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The week’s critic wrangle: Grizzly Persuasion.

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Timothy Treadwell and fox friend+ "Grizzly Man": "Herzog’s first authentic found-footage movie," Michael Atkinson calls it, and for the most part critics are enraptured by the director’s portrait of Timothy Treadwell, a man who for 12 and a half seasons lived in alarming proximity to the grizzlies in Alaska’s Katmai National Park, until he and his girlfriend were killed and eaten by one of them. This is the greatest of Werner Herzog‘s recent spate of documentaries, which have been trickling out over the past year and include "The White Diamond" and "The Wheel of Time." Treadwell is the typical Herzog figure (many mention "Fitzcarraldo"): "the director has a fondness for stories about men who journey into the heart of darkness, both without and within," as Manohla Dargis puts it, and all but Ella Taylor agree. Taylor, who still enjoys the film, finds that:

while Grizzly Man is never less than a fascinating portrait of a troubled Peter Pan who couldn’t function in human society and tried to remake the animal kingdom into his own private Hanna-Barbera cartoon, it fails to establish Treadwell as much more than a serious headcase, let alone a titanic figure.

Taylor also thinks that Herzog buys into Treadwell’s self-aggrandizement: "For a formidable intellectual, Herzog can also be a shocking drama queen." Ebert disagrees, saying that the film "doesn’t approve of Treadwell, and it isn’t sentimental about animals." Ebert and Taylor are also split on Herzog’s treatment of Treadwell’s death, the audio of which was recorded, though the lens cap on the camera remained on. Herzog chooses not to include the audio track, but instead to listen to it, via headphones, on camera and react to it, a choice Ebert finds effective and Taylor affected. At any rate, most would agree with Andrew O’Hehir, who calls Herzog "the best and strangest documentarian in the field today."

Evan Rachel Wood, Adi Schnall and Elisabeth Harnois+ "Pretty Persuasion": If you like your comedy like you like your coffee: black, maybe with an artificial sweetener or two (Splenda?), you might like this, seems to be the consensus. Or maybe you’ll just find it misanthropic and juvenile. This week’s indieWIRE/Reverse Shot trio is torn. Lead reviewer Suzanne Scot:

Films such as "Clueless" and "Election" (to which "Pretty Persuasion" owes its well-intentioned roots, even if it fails to flower) succeed on repeat viewings for precisely the same reasons "Pretty Persuasion" fails on its first and serves to make its white-trash cinematic cousin "Wild Things" seem classy by comparison.

Kristi Mitsuda, following her, finds it over-the-top fun, while Michael Joshua Rowin points out that for all its shock value the film is "oddly moralistic." Andrew O’Hehir is impressed by Evan Rachel Wood’s balls-out performance and the film’s glorious ruthlessness, but also thinks that "[Director Marcos] Siega seems determined — maybe a little too determined — to get his movie banned in the Bible Belt." Ben Kenigsberg is far less fond: "Much as it wants to be a satire (smugly self-aware, the movie posts a definition of the term on a blackboard), Pretty Persuasion is at heart an exploitation film." And Stephen Holden, who otherwise finds the film hilarious, thinks that it goes disappointingly soft at the last minute.

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Rev Up

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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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.


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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