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Opening This Week: February 8th, 2008

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By Christopher Bonet

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

“A Walk to Beautiful”
Documentarians Mary Olive Smith and Amy Bucher’s first collaborative feature documentary tells the story of five Ethiopian women exiled from their communities after complications during childbirth. As each of these women search out a special hospital in Addis Ababa in order to find a home where they won’t be persecuted for the first time in years, Smith and Bucher’s camera captures their attempts to rebuild their lives. The film premiered at the 2007 San Francisco Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“The Band’s Visit”
Israeli director Erin Kolirin’s debut feature finds a few of Egypt’s finest traveling to Israel to play at the inaugural ceremony of an Arab Culture Center… except they head to the wrong town. The comedy/drama premiered last year at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Un Certain Regard Jury award.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Fool’s Gold”
Matthew McConaughey may have fallen a little out of favor in the leading man department after the colossal failure that was 2005’s “Sahara” (and “Two for the Money” and “Failure to Launch” and… well, you get the idea). But the actor’s latest marks first reunion opposite Kate Hudson since their wildly successful rom-com “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” in 2003. McConaughey plays a treasure hunter whose relationship with his estranged wife (Hudson) is reignited after he discovers the real key to her heart: Spanish gold. Romance!

Opens wide (official site).

“The Hottie & the Nottie”
We’re surprised this indie comedy has neither a National Lampoon’s or direct-to-DVD stamp attached to it. Paris Hilton is the “Hottie” in this comedy that finds the infamous socialite the object of affection of Nate (Joel David Moore), a loser who hopes to woo his childhood love once he figures out what to do with her less-than-attractive best friend. “The Hottie and the Nottie” may have the worst poster of the year to date, questionably pitting Hilton against her deformed best friend. Now that’s just bad taste.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“How to Rob a Bank”
Newbie director Andrew Jenkins’ debut feature visits the worn genre of the “heist film,” though the helmer gets a bit creative with this exhausted concept by posing questions of who is robbing the bank and what are they after. A couple (Nick Stahl and Erika Christensen) find themselves trapped in a vault, with the bank robber (Gavin Rossdale, of Bush fame) stuck on the other side of the door. The film sounds a bit like “Panic Room” meets “The Nine”… in other words, possibly promising. The film premiered last year at the Cannes Film Festival.

Opens in New York (official site).

“In Bruges”
While this Sundance opening night film may sound like familiar ground (heist-gone-wrong film with rapid-fire dialogue… just see one item above), we’re still excited about noted playwright-turned-director Martin McDonagh’s debut feature. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson star as a pair of hit men hiding out in Bruges, Belgium, awaiting word from their boss (Ralph Fiennes) after a botched job in London.

Opens in limited release (official site).

“London to Brighton”
Paul Andrew Williams’ inner -ity drama explores underground London culture, tracking a pair of beaten-up prostitutes, a pimp in trouble, and a man left bleeding to death on a bathroom floor. The film won a slew of festival awards in 2006, including the prize for Best Film at the British Independent Film Awards.

Opens in limited release (official site).

For those yearning for a Joel David Moore double feature this week, the lead of “The Hottie and the Nottie” also co-directed and stars as a lonely telemarketer who is brought out of his shell by a new co-worker (Amber Tamblyn) in this indie thriller. Be on the lookout for a brief appearance by Tricia Helfer, also known as our favorite Cylon Number Six from “Battlestar Galactica.”

Opens in limited release (official site).

“Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show”
“Swingers” star Vince Vaughn selects four comedians to perform 30 dates in 30 nights across the United States. Sounds a bit like Dane Cook’s “Tourgasm,” except without the suck of Dane Cook. The comedians featured in this documentary include Ahmed Ahmed, John Caparulo, Bret Ernst and Sebastian Maniscalco.

Opens wide (official site).

“Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins”
Martin Lawrence further tarnishes his comic credibility in this family comedy that finds the formerly edgy comedian playing it safe once again. Lawrence stars as a popular talk show host who leaves Los Angeles for a raucous family reunion in the Deep South. We deeply miss the Lawrence of yesteryear (even “Blue Streak”…. anyone?) and hope that maybe, someday, he’ll return to the risky material that we all grew to love in the early ’90s.

Opens wide (official site).

[Photo: “In Bruges,” Focus Features, 2008]

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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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