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DID YOU READ

“The Last Mountain,” Reviewed

“The Last Mountain,” Reviewed (photo)

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In the state where it takes place, “The Last Mountain” occupies the loneliest corner, the “last “referring to the Coal River Mountain, the only peak that hasn’t been reduced to rubble for the sake of coal production in West Virginia. And the film itself, the latest from “The Price of Sugar” director Bill Haney, is equally isolating, a well-built argument against the destruction of the Appalachian mountains to feed our nation’s energy needs that ditches any sense of objectivity early on and directs its message firmly at those who already lean towards banning corporations from drilling to prevent the destruction of the region and worse, the debilitating effects on the health of its citizenry as both the water and air become contaminated with coal dust.

Even amidst the debris, Haney clearly lays out the gradual demolition of mountain tops and the erosion of laws that were intended to protect them from the 1970s forward. In Haney’s view, this is an apolitical debate between those who value life and those who don’t, making the villains’ greed especially reckless. Fox News is a conspicuously ambivalent presence during news montages, the then-Governor of West Virginia, now-Senator Joe Manchin, who doesn’t miss a chance to say he’s a “friend of coal,” is a Democrat and the growing swell of anti-coal advocates look the part of those who should be voting Democrat but likely skew red.

RobertFKennedyJrLastMountain_06012011.jpgYet the film still finds a white knight in Robert F. Kennedy Jr., less a subject for the film than a collaborator who helps illustrate West Virginia’s plight from a state of idyllic horse farms to polluted ghost towns, and an obvious villain in Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, who’s introduced wearing a particularly garish red, white and blue outfit and bragging about the $1 million he’s spent on the pro-coal rally he’s speaking in front of. You probably don’t need me to tell you that Blankenship is on the hook for a lot more than money in Haney’s documentary — between the lobbyists Massey’s hired to press for less drilling restrictions and the workers he’s let go to make way for machines, he’s left behind blackened earth where communities used to be.

That much of “The Last Mountain” actually is beautiful, with polished cinematography from the trio of Tim Hotchner, Stephen McCarthy and Jerry Risius and deft editing by Peter Rhodes, makes the medicine go down easier, but there’s no doubt to some, it will still feel like medicine, even as expertly executed as the final product is. As a film, it suffers from a syndrome of many activist-driven documentaries, which as important as they are, still connect on an ideological level rather than an emotional one, despite the scenes of the elderly being dragged from town hall meetings and the visible rage of the talking heads. There is a narrative compiling the testimony of environmental scholars and local victims, but not necessarily a story to cling onto for anyone who is not already a believer in their cause. Still, “The Last Mountain” offers an education and if you’re willing to listen, it’s a devastating history.

“The Last Mountain” opens in New York and Washington D.C. on June 3rd before expanding into limited release.

Do you want to see “The Last Mountain”? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook

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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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