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Opening This Week: Matthew Broderick, the Gits, Guillaume Canet

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06302008_brutalmassacre.jpgBy Neil Pedley

This 4th of July week finds Will Smith’s belligerent man of steel sending the rest of the summer tentpole movies running scared, leaving only the indies to offer any alternative.

“Brutal Massacre”
Does the horror genre need its own “This Is Spinal Tap”? Ready or not, here comes “Brutal Massacre,” a mockumentary comedy about a once-successful horror director (played by “An American Werewolf in London”‘s David Naughton) attempting to make his big comeback film against increasingly insurmountable odds. Be on the lookout for appearances by Gunnar Hansen (“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”‘s Leatherface), Ellen Sandweiss (“The Evil Dead”) and other horror movie stalwarts.
Opens in limited release.

“Diminished Capacity”
Terry Kinney made a name for himself as Tim McManus, the idealistic but world-weary warden of Emerald City in the hard-hitting prison drama “Oz.” “Diminished Capacity,” his debut as a director, also finds Matthew Broderick continues his due diligence to the indie scene with his third movie opening in as many months. Broderick plays a former newsman relegated to editing the funnies after an accident leaves him with a drastically unreliable memory. Heading to a memorabilia swap meet with his high school sweetheart (Virginia Madsen) in tow, the pair look to cash in on a coveted, ultra-rare Cubs baseball card and save his senile uncle’s house from foreclosure.
Opens in limited release.

The Gits Movie
Poised to be another break-out band from the early ’90s Seattle music scene, punk rock band the Gits came to a tragic end when lead singer Mia Zapata was raped and murdered in 1993. This doc, directed by Kerri O’Kane, explores both the band’s legacy and the capture, a decade after the crime, of her murderer.
Opens in limited release.

“Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson”
Filmmaker Alex Gibney, the brain behind the acclaimed documentaries “Taxi To the Dark Side” and “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” takes us on a journey into the heart of “bat country” to tell the story of one of the late, great gun-loving gods of journalism. Charting the highs and lows of the man credited with inventing the first-person “Gonzo” style of reporting, Gibney chronicles the life and times of a true literary artist who spent so long being a legend to so many that he spent the rest of his life fighting an ultimately losing battle to just be a man. Johnny Depp narrates.
Opens in limited release.

Much in keeping with its theme, this high-concept riff on Hollywood’s most bankable genre has gone through a considerable number of costume changes of its own over the years, with a revolving door’s worth of talent attached and unattached, including director Michael Mann, who eventually settled in as one of four producers. Mann’s “Kingdom” collaborator Peter Berg ultimately took the director’s chair, with Will Smith as a cantankerous, alcoholic superhero who reluctantly enlists the help of Jason Bateman’s PR rep after some booze-fueled collateral damage. “Hancock” should provide the definitive answer on whether Smith really is bulletproof at the box office, as early reviews claim the film suffers an identity crisis nearly as crippling as its main character. Charlize Theron also stars, though one wouldn’t know it from the trailer.
Opens wide.

“Holding Trevor”
Unfulfilled lives and dysfunctional relationships abound in this edgy exploration of co-dependency from director Rosser Goodman in her debut feature. Brent Gorski writes, produces and also stars in the title role as the disaffected youth drowning in stagnation of his well-meaning but suffocating social circle. Struggling to break free from his self-destructive, heroin-addicted lover, Trevor braves a shot at happiness after a chance encounter with charismatic Ephram (Eli Kranski).
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

Films that premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival can sometimes carry an unfair stigma, with the first question out of people’s mouths often being “If it’s any good then how come it wasn’t picked for Sundance, SXSW or Tribeca?” Yet a year ago, word coming out of the summer festival was favorable, praising the film as more than the sum of its parts. Former Groundlings member Scott Prendergast makes his feature debut as writer, director and star of this surreal, darkly comic story of a man who, while his brother is deployed in Iraq, helps his despairing sister-in-law (Lisa Kudrow) and her two megabrats by taking a degrading job as a giant blue mascot for a failing internet company.
Opens in limited release.

“Tell No One”
While he might be best known to American audiences as the French backpacker who had his girlfriend pinched by Leonardo DiCaprio in Danny Boyle’s “The Beach,” Guillaume Canet is being hailed as something of a revelation in his native France for his work both in front of and behind the camera. He wrote and directed “Tell No One,” a dark thriller that stars François Cluzet as a pediatrician on the verge of rebuilding his life eight years after he was the prime suspect in his wife’s brutal murder. When damning evidence is discovered once again linking him to a brutal killing he knows nothing about, he receives a mysterious e-mail that alerts him to the fact that his wife might still be alive and that they’re both being watched by sinister forces. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“The Wackness”
Winner of an Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, “The Wackness” is writer/director Jonathan Levine’s follow-up to his breakthrough film “All The Boys Love Mandy Lane.” A wistful, pensive look at New York City in the early 1990s through some rather green tinted spectacles, the film stars Josh Peck as a recently graduated stoner who idles away his last summer before heading to college watching new mayor Rudy Giuliani wage war on slackers and dealing pot from an ice cream cart. He has an arrangement with his shrink (Sir Ben Kingsley), who gives him free therapy in exchange for “medication.” The film also grants you a front row seat to watch Sir Ben and the lovely Mary-Kate Olsen, in a supporting role, making out, which is surely worth the price of admission on its own.
Opens in limited release.

“We Are Together”
After rounding the festival circuit for nearly two years, Paul Taylor’s documentary about a choir of South African children orphaned by AIDS finally makes it to theaters. We have nothing snide to add.
Opens in limited release.

[Photo: “Brutal Massacre,” Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2008]

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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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