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Opening This Week

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06232008_elsaandfred.jpgBy Neil Pedley

As the temperature rises, romance blooms amongst the geriatric set, “Mary Poppins” goes Bollywood, and parents will get their first chance to lay eyes on that which will likely have them driving to Toys “R” Us all summer long.

“Elsa and Fred”
Seeing anyone under 30 fall in love on screen is elusive these days, and so director Marcos Carnevale’s gentle and endearing tale of romance between a couple with a real-life combined age of 176 is quite the breath of fresh air. In a role that nabbed several awards in his native Spain, Manuel Alexandre stars as Fred, an embittered widower whose chance encounter with Elsa (China Zorilla), a mischievous Fellini fanatic, leads the pair to Italy to fulfill her dream of reenacting the famous Trevi Fountain scene from Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita.” In Spanish with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

“Finding Amanda”
Fans of the small screen will likely already be familiar with the singular, sarcastic wit of Peter Tolan as the co-creator and chief writer on television’s best soap opera for men, “Rescue Me.” This acidic semi-autobiographical comedy is his first feature, starring Matthew Broderick as — what else? — a TV writer/producer who’s put some of his old vices behind him, but still hasn’t quite managed to kick his addiction to betting on the horses. When his gambling problem leads to trouble with his wife (Maura Tierney), he unwisely decides to head to Vegas to redeem himself by attempting to persuade her niece (Brittany Snow) to leave her profession (the world’s oldest) and enter rehab, if he can only manage to stay out of the casino long enough. Unfortunately, a scene-stealing Steve Coogan shows up as a seedy casino manager who once again proves that if you run a casino in a Hollywood film, you’re contractually obliged to be a smarmy bastard.
Opens in limited release.

“Full Grown Men”
It’s been a long trip for David Munro’s road movie, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006 and secured a distribution deal by nabbing indieWIRE and Sundance Channel‘s 2007 Undiscovered Gems Audience Award. Matt McGrath stars as Alby, a 35-year old Peter Pan living a long way from Neverland as a husband and father who finds his young son’s Christmas gifts more appealing than his own. Evicted from the house by his exasperated wife, he sets out on a trip to the Diggityland theme park, hoping to recapture the glory days of his youth with Elias, his best friend from childhood (Judah Friedlander) in tow. But Elias’ recollections of their childhood are not quite as rose-tinted as Alby remembers. Alan Cumming, Amy Sedaris and Deborah Harry make sure the film is one wild ride.
Opens in limited release.

“Gunnin’ for that #1 Spot”
Following the ingenious “Awesome; I F**kin’ Shot That!,” which incorporated the footage from 50 camcorders handed out to fans at a 2004 Beastie Boys concert into a rock doc, Beasties founder Adam Yauch is taking his act from Madison Square Garden to Rucker Park, where he turns the cameras on his other great love, basketball. The erstwhile Nathanial Hornblower takes us back to his hometown of Brooklyn to the first annual Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic and follows some of the best prep players in the country, including future first round picks Michael Beasley and Kevin Love, as they go head to head with each other on the street ball court, looking to put themselves in the shop window for the NBA and the sneaker companies alike.
Opens in New York.

“The Last Mistress”
Less than a month after studying art in “Mother of Tears,” IFC fave Asia Argento is back to delight us in provocative French director Catherine Breillat’s tale of aristocracy and desire, lavishly furnished with copious amounts of gorgeously shot sex. Loosely based on Jules-Amédée Barbey d’Aurevilly’s steamy 19th-century novel, the film breaks in first-timer Fa’ud Ait Aattou as a libertine looking to put his debauchery behind him by marrying Breillat regular Roxane Mesquida’s empty powdered wig, but is unable to resist the siren song of his former lover, played by Argento. By now, you know who we’d go with. In French with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

“Red Roses and Petrol”
Joseph O’Connor’s caustic play puts the two things the Irish are better at than anyone else in the world front and center — drinking and longstanding family conflict. Malcolm McDowell gets top billing as the patriarch whose sudden and unexpected death forces his hopelessly fractured family to gather in Dublin for the wake. Trapped together for the first time in years, they have little option but to get hammered and uncover the true source of their lingering trauma. Director Tamar Simon Hoffs gets behind the camera for the first time since 1987’s teen party flick “The Allnighter,” once again enlisting the help of her daughter and former Bangles lead singer Susanna to provide the music, along with Flogging Molly.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic”
After a small string of badly received flops, Bollywood production outfit Yash Raj Films brings back the tried and tested combo of Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Kahn for this light but spirited family musical drama. The film features a lively ensemble of child stars as four orphans who are forced into the reluctant custody of a wealthy industrialist (Kahn) and find themselves about as welcome as a new round of trade tariffs. After praying for help, the children are duly obliged with the presence of the angel Geeta (Mukerji) to watch over them as a nanny and deliver the requisite spoonful of sugar to bring harmony to this makeshift family. In Hindi with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

Nobody related to the world of film is fond of Joseph McCarthy, the paranoid bullyboy senator from Wisconsin who led the communist witch hunt of the 1950s, but few are likely to dislike him with quite the vitriolic intensity of Dalton Trumbo. One of Hollywood’s highest paid screenwriters of that era, Trumbo’s career was shattered when he was thrown into prison for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee and became a part of the blacklisted “Hollywood 10.” Based on his son Christopher’s play, director Peter Askin’s documentary charts the scribe’s rise and subsequent fall from grace, his time in Mexico and resurgence culminating in restored credit for his work during exile, as well as performances of Trumbo’s work and correspondence by the likes of Joan Allen, Michael Douglas, Paul Giamatti and Nathan Lane.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“WALL – E”
“Finding Nemo” director Andrew Stanton has apparently had this little fellow shuffling around inside his head since before Pixar made their name with “Toy Story” over a decade ago. An instantly adorable fusion of Johnny 5, Herbie and Droopy Dog with a cuteness factor turned up to eleven, WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth Class) is left alone to pick up after us after we humans leave Earth looking like a freshman student’s shared kitchen. Though likely irresistible to the tots in the audience, WALL-E faces a challenge when he meets the search robot EVE, a clinical creation who is charged with reporting the planet’s status who WALL-E instantly falls for, but who has no feelings of her own.
Opens wide.

With his dark and gritty adaptation of Sergey Lukyanenko’s “Night Watch”, story director Timur Bekmambetov outperformed the likes of American imports “Return of the King,” Harry Potter and that film about the boat that sank to engineer the highest gross ever recorded at the Russian box office for a single movie. Now, he is setting his sights on Hollywood domination with another visceral assault on the senses, an adaptation of Mark Millar’s graphic — and we mean graphic — novel that shows that assassins really do have more fun. James McAvoy (complete with a stunningly bad imitation of an American accent) is the listless cubicle dweller offered a career change by Angelina Jolie’s mysterious Fox, one of the world’s deadliest assassins, who’s charged with training him to replace his murdered, estranged father in the ranks of a secret death and justice squad known as the Fraternity, led by Morgan Freeman. Curving bullets and Jolie’s curves aim to win over that oh-so-underserved niche demographic of 18-35 year old men.
Opens wide.

[Photo: “Elsa and Fred,” Mitropoulos Films, 2007]

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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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