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Wicked Stepfathers, Law Breaking Citizens and Wild Things

Wicked Stepfathers, Law Breaking Citizens and Wild Things (photo)

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“The Maid”
Chilean helmer Sebastián Silva’s slow-burning domestic drama was a big hit at Sundance earlier this year, collecting both the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema and an acting award for its star Catalina Saavedra. Built on one woman’s emotionally stunted attachment to the family she’s served for 23 years, this tightly wound character study stars Saavedra as a live-in housekeeper whose fastidious devotion turns to territorial passive aggression when the family decides to hire another maid to lighten her load. In Spanish with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

“The Ministers”
Continuing to build on the promise of his debut “Empire,” the latest from writer/director Franc. Reyes is another urban crime thriller set amidst the blood-soaked streets of New York City. “Empire” star John Leguizamo does double duty as Dante and Perfecto Mendoza, a pair of vicious vigilante twins from the South Bronx, one of whom begins a relationship with NYPD detective Celeste Santana (Florencia Lozano), who’s investigating the arson-related murder of her father 13 years earlier. Harvey Keitel co-stars as Santana’s hardnosed captain.
Opens in limited release.

“New York, I Love You”
Scarlett Johansson’s directorial debut segment may have been left on the cutting room floor, but this collective serenade to the Big Apple still boasts a plethora of big-name filmmakers, both established and emerging. 11 directors, from Fatih Akin to Brett Ratner, come together to create a kaleidoscope of vignettes showcasing life and love in the city that never sleeps. Shia LaBeouf, Bradley Cooper, Maggie Q, Ethan Hawke and Natalie Portman (who also directs a segment) are just a few of the actors in the anthology film’s vast ensemble.
Opens in limited release.

The title “My Big Fat Greek Archeological Dig” is perhaps too on the nose, so “Opa!” will have to do for this rom-com set amongst the Greek ruins from “My Son the Fanatic” director Udayan Prasad. Having premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2005, “Opa!” might have been in danger of becoming a lost historical artifact itself, but audiences will finally see Matthew Modine as Eric, a reserved American archeologist on the hunt for the cup of St. John, a prized find that was the goal of his late father’s life’s work. When a local Greek goddess (Agni Scott) catches his attention, Eric begins to think of greater treasures than his father’s beloved chalice.
Opens in limited release.

“The Stepfather”
Most entries into the “crappy parent” subgenre focus on either alcoholic moms or deadbeat dads that for whatever reason aren’t there, so this retread of the cult ’80s homicidal homemaker franchise is both oddly derivative and strangely refreshing. Screen Gems must’ve liked what they saw with last year’s “Prom Night” remake, wasting no time in rehiring TV helmer-for-hire Nelson McCormick to oversee this one, with Dylan Walsh taking Terry O’Quinn’s place as an unrepentant sociopath with a murderous past who comes to town and courts a divorced mom (Sela Ward) only to arouse the suspicions of her teenage son (“Gossip Girl”’s Penn Badgley) when he arrives home from military school.
Opens wide.

“Warning!!! Pedophile Released”
With the debate currently raging over the fate of Roman Polanski, Shane Ryan’s provocatively titled follow-up to his “Amateur Porn Star Killer” trilogy is well-timed to feed into/off of the frenzy. Part social commentary and part relationship drama, the film tells of a convicted sex offender (Ryan) who reunites with his now 18-year-old victim (Kai Lanette) after a six-year prison stretch to continue their relationship, much to the disgust of the community at large. To make things more uncomfortable for audiences, “Pedophile” will be preceded by “Father Xmas,” the first short film to star Dakota Fanning, during its run at the Laemmle Grande 4-Plex.
Opens in Los Angeles.

“Where The Wild Things Are”
Now that the panicked cries of studio execs (‘Think of the children!’) over that early test footage have become but a distant memory, audiences are already beginning to shuffle in a nostalgic trance towards the multiplex in anticipation of Spike Jonze’s take on the Maurice Sendak classic. Having dragged this labor of love through development hell for more than a decade, Jonze and Dave Eggers’ adaptation expands the nine sentences and indelible imagery of Sendak’s children book into a fully fleshed-out, animatronics-assisted narrative. Pint-sized thespian Max Records takes the role of Max, the naughty boy whose bedroom-busting imagination sees him anointed King of the Wild Things. Catherine Keener co-stars as Max’s mom, while James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Catherine O’Hara, Forest Whitaker and Chris Cooper all lend their voices to Max’s friends in the forest.
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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