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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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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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