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The week’s critic wrangle: Who’s your “Prairie Home Companion” now, bitch?

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Sorry. Somehow it seemed necessary.

"Every show is your last show. That's my philosophy."
+ "A Prairie Home Companion": We haven’t has a chance to see Robert Altman‘s latest yet, but we probably will, as by most accounts it’s a joy. It inspires Roger Ebert to drippiness and the quoting of F. Scott Fitzgerald: "There is so much of the ghost of Scott Fitzgerald hovering in the shadows of this movie that at the end I quoted to myself the closing words of ‘The Great Gatsby.’ I’m sure you remember them, so let’s say them together: And so we beat on, boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past." It inspires Rob Nelson, at the Village Voice, to the fanciful: "The dialogue here doesn’t overlap so much as cascade; the zooms don’t suggest a biologist squinting through a microscope, but someone—an old man, I might as well say it—leaning in for a tiny kiss."

At Slate, Michael Agger reads the film through the legacy of the Keillor radio show and largely pleased with it; at the New York Press, Armond White is dismissive of said show but is euphoric with regards to Altman’s filmmaking, comparing him to Jean Renoir and eulogizing him so fiercely that it’s almost a shame that the director is still alive and kicking and in talks to next make a narrative adaptation of "Hands on a Hard Body."

LA Weekly‘s Ella Taylor, also thoroughly enchanted, notes that "Nothing much happens, unless you count life (a pregnant stagehand is ready to drop her baby), love (unrequited) and death (‘The death of an old man is not a tragedy,’ the Angel whispers)." David Edelstein at New York observes that there are a few off notes, but still salutes the "unruly vitality of this marvelous film."

And a few naysayers…well, hardly, but there are a few who aren’t fully won over — The New Yorker‘s David Denby thinks the film could have used a bit more of that vitality: "Dramatically, it’s mellow to the point of inertia. There may not be any sweat, but there isn’t any heat, either." The New York TimesA.O. Scott declares it minor Altman, but still concludes that "It’s not a perfect movie, and it does not aspire to be a great one. It’s just wonderful." Kristi Mitsuda at Reverse Shot expresses "displeasure and discomfort with its dramatic constructs," particularly the meta-noir characters played by Kevin Kline and Virginia Madsen, though in the end she also likes the film.

And how is La Lohan?

Agger: "Lohan is very natural, even though her big song doesn’t quite come off—it’s too Disney."

Chris Wisniewski (of Reverse Shot): "[T]hough we’re supposed to take her somewhat seriously, Lindsay Lohan is disastrously miscast as Yolanda’s daughter Lola."

Adam Nayman (of Reverse Shot): "In a great bit of casting, it’s Lindsay Lohan (as the daughter of the veteran chanteuse played by Meryl Streep) who gets to sing the final song of the broadcast: stumbling over the lyrics to an ancient my-boyfriend-is-a-bastard ditty, she nervously inserts some of her own words (she’s a bookish, vintage tee-wearing poet, contemporary in every way) and wins over the staunchly traditional studio audience."

"A 'Buena Vista'-style crossover hit"?
+ "Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul": Fatih Akin, who directed the superb, bruising Turkish-German romance "Head-On," follows it up with this documentary on contemporary Turkish music, with Alexander Hacke, the bassist from the industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten (and a contributor to the "Head-On" soundtrack) as our guide. The New York TimesManohla Dargis calls the film "infectiously enjoyable," suggesting that it "feels like something of a gift, as if the director had decided to burn some of his favorite songs for his newfound friends, the world-cinema audience." R. Emmet Sweeney at the Village Voice notes that

There is a general fear among the film’s subjects that local traditions are dying amid the rush to modernization. This uncertainty is rendered sublime by national icon Sezen Akzu in her command performance of "Memories of Istanbul," evoking the city’s rapidly disappearing past with impossibly noble resignation.

And Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir  concludes that "Whatever you think you know about Turkey, ‘Crossing the Bridge’ will change your mind. With a dynamite album of music from the film in simultaneous release, I smell a ‘Buena Vista’-style crossover hit."

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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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