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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: December 21st, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Aaron Stanford and Zooey Deschanel in “Flakes,” IFC First Take, 2007]

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

“Charlie Wilson’s War”

Honestly, we wish we were a bit more excited about this project than we actually are. Mike Nichols returns to lighter fare after the solid “Closer,” while writer Aaron Sorkin attempts to recover from the debacle that was “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing politics? No National Board of Review lovin’ will make this look any better to us.

Opens wide (official site).

“Flakes”

Clothing designer Zooey Deschanel teams up with aspiring rock musician and cereal bar manager Aaron Stanford after discovering that an entrepreneur has stolen their million dollar idea in this indie comedy from director Michael Lehmann. Forget that Lehmann directed the lame Diane Keaton-Mandy Moore rom-com “Because I Said So” earlier this year and remember his first full-length directorial effort “Heathers,” and you’ll see why we’ll always will give Lehmann another shot. Wait, he also made “Hudson Hawk”? Hoooh boy…

Opens in limited release (official site).

“National Treasure: Book of Secrets”

Nicolas Cage returns as treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates in this action adventure pic that asks you to check your brain at the door. We still don’t know what the appeal of this genre is, but after the original 2004 film made over $150 million domestically without a plot (like Gates, we looked hard for one), it’s no surprise Walt Disney Pictures greenlit another adventure that finds Cage in search of the missing pages of John Wilkes Booth’s diary that may unlock a worldwide conspiracy. Oooh, tension!

Opens wide (official site).

“P.S. I Love You”

Hilary Swank plays a recent widow who discovers love letters written by her recently deceased husband (Gerard Butler, minus the massive muscles) in order to help her move on with her life. We’re suspect this film may qualify as the creepiest romantic drama of the season, but we’re willing to put our trust in this directorial effort from “Fisher King” screenwriter Richard LaGravenese in his second teaming with Swank this year.

Opens wide (official site).

“Steep”

Documentarian Mark Obenhaus traces the legacy of extreme skiing from its early pioneers to the daredevils of today. The film premiered earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

The classic Stephen Sondheim musical gets the Tim Burton treatment, which means lots of gothic makeup, a flamboyant Johnny Depp and some voluptuous… acting from Helena Bonham Carter. In 19th century London, Benjamin Barker (Depp) opens a barbershop upstairs from the piemaker Mrs. Lovett (Carter) before the two team up for some sinister dealings. Not to give anything away, but expect some macabre humor that can only be directed from the man who brought us “Beetlejuice.” After a decade of hits and misses for the director (“Big Fish” — okay, “Planet of the Apes” — not okay), Burton is getting his strongest reviews yet, and so far he’s nabbed both the National Board of Review award for best director and his first Golden Globe nomination. It’s about time.

Opens wide (official site).

“Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”

The Apatow gang tackles the über-serious awards genre of the music biopic, as John C. Reilly inhabits the fictional role of music legend Dewey Cox that recently earned the actor a long-deserved and very real Golden Globe nomination. Reilly fits right in alongside the Apatow regulars in this country fried spoof that looks more akin to “Airplane!” than “Scary Movie.” While the film’s first trailer seriously lacked the funny, we still have faith in our boy Judd, who we’re hoping finishes 2007 three for three. Not bad for the smartest man in entertainment.

Opens wide (official site).

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Rev Up

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.

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Give Back

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…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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