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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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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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