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Opening This Week: July 13th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Captivity,” Lionsgate, 2007]

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


The last we saw of director Roland Joffé was the 2000 period piece “Vatel.” Now the two-time Oscar-nominee is behind the wheel of controversy-magnet “Captivity,” the latest entry in the “torture porn” genre fronted by the “Hostel”s and “Saw”s. “Captivity” generated plenty of talk due to a scandalous and soon pulled marketing campaign featuring a bound and gagged Elisha Cuthbert — it remains to be seen if the film will be able to capitalize on the publicity.

Opens wide (official site).


Taking a page out of the Alejandro González Iñárritu handbook, Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo interlaces three separate stories — one following a suicidal old man, another a 15-year-old runaway girl, the third a young couple after their tragic breakup — all set against the Acapulco sunset. The film premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”

This July is set to be a big Harry Potter month, as everyone’s favorite Hogwarts student (depending on who you ask…) returns both in the series’ fifth film iteration and its seventh and final book. New and relatively unknown director David Yates helms the arguably darkest “Harry Potter” film to date. Ace casting of Imelda Staunton as the deliciously evil Umbridge makes us have high hopes for this one.

Opens wide (official site).

“Hula Girls”

A group of young women in a Japanese coal-mining town look to save their home from an economic and moral depression by building a Hawaiian village tourist attraction, despite knowing little about the culture. Korean-Japanese director Lee Sang-il’s film won the Best Director and Best Screenplay awards at this year’s Japanese Academy Awards.

Opens in New York (official site).


Steve Buscemi riffs on the cinema of murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in this American remake of van Gogh’s 2003 film of the same name. Buscemi stars as a faded political journalist forced to interview a shallow soap opera star — the two are seemingly from entirely different worlds, but each begin to reveal their true selves to the other. We’ve been generally unimpressed with Sienna Miller since “Layer Cake,” but early reviews claim that Miller holds up her own against Buscemi.

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

“My Best Friend”

Arthouse fave Patrice Leconte directs this situation comedy about an unlikable man (an irascible Daniel Auteuil) who enlists the help of a charming taxi driver (Dany Boon) to prove to his business partner (Julie Gayet) that he has a best friend.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Shortcut to Happiness”

We remember hearing about this film way back before star Jennifer Love Hewitt became a ghost whisperer — Alec Baldwin’s troubled directorial debut faced financial ruin until the Yari Film Group picked up the film for distribution in 2006. Previously titled “The Devil and Daniel Webster” and based on the short story by Stephen Vincent Benét, it seems ripe for… going straight to DVD. When a film’s trailer reminds one of 2000’s “Bedazzled,” that’s not a good sign.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Talk to Me”

While most filmgoers this summer seem to be busy living free or dying hard, we hope that Kasi Lemmon’s latest feature, which may be one of the strongest films of the season, won’t be overlooked. Don Cheadle stars as Ralph “Petey” Greene, an ex-con turned radio DJ with the help of program director Dewey Hughes (Chiwetel Ejiofor). We can’t wait for the pairing of Cheadle and Ejiofor; here’s hoping Academy voters remember that come the end of the year.

Opens in limited release (official site).


Director Michael Arias, one of the creative forces behind the “Animatrix” series, makes history as the first non-Japanese filmmaker to helm a major anime film with “Tekkonkinkreet.” The film follows two orphans with completely opposite personalities who must team up to prevent the destruction of Treasure Town. The film’s plot may seem a little silly, but the film itself is purported to be a visual delight.

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


A woman puts herself through extensive plastic surgery in order to save her failing relationship in this drama directed by “3-Iron”‘s Kim Ki-duk. The film won the Plaque for International Film at last year’s Chicago International Film Festival.

Opens in 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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