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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: November 24th, 2006

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Backstage,” Strand Releasing, 2006]

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

“Backstage”

French filmmaker/actress Emmanuelle Bercot writes and directs this film about an obsessed fan whose life is turned upside down when her life crosses with her favorite pop idol. The film screened to some acclaim at Tribeca earlier this year, and now settles in at the Film Forum.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Deck the Halls”

A film about the extreme human materialism of the year’s most excessive spending season, “Deck the Halls” gets special mention because of Danny DeVito. The movie looks like pure crap, but his turn in the recent television show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” is comedic gold. Actually, forget this movie, just watch “It’s Always Sunny.”

Opens wide (official site).

“Déjà Vu”

Director Tony Scott should be congratulated for keeping the production of this film in New Orleans following the Hurricane Katrina disaster, but judging from the trailer, it’s going to be another visually tedious headache with Scott relying on lightning-quick edits and saturated colors to deliver a story about a cop (Denzel Washington, who King Kong’s got nothin’ on) who continuously experiences déjà vu until he can prevent a ferry explosion. Ice, the Hebrew Hammer, and Jesus Christ are all cast in supporting roles (er… Val Kilmer, Adam Goldberg, and James Caviezel, respectively).

Opens wide (official site).

“Dhoom 2”

Anybody expecting a sequel to that video game movie starring The Rock will be sorely disappointed by this Bollywood thriller about cops and art thieves and car chases and hot girls and all that jazz. It’s like a Bruckheimer film, but in Hindi.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Fountain”

Finally. That’s all I have to say. Finally. Darren Aranofsky follows up 2000’s “Requiem for a Dream” with this often-delayed film that lost $40 million from its budget along with its two original stars, Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Billed initially as an time-spanning epic, the film was reportedly booed at its world premiere in Venice in September. Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz took pay cuts to play lovers whose courtship lasts 1000 years. People, just give Aronofsky a break and see this movie; I’m just glad he’s finally getting something released.

Opens wide (official site).

“The History Boys”

This Alan Bennett play about an unruly class of history students who attempt to navigate the college admissions process comes courtesy of theater director Nicholas Hytner, who retained much of the play’s original cast for this film adaptation. Hytner has a history of filming adaptations of successful plays, though his films range from good (“The Madness of King George”) to really awful (“The Object of My Affection”).

Opens in limited release (Official site).

“Opal Dream”

“The Full Monty” director Peter Cattaneo goes the family route in this children’s movie about a young girl’s relationship with her two best friends (both imaginary) in the Australian Outback.

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

“Our Daily Bread”

Nikolaus Geyrhalter directs this documentary about the world of industrial food production and high-tech farming. The film, which consists of wide-screen tableaus in which animals are borne, bred, fed, and gutted, apparently has no narration or dialogue in order to allow the images to simply speak for themselves. This film follows on the heels of “Fast Food Nation.” We haven’t eaten in weeks.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny”

We don’t understand the cult status behind Jack Black. Outside of his humorous turns in “School of Rock” and “High Fidelity,” we just don’t see why people think Black is funny. His latest film details the origins of Tenacious D, the self-proclaimed “greatest band on Earth”, as Black and his partner Kyle Gass go searching for a magical guitar pick housed in a rock-and-roll museum some 300 miles away. We continuously get the feeling Tenacious D is one big inside joke we’re not in on — ’cause, why aren’t we laughing?

Opens wide (official site).

“Valley of the Wolves: Iraq “

Serdar Akar and Sadullah Senturk generated a huge amount of controversy with this Turkish film, written off in the media as both “anti-Semitic” and “anti-American.” The film is about a group of eleven Turkish soldiers stationed in Iraq who are imprisoned by an allied American squad, who aim to be the only power in the region, and are subsequently tortured as a result. For once, America is not “the good guy”, a theme American studios seem reluctant to portray these days. Catch it if you can find it, if only to see ol’ Gary Busey playing “Doctor.”

Opens in limited release (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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