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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: December 27th, 2007 and January 4th, 2008

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Denzel Washington in “The Great Debaters,” MGM, 2007]

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

“Alien vs. Predator: Requiem”

The eternal question of “who would win in a fight, an alien or a predator” wasn’t quite answered the first time around, clearing the way for this second chance to watch our favorite ’80s sci-fi creatures (sorry, gremlins) duke it out at the expense of the human race. We don’t expect gold from a movie about warring franchises, here’s hoping this sequel might be better, since original director Paul W.S. Anderson had no hand in its making.

Opens wide December 25th (official site).

“A Bloody Aria”

This South Korean thriller from director Shin-yeon Won tracks a womanizing college professor who suspects a group of dangerous youths of killing a student he attempted to seduce.

Opens in limited release on January 4th (official site).

“The Bucket List”

Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson team up in this geriatric buddy comedy about two terminally ill cancer patients who head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. We’re a little miffed to learn that this film, directed by Rob Reiner (really?), has been receiving a number of strong reviews, even earning a spot on the National Board of Review’s best films of 2007. (Again, really?)

Opens in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto on December 25th (official site).

“Chuck Close”

The late filmmaker Marion Cajori’s final film chronicles the career of painter Chuck Close, popularly known as the re-inventor of portraiture. Close’s subjects — family, friends, artists — offer insight into his work and Close’s influence on their own. Cajori passed away shortly after completion of the film in 2006.

Opens in New York on December 26th (official site).

“The Great Debaters”

Denzel Washington directs and stars in this inspirational teacher movie about a professor at an all-African-American college in Texas who leads his underdog debate team into a competition with Harvard in 1935. With a strong supporting turn by Forest Whitaker, plus Oprah Winfrey as one of the film’s producers, we’re pretty sure this film will make a whole bunch of noise come Oscar season. Sure, we’ve seen Washington play similar roles recently (we certainly remember the “Titans”), we’ve no problem watching him do it again.

Opens wide on December 25th (official site).

“Honeydripper”

John Sayles’ latest Southern-set drama is about a club owner (Danny Glover) who attempts to pass off a vagrant as a famous guitar player one night in his club in hopes of saving himself from bankruptcy. The film went on to win the best screenplay award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival earlier this year.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles on December 28th (official site).

“The Killing of John Lennon”

It appears that 2008 will feature competing Mark David Chapman projects, as the man who killed John Lennon is the subject of dueling biopics in the new year. First up is this one, an indie from television director Andrew Piddington that features relative newcomer Jonas Bell in the role of the assassin. Much of the film’s dialogue is lifted directly from Chapman’s real-life journal, allowing the viewer to get into the mind of a murderer who killed for fame.

Opens in New York on January 2nd (official site).

“One Missed Call”

2008 starts off slowly with this J-horror remake of the Takashi Miike film “Chakushin ari” featuring Shannyn Sossamon and Edward Burns doing battle against dark forces responsible for victims getting voice mail messages from their future selves detailing the time of their deaths. Our favorite line of 2008 so far? “That’s not my ring tone.” Sounds like a horror masterpiece in the making.

Opens wide on January 4th (official site).

“The Orphanage”

These days we get excited about anything Guillermo del Toro is involved in. The “Pan’s Labyrinth” director had a strong hand in bringing to life this Spanish horror import about a woman who starts to get concerned about her son’s new imaginary friends. Borrowing elements from other “creepy children” horror films such as “The Others” and del Toro’s own “The Devil’s Backbone” certainly should bolster the suspense.

Opens in limited release on December 28th (official site).

“Persepolis”

Comic book artist Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novels detail life in Iran during the Islamic revolution from the perspective of a young and precocious girl. After winning the Grand Jury Prize earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, her directorial debut made numerous headlines after being banned from both the Bangkok International Film Festival and Satrapi’s homeland of Iran despite being one of the best received movies of the year.

Opens in limited release on December 25th (official site).

“There Will Be Blood”

Daniel Day-Lewis alone has us bubbling with anticipation. But the teaming of our favorite method actor with the not-prolific-enough director Paul Thomas Anderson for a film inspired by Upton Sinclair’s novel “Oil!” leaves us positively verklempt. The film already has won a slew of awards, been on a number of top ten lists and topped this year’s indieWIRE critics’ poll, and while we can’t predict whether Day-Lewis will add a second Oscar to his mantle, we’re sure he’ll at least get a nomination. Kudos to Anderson for stepping out of his comfort zone with what originated as a writing experiment for the director after coming across Sinclair’s novel.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles on December 26th (official site).

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Uncle-Buck

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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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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