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DID YOU READ

Opening This Week: December 27th, 2007 and January 4th, 2008

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Denzel Washington in “The Great Debaters,” MGM, 2007]

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

“Alien vs. Predator: Requiem”

The eternal question of “who would win in a fight, an alien or a predator” wasn’t quite answered the first time around, clearing the way for this second chance to watch our favorite ’80s sci-fi creatures (sorry, gremlins) duke it out at the expense of the human race. We don’t expect gold from a movie about warring franchises, here’s hoping this sequel might be better, since original director Paul W.S. Anderson had no hand in its making.

Opens wide December 25th (official site).

“A Bloody Aria”

This South Korean thriller from director Shin-yeon Won tracks a womanizing college professor who suspects a group of dangerous youths of killing a student he attempted to seduce.

Opens in limited release on January 4th (official site).

“The Bucket List”

Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson team up in this geriatric buddy comedy about two terminally ill cancer patients who head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. We’re a little miffed to learn that this film, directed by Rob Reiner (really?), has been receiving a number of strong reviews, even earning a spot on the National Board of Review’s best films of 2007. (Again, really?)

Opens in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto on December 25th (official site).

“Chuck Close”

The late filmmaker Marion Cajori’s final film chronicles the career of painter Chuck Close, popularly known as the re-inventor of portraiture. Close’s subjects — family, friends, artists — offer insight into his work and Close’s influence on their own. Cajori passed away shortly after completion of the film in 2006.

Opens in New York on December 26th (official site).

“The Great Debaters”

Denzel Washington directs and stars in this inspirational teacher movie about a professor at an all-African-American college in Texas who leads his underdog debate team into a competition with Harvard in 1935. With a strong supporting turn by Forest Whitaker, plus Oprah Winfrey as one of the film’s producers, we’re pretty sure this film will make a whole bunch of noise come Oscar season. Sure, we’ve seen Washington play similar roles recently (we certainly remember the “Titans”), we’ve no problem watching him do it again.

Opens wide on December 25th (official site).

“Honeydripper”

John Sayles’ latest Southern-set drama is about a club owner (Danny Glover) who attempts to pass off a vagrant as a famous guitar player one night in his club in hopes of saving himself from bankruptcy. The film went on to win the best screenplay award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival earlier this year.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles on December 28th (official site).

“The Killing of John Lennon”

It appears that 2008 will feature competing Mark David Chapman projects, as the man who killed John Lennon is the subject of dueling biopics in the new year. First up is this one, an indie from television director Andrew Piddington that features relative newcomer Jonas Bell in the role of the assassin. Much of the film’s dialogue is lifted directly from Chapman’s real-life journal, allowing the viewer to get into the mind of a murderer who killed for fame.

Opens in New York on January 2nd (official site).

“One Missed Call”

2008 starts off slowly with this J-horror remake of the Takashi Miike film “Chakushin ari” featuring Shannyn Sossamon and Edward Burns doing battle against dark forces responsible for victims getting voice mail messages from their future selves detailing the time of their deaths. Our favorite line of 2008 so far? “That’s not my ring tone.” Sounds like a horror masterpiece in the making.

Opens wide on January 4th (official site).

“The Orphanage”

These days we get excited about anything Guillermo del Toro is involved in. The “Pan’s Labyrinth” director had a strong hand in bringing to life this Spanish horror import about a woman who starts to get concerned about her son’s new imaginary friends. Borrowing elements from other “creepy children” horror films such as “The Others” and del Toro’s own “The Devil’s Backbone” certainly should bolster the suspense.

Opens in limited release on December 28th (official site).

“Persepolis”

Comic book artist Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novels detail life in Iran during the Islamic revolution from the perspective of a young and precocious girl. After winning the Grand Jury Prize earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, her directorial debut made numerous headlines after being banned from both the Bangkok International Film Festival and Satrapi’s homeland of Iran despite being one of the best received movies of the year.

Opens in limited release on December 25th (official site).

“There Will Be Blood”

Daniel Day-Lewis alone has us bubbling with anticipation. But the teaming of our favorite method actor with the not-prolific-enough director Paul Thomas Anderson for a film inspired by Upton Sinclair’s novel “Oil!” leaves us positively verklempt. The film already has won a slew of awards, been on a number of top ten lists and topped this year’s indieWIRE critics’ poll, and while we can’t predict whether Day-Lewis will add a second Oscar to his mantle, we’re sure he’ll at least get a nomination. Kudos to Anderson for stepping out of his comfort zone with what originated as a writing experiment for the director after coming across Sinclair’s novel.

Opens in New York and Los Angeles on December 26th (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…