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New on DVD: “A Prophet,” “The Ghost Writer” and More

New on DVD: “A Prophet,” “The Ghost Writer” and More (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“A Prophet” (2009)
Directed by Jacques Audiard
Released by Sony Pictures Classics

Audiard’s (“The Beat That My Heart Skipped”) ridiculously cool prison drama well earns its over two-and-a-half hour runtime — the transformation of relative newcomer lead Tahar Rahim from illiterate mouse to underworld kingpin never seems forced or unnatural. Rahim’s impressive, as is Niels Arestrup as the head of the jail’s Corsican mob, but overshadowing both is the film’s portrait of a multicultural (if criminal) population that looks nothing like the cast of your average French import. (Matt Singer’s review from February.)

“After.Life” (2009)
Directed by Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo
Released by Starz/Anchor Bay

Christina Ricci is dead! But she’s not dead. Unless she died! Or did she? In Wojtowicz-Vosloo’s feature debut (following her acclaimed 2001 short “Pâté”), Liam Neeson plays a funeral director who’s either a sadist plays elaborate mindgames on Ricci’s character, or a man with extrasensory gifts helping to usher the dead into the afterlife. Justin Long reprises his ineffectual horror movie boyfriend bit from “Drag Me To Hell.”

“Piranha” (1978)
Directed by Joe Dante
Released by Shout! Factory

With Alexandre Aja’s 3D remake making waves at Comic-Con, the time seems ripe for a rerelease of this Roger Corman schlock classic, directed by Dante and written by John Sayles. This new edition includes a featurette with new interviews with Corman, Dante, and others.

“Kick-Ass” (2010)
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Released by Lionsgate

Did Vaughn’s meta-superhero movie really only hit theaters five months ago? In the wild churn of blockbuster hype, it feels like over a decade has passed. Still, Aaron Johnson charms as a kid with no particular talent who nevertheless decides to start a side gig as a costumed crimefighter. The film’s overturning of genre clichés — Kick-Ass’ first venture out lands him in the hospital, not on the front page — is balanced by a second half spend reveling in them, which is where the fun comes in. (My review from SXSW.)

“The Ghost Writer” (2010)
Directed by Roman Polanski
Released by Summit

Polanski takes on Robert Harris’ political thriller-as-airport novel satire with solid results, though for me the questions raised about journalism, objectivity and the realities of political life in the first half were more interesting than the broader blows the movie lands when the action starts picking up. Before it becomes the ’70s-style conspiracy thriller it set out to be, “The Ghost Writer” weirdly and wonderfully resembles some political variation on “The Ring.” That’s us at the bottom of the well.

“Sweetgrass” (2009)
Directed by Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Released by Cinema Guild

Barbash and Castaing-Taylor’s meditative documentary portrait of cowboys (shepherds?) driving thousands of sheep up to their summer pasture in Montana is better suited to the big screen than the small, but if you missed the film’s tiny theatrical release, here’s your chance to catch this beautiful, narration-free look at a dying style of life.

“Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa”
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Released by Criterion

This set, which consists of Kurosawa’s 1943 debut “Sanshiro Sugata,” 1944’s “The Most Beautiful,” and “Sanshiro Sugata, Part Two” and “The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail,” both from 1945, probably isn’t the best place to first introduce yourself to Kurosawa’s work, but if you’re a fan of his better known films, than it’ll offer an insight into where a master filmmaker got his start.

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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 IFC.com

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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…