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Opening This Week: August 24th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Samuel L. Jackson in “Resurrecting the Champ,” Yari Film Group Releasing, 2007]

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

“Closing Escrow”

Three eccentric families hoping to buy a home collide when they each decide they want the same house in this mockumentary by newbie director Armen Kaprelian. The film premiered earlier at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival in Las Vegas.

Opens in limited release (official site).


Indie fave actor Justin Theroux steps behind the camera in “Dedication,” which goes the Woody Allen route (though perhaps a bit more frantic) in this New York-based romance about a misogynistic children’s book author (an unlikable Billy Crudup, which we totally believe) and an untested illustrator (a highly mascara-ed Mandy Moore) who begin to fall in love shortly after being paired to work together. Theroux’s directorial debut features a soundtrack out of Zach Braff’s wet dreams, including music by Deerhoof, Cat Power, The Stokes and more.

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

“Deep Water”

The producers of 2003’s “Touching the Void” present a documentary that takes a look back to 1968, when a collection of nine men competed in a nautical journey to see who the first would be to circle the globe. The story focuses on one particular competitor, Donald Crowhurst, who eventually would go missing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

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

“Hannah Takes the Stairs”

“LOL” director Joe Swanberg co-wrote his new feature about a recent college graduate (Greta Gerwig) who embarks on relationships with two coworkers (“Mutual Appreciation” director Andrew Bujalski and Kent Osborne) while hoping to keep her friendships intact. The movie was a hit earlier at this year’s South by Southwest Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Illegal Tender”

Violence is the name of the game in this urban thriller from punctuated “Empire” creator Franc. Reyes. A young Latino man (Rick Gonzalez) learns from his mother (Wanda De Jesus) the true nature of his murdered father’s past while on the run from a crime boss’s henchmen. The film was produced by “urban thriller” king John Singleton.

Opens wide (official site).

“Mr. Bean’s Holiday”

We don’t really understand why the original “Mr. Bean” film deserved a sequel, but hey, that’s what late August is for, right? Destined to be forgettable, this sequel finds the beloved Rowan Atkinson character traveling to France when one of his video diaries somehow winds up as a world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Truly a premise only a film school graduate could dream of.

Opens wide (official site).

“Resurrecting the Champ”

Samuel L. Jackson gets all homeless in this new sportsish drama from “The Contender” director Rod Lurie. A young newspaper reporter (Josh Hartnett, who badly needs a hit… er, not of drugs) encounters a homeless man (Jackson) who used to be a renown boxer and who many believed was dead.

Opens wide (official site).

“Right At Your Door”

A dirty bomb goes off in Los Angeles, jamming freeways and spreading a toxic cloud in this indie apocalyptic thriller from Hollywood vet Chris Gorak.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“September Dawn”

Finally, an honest and respectful film about September 11th…1857, that is. A group of settlers en route to California encounter a Mormon sect in Utah and are slaughtered for religious purposes in this fictional take on the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The film finds itself in a storm of controversy on both sides, while we wonder if there’s a role somewhere out there that Jon Voight won’t take.

Opens wide (official site).

“The Hottest State”

Ethan Hawke directs, writes and stars in his latest directorial feature, based on one of his earliest novels about a struggling young actor (Mark Webber) who crisscrosses the country in pursuit of an elusive musician (“Maria Full of Grace”‘s Catalina Sandino Moreno, who really needs to be in more). Early reviews of the film have been somewhat negative, as critics claim Hawke fails to get the best out of his performers, who play characters who are mostly unlikable. Ouch.

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

“The Nanny Diaries”

Poised for a release earlier this spring, this film was pushed back to fall by the Weinstein Company due of Oscar hopes, only to be settled into a late August release because, well, we’re guessing someone actually watched it. Guessing that both Brittany Murphy and Kate Hudson were unavailable, directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (of “American Splendor”) settled on Scarlett Johansson to play the college student who goes to work as a nanny for a rich New York family. Main reason to see the film? Laura Linney as the uptight Mrs. X, who we bet steals every scene.

Opens wide (official site).


Jet Li plays baddie while Jason Statham seeks revenge in this no-nonsense (or all-nonsense) action thriller directed by music video vet Philip G. Atwell.

Opens wide (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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