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Opening This Week: November 16th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Love in the Time of Cholera,” New Line Cinema, 2007]

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


Robert Zemeckis’ last computer animated effort (2004’s “The Polar Express”) creeped us out more than entertained, and we’re still not sure if he should be handling any future animated efforts, especially after seeing footage from “Beowulf” earlier this year. Sure, the fantastical literary source material is rife for a successful adaptation in this post-“Lord of the Rings” era, the cast is to die for (Crispin Glover as Grendel!), and we will forever thank the film’s marketing campaign for the ubiquitous image of an animated Angelina Jolie sideboob, but we’re still turned off by the characters’ stiffness and soulless eyes. The film was co-written by graphic novelist Neil Gaiman and “Pulp Fiction” co-writer Roger Avary, so there’s promise there, at least.

Opens wide (official site).

“Eleven Men Out”

Icelandic director Robert Douglas’s latest sounds similar to the German gay comedy “Guys and Balls,” as the star player on Iceland’s top soccer team is kicked out after admitting he’s gay in an interview with the local press. Down but not out, he soon joins a small amateur team made up of gay men and attempts to fight against the mostly homophobic world of Icelandic sports.

Opens in Los Angeles (official site).

“Love in the Time of Cholera”

Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez was reportedly reluctant to sell the rights to his 1985 novel to Hollywood studios until producer Scott Steindorff (who spent three years courting the writer) purchased them, and judging from early reviews of this latest adaptation of his work, he may be even more hesitant next time. Considering the film’s stellar multicultural cast (Javier Bardem, John Leguizamo, Catalina Sandino Moreno, and Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro) and veteran director Mike Newell, it’s a little surprising that early reviews have been so-so at best. Bardem plays Florentino, a man who spends most of his adult life embroiled in carnal affairs after being rejected by the beautiful Fermina.

Opens wide (official site).

“Margot at the Wedding”

Noah Baumbach follows up our personal favorite film from 2005, “The Squid and the Whale,” with another intimate take on family relationships. Moving from Park Slope to the Hamptons, Baumbach’s new comedy follows Margot (Nicole Kidman) and her son Claude as they visit her sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who is getting married to the less-than-impressive Malcolm (Jack Black). We’re sorry to see that Baumbach’s latest is mostly underwhelming according to early reviews, but the thoughts of Kidman and Jason-Leigh going head to head with Baumbach’s snappy dialogue is too good to be true.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium”

“Stranger Than Fiction” writer Zach Helm…um…helms this family film that appears to be the bastard child of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Toys.” Dustin Hoffman plays the eccentric (aren’t they always?) 243-year-old owner of a fantasy toyshop who wills his business to his shy and impish store manager Natalie Portman. For a bit of the Bluth family, make sure to catch Jason Bateman in his supporting role as the Wonder Emporium’s stiff and buttoned-up accountant.

Opens wide (official site).


While we applaud Brian De Palma’s decision to film this difficult Iraq War drama, based on the Mahmudiyah killings and other atrocities committed by American soldiers, we still think the “Scarface” director is more in need of a commercial hit. After the box office failures of “Femme Fatale” and “The Black Dahlia,” De Palma has managed to attract heaps of controversy with his latest since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival — De Palma has drawn the ire of both distributor Magnolia Pictures and the families of the American soldiers. It remains to be seen if, in true Hollywood fashion, nothing spells success like controversy.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Southland Tales”

Richard Kelly’s long-awaited follow-up to his 2001 cult hit “Donnie Darko” has received somewhat confounding reviews since its premiere at Cannes in 2006. We’re hoping that time and a reported 19-minute shearing have improved things since the film’s notoriously cold reception at the French festival, but it’s difficult to say. “Southland Tales” is a Los Angeles-set dystopian comedy about the intersecting stories of an action star stricken with amnesia (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), an adult film actress looking for respect (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and a police officer with a fractured personality (Seann William Scott) as the city prepares for Fourth of July. Could Richard Kelly become cinema’s next David Lynch? If so, this may be his “Dune.”

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

“What Would Jesus Buy?”

Documentarian Rob VanAlkemade’s debut feature film focuses on the issues of the commercialization of Christmas, materialism, over-consumption and globalization as seen through the eyes of activist/performance artist Bill Talen (aka “Reverend Billy”) and his troupe of activists/church choir who protest against corporate entities. The film is produced by “Super Size Me”‘s Morgan Spurlock.

Opens in limited release (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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