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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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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 IFC.com

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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…