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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: October 26th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Kevin Bacon in Alison Eastwood’s “Rails & Ties,” Warner Independent Pictures, 2007]

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

“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”

After 2006’s critically underappreciated courtroom drama “Find Me Guilty,” Sidney Lumet reportedly returns to form with this crime thriller about two brothers, both in dire financial straits, who conspire to rip off their parents’ jewelry store, only to have their plan go horribly wrong. The film’s strengthened by a powerful debut script from playwright Kelly Masterson and a solid cast all-around (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney and an often-naked Marisa Tomei).

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

“Bella”

Alejandro Gomez Monteverde’s debut feature charts the lives of a cook (Eduardo Verástegui) and a waitress (Tammy Blanchard) whose lives are changed forever after an act of kindness binds them together in New York City. The film won the People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Black Irish”

“Invincible” screenwriter Brad Gann helms his first directorial feature, based on his own screenplay about a teenage boy (Michael Angarano) in South Boston trying to avoid the pitfalls of his dysfunctional Irish family — a little bit like an Irish-American take on “A Bronx Tale” with less gangsterisms and more Guinness. Brendan Gleeson stars as the boy’s emotionally distant father.

Opens in New York and Boston (official site).

“Dan in Real Life”

We’ve been feeling a bit of Steve Carrell overload for the past year and a half, and we’re still conflicted over his latest choice of project, a comedy/drama from director Peter Hedges, who explored a somewhat similar family dynamic in 2003’s “Pieces of April.” Carrell plays a widower who ends up falling in love with the woman currently in a relationship with his brother. Dane Cook supports in a role that we’re sure is about as forgettable as this sentence, while Juliette Binoche takes on the role of the fraternal love interest.

Opens wide (official site).

“How to Cook Your Life”

Zen priest Edward Espe Brown relates the connection between Zen Buddhism, cooking and everyday life in this documentary from Doris Dörrie. The film premiered earlier this year at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Opens in San Francisco (official site).

“Jimmy Carter Man from Plains”

Academy Award-winner Jonathan Demme chronicles Jimmy Carter’s press tour for his most recent book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” in this doc. We’re expecting this one to battle “Sicko” for the Best Documentary Oscar, though we’re routing for “No End in Sight.”

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Lynch”

It’s tough enough to understand a David Lynch narrative feature, so imagine making a documentary that attempts to get inside the auteur’s mind. Filmed over two years, during Lynch’s production of “Inland Empire,” the doc has made festival rounds while keeping the name of its director under wraps — which makes us wonder if a documentary about David Lynch could only be filmed by Lynch himself.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Mr. Untouchable”

Marc Levin’s well-timed doc charts the rise of junkie-turned-drug kingpin Nicky Barnes, imprisoned for drug smuggling and murder and released after cooperating with authorities after working as an informant — a perfect companion piece to next week’s “American Gangster,” in which Barnes is played by Cuba Gooding Jr.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Music Within”

Steven Sawalich’s debut feature finds Ron Livingston playing Richard Pimentel, a young man with a passion for public speaking who, after returning from a tour of duty in Vietnam with a hearing impairment, finds his purpose as an advocate for people with disabilities. We’re always happy to see our favorite “Office Space” star finding work on the big screen. Melissa George and Michael Sheen support.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Rails & Ties”

Alison Eastwood, daughter of, yes, Clint, directs this Lifetime-y drama about the unlikely bond between a young boy whose mother commits suicide and a train engineer who witnessed her death. Though Eastwood enlists the help of her father’s “Mystic River” co-stars Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden, early reviews of the film have been mixed since its debut at Telluride earlier this year.

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

“Saw IV”

Another Halloween, another “Saw” film. Yes, Jigsaw and his apprentice Amanda are dead after the third installment, but director Darren Lynn Bousman makes sure to create another twisted and grisly game for FBI agents Strahrn and Perez. With recent news of a projected fifth and sixth entry into the series, it’s looking like we’ll be seeing more adventures of Jigsaw and Amanda long after they’ve passed. We long for the days of Freddy, Jason and, hell, self-parody.

Opens wide (official site).

“Slipstream”

Anthony Hopkins writes, directs and stars in this time-bending noir-comedy about a man caught in a “slipstream” of time falling back on itself as he remembers his own future. The film may sound like the weirdest movie of the fall next to “Southland Tales,” but we’re excited to see into the mind of Hannibal Lecter…er…the guy who brought us Hannibal Lecter. An ace supporting cast includes Gena Rowlands, Christian Slater, John Turturro, Camryn Manheim, Jeffrey Tambor, and many others.

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

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Uncle-Buck

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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