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DID YOU READ

The week’s critic wrangle: Meanwhile, back at the France.

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It’s Bastille Day! Of the three big-name French films opening today, we like "Time to Leave," are lukewarm on "Changing Times" and loathed "Gabrielle" when we saw it at the New York Film Festival last year. Also opening are William H. Macy-does-Mamet "Edmond," Edward Burns remaking (an apparently somewhat better version of) the same movie he always does in "The Groomsmen," and indie sex comedy "The OH in Ohio," with the unexpectedly high-end cast of Parker Posey, Paul Rudd and Marissa Cooper…er,  Mischa Barton.

 

Stay.
+ "Gabrielle": Everyone (except us) apparently loves Patrice Chéreau‘s adaptation of Joseph Conrad novella "The Return" — even the New York PressArmond White, who calls the film "a formalistic tour de force," but still manages to get his digs in at someone: "Measuring art by the intricacies of the cultural past is a more enlightened approach than the specious historicism of movies like ‘The Notorious Bettie Page’ and Hou Hsiao Hsien‘s ‘Three Times.’" (To be honest, we’re not sure what he means there — theories and explications would be appreciated.) At the Village Voice, Dennis Lim approaches the film from the angle of the original novella, and finds it "as compact and precise as the Conrad original, and a stunning reinvention of the period chamber drama." He, and others, calls out Chereau’s use of intertitles splashed across the screen at key moments: "a curious affectation that confers a spectral, antique quality on the proceedings but also has a perversely bracing, almost Pop Art effect."

Manohla Dargis, who calls "Gabrielle" "a film of eccentric beauty and wild feeling," notes of the actors "[Isabelle] Huppert, one of the screen’s great criers (second only to Juliette Binoche), spends much of the film with a flush and damp face, suffering in sepulchral silence while [Pascal] Greggory brilliantly rages." Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir salutes Chereau’s filmmaking:

[H]e tries to stretch the cinematic medium to the breaking point. The film hopscotches between black-and-white and color sequences, without any obvious system. Patches of the film are silent, with huge, intrusive intertitles to convey information and even lines of dialogue. As Chéreau admits, the editing deliberately violates the established grammar of cinema, so that the camera seems to skip around the couple’s opulent rooms, and we sometimes see events happen more than once from different points of view.

He does slip in, however: "But is it easy, or delightful, or fun? It is not."

And the indieWIRE/Reverse Shot group loves it.

 

"I know you - incapable of being alone."
+ "Time to Leave": "Curiously, the melodramatic elements of ‘Time to Leave’ — the moments of emotional display, the surges of music — help to insulate the film from sentimentality," writes A.O. Scott. He seems to like François Ozon‘s film, while pointing out that it "explains very little, choosing instead to emphasize the essential paradox that an individual’s life is never complete and always over too soon." Andrew O’Hehir is more explicit:

It’s a magnificent miniature, a supremely tender work that’s full of emotion and even sentimentality, but that never stoops to fulfill the audience’s wishes or tries to make Romain ([Melvil] Poupaud) any more likable on death’s door than he was before.

He also notes that "It’s good, at least in theory, to see the great Jeanne Moreau in an important cameo as Romain’s grandmother, although I’m sorry to say you may be shocked by her appearance." Well, she is way old. At New York, David Edelstein finds "there’s something distasteful about Ozon’s unexamined solipsism," but muses that "The way in this film that tortured people dramatize their rage and longing via sex reminds you how much is missing—a world of experience—in the American cinema."

At the Village Voice, Dennis Lim is a touch hostile: "’Time to Leave’ amounts simply to a semi-thoughtful disease-of-the-week weepie, admirable in its restraint but shying from the terror of the situation." He also complains that the film "winds up a tiresome affirmation of man’s biological duty to procreate; the position is simplistic verging on obnoxious, especially after 5×2’s attack on the hetero family model."

 

"I'm a faithful type."+ "Changing Times": At the New York Times, Stephen Holden raves that "Changing Times" finds director André Téchiné "near the peak of his form."

Much of the movie’s charm lies in its sheer vitality. Mr. Téchiné loves people and life, and every scene is filled with light, music, activity and a sensuous appreciation of landscape.

Armond White similarly claims of Téchiné that "No current filmmaker is more deft and incisive."

To put it simply, "Changing Times" is an amazing film to look at: images keep moving and new characters keep appearing as relationships expand and complicate. Téchiné’s style recalls Altman but is resolutely unCassavetes — never pausing to outstare or contemplate — he keeps moving, furiously.

He also calls it "the film of the year." Michael Atkinson at the Village Voice would beg to disagree he writes that "Téchiné has always been an electric image maker, but his narratives are prone to diffusion or cliché, and there may not be a single propulsively written story in his 30-year filmography." He finds that the film never pulls itself together, a grumble repeated by Andrew O’Hehir,  who writes "[I]t’s kind of a mess. An agreeable, even lovable mess, but still a mess."

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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.

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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