DID YOU READ

“Killer Elite,” reviewed

“Killer Elite,” reviewed (photo)

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You’ve heard people boast they could beat someone up with one hand tied behind their back before. In “Killer Elite,” Jason Statham beats two guys up with both of his hands tied behind his back, while the rest of him is tied to a chair. That’s a picture of the scene above. Look at that. Jason Statham, tied to a chair, beats the crap out of a guy who is not tied to a chair. That is awesome. He is awesome. And “Killer Elite” is awesome enough, in scenes like that, that it doesn’t really matter that it’s insanely, pointlessly complicated. Jason Statham beats up two dudes while he’s tied to a chair. That is satisfaction.

Actually, there’s more to like about this movie than the single coolest fight scene of the year. One of two men the chairbound Statham is tussling with is Clive Owen, who brings a lot of intensity to the role of Statham’s primary antagonist in the film. Every scene these two share together — and there aren’t many, unfortunately — crackle with antagonistic energy. They just look like they genuinely hate each other in a way that goes beyond the animosity between characters who, as we’ll get to, don’t really have a lot to fight over. It’s like these two guys were up for the same part in something, and one got it and the other didn’t, and they never let it go, and now years later they finally worked it out onscreen. Statham and Owen were born to beat the shit out of each other. They should be in ten more movies together where they fight whilst attached to various types of furniture.

The third member of this impressive cast is Robert De Niro, and it is he who sets this whole narrative contraption into motion. He plays Hunter (First name? Last name? PSN login?), former partner of Statham’s special agent Danny Bryce. After a hit gone bad, Danny officially retires. He’s pulled back into things when Hunter is kidnapped by an Omani sheik. To save his friend, Danny must kill the men of Britain’s Special Air Service who killed the sheik’s sons. But doing so brings Danny and his crew to the attention of a shadowy organization of British elites named “The Feather Men.” The Feather Men, all former SAS veterans themselves, want to protect their own, and send Owen’s Spike (First name? Last name? Cable television channel product integration?) to kill Danny.

These Feather Men are a hoot. They hold secret meetings in their clubhouse on the set of the movie “Clue” where they do absolutely nothing except explain who the Feather Men are for the benefit of the audience. “That’s why we’re called The Feather Men,” one proclaims to Spike. “Because our touch,” pause for dramatic effect, “is light!” That’s ridiculous! Not only is the line itself ridiculous, the sheer existence of any line in that situation is ridiculous. Why is he describing who the Feather Men are to a group of Feather Men? Shouldn’t they be fairly familiar with the concept of the organization since they are the only people in it? I’m still laughing at that line, and I saw this movie two weeks ago.

The oil sheik, the Feather Men, the forced allusions to the modern war on terror (the film is set about thirty years ago), they’re all needless distractions from the main event: Statham (and occasionally De Niro) kicking ass on Owen and company. You know how I know they’re needless distractions? Because none of them appear for even a frame in the trailer for “Killer Elite” and it all still makes perfect sense without them. Actually, the movie might make even more sense without them; the various factions and backstories and allegiances all become a wee big complicated for a film that’s ultimately about Jason Statham chairfighting guys.

Still, the good stuff is good enough to recommend the film. Statham delivers yet another satisfyingly ferocious performance, and his athleticism and physicality in the fight scenes remain amongt the best of his generation. Director Gary McKendry is clearly from the Paul Greengrass school of chaos cinema but he keeps things coherent enough to follow what’s going on. A lot of that has to do with Statham who, of course, can do many of the stunts himself, requiring less cutaways and editing. You should see him in that scene with the chair, man. It’s an instant classic.

“KIller Elite” opens Friday. 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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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.