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What’s Up In December

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: “Repo Man,” Universal Pictures, 1984]

“Babel” with Alejandro González Iñárritu

Dec 1

Mexican director Iñárritu will be on hand at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens for a screening of his latest starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Iñárritu loves movies with multiple, connected storylines, as demonstrated in his two previous films (also screening in the following weeks), the highly underrated “Amores Perros” and the grossly overrated “21 Grams.”

The Tenth Annual Festival of New French Cinema

Dec 1-10

This film festival, an annual Chicago tradition, presents up-and-coming French directors and stars in films that will most likely never make it to American shores again. This year’s highlights include “Gentilles”, the latest from Sophie Fillières; an aging lounge singer played by Gérard Depardieu in “The Singer”; and the brother comedy “Dans Paris” starring Romain Duris, last seen in “The Beat That My Heart Skipped.”

Walter Mirisch

Dec 1-31

The Museum of Modern Art in New York presents this retrospective on prolific Hollywood producer Walter Mirisch, who’s been in the film business for over sixty years and helped create some of the most memorable American films in history. Films to be screened during this retrospective include “In the Heat of the Night,” Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot,” and one of Anthony Mann’s last Westerns, “Man of the West.”

2006 British Television Advertising Awards

Dec 1-30

This long-standing tradition of the Twin Cities continues for another year, presenting the best in British commercials from 2006. One of the highlights for this year’s showcase includes Garrison Keillor’s (of “A Prairie Home Companion” fame) spots for Honda, the top ad of the past three years. Opening night is expected to sell out as usual.

“Repo Man” with Zander Schloss

Dec 1

Legendary punk icon Zander Schloss, bassist for the Circle Jerks, appears live at the Alamo in Austin, TX for the screening of Alex Cox’s “Repo Man,” a comedy about repossession, cars, aliens, televangelism, and all things punk rock. Think “SLC Punk,” but a bit more in-the-moment and a lot more Harry Dean Stanton.

17th Annual Washington Jewish Film Festival

Dec 2-3

D.C.’s AFI Silver Theatre once again hosts this screening of important films by Jewish filmmakers. This year’s films include “Nina’s Home,” the final film from the late Richard Dembo; the female comedy “You’re So Pretty”; and “Steel Toe,” starring Oscar nominee David Strathairn as a Jewish lawyer assigned to the case of a racist skinhead.

“Inland Empire” with David Lynch

Dec 2

First screened there during the New York Film Festival, “Inland Empire” returns to the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, followed by a discussion with filmmaker David Lynch. Lynch hopefully will help us answer our questions about his foray into high-definition video, his direction of the fantastic Laura Dern, and what the hell this film is about.

Mondovino: The Series

Dec 2-10

Documentarian Jonathan Nossiter expands upon his 2005 film “Mondovino” with this ten-hour series developed from the cuts of his film. The series chronicles his forays into the world of winemaking and the people behind the industry. Takes place at NYC’s MoMA.

Salute to Will Smith

Dec 3

Queen’s Museum of the Moving Image presents this black-tie affair and future Bravo telecast highlighting the career of prolific actor, musician, and second-favorite Man in Black Will Smith, just in time for the release of his latest “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

A Century Ago: The Films of 1906″

Dec 6

The Academy presents this retrospective on the year of film in 1906, the year when nickelodeons expanded the increasingly popular new entertainment medium and filmmakers continued to push the boundaries of storytelling. In Beverly Hills.

Robert Altman’s “California Split”

Dec 6

The late and great Robert Altman’s offbeat gambling comedy starring Elliot Gould and George Segal will screen at the Avon Theatre Film Center in Stamford, CT as a part of their Critic’s Choice program. Altman sadly passed away late last month; be sure to catch one of his most underrated films.

A Salute to Lupita Tovar

Dec 7

Popular Mexican actress Lupita Tovar receives this salute courtesy of the Academy as they honor one of the most popular Mexican actresses of the silent and early sound days. Tovar starred in the Spanish-language versions of “The Cat Creeps” and “Dracula,” conducting their filming at night while their English counterparts filmed during daylight, and, most notably, the Mexican sound film “Santa,” the first popular sound film produced in Mexico using the newly developed Rodriguez Sound System. Tovar would go on to start a family of filmmakers, including producer son Pancho Kohner, actress daughter Susan Kohner, and writer-director grandsons Paul and Chris Weitz. Takes place at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Spanish Cinema Now!

Dec 8-26

Following the popular reception of Pedro Almodóvar’s “Volver” and Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth”, 2006 appears to be the Year of Spanish Cinema. NYC’s Film Society of Lincoln Center presents the year’s best films in Spanish cinema, sans Almodóvar and del Toro, with this month-long program. Highlights include Agustín Díaz Yanes’ “Alatriste” starring Viggo Mortensen in yet another swordsman hero role; Antonio Chavarrías’ update on the film noir in “Celia’s Lives,” and Esteve Riambau and Elisabet Cabeza’s Spanish Civil War-set fantasy adventure “The Magicians.”

Peter Mintun’s Movietone Follies of 2007

Dec 11

We love the combination of live music and film. Pianist and pop culture historian Peter Mintun conducts the history of the Fox studio’s music and song from its earliest Movietone scores for silent movies to the Golden Age of the Fox musical — expect this one to be fun. At New York’s Film Forum.

An Evening with Oliver Stone and “World Trade Center”

Dec 11

Oliver Stone will be at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to discuss what some have called his most controversial film to date, citing a strictly conservative filmmaking style that counters many of his previous radical works. Hopefully Stone will explain exactly why he believes “respectful” filmmaking also includes heavy-handed melodrama.

The Pink Panther Films

Dec 15-16

Forget that dreadful Steve Martin film from last year that sullied the reputation of the Pink Panther. The American Cinematheque at Santa Monica’s Aero Theater presents the original (and far more humorous) Blake Edwards/Peter Sellers Pink Panther films of the 1960s and 70s. Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau is still one of the greatest characters to ever grace, slip, stumble, and fall over the cinematic screen.

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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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