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Opening This Week

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06092008_beautyintrouble.jpgBy Neil Pedley

On offer this week is a veritable gallery of the eclectic and the eccentric as M. Night Shyamalan goes R-rated, Edward Norton goes green, Werner Herzog goes to the Antarctic, and two of Herzog’s fellow countrymen go to California to climb a big rock very, very quickly.

“Beauty in Trouble”
Czech director Jan Hrebejk and writer Petr Jarchovský continue their longtime collaborative partnership with this dense ensemble drama loosely inspired by Robert Graves’s poem of the same name. This time, the duo who balanced humor with drama in the Oscar-nominated Holocaust-set “Divided We Fall,” turn to the devastating series of floods that swept Prague in 2002, and tell the story of Marcela (Anna Geislerová), an overworked mother of two living in squalor. When her ne’er do well husband is taken in by the police, she’s courted by a well-to-do businessman (Josef Abrhám) and Marcela is forced to choose between family and the stability he offers.
Opens in New York.

“Chris & Don: A Love Story”
This intimate documentary from filmmakers Tina Mascara and Guido Santi chronicles the 33-year romance between novelist Christopher Isherwood and portrait artist Don Bachardy, who was 30 years younger than the “Berlin Stories” author. Employing a blend of archival footage, home movies, reenactments and animation narrated by a reminiscing Bachardy, the film celebrates their enduring and bittersweet tale of love and commitment.
Opens in New York; opens in Los Angeles on July 4th.

“Encounters at the End of the World”
Billed as “not another penguin movie,” this documentary finds Werner Herzog continuing his fascinating, career-long exploration of man’s relationship to the great untamed wilderness, venturing out into earth’s final frontier, and in doing so becoming the first director to have shot on all seven continents. As part of the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, Herzog travels to McMurdo Station, the NSF’s base of operations in Antarctica, where he meets the 1,100 people who choose to call it home and prove to be every bit as breathtaking and enigmatic as the land they live on.
Opens in limited release.

“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”
Originally a novel first published in 1965, Yasutaka Tsutsui’s high-concept meditation on fate and causality has survived more incarnations and adaptations than Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” Now an animated film, this update tells of Makoto Konno, a high school girl who discovers the power to go back in time and re-do events in her life. Realizing she can only do this a finite number of times, she attempts to make things right for everyone in her life with chaotic and unexpected results. Despite a modest showing at the Japanese box office, the film was a hit on the festival circuit, picking up a multitude of nominations and awards for animation.
Opens in limited release.

“The Grocer’s Son”
French filmmaker Eric Guirado feeds off his previous experience as a documentarian for his sophomore narrative feature, which captures the stalwart bucolic lifestyle of the French rural countryside. Nicolas Cazalé stars as Antoine, a city-dweller who reluctantly returns to the sleepy village from which he fled in order to run the family grocery business after his father is hospitalized. Joined by his big city friend Claire (Clotilde Hesme), Antoine is slowly charmed and disarmed by the serenity of the small community and the gentle and colorful nature of its people. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“The Happening”
After a tell-all book aired out the dirty laundry of his messy divorce from Disney and his last film (“Lady in the Water”) hung him out to dry, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan is back and hopes to scare more than studio chieftains with his latest. Armed with the first R rating of his career, Shyamalan has penned a paranoid apocalyptic thriller starring Mark Wahlberg as a high school science teacher who flees with his family in a bid to outrun a mysterious and deadly phenomenon.
Opens wide.

“The Hulk”
Back in 2003, Eric Bana told audiences that they wouldn’t like him when he was angry, and the relatively poor showing of the Ang Lee-directed “Hulk” proved he wasn’t wrong. Marvel has since explained it away as a dry run, insisting that the real Hulk franchise starts here and handing the reins over to another NYU alum in “The Transporter”‘s Louis Leterrier, who directs while Edward Norton stars as the not-so-jolly green giant who must abandon his quest for a cure to his condition in order to save mankind from Abomination (Tim Roth), a devastating creature born from Hulk’s own DNA. Liv Tyler co-stars as Hulk alter ego Bruce Banner’s girlfriend Betty Ross.
Opens wide.

“My Winnipeg”
Canadian auteur Guy Maddin once again indulges in his love affair with German expressionism and the avant garde by applying it to his own life in this quasi-autobiography (or whatever you call it when you cast B-movie icon Ann Savage as your mother). Using a whimsical, stream-of-consciousness narrative technique that’s as outlandish as it is beguiling, Maddin’s self-described “docu-fantasia” takes the audience on a tour of Maddin’s formative years in Winnipeg. Blending fact with fiction, the historical with the imagined, “My Winnipeg” is both a serenade and an exorcism directed at Maddin’s childhood and the city that has been his home since his birth in 1956.
Opens in New York.

“Quid Pro Quo”
Following Jodie Foster’s “The Brave One,” working in public radio has never been so much in vogue, as Carlos Brooks demonstrates in his directorial debut starring Nick Stahl as a budding NPR muckraker who’s paralyzed from the waist down and becomes curious when he hears of a man who actually wants to be a paraplegic. Having premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the film may draw unwanted comparisons to David Cronenberg’s autoeroticism (in the most literal sense) drama “Crash,” as Stahl enters the deviant subculture that covets and fetishizes human pain and suffering, including a “wannabe” amputee played by Vera Farmiga.
Opens in limited release.

“To The Limit”
Oscar-winning filmmaker Pepe Danquart chronicles the escapades of German speed climbing brothers Thomas and Alexander Huber, two men of boundless energy, audacious courage and somewhat questionable sanity. No stranger to sibling rivalry himself as the twin of another filmmaker, Danquart uncovers a fierce professional rivalry behind this pair of extreme sports icons as they prepare to mount a record breaking assault on the 3,000-foot high “Nose” of the El Capitan Summit in Yosemite National Park, where the duo looks to put the three-day climb to bed in a leisurely two hours and 45 minutes. In English and German with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

[Photo: “Beauty in Trouble,” Menemsha Films, 2006]

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Give Back

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…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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