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Philosophers, Street Fighters and the Jonas Brothers

Philosophers, Street Fighters and the Jonas Brothers (photo)

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This week’s offerings include an art film about the biblical, a documentary exploring the philosophical, a thriller espousing the dangers of the technological and a film about a badass dude with claws that kills people. We know which one we’re going to see.

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“An American Affair”
We’re a country enamored with the marvels of our great democracy while also continuing a nasty habit of cultivating political dynasties, the thrall of which we continue to find irresistible, and there is no finer example of that than the Kennedy family. Put out by tiny indie distributor Screen Media Films, this feature from director William Olsson charts the coming of age of a young boy named Adam (Cameron Bright) who watches and wonders about John F. Kennedy’s affair with a woman (Gretchen Mol) living across the street in 1963.
Opens in limited release.

“Birdsong (El Cant Dels Ocells)”
Celebrated Spanish auteur Albert Serra returns with another austere exploration of history and mythology set against his beloved Catalan landscape. This latest is a mostly silent and largely plotless ramble concerning the Three Wise Men (Lluís Carbó, Lluís Serrat Batlle and Lluís Serrat Masanellas) as they bicker and subsist on crumbs of faith en route through the mountains and across the desert in search of divinity. In Catalan and Hebrew with subtitles.
Opens in New York on Wednesday, February 25th.

“Bob Funk”
Adapted from his own play, Craig Carlisle makes his screen directorial debut with this misanthropic comedy of drink and despair. Michael Leydon Campbell stars as the titular Bob, an inebriated lounge lizard fast-tracking his way to the bottom of the family furniture business, much to the exasperation of his mother and boss (Grace Zabriskie). Rejected by the company’s new hire, played by Hollywood’s reigning Miss Vanilla Rachel Leigh Cook, this is one kick in the complacency too many for Bob, who vows to kick the booze and turn his life around in order to win her heart.
Opens in limited release.

“Crossing Over”
He might not quite have the resume of Steven Soderbergh, but writer/director Wayne Kramer reworks his 1996 short film, also called “Crossing Over,” into a political hot potato story in a way not seen since “Traffic.” Slipping effortlessly back to serious scowling mode following “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Really Bad Ideas,” Harrison Ford leads an eclectic ensemble of hip newcomers and aging icons including Ashley Judd, Sean Penn, Alice Eve, Alice Braga and Ray Liotta in a multi-stranded culture clash drama set amidst the murky world of illegal immigration in Los Angeles.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“Echelon Conspiracy”
Of course, films are entertainment first and foremost, but they can also teach you things, and one thing that’s been made abundantly clear in recent years is that if your phone rings and you don’t recognize the number, DO NOT answer it because terrible things will happen. Beaten to the paranoia punch by last summer’s “Eagle Eye,” director Greg Marcks (“11:14”) delivers another high-tech thriller with Big Brother overtones. Shane West stars as the hapless young man targeted by malevolent AI when a brand new cell phone is dropped in his lap and he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous government black bag surveillance program.
Opens in limited release.

“Examined Life”
We might have a little way to go to the Fourth of July, but courtesy of Canadian doc filmmaker Astra Taylor (“Žižek!”), we already have the antidote for the popcorn blockbuster. Working from Plato’s principle that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” Taylor takes to the streets for some brisk walking and heady talking that literally asks us to try and keep up. Hooking up with some of today’s most influential thinkers, including Peter Singer, Cornel West and a return of the “Elvis of philosophy,” Slavoj Žižek, we’re invited to listen in for musings on the metaphysical and pontification on pop-culture. (As it happens, Taylor just did some talking of her own here.)
Opens in New York on Wednesday, February 25th.

“Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience”
Since pop music comes in cycles, it’s no surprise that the Jonas Brothers’ assistant ditched them earlier this month to go back to Britney Spears. While the poofy-haired trio still have the spotlight and their dressing rooms stocked with the finest Sunny D, Disney looks to cash in with a concert film of their “Burning Up” tour of last summer, presented in Disney Digital 3D. For the teenage girls who worship them, the Jonai offer a backstage pass and play a few previously unreleased songs. For the rest of us, it means they’re kicking “Coraline” out of the 3D-enabled theaters.
Opens wide and in IMAX for one week only.

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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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