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DID YOU READ

Rounding up, moving on.

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"Isn't life disappointing?"For a refreshing take on The Slump, we suggest David Denby‘s New Yorker piece on Susan Sontag and film. Sontag, who may have demanded more of cinema as an art form than any other figure in the golden age of film criticism, wrote off contemporary film back in 1995, in an essay entitled "A Century of Cinema."

Setting out the reasons for the fall, Sontag mentioned the consumption of TV-size images at home replacing the awed reception of light by "kidnapped" strangers in darkened theatres; the catastrophic rise in movie-production costs in the nineteen-eighties; the tipping of the old balance between art and commerce "decisively in favor of cinema as an industry." All these forces, she wrote, were producing a "disincarnated, lightweight cinema that doesn’t demand anyone’s full attention."

Well, there you go.

Denby goes on to outline Sontag’s love affair with the medium, which eventually led her to attempt to make (terrible) films herself, her particular views of who were important filmmakers (not the Americans), her eventual disillusionment and nevertheless persistent adoration ("At the end of her life, working hard, and often ill, Susan Sontag went to the movies almost every day of the week.").

Over at Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman and Lisa Schwarzbaum (who we like, though it seems to us that their writing is often neutered by higher editing powers) launch into a Slate Movie Club-style discussion for two on the season that was. Gleiberman is surprisingly upbeat about summer, proclaiming it the new season of quality.

OWEN: Some important folks in Hollywood are blaming the summer box office decline on the quality of the movies. I have this to say to them: Balderdash!

LISA: Is that word approved for use by critics?

OWEN: Are you kidding — it’s made for blurbing.

Much good stuff there, and it’s nice to see those two be given more freedom to be goofy and, you know, smart.

Anne Thompson at the Hollywood Reporter has a further retort to the question of whether the box office is slumping because of a decline in the quality of films — specialty theaters are suffering from lower attendance too. She talks to Barbara Smith from L.A.’s American Cinematheque and Gary Meyer from San Francisco’s Balboa Cinema, both of whom foresee a world with far fewer theaters.

And Michael Phillips at the Chicago Tribune tries to remember why we love movies in the first place.

Most of the movies we see…come to us as dispatches from another land. They may instill a sense of home, or belonging, or emotional meaning, or just hand us a lot of explosions, or a few laughs. But they’re from somewhere else. That’s the appeal. The medium takes us somewhere else and, now and then, brings us back altered for the better.

+ THE MOVIEGOER (New Yorker)
+ Quality Problem (Entertainment Weekly)
+ Don’t blame just films for slumping boxoffice (HR)
+ Movies take us somewhere else (Chicago Tribune)

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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 IFC.com

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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…