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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: October 12th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Jude Law in “Sleuth,” Sony Pictures Classics, 2007]

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

“Berkeley”

TV director Bobby Roth’s first feature since 2003’s “Manhood” is the coming-of-age tale of a straight-laced conservative 18-year-old who gets caught up in the youth revolution movement during his freshman year at UC Berkeley in 1968. The film draws on Roth’s experiences attending the college in the ’60s.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Canvas”

“Canvas” explores mental illness through the eyes of a boy learning to cope with his schizophrenic mother, and was apparently inspired by writer-director Joseph Greco’s childhood. Joe Pantoliano and Marcia Gay Harden star as the boy’s parents.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Control”

Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis gets the biopic treatment in music video director Anton Corbijn’s feature film debut, a black and white account of his life and death by suicide at age 23. “Control” made a splash earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, netting the Golden Camera and Prix Regards Jeune awards. The relative unknown Sam Riley stars as Curtis, while Samantha Morton plays his high school sweetheart turned tortured wife.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”

We have Shekhar Kapur to thank for introducing us to then-newcomer Cate Blanchett in 1998’s “Elizabeth,” which earned a slew of awards and Oscar nominations. Since then, Blanchett’s gone on to become one of Hollywood’s most dependable and exciting leading ladies, while Kapur misfired with 2002’s “The Four Feathers.” But in a season of formulaic sequels and threequels, it’s nice to return to an Elizabethan England where Blanchett reprises her role as the enigmatic queen struggling to maintain power. Clive Owen, Geoffrey Rush and Samantha Morton support.

Opens wide (official site).

“Fat Girls”

This queer coming-of-age film tells the story of Rodney, a gay Texan high schooler who accepts the “fat girl” within as he wrestles with relationships, sexuality and his evangelical family with the help of his overweight best friend Sabrina. Ash Christian triple bills as the film’s director, writer and star. The film premiered at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

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

“The Final Season”

“The Sandlot” director David M. Evans gives the feel-good sports film another go with this tale of the final season of the Norway Tigers baseball team in Norway, IA, before the school is merged into another. Sean “Samwise Gamgee” Astin plays an assistant coach hired to lead the team to victory while Powers Boothe plays the gung-ho winning coach who was fired following a championship season.

Opens wide (official site).

“Golda’s Balcony”

“Rhoda” star Valerie Harper plays Golda Meir, Israel’s first female Prime Minister, in this film that focuses on the crisis days of the 1973 Yom Kippur War and Meir’s struggles to maintain Israel’s survival and peace in the Middle East. The film was adapted from William Gibson’s long-running Broadway play.

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

“Khadak”

On the frozen steppes of Mongolia, a young nomad is confronted with his destiny after animals fall victim to a plague that threatens to eradicate the lifestyle of his people. Filmmakers Peter Brosens and Jessica Hope Woodworth co-direct and co-wrote this drama.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Lars and the Real Girl”

So you’ve just been nominated for your first Oscar, you finagled a strong role opposite Anthony Hopkins — what to do next? Clearly, the correct decision is to star in a romantic comedy about a guy and a Real Doll. Yes, Ryan Gosling plays a delusional young man who falls in love with a doll he finds on the Internet, freaking out the people in his life. Patricia Clarkson, Emily Mortimer and Kelli Garner support in director Craig Gillespie’s follow-up to “Mr. Woodcock.”

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Sleuth”

Kenneth Branagh directs this remake of the 1972 film of the same name, with Michael Caine taking over Laurence Olivier’s role as a wealthy mystery writer and Jude Law taking over Caine’s original role as lover of the writer’s wife. We’re normally not very crazy about remakes of classic films, but the thought of Caine and Law going “mano a mano” is too good to pass up.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?”

“Diary of a Mad Black Woman” director Tyler Perry writes and directs this comedy based on his stage play about an adulterous incident that causes four couples to take a hard look at their respective marriages over the course of a week-long vacation. After achieving solid box office success with “Diary” and his follow-up “Madea’s Family Reunion,” Perry finally underperformed with early 2007 film “Daddy’s Little Girls,” the first of his films in which he didn’t star. “Why Did I Get Married?” features Perry in his first lead role sans Madea drag.

Opens wide (official site).

“We Own the Night”

Director James Gray seems to be somewhat of an acquired taste — his first two films, the grim crime genre pics “Little Odessa” (1994) and “The Yards” (2000) reek of Scorsese-lite, but there’s something about his latest that just excites us to no end. “Yards” co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix play estranged brothers, one a cop and the other a shady club owner, whose lives collide after run-ins with the Russian mafia. Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes co-star.

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 IFC.com

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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…