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Opening This Week: November 10th, 2006

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Come Early Morning,” Roadside Attractions, 2006]

A round-up of the indie and indie-ish films opening in theaters this week.

“The Cave of the Yellow Dog”

A young girl must choose between her family and her pet, after she decides to adopt a dog against her father’s wishes. This is the sophomore film from Mongolian filmmaker Byambasuren Davaa, who previously directed 2003’s “The Story of the Weeping Camel.”

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

“Christmas at Maxwell’s”

Just reading the synopsis for this movie made me throw up in my mouth a little, but at least it’s good to know someone is still making Christmas movies without Tim Allen. The rich and successful Austin family begins to fall apart as mother Suzie is diagnosed with a terminal illness. The Austins decide to spend their last Christmas as a family in a tiny lake town, learning that community and love will keep them together. Schmaltz is really difficult to stomach.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Come Early Morning”

Ashley Judd returns from whatever rock she’s been hiding under the past few years in one of her two indie-ish films to be released this fall (“Bug” being the other). Joey Lauren Adams of “Chasing Amy” fame makes her directorial debut telling the story of a Southern woman named Lucy (Judd) whose search for love leaves her with far too many one-night stands. Early reviews seem sorta mixed; critics find it doesn’t set itself apart from all those other indie movies that are just like is.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Copying Beethoven”

Ed Harris dons the year’s most ridiculous wig in this fictionalized account of the last year of composer Ludwig van Beethoven’s life directed by Agnieszka Holland, who made 1991’s Academy Award-nominated “Europa Europa.”

Opens in limited release (official site).


Filmmaker Steve Anderson documents the many wonderful ways in which the title word has impacted our society, from Hollywood films to stand-up comedy, the schoolyard to Congress, to its constant redefinitions in the English language. The doc including interviews with news anchor Sam Donaldson, author Hunter S. Thompson, filmmaker Kevin Smith and many others, but without an interview with Samuel L. Jackson, we have to wonder how it could do “the F word” justice.

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

“Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus”

Nicole Kidman returns to form for the first time since “The Hours” in Steven Shainberg’s first film after his debut “Secretary” in this biopic about famed photographer Diane Arbus. Though this film’s seemingly got “OSCAR” slapped all over it, early reviews call the movie pretty mediocre. It still might be an interesting film, as Shainberg has been hailed for straying from the standard biopic fare.

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

“A Good Year”

Russell Crowe tries to make America fall in love with him again in this sweet movie directed by his former “Gladiator” collaborator, Ridley Scott. Crowe plays an Englishman who inherits a vineyard in Provence following the death of his uncle, only to find conflict when an American woman claims the property is hers. Neither Crowe nor Scott seem prime for such lighthearted work; hopefully no hotel clerks were harmed in the making of this film.

Opens wide (official site).

“Harsh Times”

We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again, but Christian Bale is one of the best working actors in film today. After turning in highly underrated performances in “American Psycho” and “The Machinist”, Bale stars as an ex-Army Ranger who cruises the South Central streets of Los Angeles with his best friend, played by “Six Feet Under”‘s Freddy Rodriguez, as they encounter the violence and horror of everyday street life. David Ayer, the film’s director and also co-creator of “Training Day”, takes a page from “Taxi Driver” in his portrayal of Bale’s unsympathetic yet complex protagonist.

Opens wide (official site).

“Iraq in Fragments”

Filmed over two years, documentarian James Longley’s film tells stories of modern day Iraq from the perspective of the people who live there. The film is divided into three acts, telling stories of a fatherless 11-year-old’s quest for survival, a town’s struggle for political democracy, and the liberation of a Kurdish village by American soldiers.

Opens in New York (official site).

“The Last Atomic Bomb”

This documentary follows the activism of nuclear survivor Sakue Shimohira, a woman who survived the Nagasaki bombing of 1945. The film charts Shimohira’s international travels as she meets with Presidents Bush and Chirac and Prime Minister Tony Blair, inviting the world leaders to visit Nagasaki and understand the lasting effects of nuclear power.

Opens in New York (official site).

“The Return”

No, this is not a re-release of the far superior Andrei Zvyagintsev 2003 film of the same title, but yet another horror film starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. The former “Buffy” actress stars as a traveling business woman who begins receiving nightmares of a murder that happened fifteen years ago and is drawn to an old farmhouse where the murder may have taken place. The film is helmed by “The Warrior”‘s Asif Kapadia, so there’s some promise there, at least.

Opens wide (official site).

“Stranger Than Fiction”

Will Ferrell continues his onslaught on the senses in this new film by Marc Foster, though this time with the support of a promising cast including Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, Emma Thompson, and the ubiquitous Maggie Gyllenhaal (not that we’re complaining). Screenwriter Zach Helm takes a cue from the Charlie Kaufman school of filmmaking in this blend of reality and fiction in which an IRS auditor played by Ferrell suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear, affecting his entire life from his work to his death.

Opens wide (official site).

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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.


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…


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.


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).


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.


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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