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Opening This Week

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04282008_thefavor.jpgBy Neil Pedley

The Tribeca Film Festival is in full swing, but if you don’t live in New York, there’s no need to fret. No less than three films (“From Within,” “Mister Lonely” and “Redbelt”) on this list of coming attractions have played the festival in recent days. Then again, if you are in New York and want to catch something outside the fest, there’s always that intimate character drama starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and a red and gold metal suit of armor.

“The Favor”
Writer/director Eva J. Aridjis brings us a quiet tale of angst and alienation starring former New York subway busker Ryan Donowho as Johnny, a high school loner who’s taken in by Lawrence (Frank Wood), a quiet pet photographer, after his mother (Paige Turco) is killed in an accident. In order to be the father he needs, Lawrence must fight through Johnny’s rebellious behavior and enlist the help of the one person he responds to — Marianna (Isidra Vega), a gentle neighborhood girl.
Opens in limited release.

“Fugitive Pieces”
Premiering at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, this adaptation of Anne Michaels’s novel was written and directed by Jeremy Podeswa, who last made a splash with the Mary-Louise Parker drama “The Five Senses.” Robbie Kay stars as the young Jakob, a boy rescued and smuggled out of occupied Poland after his parents die at the hands of a Greek archeologist (Rade Serbedzija). Jakob is played later in life by Stephen Dillane as a man still haunted by his memories and hiding behind his writing as he struggles to reconnect with his humanity and the woman who loves him (Ayelet Zurer).
Opens in limited release.

“Iron Man”
It just wouldn’t be summer without superheroesm and “Iron Man” is turning on his jet pack and taking the maiden voyage of this year’s blockbuster season. Robert Downey Jr. stars as the other man of steel by night and by day, rogue billionaire and military industrialist Tony Stark, a man who constructs an armored suit for himself after realizing the potential devastation his weapons could cause in the wrong hands. Director Jon Favreau, whose own alter ego was the host of IFC’s “Dinner for Five,” was entrusted to make sure this flagship Marvel franchise turns out more like “Spider-Man” than “Ghost Rider.”
Opens wide.

“Made of Honor”
Brit Paul Weiland, who directed more made-for-TV “Mr. Bean” movies than is probably healthy, helms this big screen adventure that continues the current fad of romantic comedies told from the male perspective. Patrick Dempsey fills in for Rowan Atkinson as a confirmed bachelor who feels he will never find a woman as good as his best friend Hannah (Michelle Monaghan), but when he finally realizes that she’s indeed the one, he has a small problem — she’s gotten engaged to someone else. We don’t want to give spoilers, but we think we know how this ends if the former “Can’t Buy Me Love” star pulls out that seductive riding lawn mower of his.
Opens wide.

“Mister Lonely”
Harmony Korine, who rose to prominence with shockingly provocative films like “Julien Donkey-Boy” and “Gummo,” shows his softer side in this whimsical story of love and identity, co-scripted by his brother Avi. Diego Luna stars as a Michael Jackson impersonator who meets a Marilyn Monroe impersonator (Samantha Morton) while in Paris and leaves with her for a self-contained commune in Scotland populated exclusively by look-a-likes. Denis Lavant and Werner Herzog are also part of the film’s eclectic supporting cast.
Opens in limited release.

As surprised as we were to see a David Mamet film without William H. Macy, we might have been a little bit more shocking to see UFC titans Randy Couture and Enson Ionue in one. Regardless, the acclaimed playwright once again makes the world safe for the F-word while classing-up what would otherwise a lowbrow martial arts vehicle starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as a self-defense instructor forced to approach the world of pay-per-view fighting after his training regimen is stolen and employed as a gimmick by an unscrupulous promoter. But Mamet’s mixed martial arts film is no joke — the writer/director holds a purple belt in jujitsu and is said to be an ardent fan of MMA.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“Son of Rambow”
Hammer & Tongs (a.k.a. director Garth Jennings and producer Nick Goldsmith) revisit their intended first production, which was put on hold while they brought us the brave but flawed adaptation of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy.” Pint-sized debutants Bill Milner and Will Poulter star as two boys — one raised in a puritanical community, the other spawned from the local black sheep — who form an unlikely friendship as they decide to make their own version of “Rambo: First Blood.” Already a hit with critics in the U.K., it remains to be seen if ’80s nostalgia and the unmistakable backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain will translate as well for an American audience.
Opens in limited release.

A hit on the international festival circuit last year, this offbeat drama tells of a family’s struggle to cope with their child’s intersexuality once she turns 15. Inés Efron stars as Alex, the young hermaphrodite who is trying to reconcile an identity in the face of a turbulent sexual awakening due to a family friend, Alvaro (Martín Piroyanski), and their families’ mutual fears and prejudices. At last year’s Cannes Film Festival, the film secured a Critic’s Week prize for its director, Lucía Puenzo.
Opens in New York.

[Photo: “The Favor,” Seventh Art Releasing, 2006]


Final Countdown

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


Rev Up

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.


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…