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Beeswax, Bloggers and Barack

Beeswax, Bloggers and Barack (photo)

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This week’s new releases include a Latin American double bill on the nature of the fame game, a British one-two centered on the macabre and a global smattering of meditations on love young and old.

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Following on the heels of well-received festival performers “Funny Ha Ha” and “Mutual Appreciation,” mumblecore alum Andrew Bujalski delivers another characteristically lo-fi tale of post-grads trying to build lives for themselves. Complete with a who’s who of Austin indie film players (including SXSW film fest head Janet Pierson), this Texas-set ramble centers on the unfulfilled lives of twin sisters Lauren and Jeannie (non-pros Maggie and Tilly Hatcher), the former a carefree drifting spirit, the latter a headstrong business owner.
Opens in New York.

Progressive and traditionalist values clash against the barren backdrop of Eastern Turkey with the fate of a young girl in the balance in director Abdullah Oguz’s adaptation of Zülfü Livaneli’s politically charged novel. Özgü Namal stars as 17-year-old Meryam who, after having been discovered unconscious and assaulted, is sentenced to death in the ancient custom. Murat Han co-stars as Cemal, the conservative but conflicted young man tasked with carrying out her disposal on the road to Istanbul, who’s forbidden from returning until the task is complete. In Turkish with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“By The People: The Election of Barack Obama”
Way back in 2006, when the African-American junior senator from Illinois announced his candidacy for president, many people scoffed. Two people who didn’t were cinematographer Amy Rice and producer Alicia Sams, who brought the idea of an inside account of this unlikely candidate’s campaign to Edward Norton, who ended up serving as the film’s producer. Three years and countless hours of footage later, the results were sold for a princely sum (seven figures) just days after Obama’s election, an award for the prescience of being there to document every step of Obama’s meteoric rise to political stardom virtually from the beginning.
Opens in Los Angeles.

“Cold Souls”
Like something Charlie Kaufman forgot to write, French writer/director Sophie Barthes’ feature debut features an aging sad sack (Paul Giamatti, playing a rough version of himself) attempting to remedy a creative block via metaphysical pseudo-science. Driven to distraction by his inability to grasp the soul of the titular role in a production of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya,” Giamatti opts to have his own soul removed, turning to an upscale spiritual cosmetics company specializing in “soul storage.”
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

DocuWeek, the annual New York and Los Angeles based theatrical exhibition of doc films for purposes of Oscar qualification, continues. Movies opening this week are: “Kimjongilia,” a glimpse into North Korea through the testimony of defectors (LA 8/7, NY 8/14); “Rock Prophecies,” about photographer Robert M. Knight’s quest for the world’s greatest undiscovered guitar player (LA 8/7, NY 8/14); “Split Estate,” in which Colorado residents fight the federal mandate permitting the energy industry to drill their land (NY, LA 8/7); and “Soundtrack for a Revolution,” which charts the role of music in the American civil rights movement (NY, LA 8/7).

“El Tinte De La Fama”
Serving as the Venezuela’s entry in the Best Foreign Language Film Award at the most recent Oscars, director Alejandro Bellame Palacios’ feature debut is a surrealist plunge into the intoxicating waters of stardom. Pressured by her nagging husband and their dwindling finances, blond beauty Magaly (Elaiza Gil) enters into a televised Marilyn Monroe look-a-like contest. Egged on by fellow participant and transsexual Hector (Miguel Ferrari), who believes he is the reincarnation of the late actress, Magaly’s fragile psyche begins to fracture as events in her life begin to oddly mirror those of the real Monroe. In Spanish with subtitles.
Opens in Los Angeles.

“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”
Between the ludicrous “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and the incoherent borefest that was “Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen,” it’s so far not been a banner year for movies based on merchandise, at least critically. Stephen Sommers’ contribution to the fold is a live-action version of the flag-waving ’80’s kids’ cartoon/action figure line, with the fate of the free world hanging in the balance — again — and Dennis Quaid, decked out like an uncool dad at Halloween, in the role of General Hawk.
Opens wide.

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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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