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Opening This Week: November 17th, 2006

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Neil Armfield’s “Candy,” ThinkFilm, 2006]

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

“After Dark Horrorfest: 8 Films to Die For”

Apparently nothing spells “autumn” like horror films. Arriving a few weeks late for Halloween, the folks at After Dark Films are releasing this horror film collection for one weekend only. Directors to be featured include the Butcher Brothers, Craig Singer, and Takashi Shimizu, who, thankfully, will finally direct a non-“Grudge” related film.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Aura”

Argentian director Fabián Bielinsky follows up his excellent 2000 film “Nine Queens” with this story about a deluded epileptic taxidermist whose plan for the perfect crime goes awry. The cinema world lost a promising director in Bielinsky, who passed away of a heart attack in June: “The Aura” is his final film.

Opens in New York (official site).


Gordon Bombay…I mean, Charlie Sheen…wait, no, Emilio Estevez, yeah, that’s right, wrote and directed this film documenting the story of the assassination of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy. “Bobby” centers around 22 people who were at the Ambassador Hotel the night of his death. The ensemble cast includes Ashton Kutcher, Lindsay Lohan, Sharon Stone and Christian Slater. So…can somebody tell me again why this film is drawing such Oscar buzz?

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


November just seems to be the month for Australians; following Nicole Kidman’s “Fur” and Russell Crowe’s “A Good Year” is this romantic drama from acclaimed Australian theater director Neil Armfield, starring Abbie Cornish (of “Somersault” fame) and Heath Ledger (from that gay cowboy movie). Cornish plays an art student who meets a poet (Ledger) and falls in love with his bohemian lifestyle. Oh, and the heroin. She loves the heroin. Geoffrey Rush also co-stars in the film, because, really it can’t be an Australian film without Geoffrey Rush.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Casino Royale”

Finally, Daniel Craig will attempt to quell all of his critcs in this cinematic re-telling of the first Ian Fleming novel to feature Bond, James Bond. Much controversy surrounded the casting of Craig, who will be the first Bond to sport blonde hair (*gasp*!), but early reviews are claiming that Craig has one thing that all previous Bonds lacked: the ability to act. Expect this film to make lots of money; it’s the only big blockbuster of the holiday season.

Opens wide (official site).

“Dance Party, USA”

25-year-old Aaron Katz wrote and directed this little indie that garnered a lot of praise back in March at SXSW and a couple of compliments from fellow directors Andrew Bujalski and Jay Duplass. The film is set in Portland, OR, and details the relationship of Jessica and Gus, two aimless teenagers who connect with each other at a fourth of July party before going their separate ways (worlds apart) when a dark secret is revealed. Catch it while you can, it will be at the Pioneer Theater for one week only.
Opens in New York (official site).

“Fast Food Nation”

Just in time for the Thanksgiving season, Richard Linklater attempts to make us all go vegan in this fictionalized film based on the book of the same name about the ins and outs of the fast food industry. The ensemble cast includes Greg Kinnear, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ethan Hawke, and annoying pop singer Avril Lavigne (making her film debut).

Opens wide (official site).

“Flannel Pajamas”

Director Jeff Lipsky directs this indie tracking the relationship of Stuart (Justin Kirk) and Nicole (Julianne Nicholson) from their initial blind date up to their break-up. Or do they? This will-they-or-won’t-they film feels really early 90s to us, but it’s got a good cast in Kirk and Nicholson, so if the chemistry is there, this might be a gem. Or it could really suck. Either one.

Opens in New York (official site).

“For Your Consideration”

The master mockumentarian Christopher Guest is back with his latest ensemble comedy, though he sheds his traditional style for a straight narrative in this hilarious Hollywood lampoon…okay, we haven’t seen it yet, but any film from Guest and Co. promises to be a good time. The movie-title-with-the-movie “Home for Purim” already had us laughing. Ricky Gervais of “The Office” fame joins the usual regulars this time around.

Opens wide (official site).

“Happy Feet”

Director George Miller ups the cute factor to 11 in this animated family film about penguins who like to sing and dance. Joining Miller are the nauseating voices of Robin Williams, Elijah Wood, and Brittany Murphy. We swear this is the last computer-animated talking animals picture to be released this year (maybe).

Opens wide (official site).

“Let’s Go to Prison”

“Mr. Show”‘s Bob Odenkirk directs this prison comedy about a career criminal’s plan for revenge against his intended victim’s son and ruining his life while incarcerated. The film stars Dax Shepherd and, more importantly, Will Arnett (of “Arrested Development” fame) in his first starring role. Rumors circulate that White Power Bill’s scenes have been cut.

Opens wide (official site).

“Lies and Alibis”

First-time directors Matt Checkowski and Kurt Mattila direct this indie film starring “A Cock and Bull Story”‘s Steve Coogan and “X-Men”‘s Rebecca Romijn (she dropped the Stamos, right?) about a man who runs an alibi service for adulterous husbands, and who gets into a jam when he receives a mysterious new client and must seek the services of an alluring woman to get him out of said jam. The film compares itself to “The Thin Man” — that’s a pretty high bar to set, considering Romijn (-Stamos?) is no Myrna Loy.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

“The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes”

The latest from the Brothers Quay is a dark fairytale about a demonic doctor who abducts a beautiful opera singer with designs on transforming her into a mechanical nightingale. The film premiered at last year’s Locarno International Film Festival and garnered numerous awards for its directors, but while critics praise the film’s dark and moody visual experience, they say the film’s story is sure to dull the mind.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror”

“It AIN’T all good in da hood.” Well, we suppose we don’t really need to expand on the film’s tagline to explain exactly what this movie is, but we’ll try anyhow. America’s favorite gangsta rapper Snoop Dogg, seen in such American classics “Soul Plane” and “Bones,” hosts this three-film horror anthology of three short tales set in an urban milieu, à la the “Tales from the Crypt” series. Ernie Hudson, Danny Trejo, and Lando Calrissian are just a few of the actors featured in this film.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Who the $#%& is Jackson Pollock?”

What would happen if you bought a painting from a thrift store for $5, only to discover that it’s a missing masterpiece from one of the 20th century’s most famous artists? Well, you’d most likely have a documentary film crew follow you around as you attempt to sell the painting for $50 million. Or at least that’s what happened to Teri Horton, a 73-year old former truck driver with only an eighth grade education, whose attempts to sell the painting were rebuffed by members of the art establishment who claimed the painting was nothing more than worthless. Harry Moses directs.

Opens in New York (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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