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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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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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