity-focused game-with-fame sessions and early access to DLC have been bandied about. Now, via The Hollywood Reporter, comes word of a deal that might be bound for the premium Elite channel.

THR reports that Will Arnett and Jason Bateman will be developing exclusive content for “Call of Duty” Elite platform through their DumbDumb production company. NO word on whether either of the stars will star in the programming, but Arnett already has close ties to Infinity Ward, one of the three dev studios making “COD: MW3.” He told THR:

“I consider myself a gamer,” said Arnett. “When you look at the time spent gaming, versus other entertainment outlets whether it’s watching TV or watching movies; for me, I probably spend more time gaming. I want my videogames to be entertaining. You realize that videogames are a real outlet that needs to be taken seriously.”

The corollary to Arnett’s remarks is that there’s more media being created in the orbits around phenomena like “Call of Duty,” “Halo” or “World of Warcraft.” Most gamers know that Austin-based collective Rooster Teeth used “Halo” to create a comedy empire that started with “Red vs. Blue.” In much the same way, Felicia Day became an internet success with “The Guild,” a webseries built around the lives of people who play an MMO suspiciously similar to “WoW.” Kevin Tancharoen’s unofficial “Mortal Kombat” film earned him a sanctioned web series–“Mortal Kombat: Legacy” from Warner Brothers, too.

And, no surprise, “Call of Duty” homages abound on YouTube. The “Find Makarov” short that debuted earlier this year garnered a massive following for the We Can Pretend studio that created it. Activision took notice and invited the Toronto-based shop to show off their latest “COD”-derived work at the XP fan fest.

What’s important about this DumbDumb/Activision partnership is the involvement of established Hollywood talent in direct-to-web video programming. The fruits of their labor will probably follow the low cost, down-n-dirty model that thrives on the web, but it’ll be interesting to see if Arnett and Bateman will loop in any other self-identified gamers from Hollywood to get involved. Folks lucky or devoted enough to make the pilgrimage to Call of Duty XP 2011 will get a glimpse of the DumbDumb “COD” Elite project and might even get a chance to take out Arnett in a multiplayer match to boot. As for the game at the center of all this, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” comes out on November 8 for multiple platforms.

What are your expectations for Will Arnett and Jason Bateman’s partnership with “Call of Duty”? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.