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DID YOU READ

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.

“Trumbo”
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.

“Wanted”
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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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.

via GIPHY

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…

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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