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Opening This Week: February 1st, 2008

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Shrooms,” Magnolia Pictures, 2008]

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


Actress Nadine Labaki’s first feature film sounds like an Lebanese version of “Beauty Shop” mixed with a contemporary “Chocolat.” This Beirut-set romantic comedy tells the trials and tribulations of the personal lives of five women who meet regularly in a beauty salon run by the hardworking Layale (Labaki). Not only was Labaki’s debut film well-received during its run on the festival circuit, it also served as Lebanon’s official entry for the 2008 Academy Awards. Not bad for a first time director.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Eye”

Based on the 2002 Hong Kong film of the same name from horror maestros the Pang brothers, this remake is notable for being one of the first films left up in the air after the Tom Cruise/Sumner Redstone split at Paramount Pictures in late 2006. Lionsgate picked up the project and traded in original star Renée Zellweger and director Hideo Nakata for Jessica Alba and co-directors David Moreau and Xavier Palud. The film tells the story of a young woman (Alba) who begins seeing supernatural beings (we call them ghosts) after an eye transplant. In the wake of a rough 2007 that had her starring in two of the year’s worst movies (“Good Luck Chuck” and “Awake”… ewww), Alba starts the new year strong with her first lead role since 2003’s “Honey,” even if it is in a genre we stopped caring about four years ago. Indie darling alert: Parker Posey in credited supporting role!

Opens wide (official site).

“Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour”

Unable to afford those $1000+ tickets for your tween son/daughter? Might as well take them to your closest Cineplex, as Disney is offering a limited edition 3-D concert film of the 2007 Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus tour. Just to be sure, this is the one where those high school kids break out into song, right? No? Man, we’re old.

Opens wide (official site).

“Over Her Dead Body”

The spirit of a deceased bride-to-be (Eva Longoria Parker) attempts to sabotage her former boyfriend’s (Paul Rudd) current relationship with a psychic (Lake Bell) from beyond the grave, making her the bitchiest ghost we’ve seen in quite some time. The film comes courtesy of “John Tucker Must Die” screenwriter Jeff Lowell, who makes a directorial debut that looks to be lacking the romanticism of “Ghost” and the comedy of … well, anything else. We’re calling it right now: “Over Her Dead Body” is 2008’s “Because I Said So.”

Opens wide (official site).

“Praying with Lior”

Ilana Trachtman’s directorial debut finds the documentarian investigating the case of Lior Liebling, a young boy with Down syndrome who many around him believe to be close to God. The film explores Lior’s relationship with his family, his community and his faith as the boy prepares for his bar mitzvah.

Opens in limited release (official site).


Harvesting nearly every cliché in the horror film handbook, director Paddy Breathnach (2001’s “Blow Dry”) goes the low-budget horror route in this film about five American travelers on a quest for psychedelic mushrooms in the Irish backwoods who are stalked by a serial killer. The film premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“The Silence Before Bach”

Pere Portabella, the 78-year-old Spanish surrealist, delivers another experimental film blending drama and documentary, as well as past and present, with this take on the work of composer Johann Sebastian Bach. The film will be playing at the Film Forum in New York City through February 12th.

Opens in New York (official site).

“Strange Wilderness”

The latest from Adam Sander’s Happy Madison Productions finds actor-turned-director Fred Wolf helming this nature comedy that Sandler probably would’ve starred in himself a decade ago. With the ratings of their wildlife TV show in the toilet, two animal enthusiasts (Steve Zahn and Allen Covert) head to the Andes mountains in pursuit of Bigfoot. Leading an ensemble cast of comedic supporting actors (Justin Long, Jonah Hill, Ernest Borgnine!?), Wolf’s debut feature may be the perfect distraction for the cinemagoers sick of serious Oscar fare and heavy drama. Or it could be crap. Who can tell?

Opens wide (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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