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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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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…