Opening This Week: March 30th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Paul Schneider and Aaron Stanford in “Live Free or Die,” THINKFilm, 2007]

A round-up of the best (or worst) $10 you’ll spend this week.

“After the Wedding”

A Best Foreign Language Film nominee at this year’s Academy Awards, “After the Wedding” is the latest from “Brothers” director Susanne Bier. The film tracks what happens when the headmaster of an orphanage in India (“Casino Royale” baddie Mads Mikkelsen) is sent to his native land of Denmark and discovers a devastating life-altering family secret.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles (official site).

“Blades of Glory”

Will Ferrell stars in yet another sports-related comedy — this time, the SNL vet pairs with “Napoleon Dynamite” himself, Jon Heder, to poke fun at the world of competitive figure skating. Ferrell had a strong 2006, receiving both commercial (“Talladega Nights”) and critical success (“Stranger Than Fiction”) after a subpar 2005, while Heder looks like he’ll get his first hit since 2004. The film promises to feature the most ridiculous wigs since “Alexander.”

Opens wide (official site).

“The Hawk is Dying”

We’d love to see Paul Giamatti expand from his recent string of down-on-his-luck loser characters, but we’ll take loser Giamatti over no Giamati any day of the week. The beloved actor stars as an auto repairman in Gainesville, FL, who begins taming a wild red-tailed hawk to escape from his mundane life. The film comes courtesy of “Trans” director Julian Goldberger and originally premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Live Free or Die”

“Seinfeld” writers Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin showcased their first feature film at last year’s SXSW, netting a jury prize and industry attention. The film tells the story of two dimwitted small town criminals (Aaron Stanford and Paul Schneider) on the run from a murder they didn’t commit. And of course, in true indie fashion, Zooey Deschanel offers a supporting hand.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Lookout”

Indie darling Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in this heist thriller directed and penned by “Out of Sight” screenwriter Scott Frank. Gordon-Levitt plays a former high school sports phenom turned mentally damaged janitor who becomes part of a heist at the bank at which he works. We’re pretty much excited for anything Gordon-Levitt does these days, whether it’s getting his “Veronica Mars” on in the high school-set film noir “Brick” or playing a gay prostitute and sexual abuse victim in Gregg Araki’s “Mysterious Skin.” Also, look forward to Jeff Daniels in a supporting role with full “The Squid and the Whale” beard in tow.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Meet the Robinsons”

Though Disney found commercial success with its first post-Pixar computer animated feature “Chicken Little,” critics complained that its fantastic visuals could not make up for an uninspired storyline and lame pop culture clichés. Things are looking better for “Meet the Robinsons,” as Disney’s second foray into CGI sans Pixar is rich in source material (the film is based on author William Joyce’s bestseller) and spectacular graphics. But doesn’t the main character look a lot like the kid from “Jerry Maguire”? What’s the deal with that?

Opens wide (official site).

“Race You to the Bottom”

Two best friends run off together on a sexually liberating (and metaphorical!) road trip to Northern California, leaving their respective boyfriends at home while shacking up on their way to the Golden State in Russell Brown’s feature directorial debut. “Buffy”‘s Amber Benson and “Harry + Max”‘s Cole Williams star as the sexually nebulous couple.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

“Ten ’til Noon”

Repetition is the name of the game in this Scott Storm-directed indie in which the same ten minute period is shown through the eyes of ten people all connected to the same crime. While the film’s premise clearly shifts the formula of mainstream crime thrillers, we’re betting that you’ll be exhausted by the film’s midpoint. Just imagine watching each season of “24” within a 90 minute framework.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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