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Opening This Week

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05262008_biggerstrongerfaster.jpgBy Neil Pedley

There’s something for everyone this week at the multiplex, what with Carrie and company offering something for the ladies with “Sex and the City,” the Tae Kwon Do comedy “The Foot Fist Way” being an alternative for the guys, and “Savage Grace”… well, again, let’s just say there’s something for everyone.

“Bigger, Stronger, Faster*”
With everyone from Little League coaches to members of the U.S. Congress weighing in on the issue of performance enhancing drugs in sports, body builder (and former user) Christopher Bell injects his own story into this documentary that explores America’s obsession with excellence and what it realistically takes to achieve it. Bell chronicles his own family’s history of steroid use as a jumping off point to explore the wider love/hate relationship between professional athletes and performance enhancing drugs in a culture where winning is everything and there are no points for second place.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“The Foot Fist Way
Their abusive infant short, “The Landlord,” simply can’t be ignored, and now Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions is giving birth to the company’s first full-length film — a low-budget, anarchic, offbeat martial arts comedy. Danny McBride, who co-wrote the film with his friends, stars as Fred Simmons, a graduate of the Crouching Moron, Hidden Ineptitude School of self-defense, who runs a dojo where he instructs old women and small children on how to deflect oncoming sand from their faces. After discovering his wife’s affair with his movie idol, Chuck “The Truck” Wallace, Simmons snaps and dispenses his rage on anyone he can overpower — mostly the aforementioned old women and small children.
Opens in limited release.

“L’origine de la tendresse and Other Tales”
Alice Winocour, Guillaume Martinez and Alain-Paul Mallard are a few of the filmmakers whose work is showcased in this collection of six French shorts that have been honored at festivals like Cannes and Berlin.
Opens in New York.

“Savage Grace”
After a long absence from the film scene, “Swoon” director Tom Kalin returns to his roots with another retelling of a sensational real life crime of passion in this provocative adaptation of the acclaimed book by Natalie Robins and Steven Aronson. Julianne Moore stars as Barbara Daly, a decadent socialite who marries above her station in tying the knot with plastics baron Brooks Baekeland (Stephen Dillane). But Barbara’s rampant insecurity and desperate need for acceptance drives her into an unhealthy and ultimately incestuous relationship with her gay son, Tony (Eddie Redmayne).
Opens in limited release.

“Sex and The City”
The devil may wear Prada, but the devil was in the details of getting a Prada bag back in the hands of Carrie Bradshaw. Despite reported contract disputes and trouble finding a studio home, HBO’s hugely successful romantic comedy about, well, sex and the city, returns for a big screen outing four years after the show’s final season. Written and directed by the series’ executive producer Michael Patrick King, the two-and-a-half hour jaunt in Jimmy Choos finds Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) finally set to waltz down the aisle with Mr. Big amidst other complications for Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Samantha (Kim Cattrall). Also on hand is Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, who will perhaps try to turn the quartet into a quintet.
Opens wide.

“The Strangers”
Supposedly “inspired by true events,” first-time writer/director Bryan Bertino proves there’s no place like home with a visceral, claustrophobic thriller starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as a young couple besieged in their isolated vacation house and terrorized by three malevolent masked assailants. Though postponed several times, the film has made good use of the time, putting teasers and trailers into circulation online as far back as August last year — and to be honest, we never thought we’d hear folk singer Gillian Welch on a soundtrack to a horror film.
Opens wide.

B-movie icon Stuart Gordon (“Re-Animator,” “The Pit and the Pendulum”) directs and co-wrote this cruel. black-as-soot comedy based on real-life 2001 incident of a young woman who finds a homeless man lodged in her windshield after a hit and run accident. Fearing that this little snafu might scupper her new promotion, she decides it’s best if she just leaves him there until he dies, except that the selfish sod refuses to cooperate, forcing her to conjure up creative ways to speed up the process. Mena Suvari and Stephen Rea star as the truly odd couple.
Opens in limited release.

“The Unknown Woman”
Winner of multiple awards on the European festival circuit as well as Italy’s pick to represent at the 2007 Oscars, this dark and disturbing thriller is a change of pace for “Cinema Paradiso” director Giuseppe Tornatore. Kseniya Rappoport plays Irena, a Russian prostitute who robs her pimp and flees to Italy, only to become a maid for a family in Northern Italy, where her motives may turn out to be less than squeaky clean. In Italian with subtitles.
Opens in New York; opens in Los Angeles on June 27.

“Wonders Are Many”
How do you make an opera about an atomic bomb? “Wonders Are Many” is a documentary that tracks composer John Adams and director Peter Sellers as they work to do just that with their creation “Doctor Atomic.” “Wonders” filmmaker Jon Else weaves in footage of the actual history of atomic weapons with behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the operatic production.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

[Photo: “Bigger, Stronger, Faster*”, Magnolia Pictures, 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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