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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: June 29th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Evening,” Focus Features, 2007]

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

“Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox”

Documentarian Sara Lamm’s debut feature follows the story of Dr. Emanuel Bronner, a master soapmaker, mental institution escapee and self-proclaimed rabbi who preached an ever-evolving set of teachings set on each bottle of his popular peppermint soap, which you can still find in health food stores today. Lamm’s film follows the story of an incredibly complicated family legacy behind the counterculture’s most popular cleaning product.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Evening”

While this film sounds a little like “Fried Green Tomatoes” meets “The Notebook” (but with more dying!), it may be the ideal movie if you want to escape the usual summer flick explosions. Director Lajos Koltai previously served up some heavy drama with 2005’s “Fateless” and here employs Toni Collette and Natasha Richardson to get all weepy as they play the daughters of dying matriarch Vanessa Redgrave. To further improve its pedigree, we should point out that the film is based on a novel by Susan Minot and is adapted by “The Hours” writer Michael Cunningham.

Opens wide (official site).

“Falling”

Four high school friends get together at a funeral and decide to make the best of it by traversing the local countryside in search of parties, alcohol and men in this black comedy from “Free Radicals” director Barbara Albert. The film premiered at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Ghosts of Cité Soleil”

Like a true life “City of God,” Asger Leth’s documentary follows the lives of rival gang leaders in the Haitian slum of Cité Soleil, deemed by the United Nations the most dangerous place on earth. Leth’s documentary (executive produced and with music by Wyclef Jean) was filmed prior to the overthrow of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is said to have employed the gang members to silence his opponents.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“In Between Days”

A lonely and isolated Korean teenage, new to America, falls in love with her only friend in So Yong Kim’s debut film, which finally arrives in theaters after attracting acclaim on the festival circuit.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Live Free or Die Hard”

Considering we’re in the Season of Revisited 80s Action Franchises (Michael Bay’s “Transformers” is being released next month and Stallone’s bloodthirsty “John Rambo” will drop next summer), it’s no surprise that this long-rumored, then long-anticipated fourth entry in the John McClane series finally finds its release this week. With a storyline pretty much lifted from a, well, Bruce Willis thriller, the film finds McClane tackling an internet-based terrorist organization planning on shutting down the country. Car into helicopter = badass. CGI car wrecks = lame. “Deadwood”‘s Sheriff Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) as the baddie = awesome. The Mac Guy (Justin Long) as comic relief = seriously lame.

Opens wide (official site).

“One to Another”

Jean-Marc Barr and Pascal Arnold’s drama follows a 20-year-old brother and sister who share an intimate relationship with each other and a group of friends until the brother is found brutally murdered (with sexy results!). The sister then goes in search of finding out who her brother’s real killer is (with sexy results!). The film premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival (with sexy results!).

Opens in New York and San Francisco (official site).

“Ratatouille”

We may be a little bothered by the fact that the Parisian rodent of Pixar’s latest feature doesn’t sound like he’s French, but we’re willing to bite the bullet for anything directed by Brad Bird (“The Incredibles” and “The Iron Giant”). Comedian Patton Oswalt voices Remy, the Parisian rat who dreams of becoming a great chef. The buzz on this seems pretty high — here’s hoping it’s better than “Cars.”

Opens wide (official site).

“Sicko”

High five for controversy! Nearly three years after the monumental success that was “Fahrenheit 9/11,” award-winning “documentarian”/essayist Michael Moore returns with a scathing look at the health care system in a nation in which Moore claims nearly 45 million people are left without health care — ours. The usual criticism is already abounding, with conservative political commentator Sean Hannity claiming Moore is “anti-American” and the American government investigating Moore as a communist sympathizer, but reviews since “Sicko”‘s standing ovation at its Cannes premiere have been solid. Red states vs. blue states again? It’s on!

Opens wide (official site).

“Vitus”

Director Fredi M. Murer’s latest drama finds a young, gifted boy rebelling against his controlling parents, preferring to neglect his pianist skills in favor of flying lessons from his grandfather, played by Hitler himself, “Downfall”‘s Bruno Ganz.

Opens in limited release (official site).

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…