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Vampires, “Antichrist”…and It’s Not Even Halloween Yet

Vampires, “Antichrist”…and It’s Not Even Halloween Yet (photo)

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This week finds early awards season contenders lining up alongside a queer cinema double bill, a troupe of unorthodox vampires and a horror movie franchise that’s become torturous in more ways than one.

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Awards season takes flight with celebrated director Mira Nair’s biopic charting the early life and rise to prominence of pioneering aviatrix Amelia Earhart. Hilary Swank produced and stars as the elusive Kansas-born pilot as she perilously navigates the skies, the trappings of fame and her romances with publisher George Putnam (Richard Gere) and Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor). Christopher Eccleston, Cherry Jones and Mia Wasikowska join the heavyweight cast in this pic whose Oscar-friendly subject matter may allow it to fly under the Academy’s expanded Best Picture tent.
Opens in limited release.

Controversial from the word go, Danish provocateur Lars von Trier’s psychological horror yarn, replete with talking woodland creatures and graphic genital mutilation, sparked heated debate amongst viewers beginning with its very first press conference following its unveiling at Cannes. Von Trier’s latest exercise stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a nameless couple who retreat to a possibly haunted cabin in a deserted forest so that he, a therapist, can treat his wife’s grief over the recent accidental death of their child.
Opens in limited release.

“Astro Boy”
David Bowers’ first crack at the directorial whip — the rodent adventure “Flushed Away” – might have prematurely ended the fledgling partnership between Aardman and DreamWorks, but that didn’t dampen his enthusiasm he returns to work here for Imagi Entertainment, the Hong Kong computer animation outfit who brought us the recent “TMNT.” Based on the Japanese manga series first published in the ’50s, “Astro Boy” tells of a future where androids exist amongst us, leading Dr. Tenma (Nicolas Cage) to construct a robot child (voiced by Freddie Highmore) in the image of his deceased son, except with super powers. Kristen Bell, Bill Nighy, Eugene Levy, Samuel L. Jackson and Donald Sutherland round out the supporting voice cast.
Opens wide.

“The Canyon”
Why must filmmakers torment young couples? Following in the footsteps of relatable and skillfully executed thrillers like “Open Water” and “Paranormal Activity,” director Richard Harrah strands naïve honeymooners Eion Bailey and “Chuck” star Yvonne Strahovski at the bottom of the Grand Canyon after their unlicensed tour guide (Will Patton) is incapacitated, leaving the couple at the mercy of the elements in this less-is-more vacation nightmare.
Opens in Los Angeles and Denver.

“Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant”
With 18-25-year-old males not exactly falling over themselves to embrace Stephenie Meyer’s looky-no-touchy “Twilight” saga, studios are clamoring for any vampire fiction they can find that might get the guys to hand over their money with similar vigor. While the film’s subtitle is a bid to cash in on the recent bloodsucker fever, this adaptation of the first three installment in Darren Shan’s 12-book series trades passionate embraces for cool superpowers in the story of a young teenager (Chris Massoglia) who’s inducted into a fellowship of the undead when he trades in his humanity to ringmaster John C. Reilly’s Cirque du Freak to save his best friend (Josh Hutcherson).
Opens wide.

“Eulogy for a Vampire”
Queer cinema director Patrick McGuinn offers up another kind of vampire story with this
erotically charged supernatural mystery in the tradition of surrealist horror. Working from a script by Andre Salas, the film centers on a monastery that was the site of a murder 25 years earlier that comes back to haunt its head priest (Wilson Hand) when a mysterious young drifter (Angelo Tursi) infiltrates the sanctuary and sets about seducing its members one by one, transforming them into the undead.
Opens in New York.

“Hannah Free”
Playwright Claudia Allen adapts her own play for the screen as director Wendy Jo Carlton comes onboard to reflect on the long and arduous struggle for gay rights through the story of a forbidden romance between two women now in the twilight of their lives. With her mind and heart still willing after the rest of her body has given up, a bedridden Hannah (the venerable Sharon Gless) recounts to an eager young college student (Jacqui Jackson) her lifelong love affair with Rachel (Maureen Gallagher), who now lies comatose down the hall.
Opens in Los Angeles.

“Killing Kasztner”
Between stock market hype and mail-order brides, documentarian Gaylen Ross has shown something of a fascination with people who make big decisions and then later come to regret them. Here, she tackles the controversial legacy of divisive Jewish-Hungarian lawyer Israel Kasztner. Murdered in Israel in 1957 by right-wing extremists, Kasztner was a man whose negotiations to save more than 1,600 Jews during the Holocaust was celebrated by some and vilified by others who believed his collaboration with the Nazis made him a traitor to his people. Ross attempts to clarify matters with a history compiled from interviews with survivors and descendants of those who were affected by his wheeling and dealing.
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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