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Blue Skies and Black Metal

Blue Skies and Black Metal (photo)

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This week’s slate gathers together so many big name stars in one place you’d think it was Oscar night already.

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“Across The Hall”
A stripped-down neo-noir with a twist, this feature debut for filmmaker Alex Merkin began as a 2005 short (starring Adrian Grenier, which can be found online here). Grenier didn’t return, but Mike Vogel takes his place as Julian, a young man who races to a seedy hotel where his best friend’s wayward fiancée (Brittany Murphy) and another man have aroused the suspicions of his pal, who’s holed up “across the hall” with a bottle of whiskey and a gun.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.

Having garnered a great deal of attention with his grungy murder mystery debut “Kontroll,” American-born Hungarian helmer Nimród Antal first made his mark in Hollywood with the solid but forgettable “Vacancy.” He returns with another mostly single-location potboiler that’s a throwback to the slow-burning, character-driven action flicks of old. Columbus Short fronts an ensemble cast that Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne and Skeet Ulrich. Short plays Ty Hackett, a rookie employee and the lone voice of conscience amongst a veteran crew of security guards who hatch a plan to steal $42 million from an armored truck.
Opens wide.

“Before Tomorrow”
Madeline Ivalu and Marie-Hélène Cousineau co-direct this gentle Inuit drama that marks the first feature of the Arnait Video Collective, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the age-old culture’s unique perspective from the point of view of its women. Exec produced by Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, the duo who guided “The Fast Runner” to such great acclaim, this 19th century period piece sees a wise Inuit elder (Ivalu) and her young grandson (Paul Dylan-Ivalu) depart their village for an isolated island where they will prepare to hoard food for the coming winter. In Inuktitut with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

Since Jake Gyllenhaal was once tapped to take over for Tobey Maguire to play Spider-Man when longtime Peter Parker famously claimed a back injury on “Seabiscuit,” who better than the “Jarhead” star to step in to comfort the wife of Maguire’s Sam Cahill, a soldier who’s away at war. Natalie Portman plays the woman caught in between the pair when Cahill returns from a tour of duty in Afghanistan where he was presumed dead. A haunted man who’s unable to reacclimate to civilian life, Cahill doesn’t take it well when he learns that his baby bro has taken his place in Jim Sheridan’s remake of the Susanne Bier’s 2004 Danish drama “Brødre.”
Opens wide.

“Everybody’s Fine”
Following the painful self-parody of “Righteous Kill,” the venerable Robert De Niro bounces back with what’s being reported as a return to form at the center of Kirk Jones’ remake of Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore’s quietly contemplative 1990 road movie. With his grown children having all inexplicably canceled their annual holiday stopover, De Niro’s fastidious widower Frank sets off to pay them each a surprise visit, dropping in on slacker composer Rob (Sam Rockwell), Vegas dancer Rosie (Drew Barrymore) and career woman Amy (Kate Beckinsale), and coming to the realization that he doesn’t know them as well as he’d like.
Opens wide.

“FILM IST. a girl & a gun”
Charlie Chaplin was once quoted saying, “All I need to make a film is a park bench, a policeman and a pretty girl.” Austrian archivist and filmmaker Gustav Deutsch goes a long way towards proving Chaplin’s point with this collage of early film stock that offers a whirlwind tour through cinema’s formative years. In five acts, Deutsch mixes imagery ranging from propaganda to pornography during the first four and a half decades of cinema, presenting the birth pains of the burgeoning medium as preoccupied as it is now with eroticism, voyeurism, and violence.
Opens in New York.

Adrián Biniez picked up the Best Debut Award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival for this minimalist, innocent-as-kittens romance starring Horacio Camandule as Jara, a Uruguayan supermarket security guard who pines over the completely oblivious object of his affection, store janitor Julia (Leonor Svarcas), via the store’s surveillance cameras. When potential layoffs threaten his crush, Jara must spring into action… or at least step up in the low-key fashion appropriate for Biniez’s deliberately paced charmer. Think “Goodbye Dragon Inn” without the five-minute static shot of an empty theater (which is actually awesome, btw).
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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