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Running Amunk for the Holidays

Running Amunk for the Holidays (photo)

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Happy holidays, everyone! Those willing and able to drag themselves away from the huge pile of swag under the tree can enjoy the late Heath Ledger’s final performance, a Jude Law double bill and a drolly comic Romanian police procedural underneath among other holiday presents that await at the multiplex.

“Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel”
With the tagline “Munk Yourself” sounding more like a threat than a come-on, the high-pitched trio of singing rodents return just in time for exhausted moms to plunk the rugrats down at the multiplex after the presents are unwrapped while they snore quietly in the back row. Betty Thomas, who has some kid-themed kid-themed hijinks with on her CV, steps in for the first film’s helmer Tim Hill and trades out her experience with real critters on “Dr. Dolittle” for these much less messy (not to mention non-union) digital substitutes. Jason Lee reprises his role as Dave, the caretaker of the furry three (voiced by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney) as Alvin and gang lose their musical supremacy and their hearts to the all-girl outfit, The Chipettes (voiced by Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate)
Opens wide on December 23rd.

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”
A director who seems only happy when it rains, Terry Gilliam has matched his wits against studios (as on “Brazil”) and tornadoes on the set of his first crack at “Don Quixote” (as seen in “Lost in La Mancha”). But surely nothing could have prepared him for the tragic death of his lead Heath Ledger in the midst of shooting his latest film, which has become a memorial of sorts for the late star. Ever the pragmatist, Gilliam called on Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law to play the refracted versions of Ledger’s character Tony, a rascally amnesiac who, after being rescued from a botched execution, becomes the wild card in a final round of betting between the 1000-year old Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) and a rasping Devil (Tom Waits) over the perfectly innocent soul of the doctor’s daughter, Valentina (Lily Cole).
Opens in New York and Los Angeles before expanding wide on January 8th.

“It’s Complicated”
After “Something’s Gotta Give” and “The Holiday,” Nancy Meyers returns to give the flagging rom-com genre a much needed shot of life and fly the flag for the under-sexed, underrepresented 50-plus crowd with a saucy story of second chances that goes to show you simply can’t put a clock on passion. Oscar magnet Meryl Streep stars alongside Emmy hog Alec Baldwin as Jane and Jake, a once-married couple who give each other a second look when Jake’s marriage to a much younger woman starts to fall apart. The venerable Steve Martin (being generous here Steve, don’t let us down) co-stars as the other other man, so to speak, in what is likely to be yet another dagger in the heart of Meyers’ real-life ex, director Charles Shyer.
Opens wide.

12212009_PoliceAdjective1.jpg“Police, Adjective”
Romanian writer/director Corneliu Porumboiu is fast becoming something of a Cannes darling, with this his sophomore feature matching the feat of his melancholic ensemble debut “12:08 East of Bucharest” in scooping a pair of prizes (FIPRESCI, Un Certain Regard) at the prestigious festival. This comically tinged police procedural also picked up the Transylvania Trophy in its native country, which we only mention here because it has a cool sounding name. Characterized by periods of silent observation punctuated by random arguments over semantics, Porumboiu’s morality play details the drudgery of police work as a young cop (Dragos Bucur) reluctantly stakes out a petty pot dealer, secretly hoping that the boy will lead him to a bigger fish. In Romanian with subtitles.
Opens in limited release on December 23rd.

“Sherlock Holmes”
Given his career-long fascination with swaggering, cockney wide-boys, it’s really not all that surprising that director Guy Ritchie gravitated to the character of Sherlock Holmes — arguably London’s first “geezer” problem solver — as merely a natural extension of his existing body of work. Cherry-picking some of the more cinematic (and less well known) character traits of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s renowned detective, Ritchie gives us a swashbuckling Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) who is as much a lover and a brawler as he is a master of deduction. Ably accompanied by his long-suffering stalwart, Dr. Watson (Jude Law), Holmes races around Victorian-era London in pursuit of the wily Lord Blackwood (the ever-more-impressive Mark Strong), a scheming occultist who fakes his own death to avoid Scotland Yard’s unwanted attention and take control of Parliament.
Opens wide.

[Additional photo: Dragos Bucur in “Police, Adjective,” IFC Films, 2009]

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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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