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DID YOU READ

“Grindhouse.”

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Planet Terror.It has to be said that no film could be as fun as the promise of "Grindhouse," with its double-feature assurances of being packed to the rotting rafters with every every sticky shameless cinematic pleasure — 191 minutes of thoughtless, tasteless filmic bliss. "Grindhouse" is mightily enjoyable, but it’s never quite delivers the gluttonous gratification we’d guess directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, who slap each other heartily on the back throughout, felt while making the film. Also, aside from the priceless faux trailers tucked in between the two halves — Rob Zombie‘s "Werewolf Women of the S.S." has a brilliant non sequitur of an appearance by Nicolas Cage as "Fu Manchu," and a deadpan ad for the Acuña Boys Restaurant "right next door to the theater" parades a gloriously unappetizing array of khaki-colored food — the film never wholeheartedly commits to aping the exploitations films the boy-king pair have been claiming as context, which we’re not sure is a complaint.

Rodriguez’s smearily over-the-top "Planet Terror" looks like a grindhouse film — the stock is scratched, discolored and warped, it curls at the edges, and at one point burns out, leaving behind a solemn apology from the management about the missing reel (a tic echoed in Taratino’s installment). It was all lovingly added in post-production — "Planet Terror" was shot on digital and is, beneath the appended grit, a slick bit of exorbitance. The film is less a narrative than a frantic mash-up of exploitation tropes: zombies; lesbian affairs; an ominous, amputation-happy hospital; things exploding into balls of flame for absolutely no reason; renegade scientists; tattooed men with mysterious pasts; monstrous soldiers; ludicrous dialogue (and endless amputee jokes); melting genitals; Texas barbecue — you’ll find them all in "Planet Terror." Rose McGowan leads as Cherry Darling, a discontented go-go dancer who weeps as she shimmies to Rodriguez’s woozy theme music, until she’s reunited with her former flame (a surprisingly charismatic Freddy Rodríguez), separated from her leg by zombies, and given a machine gun with which to replace it.

The film wobbles between a genuine embrace of its own trashiness and a smug acknowledgment of its own camp qualities, which is an irritant — overt, calculated kitsch seems like cheating, or at least undermining what we’d imagine to be "Grindhouse"’s mission statement. "Planet Terror"’s aggressive pursuit of new kickassery is a good time that’s quick to fade from mind, though the soon-to-be-iconic image of a bandeau-topped McGowan gimping along on her high caliber artificial limb doesn’t. Neither does the winkingly clumsy (which, in this context, works) attempt to tie the film’s action to the war in Iraq, which ultimately finds Freddy Rodríguez, biting back tears, barking "God bless you for your service to this country" before blowing Bruce Willis‘ head off. Hilarious!

Taratino’s "Death Proof" is a trickier beast, a clever and sleekly shot semi-thriller that’s a grindhouse film in form. The tone is uneven, the pacing languid, the structure completely ridiculous — the film meanders with one set of characters for at least half the runtime, setting up plot threads that go nowhere and hinting at backstories, only to then kill most of those people off in a burst of impressive violence and start over with a new set. All of which is, actually, dead on, though "Death Proof" turns out to be foremost a love letter from Tarantino to himself. The film’s wandering focus never passes up characters talking about nothing in particular, whether that nothing be old TV shows, 60s UK pop groups or Tarantino in-jokes. This far into his career, it’s impossible not to hear him, the auteur-cum-ventriloquist, behind every character, especially with concoctions like Sydney Tamiia Poitier‘s alpha Amazon Julia, who smokes weed like a fiend and tosses out idle references to "Cannonball Run" and Zatoichi without any doubt that those around her will know exactly what she’s talking about. Still, there’s an unhurried quality to the conversations that oh-so-good — Kurt Russell, better than he’s been in a long time as baddie Stuntman Mike, notably seems to savor his every line before spitting it out. In the latter chunk of the film, the action’s allowed to grind to a total halt as the camera circles the film’s second group of girls, gathered around a diner table chatting about "Vanishing Point" for. Fucking. Ever. It’s so indulgent that you suspect Tarantino of trying to insert himself into the B-movie history he dwells over — here’s a bit of slasher/stalker flick, here’s some tough girl revenge story, and here’s a slab of vintage Tarantino, inheritor of the entire kingdom.

We could care less about where Tarantino would put himself in the canon, but we can’t deny his virtuosity, and for every annoying departure and moment of celluloid navel-gazing, there’s are a dozen shots of such unfettered élan — the head-bobbing sequence leading up to a crash, say, or a drowsy jukebox dance, or the lengthy car chase that we know was done without the help of CGI because a character all but turned to the camera and told us so.

Wait — maybe he actually did.

"Grindhouse" opens wide on April 6th.

+ "Grindhouse" (Weinstein Company)

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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…