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Opening This Week: December 7th, 2007

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: John Cusack in “Grace is Gone,” Weinstein Company, 2007]

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

“The Amateurs”

Michael Traeger’s comedy has been kicking around the festival circuit for the past two years since production completed back in 2004. Jeff Bridges stars as a man in the midst of a midlife crisis who somehow convinces the residents of his small town to band together and make an adult film. Along for the ride are a host of character actors, including Ted Danson, Joe Pantoliano and Tim Blake Nelson.

Opens in Los Angeles and Dallas (official site).


Keira Knightley has become the go-to gal for period pieces, like some sort of younger, present-day Maggie Smith. Knightley reteams with her “Pride & Prejudice” director Joe Wright as the older sister of fledgling writer Briony Tallis, who as a 13-year-old tells a series of lies, accusing her sister’s lover (James McAvoy) of a crime he did not commit, thereby irrevocably changing the courses of all of their lives.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Billy the Kid”

Jennifer Venditti’s debut documentary follows 15-year-old Maine teenager Billy as he responds to a painful childhood, first-time love and his experience as an outsider in his local town. The film premiered earlier this year at the South by Southwest Film Festival where it won the Competition Award and kicked up some dust after a Variety review accused it of staging scenes.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Dirty Laundry”

“The Ski Trip”‘s Maurice Jamal directs this modern-day prodigal son story about a magazine writer who seems to have the perfect life until a family secret brings him face to face with the traditional southern family he hasn’t seen in ten years.

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

“The Golden Compass”

Director Chris Weitz (of “American Pie”) helms this big-screen adaptation of the controversial Philip Pullman children’s novel, rumors of who’s anti-Christian bias gave distributor New Line more PR than it planned for. The film is set in a parallel universe, in which young Lyla Belacqua (newcomer Dakota Blue Richards) journeys to the far north to save her best friend, whom she fears has been kidnapped by a powerful and secret organization. Let’s hope this film stands out as more than just a “Lord of the Rings” clone.

Opens wide (official site).

“Grace is Gone”

Earlier this year at Sundance, the Weinstein Company purchased this Audience Award-winning drama for several million dollars as critics praised star John Cusack for his role as a father who takes his two girls on a road trip to Florida in order to avoid telling them about their mother’s death in Iraq. Frankly, we’re hoping Cusack finally earns a long-awaited Oscar nomination, though with a fall season awash in Iraq dramas, that amount of recognition may be a bit of a long shot.

Opens in limited release (official site).


After this film’s debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, we’re pretty sure the term “this year’s ‘Little Miss Sunshine'” will become an annual staple for years to come. From Best Actress hopes for Ellen Page to “Superbad”‘s Michael Cera to currently on-fir screenwriter Diablo Cody, “Juno” is poised to become a favorite at this year’s Academy Awards. Page plays a sarcastic teenage girl (think “Ghost World”‘s Enid with a bit of a baby bump) who gets impregnated by her best friend and decides to put her baby up for adoption by a local childless couple.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Looking for Cheyenne”

Valerie Minetto’s French drama follows Cheyenne, a Parisian journalist, who decides to move to the middle of nowhere after being laid off, leaving behind her lover Sonia. The film premiered at the 2005 Paris Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Man in the Chair”

Christopher Plummer acts in one of his best roles in years as a curmudgeon with a penchant for classic Hollywood movies and booze who helps a troubled teenager (Michael Angarano) create a film for a student contest.

Opens in limited release (official site).


British director and Madonna hubby Guy Ritchie finally gets his long completed follow-up to “Swept Away” a stateside release. “Revolver” finds Ritchie returning to his gangster genre roots, re-teaming with “Snatch”‘s Jason Statham as an ex-con and card shark who enters into an alliance with two mysterious men to bring down the gangster (Ray Liotta) responsible for sending him to prison.

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

“The Walker”

“Auto Focus” director Paul Schrader’s latest features an escort (Woody Harrelson) catering to Washington D.C.’s society ladies who becomes involved in a murder case in order to protect his closest client (Kristen Scott Thomas) and her husband from the ensuing investigation. The film premiered earlier this year at the Berlin International 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

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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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