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Zombies, Lies and Videotape

Zombies, Lies and Videotape (photo)

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This week’s offerings give us the choice of walking with death or battling the undead. For those taking it easy this week, there’s also roller skating with Ellen Page and having fun playing God (or inventing him, at any rate) with Ricky Gervais.

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After making a name for himself at Cannes with his award-winning shorts, NYU film grad Antonio Campos took his feature debut there last year. “Afterschool” earned its share of controversy during its festival run, along with as a Spirit Award nomination for best first feature. Reminiscent of Gus Van Sant and Michael Haneke, this hazy story of digital detachment blends viral video and prep school tragedy in its story of a paranoid internet junkie (Ezra Miller) who witnesses the death of a pair of classmates who overdose on drugs, and then is tasked with memorializing them.
Opens in New York.

“An American Journey”
Widely regarded as one of the landmark photographic works of the 20th Century, Robert Frank’s series “The Americans,” first published as a book in 1958, showcased the unflattering underbelly of the American Dream, rife with racism, poverty and inequality. 50 years on, French filmmaker Philippe Séclier retraces Frank’s steps, revisiting the small towns and rural communities the photographer used to reflect the cracks of a nation on the verge of fracture.
Opens in New York.

“As Seen Through These Eyes”
Writer/director Hilary Helstein’s debut feature approaches its goal — to tell, in her words, “an uplifting story about the Holocaust” — by focusing on concentration camp prisoners who made the best of their limited resources and created artwork, many of whom survived the horrors to go on and become internationally recognized artists. Mixing archival footage with candid testimony from the survivors, Helstein presents these remarkable people and their work — music, art, poetry. Maya Angelou narrates.
Opens in New York.

“A Beautiful Life”
Argentinean director Alejandro Chomski follows up the 2007 dance drama “Feel the Noise” with this bleak and dispiriting tale of life in the big city. Adapted by Wendy Hammond from her own stage play, “A Beautiful Life” tackles themes of alienation and having to grow up fast as the lives of a teen illegal immigrant (Jesse Garcia), a damaged runaway (Angela Sarafyan) and an aspiring singer (Bai Ling), intersect amidst the ghosts of their respective pasts on the harsh streets of Los Angeles.
Opens in limited release.

“Chelsea on the Rocks”
After delays and at least one false start, Abel Ferrara’s documentary about the legendary New York hotel and bohemian refuge is finally making it to theaters. Ferrara reportedly checked himself into the hotel for six month when making the film, which features R. Crumb, Milos Forman and Ethan Hawke amongst the talking heads. The interviews are interspersed with reenactments of dramatic events from the history of the Chelsea Hotel, with Grace Jones making an appearance and Bijou Phillips playing Nancy Spungen.
Opens in New York.

“The Invention of Lying”
If someone had only thought of this deceptively simple story of a parallel universe where lying doesn’t exist ten years ago, Jim Carrey could’ve capitalized on it for a sequel to “Liar Liar.” But as it stands, Ricky Gervais, the current king of embarrassment comedy, co-wrote, co-directs and stars in this satire as Mark Bellison, a failing screenwriter (called “historical transcribers” since there’s no such thing as fiction) who unwittingly blurts out the world’s first lie and sets about turning his life around upon realizing the power of telling fibs. Even with the untruth on his side, he still must compete with a fellow screenwriter (Rob Lowe) for the true love of his life, Anna (Jennifer Garner).
Opens wide.

“More Than a Game”
“More Than a Game” offers up every sport’s movie cliché in the book, following the trials of a high school basketball superstar leading his team of misfits on the road to the national championship. Except in this case, they’re all true. Director Kristopher Belman turned his student thesis for Loyola Marymount into a full-length feature when his days of shooting basketball practices in Akron, OH took on an added resonance when St. Vincent-St. Mary star LeBron James blossomed into an NBA-bound phenomenon.
Opens in limited release.

“Rethink Afghanistan”
Having devoted much of the last decade to highlighting the practices of irresponsible journalism, war profiteering and the role of the Military Industrial Complex in shaping foreign policy, investigative journalist and filmmaker Robert Greenwald turns his eye towards Afghanistan and the continuation of U.S. involvement in the region. Never pretending to be balanced, “Rethink Afghanistan” is one man’s passionate, potentially incendiary viewpoint backed by testimony from analysts and Afghan civilians, positing that the American military presence is not just part of the problem — it is the problem.
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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