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Uwe Boll’s “Darfur” drama.

Uwe Boll’s “Darfur” drama. (photo)

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Like the part of Cannes you don’t usually hear about, the American Film Market is the largely unglamorous event held every year in L.A. where film buyers and distributors from across the globe come to put the business back in show business, looking at the latest Sofia Coppola film in the same way they look as “The Whiffler,” a comedy about a ‘roided up whiffleball player — that is, as products.

Beginning tomorrow, films like Coppola’s “Somewhere” will be debuting at AFM, as will Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg” and a host of other attention-worthy endeavors, like the latest from “Teeth” director Mitchell Lichtenstein, “Happy Tears”; the Tribeca fave “The Eclipse”; and two personal highlights of mine from Toronto — the Tilda Swinton melodrama “I Am Love” and Fatih Akin’s “Soul Kitchen.”

But it’s the weird stuff that makes markets so fun. A few I picked out from the AFM catalog:

Uwe Boll gets serious.
As pointed out by Cinematical, the prolific director of video game adaptations has no less than three films at AFM, including the execrable “Rampage” and the Lauren Holly-Luke Perry apocalyptic thriller “The Final Storm.” But the film sure to draw the most curiosity is “Darfur,” starring Billy Zane, Edward Furlong and Boll staple Matt Frewer as American journalists grappling with whether to put down their pens to get involved in the Sudanese conflict. Alas, chances are it won’t be snapped up for U.S. distribution in time for Oscar consideration.

Billy Zane is a triple threat.
Besides “Darfur,” the former “Phantom” star is as ubiquitous here as George Clooney was in Toronto, with the supernatural thriller “Magic Man” (which one IMDb commenter described not so charitably by saying, “Hocus Pocus! You just lost 80 minutes of your life”) and “The Gold Retrievers,” a family film with Steve Guttenberg.

Odd couples abound.
Did you ever think Michael Madsen and Natasha Lyonne would share the screen? Well, meet “Outrage,” a thriller where Lyonne unwittingly takes shelter in the hunting lodge of Madsen’s ex-military sniper. Or how about Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and ’90s teen heartthrob Andrew Keegan as a newfangled Crockett and Tubbs in “Kill Speed,” described as “a high-octane, youth-oriented, ‘Top Gun’ meets ‘Fast & Furious’ tale about best friends who fly home-built, high-tech planes to deliver Mexican-manufactured crystal-meth throughout rural California in order to fund their Hollywood lifestyle.” Throw in Tom Arnold and Greg Grunberg and I’m sold.

As for the old Crockett…
Well, Don Johnson is the lone American starring in the Norwegian comedy “Long Flat Balls II,” directed by sequelizer extraordinaire Harald Zwart, of “Pink Panther 2” fame. In it, he plays a U.S. admiral who meets up with six average Joes pulled into military service for the Norwegian National Guard and hijinks ensue.

Did no one learn from “Street Fighter”?
Even with Guillermo del Toro fave Luke Goss starring as Fox, it’s a bit surprising that the fighting game “Tekken” is being adapted into a feature film. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who’s been down this road before as Shang Tsung in 1995’s “Mortal Kombat,” co-stars in the film about the King of Iron Fist tournament, which, coming from the same writer that gave us “Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever” and “The Marine,” doesn’t give me high hopes that it’ll be a film that will buck the trend of bad video game adaptations.

Finally, there is the “Repo Man” sequel.
Alex Cox’s all-green-screen semi-follow-up to his 1984 cult classic, “Repo Chick,” is also out there in the market, looking for a distributor. Please, someone, pick it up. It’s timely.

[Photo: “Darfur,” Boll KG, 2009]

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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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