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Summer, Somers and Potter

Summer, Somers and Potter (photo)

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Just a couple of blockbusters this week, one of which we’ve seen most of already. For everybody else, there is a strong selection of international art house pics to go with a couple of homegrown indies.

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“(500) Days of Summer”
Longtime music video director Marc Webb turned down a lot of horror remakes and teen comedies to make his feature debut with this unconventional recitation of a relationship that doesn’t work out. Joseph Gordon-Levitt co-stars as Tom, a poker-faced field mouse rejected by the love of his (comically young) life, the idiosyncratic Summer (Zooey Deschanel), and neurotically dissects the minutia of their courtship as he struggles to figure out what went wrong.
Opens in limited release.

“Death In Love”
Having spent much time developing functional follow-ups (“Dusk Till Dawn 2,” “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights”) since helming Sundance faves “Fresh” and “A Price Above Rubies,” writer/director Boaz Yakin returns to his indie roots, concocting a stagy drama surrounding the aftershocks of a concentration camp liaison that reverberate across generations. Much like the similarly themed “The Reader,” the central dilemma unfolds some 50 years after the war, with Jacqueline Bisset as a Holocaust survivor living in New York whose two sons (Josh Lucas and Lukas Haas) attempt to come to terms with their dead-end lives and their mother’s affair with a Nazi doctor.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“Died Young, Stayed Pretty”
In navigating the boggy marsh of this grubbiest of artistic subcultures, first-time director Eileen Yaghoobian avoids the potential echo chamber of self-proclaimed importance, as no one’s more surprised that other people might care about what they do than the quirky folks in the underground poster culture. Lifting the lid on this colorful blend of product promotion and artistic self-expression, Yaghoobian tours the history and evolution of the indie graphic art scene where whacked out geniuses boil down complex ideas and bold statements into a visually striking yet easily digestible 27″ x 41″.
Opens in New York.

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
Shunted from last November after “The Dark Knight” took care of Warner Brothers’ `08 financial projections single-handedly, the greatest literary soap opera of our time rumbles on with a story that’s now so dark the only thing left is to close down f-stops on the camera. “Order of The Phoenix” director David Yates returns for Harry’s most perilous chapter yet, with increasingly deadly magic on the rise, thanks in part to the emergence of raging teen hormones throughout the hallowed halls of Hogwarts.
Opens wide and in IMAX.

While we’re still waiting for director Morgan Freeman (not that one) to fulfill the promise of his auspicious Sundance award-winning 1997 breakout feature “Hurricane Streets,” we can content ourselves with this nasty little thriller that plays like “Friday Night Lights” by way of “Misery.” Matt Long co-stars as Mike, an all-conquering small-town football star who returns home with new girlfriend Elizabeth (Jessica Stroup) to a hero’s welcome… except from Mike’s obsessive, unhinged ex (Mischa Barton) who nurses Elizabeth back to health after a freak accident with her own deeply unpleasant methods of care.
Opens in limited release.

“Heart of Stone”
Following 2005’s “The Right to Be Wrong” about the divide between Palestineans and Israelis, documentary filmmaker Beth Toni Kruvant explores a different kind of war zone with her latest. Once considered one of the top schools in the U.S. when her father attended, Weequahic High School’s in danger of being consumed by gang violence. On a campus where the faculty wears Kevlar, a new principal and an alumni organization mostly comprised of elderly Jews and younger African-Americans work to promote simple conflict resolution, fund programs and scholarships, and provide opportunity to the troubled student body.
Opens in New York.

“Off Jackson Avenue”
A Japanese hitman, an Albanian pimp and a smalltime car thief cross paths in a seedy New York neighborhood in this hard-boiled DIY crime drama from bit-part-actor-turned-director John-Luke Montias, whose debut feature “Bobby G. Can’t Swim” earned him a Best New Director Award from AFI. Jessica Pimentel plays Olivia, a young woman who tries to escape her sleazy captor Milot (Stivi Paskoski), while Tomo (Jun Suenaga), an English teacher moonlighting as an assassin, looks to service a contract. Meanwhile, ambitious crook Joey (Montias) contemplates that always-tenuous one last score. Hard to imagine how much of that ends well for anybody.
Opens in New York.

“Rashevski’s Tango”
Six years is a long time to wait for a stateside theatrical pick-up, but co-writer/director Sam Garbarski’s 2003 story of a family of Belgian Jews and their struggle to keep alive the traditions of their faith finally makes it to our shores. A multigenerational story, the picture stars Natan Cogan as Dolfo, who travels to Israel with his grandson for a funeral, while back at home the rest of the family wrestles with the inevitable compromises that come with cultural assimilation. In English, French and Hebrew with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

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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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