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Fame, Rage and Capitalism

Fame, Rage and Capitalism (photo)

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This week, contrasting approaches to filmmaking bring about balance and equilibrium. Experimentalism (Sally Potter’s “Rage” and Michael Almereyda’s “Paradise”) collides head on with tried and tested formulas (the Clive Owen starrer “The Boys Are Back” and a remake of “Fame”).

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“Blind Date”
Stanley Tucci adapts and stars in the second remake from the canon of slain Dutch director Theo Van Gogh, the first being Steve Buscemi’s 2007 “Interview.” A whimsical psychological tussle between a husband and wife who play games to patch up their marriage, the story hones in on the attempted romantic rediscovery between long-married Don (Tucci) and Jenna (Patricia Clarkson).
Opens in New York.

“The Blue Tooth Virgin”
Writer/director Russell Brown’s comedy stays true to the adage “write what you know,” as a miserably bad screenplay threatens to drive a wedge between two longtime friends. Having been asked by aspiring screenwriter pal Sam (daytime soap actor Austin Peck) to provide feedback on his latest masterpiece, successful magazine editor David (Bryce Johnson) decides it’s so bad that he could definitely do better. While it’s a decision Sam takes rather personally, it could have been worse — he could have asked “A History of Violence” screenwriter Josh Olson to read it.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“Brief Interviews With Hideous Men”
The directorial debut of actor John Krasinski, this screen adaptation of the titular collection of short stories from celebrated author David Foster Wallace should further highlight the great loss to literature brought about by Wallace’s tragic suicide just over a year ago. Presented as a series of candid confessionals from random men vomiting up their dark and disturbing secrets for the benefit of an anthropology student’s (Julianne Nicholson) graduate thesis, Krasinski jumps us in and out, carefully omitting the questions, as the subjects muse on the more unlikable sides to their character. Christopher Meloni, Denis O’Hare and Will Arnett are amongst the familiar “Hideous Men.”
Opens in New York.

“The Boys Are Back”
Having enjoyed a career littered with high-profile projects realized by above-average filmmakers, Clive Owen has somehow managed to consistently hide the fact that he’s only got two expressions: nobly harried (“King Arthur,” Children of Men,” “The International”) and effortlessly cool (“Inside Man,” “Shoot ‘Em Up,” “Duplicity”). This time though, under the supervision of Oscar-nominated director Scott Hicks (“Shine”), Owen will surely have to stretch for this adaptation of the Simon Carr memoir in which he plays a carefree sports writer forced to reconnect with both his estranged son (Nicholas McAnulty) and teenage stepson (George MacKay) following the tragic death of their mother.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

“Capitalism: A Love Story”
As we pass the one-year anniversary of the AIG bailout, the self-described “most feared filmmaker in America” Michael Moore returns to remind us that it’s our money at stake in his latest documentary. Making stops at both the recently concluded Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, this blanket indictment of our government-sponsored culture of greed finds Moore employing his singular brand of political theater, such as cordoning off various corporate buildings with crime scene tape, to make his points, interspersed with interviews with those who lost everything and those who run the system.
Opens in limited release; opens wide on October 2nd.

“Coco Before Chanel”
From orphan to icon, Coco Chanel’s impish assertiveness is perfectly captured by the sprightly Audrey Tatou in French helmer Anne Fontaine’s lavishly designed retelling of the designer’s stratospheric ascent to the top of the fashion world and the feathers she ruffled along the way (or in the case of hats, removed entirely). Abandoned by her father upon the death of her mother, Chanel’s life is charted from her humble beginnings as a penniless seamstress and part-time cabaret singer, through her troubled romance with English playboy Arthur “Boy” Capel (Alessandro Nivola), to the upper echelons of French high society, ably propelled by her unique take on refined simplicity as the mark of true elegance. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

Better than the TV show it spawned (though that’s not saying much), Alan Parker’s quintessentially ’80s cult favorite is notable not only for championing the value of individualism as relates to the American Dream, but also for taking the time to note the tragedies of those who take their shot and miss (drug abuse, prostitution). Ripe for a revamp in these celebrity-obsessed times, “Fame” 2009 is helmed by choreographer Kevin Tancharoen, who directs an ensemble of relative unknowns for this singing and dancing four-years-in-the-life-of story of fledgling performing artists with stars in their eyes. Veterans Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth, Charles S. Dutton and Debbie Allen provide support as their mentors.
Opens wide.

“I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell”
Having garnered much notoriety chronicling his debaucherous lifestyle first as a blog, then later as a bestselling memoir, self-confessed “asshole” Tucker Max takes on the big screen, surely with an eye on the meteoric rise of Diablo Cody, with a comedy based on his book. Matt Czuchry stands in for Max, a modern day libertine, who must smooth things over when a bachelor party goes hideously awry and the subsequent wedding is on the brink of disaster. Keri Lynn Pratt, Geoff Stults and Jesse Bradford co-star.
Opens in limited release.

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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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