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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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Give Back

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…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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