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Opening This Week: December 15th, 2006

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “The Good German,” Warner Bros., 2006]

A round-up of the best (or worst) $10 you’ll spend this week.


New York City-based genre filmmaker James Felix McKenney’s latest film depicts a future in which one woman is left alive after a generations-long war with robots nearly eliminated the human race. The film was shot on an extremely low-budget and will be at the Pioneer Theater in NYC for a two-week run.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Breaking and Entering”

Anthony Minghella puts the epics aside in order to direct his first original screenplay since 1991’s “Truly Madly Deeply,” good news for us, as “Truly Madly Deeply” remains our favorite Minghella film. “Breaking and Entering” reteams the director with Jude Law yet again; he plays an architect whose professional and personal lives are thrown into turmoil following a robbery at his office located in the seedy inner-city section of King’s Cross in London. Juliette Binoche co-stars as a Serbian immigrant and Robin Wright Penn does some of her best acting in years as Law’s longtime girlfriend. Now this is the Minghella we all know and love.

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

“Brooklyn Rules”

More miss-than-hit director Michael Corrente directs this film set in mid-1980s Brooklyn about three friends whose lives change completely after one of them becomes enamored with a mafia lifestyle. The film is written by Terence Winter, a longtime “Sopranos” contributor and writer of that awful 50 Cent film from last year, so expect some serious tough-guy scene-chewing from everybody. And Freddie Prinze Jr. playing mean? Not buying it.

Opens in limited release (IMDb page).

“Charlotte’s Web”

We’re tellin’ ya, talking pigs are a serious goldmine. The “Babe” series managed to garner over $250 million worldwide and since talking animals are all the rage these days, Paramount is probably going to be in for another winner this holiday season. “13 Going on 30″‘s Gary Winick is tapped for a Hollywood-studded romp through the barn as the voices of Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah and many others voice the many talking animals in the film. Plus, the film has rich source material in the classic E.B. White book, which has sold over 45 million copies since it was first published in the 1950s. Oh, and lest we forget, there’s also Dakota Fanning at her most irascible, so it’s fun for the whole family.

Opens wide (official site).


Okay, so let us get this straight: Beyoncé Knowles plays the Diana Ross-like diva, Jamie Foxx actually gets to sing, and Eddie Murphy tries to make us all forget about “The Haunted Mansion” in a role that many are saying may earn him an Oscar nom and, for once, establish his credibility as a serious actor. Directed by Academy-friendly “Kinsey” filmmaker Bill Condon, “Dreamgirls” will likely garner a slew of nominations but it will likely fail to further resuscitate the musical genre (see “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Rent”) and probably will be forgotten by this time next year. Hey, that’s Oscar for ya.

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


Fanboys and fifth graders from all across the country can stop foaming at the mouth as the long-awaited first feature based on Christopher Paolini’s popular fantasy novel finally comes to the big screen. “Eragon” tells the story of a young boy who befriends a dragon, and Jeremy Irons who goes on a quest to find his dead uncle’s killer. Call us nostalgic fools, but dragons ain’t got nothing on flying dog creature things.

Opens wide (official site).

“The Good German”

It seems like the George Clooney-Steven Soderbergh romance of the past decade or so isn’t ending any time soon. Regardless, it’s a relationship that just can’t seem to do anything wrong (except, of course, “Solaris”). Soderbergh goes the classical Hollywood route as Clooney, tapping his inner Bogart, plays an American war correspondent investigating the death of his murdered driver and his relationship with a mysterious woman in post-World War II Berlin.

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

“Home of the Brave”

Long-time successful producer Irwin Winkler really lost us with his past few directorial efforts, from lousy musical biopics (“De-Lovely”) to tired melodramas (“Life as a House”) to films starring Val Kilmer (“At First Sight”). Winkler continues to raise our questioning eyebrows with his latest film about soldiers returning from their tours in Iraq, most notably over the film’s casting of Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel and Mr. Fiddy Cent. Somehow, we’re expecting another dud.

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

“The Pursuit of Happyness”

You know, we must admit, we don’t want Will Smith to get all sappy on us. He really seems like too much of a fun guy. But in his latest, the Fresh Prince gets all melodrama-y in this film that seems perfectly suited for Italian director Gabriele Muccino (who Smith sought out personally) in this story about a down-on-his-luck salesman who struggles to make ends meet for his five-year-old son after he scores a prestigious yet unpaid internship at a stock brokerage firm. Expect lots of tears and possibly an Oscar nom for Smith.

Opens wide (official site).

“Reminiscing in Tempo”

Nobody knows how to party like a documentarian! But seriously, folks, filmmaker Gary Keys documents the spectacular parties thrown by Ruth Ellington for her jazz musician brother Duke every year, even after his death in 1977. This film includes classic footage of the Duke Ellington Orchestra from 1968 and includes interviews with Bobby Short, Al Hibbler, and Billy Taylor.

Opens in New York (IMDb page).

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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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