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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: November 9th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Tom Cruise in “Lions for Lambs,” United Artists, 2007]

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

After Dark HorrorFest 2007

This annual film festival brings eight independent horror flicks (along with possible “secret” bonus films) to theaters around the country. This year’s lineup includes a collection of films starring horror favorites Rider Strong (“Cabin Fever”), Emmanuelle Vaugier (“Saw II”) and general tough guys Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones, and will run from November 9th to 18th in over 350 theaters across America.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Fred Claus”

‘Tis the season to be jolly, or so we’d like to believe. This latest Christmas comedy from director David Dobkins seems a bit more “Elf” than “Bad Santa” as Santa Claus (Paul Giamatti, we like) deals with the arrival of his bitter older brother Fred (Vince Vaughn on a bender) to the North Pole. The trailer apparently offers ninja elves, North Pole bureaucracy, and Kevin Spacey slumming in the “generic bad guy” role, but we’re hoping a stellar supporting cast of Miranda Richardson, Rachel Weisz, and Kathy Bates elevates this somewhat tepid-looking holiday comedy to something we care about seeing. But hey, at least it’s not “The Santa Clause 7” or whatever.

Opens wide (official site).

“Glass Lips”

Polish filmmaker, artist and poet Lech Majewski presents a feature version of what a originally a gallery installation entitled “Blood of a Poet” — a young writer is recalls past trauma while locked up in an asylum.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Holly”

Guy Moshe’s debut feature film tells the story of an American stolen artifacts dealer (Ron Livingston) in Vietnam who tries to save a young girl from child traffickers. The film premiered at last year’s Edinburgh Film Festival and contains one of the late Chris Penn’s final acting roles.

Opens in limited release (IMDb site).

“Lions for Lambs”

This “war on terror” drama got some attention for being the first film completed by Tom Cruise after his much ballyhooed split with Sumner Redstone, though we give kudos to Cruise for managing to cast the always dependable Meryl Streep and for luring Robert Redford to double duty as both star and director. The film tells the intertwining stories of a congressman (Cruise), a journalist (Streep) and a professor (Redford) who are drawn into an investigation of two injured American soldiers in Afghanistan. Early reviews have been mixed since its premiere at the London Film Festival last month, and while we love Redford returning to what he does best, “Lions for Lambs” looks plenty talky (or is that preachy?).

Opens wide (official site).

“National Lampoon Presents Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo”

Les Claypool (yes, of Primus) makes his directorial debut with a “This Is Spinal Tap” style mockumentary about a jam band.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“No Country for Old Men”

So let’s see…”No Country for Old Men” is being hailed as a return to form for the Coen brothers (channeling their “Blood Simple” days), with a chilling Javier Bardem as a nearly supernatural killer and another a surprisingly strong Josh Brolin as a hunter who discovers heroin and $2 million in cash after stumbling on a drug deal gone wrong. This one has drawn nothing but strong buzz since its premiere earlier this year at Cannes.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“P2”

We really don’t know what happened to Wes Bentley. Something must have — it’s been eight years since his brilliant supporting role in “American Beauty.” How else to explain his involvement with “P2,” a movie so ridiculous it makes “Captiviy” look like Robert Bresson. On Christmas Eve, a driven career woman (Rachel Nichols) finds herself targeted by a sadistic security guard (Bentley) who traps her in her work’s parking garage.

Opens wide (official site).

“Saawariya”

Bollywood takes on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s short story “White Nights.”

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Steal a Pencil for Me”

Academy Award-nominated documentarian Michele Ohayon follows 2005’s “Cowboy del Amor” with this Holocaust-based true story about an accountant, his wife, and his lover who are forced to live together in a concentration camp. The film premiered earlier this year at South by Southwest.

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

“War Dance”

Three children living in a displacement camp in northern Uganda compete in their country’s national music and dance festival in Sean Fine and Andrea Nix’s compelling documentary. The film won the Best Directing Award (Documentary) earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles (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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