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Ugly People and Dangerous Men

Ugly People and Dangerous Men (photo)

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With the Venice Film Festival having just concluded and Toronto now underway, the award season’s wheels begin to roll with big name players, both indie and arthouse, making a showing, with Steven Soderbergh and Jennifer Aniston keeping things light at the multiplex.

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“35 Shots of Rum”
While Claire Denis’ latest film, “White Material,” is in the midst of a prestigious festival run that will take in Venice, Toronto and soon London, fans of the French filmmaker’s work can enjoy this delicate domestic portrayal of tenderness and devotion from last year that begins a small theatrical run here in New York. Set in a nondescript Parisian neighborhood, Denis’ film casually unfolds the dynamic of unspoken trust and mutual support played out between a stoic widower Lionel (Alex Descas), his daughter Joséphine (Mati Diop), and the makeshift urban family that circles the pair, in and around their cramped apartment building. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“Bright Star”
It took Jane Campion, one of only three women to have ever been nominated for a Best Director Oscar, six years to recover from and provide a follow-up to 2003’s critically maligned Meg Ryan romantic thriller “In the Cut.” “Bright Star,” which premiered at Cannes to a fair amount of reassuring acclaim, finds Campion once again centering on a gifted female character misunderstood by society around her — Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), who wins the heart of Romantic poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw), though their love affair is cut short by his death at the painfully young age of 25. Paul Schneider plays Keats’ best friend and fellow poet Charles Armitage Brown, who opposed the pairing, thinking Fanny a frivolous distraction; Kerry Fox also co-stars.
Opens in limited release.

“The Burning Plain”
Guillermo Arriaga has long been the unsung hero whose textured stories provided the foundation upon which his countryman, director Alejandro González Iñárritu, built his impressive reputation. Now the screenwriter of “Babel” and “Amores Perros” strikes out on his own with another of his signature multi-strand dramas that skips across both time and country in service to a knotted story of resentment and illicit love starring Kim Basinger, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence, divided between a rain soaked berg in the Pacific Northwest and a dusty town on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Opens in limited release and now available on VOD.

“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”
Longtime creative collaborators Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the guys behind the hacked-off-at-the-knees MTV series “Clone High,” return to animation with this adaptation of the popular children’s book that gives new meaning to the phrase “throwing everything at the screen and see what sticks.” Set in a town where food freely falls from the sky, this adventure features the voice of Bill Hader as inventor Flint Lockwood, who accidentally sets off the hailstorm of hamburgers. Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Bruce Campbell and Mr. T round out the impressive voice cast.
Opens wide in 3-D and IMAX.

“Dil Bole Hadippa!”
While the Indian production outfit Yash Raj Films continues to diversify their non-film portfolio at an incredible rate (they recently announced plans for a Bollywood-themed hotel and theme park complex in Dubai), they’re dipping their toe in gender-bender waters with this singing and dancing riff on the “Just One of the Guys” formula. Translated to “Heart Goes Hurrah!”, “Dil Bole Hadippa!” tells of a young Punjabi girl (Rani Mukherjee) forced to disguise herself as a man in order to realize her dream of playing in the Cricket World Cup. The film comes courtesy of director Anurag Singh — not to be confused, coincidentally, with his Indian born, former English County Cricketer namesake. In Hindi with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

Following his 2001 made-for-TV debut “The Spanish Woman,” Australian actor-turned-director Steve Jacobs delivers an elegantly rendered adaptation of J.M. Coetzee’s Booker Prize-winning novel that took home the International Critics Award at Toronto last year. John Malkovich stars as a Cape Town Communications professor fleeing the aftermath of a tragic affair with a student all the way to his daughter Lucy’s (Jessica Haines) remote farm on the Eastern Cape, where both his past and the shifting political landscape of post-Apartheid South Africa soon catch up to him.
Opens in New York.

“Fatal Promises”
Focusing on one of the great forgotten issues of our time, filmmaker Katharina Rohrer’s debut digs up globalization’s dirty little secret, mapping out the ways in which human trafficking is flourishing in the 21st century. Delivering a blanket indictment of the politicians who do nothing under the larger veil of willful ignorance that permits them to do so, Rohrer travels to Ukraine, the epicenter of this multi-million dollar industry, in the hopes that the harrowing firsthand accounts of abduction and abuse might inspire action.
Opens in New York.

“Harmony & Me”
Set in the indie film mecca of Austin, TX, this lo-fi effort from “Registered Sex Offender” writer/director Bob Byington tells the comedic story of the titular Harmony (Justin Rice), a restless desk jockey whose recent break-up has thrown him for a loop when his ex (Kristen Tucker, also the film’s producer) shamelessly has the temerity to move on with her life. Falling not far from the mumblecore tree, this latest branch of DIY filmmaking includes appearances from Kevin Corrigan and Nick Offerman.
Opens in New York.

“If One Thing Matters: A Film About Wolfgang Tillmans”
A pioneer in his field and a titan of the art world, German-born and London-based photographer Wolfgang Tillmans single-handedly redrew the boundaries between traditional art and photography, an achievement that saw him become the first photographic artist to receive the Turner Prize in 2000. For his feature documentary debut, video artist and filmmaker Heiko Kalmbach accompanied Tillmans for more than four years, capturing both his life and his work together in an attempt to construct an organic portrait of his creative process.
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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