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Much ado about not that much.

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Aimee Mullins and Matthew Barney.A bit of a slow news day today, which gives us the opportunity to look at two rather lengthy and literary musings on sets of films one normally wouldn’t bother with.

Devin McKinney has got this week’s big essay at the Village Voice, and he writes about how "Flightplan" is the latest narrative to make use of the reoccurring urban legend of the Vanishing Lady, in which two family members/loved ones are away from home, one vanishes, and everyone denies being aware of the missing person’s existence when the other searches for him/her.

"Flightplan"’s renewal of the legend may resonate with humanity’s recent losses to terror attack and natural disaster—just as the story’s popularity throughout the 1920s may have been a specter of the Great War and the influenza epidemic of 1918. These too have been years of wholesale loss and sudden, inexplicable grief for millions.

"There must be more than that . . . there must be an explanation." In popular fiction, always; in life, almost never. It may be that, in its eternal return, the Vanishing Lady is a myth not of resurrection but of loss repeated through infinity. It’s true that the Lady, whatever shape or sex she assumes, is always found at the end of the story. It’s also true that she is always, come the next telling, lost again.

Over at Slate, Aidan Wasley makes his case for the "Star Wars" trilogies adding up to "the greatest postmodern art film ever." Check this:

"Star Wars," at its secret, spiky intellectual heart, has more in common with films like Peter Greenaway‘s "Prospero’s Books" or even Matthew Barney‘s "The Cremaster Cycle" than with the countless cartoon blockbusters it spawned. Greenaway and Barney take the construction of their own work as a principal artistic subject, and Lucas does, too. "This poem is concerned with language on a very plain level," one of John Ashbery’s works begins. "Star Wars," we might say, is concerned with plot on a very plain level. Everything about the films, from the opening text crawls to the out-of-order production of the two trilogies, foregrounds the question of plot. As an audience, we grapple with not just the intricate clockwork of a complex and interwoven narrative, but, in postmodern fashion, with the fundamental mechanics of storytelling itself.

We’re not convinced, but it’s kind of a great read.

Over at the LA Times, Robert W. Welkos reports on a ridiculous tiff going on between two indies with the same title. Sean Baker and Shih-Ching Tsou‘s "Take Out" is a gritty drama about an illegal Chinese immigrant trying to pay off his debts working as a restaurant delivery boy — it’s done well in the festivals and managed to get picked up by CAVU Pictures, a small distributor. Seth Landau‘s "Take Out" is a comedy about a man trying to rid the nation of chain restaurants. And thus begins the battle of the $3000 and the $13,000 film, which, one would imagine, is rather like two starving people having a food fight. (No) money quote:

And while Landau’s backers complain about NYU film grads with "high priced" lawyers writing cease-and-desist letters, [CAVU’s Michael] Sergio and [Isil] Bagdadi point out that the lawyer who wrote the letter in question is Stephen Baker of the law firm Baker and Rannells, P.A., who also happens to be the co-director’s dad.

And over at the New York Times, Sharon Waxman talks to Peter Lalonde, the producer of "Left Behind: World at War,"  which, as the Washington Post reported two weeks ago, was released by Sony Pictures Entertainment exclusively in churches across the country. Waxman’s angle is that Sony, who attached a $1.2 million marketing budget to the film, has been uncomfortable and thus hesitant to push a Christian film, a theory that so enrages Movie City NewsDavid Poland that he’s penned a furious screed in response.

+ Fright Plan
(Village Voice)
+ Star Wars: Episodes I-VI (Slate)
+ ‘Take Out’ for party of two (LA Times)
+ Sony Effort to Reach Christians Is Disputed (NY Times)
+ What Is The Problem??? (The Hot Blog)

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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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