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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: June 29th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Evening,” Focus Features, 2007]

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

“Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox”

Documentarian Sara Lamm’s debut feature follows the story of Dr. Emanuel Bronner, a master soapmaker, mental institution escapee and self-proclaimed rabbi who preached an ever-evolving set of teachings set on each bottle of his popular peppermint soap, which you can still find in health food stores today. Lamm’s film follows the story of an incredibly complicated family legacy behind the counterculture’s most popular cleaning product.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Evening”

While this film sounds a little like “Fried Green Tomatoes” meets “The Notebook” (but with more dying!), it may be the ideal movie if you want to escape the usual summer flick explosions. Director Lajos Koltai previously served up some heavy drama with 2005’s “Fateless” and here employs Toni Collette and Natasha Richardson to get all weepy as they play the daughters of dying matriarch Vanessa Redgrave. To further improve its pedigree, we should point out that the film is based on a novel by Susan Minot and is adapted by “The Hours” writer Michael Cunningham.

Opens wide (official site).

“Falling”

Four high school friends get together at a funeral and decide to make the best of it by traversing the local countryside in search of parties, alcohol and men in this black comedy from “Free Radicals” director Barbara Albert. The film premiered at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Ghosts of Cité Soleil”

Like a true life “City of God,” Asger Leth’s documentary follows the lives of rival gang leaders in the Haitian slum of Cité Soleil, deemed by the United Nations the most dangerous place on earth. Leth’s documentary (executive produced and with music by Wyclef Jean) was filmed prior to the overthrow of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is said to have employed the gang members to silence his opponents.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“In Between Days”

A lonely and isolated Korean teenage, new to America, falls in love with her only friend in So Yong Kim’s debut film, which finally arrives in theaters after attracting acclaim on the festival circuit.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Live Free or Die Hard”

Considering we’re in the Season of Revisited 80s Action Franchises (Michael Bay’s “Transformers” is being released next month and Stallone’s bloodthirsty “John Rambo” will drop next summer), it’s no surprise that this long-rumored, then long-anticipated fourth entry in the John McClane series finally finds its release this week. With a storyline pretty much lifted from a, well, Bruce Willis thriller, the film finds McClane tackling an internet-based terrorist organization planning on shutting down the country. Car into helicopter = badass. CGI car wrecks = lame. “Deadwood”‘s Sheriff Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) as the baddie = awesome. The Mac Guy (Justin Long) as comic relief = seriously lame.

Opens wide (official site).

“One to Another”

Jean-Marc Barr and Pascal Arnold’s drama follows a 20-year-old brother and sister who share an intimate relationship with each other and a group of friends until the brother is found brutally murdered (with sexy results!). The sister then goes in search of finding out who her brother’s real killer is (with sexy results!). The film premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival (with sexy results!).

Opens in New York and San Francisco (official site).

“Ratatouille”

We may be a little bothered by the fact that the Parisian rodent of Pixar’s latest feature doesn’t sound like he’s French, but we’re willing to bite the bullet for anything directed by Brad Bird (“The Incredibles” and “The Iron Giant”). Comedian Patton Oswalt voices Remy, the Parisian rat who dreams of becoming a great chef. The buzz on this seems pretty high — here’s hoping it’s better than “Cars.”

Opens wide (official site).

“Sicko”

High five for controversy! Nearly three years after the monumental success that was “Fahrenheit 9/11,” award-winning “documentarian”/essayist Michael Moore returns with a scathing look at the health care system in a nation in which Moore claims nearly 45 million people are left without health care — ours. The usual criticism is already abounding, with conservative political commentator Sean Hannity claiming Moore is “anti-American” and the American government investigating Moore as a communist sympathizer, but reviews since “Sicko”‘s standing ovation at its Cannes premiere have been solid. Red states vs. blue states again? It’s on!

Opens wide (official site).

“Vitus”

Director Fredi M. Murer’s latest drama finds a young, gifted boy rebelling against his controlling parents, preferring to neglect his pianist skills in favor of flying lessons from his grandfather, played by Hitler himself, “Downfall”‘s Bruno Ganz.

Opens in limited release (official site).

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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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