DID YOU READ

Our ten favorite movies that go Bang! Bang! (with video)

Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix

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Every day this week, IFC will be airing movies that go “bang” in celebration of our upcoming series, “Comedy Bang! Bang!”(premiering June 8).

But those films (“Conan the Barbarian,” “U-571,” etc.) are hardly the only “bangiest” movies. Below, lock and load with these ten more films guaranteed to satisfy the cravings of even the most discriminating action junkie. And don’t forget to tune into IFC each night this week at 8/7c for Movies that go Bang! Bang!


“Hard Boiled” (1992) – hospital shootout

John Woo’s final Hong Kong action film before heading to the States to call the shots on such American shoot-’em-ups as “Hard Target,” “Broken Arrow” and “Face/Off” features Woo’s muse, Chow Yun-Fat, as Inspector ‘Tequila’ Yuen, and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (not quite yet Wong Kar-wai’s muse) as undercover cop Tony, taking on Johnny Wong (Anthony Wong), the leader of a Triad crime syndicate. Their mission leads to several confrontations in which countless bullets fly as only they can in a John Woo movie, finally climaxing in an astonishingly choreographed gun battle at a hospital, where the two heroes must rescue innocent civilians and newborn babies from dozens of mob hitmen skulking about the maternity ward. Sure, “A Better Tomorrow” and “The Killer” might be “better” films, but this particular sequence – a glorious ballet of carefully constructed and executed mayhem – might be Woo’s all-time stand-alone masterpiece.


“Heat” (1995) – bank robbery

Michael Mann’s obsessive-compulsive attention to accuracy in even the smallest details is on full display in the bank robbery (and its bloody aftermath) scene in the writer-director’s epic crime drama, “Heat.” Robert De Niro’s team of thieves takes on what seems to be most of the Los Angeles Police Department in this sequence, which many consider to be one of the all-time best action scenes in American cinema. The robbers lay down heavy machine gun fire as the cops shoot back in short, controlled bursts in an attempt to keep any and all collateral damage to a bare minimum; Mann went to great lengths to portray a shootout on the streets of L.A. as realistically as possible with a keen eye toward character and procedure. The meticulous (and loud!) sound design is rather astonishing, too – play this scene on your surround sound set-up and your neighbors will think someone declared World War III.


“The Killer” (1989) – church shootout

What’s a John Woo movie without lots of gunfire. . . and white doves flapping around all symbolic-like? Many souls are released unto the afterlife in the amazing church shootout in “The Killer,” Woo’s bloody and majestic fable about an assassin who has a crisis of conscience. Chow Yun-Fat is Ah Jong, a hitman who accidentally damages the eyes of a singer (Sally Yeh) during a shoot-’em-up; he later finds out that she’ll go blind unless she has surgery, which prompts him to do One Last Hit in order to pay for the expensive operation. Woo designed “The Killer,” with its story of the strong bond between two seemingly opposite people lost in a violent world, as an ode to the work of Jean-Pierre Melville and Martin Scorsese; the film itself went on to influence the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez with its likable (and very human) antagonist and over-the-top yet artfully executed violence. If you can only see one John Woo movie before you die (and what a drag if that’s the case for whatever reason), it’s a toss-up between this one and “Hard Boiled.”


“Léon: The Professional” (1994) – SWAT scene

Oh, stupid SWAT team leader. Yes, Mathilda (Natalie Portman) and Leon (Jean Reno) have arranged for a secret knock that identifies one to the other. But, being the skilled “cleaners” that they are, they’ve also arranged for another secret knock, one that translates roughly into “Remember that possible scenario involving a bunch of cops right outside the door in SWAT gear? Well, that possible scenario is nigh, dude.” Mathilda gives Leon enough of a warning to allow him to get the upper hand (at least for a little while) on some of NYPD’s finest, which leads to an intense apartment shootout that’s going to have the landlord frantically dialing his insurance company (that is, if the phone lines are even still intact). The most exciting action sequence in Luc Besson’s now-classic thriller is also one of of the most heartbreaking as Leon and Mathilda are forced to accept what was probably inevitable about their relationship, both “Professional” and personal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evWQ2MsDTS4


“The Matrix” (1999) – lobby shootout

One of the most crowd-pleasing moments in the Wachowskis’ game-changing sci-fi film is also one of the most oddly mean-spirited and downright amoral; after all, these are just poor security cops trying to do their damn jobs, not legitimate enemies who are in cahoots with the Agents who have kidnapped Morpheus. The fact that the (more or less) innocent people being shot full of holes are just physical projections of imprisoned pod-slaves all connected to a virtual reality consciousness at least takes some of the edge off as Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) wreck the kind of slo-mo action mayhem that was cool back in 1999, cutting (shooting) a bullet-ridden path through the lobby as they execute their daring rescue mission. Alas, the Wachowskis forgot that the Mentor should probably die in the first chapter (haven’t they seen “Star Wars?”), an oversight that unfortunately reduces Morpheus to little more than just a hapless passenger nervously reacting to Jada Pinkett Smith’s daring pilot skills by the third movie.

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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.