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Opening This Week: December 30th, 2006

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “The Tiger and the Snow,” Strand Releasing, 2006]

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

“Arthur and the Invisibles”

So Luc Besson, director of “The Professional” and the cult fav “The Fifth Element,” plans on retiring from directing following his latest film, which is a… children’s animated feature? It features a mixture of CGI animation and live action as Arthur (Freddy Highmore) goes in search of his grandfather in a mystical land to save his house from eeeeeeeeevil real estate developers. The highlight? David Bowie as the voice of the antagonist Maltazard. Nice.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Black Christmas”

For those who don’t want to see a Christmas or potential Oscar film this week, check out this unnecessary remake of the classic 1974 cult film “Black Christmas.” The gore factor’s been upgraded since the original, but early reviews call the film lazy and uninspired. Courtesy of “Willard” director Glen Morgan.

Opens wide (official site).

“Children of Men”

Alfonso Cuarón’s latest might go down as one of the best films of the year, but its bleak tone and near absence of ad campaign might turn the film into a box office failure. So see it. Please.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Dead Girl”

Actor/director Karen Moncrieff follows up her 2002 Sundance success “Blue Car” with an effort that’s netted a few Spirit Award nominations. The talented cast includes Toni Collette, Marcia Gay Harden and Mary Beth Hurt. The film describes how a young woman’s murder affects the lives of inhabitants of a small town; think “Twin Peaks” meets Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, only Kevin Bacon’s dead and being played by Brittany Murphy.

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

“Factory Girl”

Sienna Miller, tabloid star and on-off girlfriend of Jude Law, has become a major name despite having yet to have acted in a film anyone can remember. In a fabulous twist of casting, she managed to land the starring role in this biopic of counter-culture icon Edie Sedgwick, also famous for nothing in particular. The film may have both Lou Reed and Bob Dylan pissed off, but Guy Pearce as Andy Warhol? We’re there.

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

“Fast Track”

One would think that a film starring TV comedy veterans Zach Braff and a wheelchair-bound Jason Bateman vying for the affections of a woman would have the possibility of being funny. Unfortunately, the film seems to be embarrassing to just about everyone involved. It makes a one-week limited run in major cities before being released wide in the middle of January, exactly where it belongs.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Miss Potter”

The last time Renee Zellweger went British on us, we were treated to that awful “Bridget Jones” sequel. The ‘wegs goes family (and awards) friendly in this romantic story about Beatrix Potter, the author of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” and her quest for love, happiness and success in early 20th century England. Ewan McGregor and Emily Watson provide supporting duties, and it’s good to see Chris Noonan of “Babe” back directing.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

“Notes on a Scandal”

Dame Judi Dench reunites with her “Iris” director Richard Eyre in a film that’s got Oscar written all over it. Cate Blanchett plays an art teacher who enters into an affair with one of her students, causing upheaval in both her personal and professional lives. Mmmmm…melodrama…

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Pan’s Labyrinth”

Guillermo del Toro’s latest is being proclaimed as his best work yet as a young girl falls into her own imagination to escape the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. The film has been hailed by critics and fans alike as one of the year’s most imaginative and already has been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”

A tortured genius in 18th century France feels that in order to make the ultimate perfume, he needs to sacrifice many a young virgin. “Run Lola Run” director Tom Tykwer performs the unimaginable, as he somehow brings the world of smell to the big screen. We expect a lot of close-ups of noses…

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Tiger and the Snow”

After delighting a few and annoying many more at the Oscars after winning Best Foreign Language Film, Roberto Benigni seriously creeped us out with his adult version of “Pinocchio.” Now he tackles the latest conflict in Iraq through the prism of a sweet romance about a guy trying to woo his ex-girlfriend, who just so happens to be unconscious and in a coma. Somewhere, Pedro Almodóvar is weeping.

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


Speaking of — frequent Almodóvar collaborator Leonor Watling and Goya Award-winner Luis Tosar star in Joaquín Oristrell’s period comedy about the sexual revolution in early 20th century Barcelona. Check out the witty trailer.

Opens in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and 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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