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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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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

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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.

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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

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