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DID YOU READ

The 10 toughest women movie characters

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We’re just a few months into 2012, but it’s already shaping up to be the return of female protagonists handing out swift justice to the forces of evil. In January we saw Kate Beckinsale kicks some serious ass as “Underworld: Awakening” opened to wide release and Michael Fassbender, secure in his manliness, admitted that fighting MMA brawler Gina Carino in “Haywire” was a freeing experience. Over the coming months we eagerly anticipate seeing leading ladies such as Noomi Rapace in “Prometheus,” Scarlett Johansson in “The Avengers” and “Anne Hathaway in “The Dark Knight Rises” prove that estrogen can be just as dangerous as testosterone. Tough women, it would appear, are the new black. And who among us doesn’t love a sexy bad-ass woman on screen? Here, without further ado, are my ten toughest women film characters.


10. Trinity, “The Matrix”

Carrie-Ann Moss’ Trinity can only be properly construed under the category of icy hot. Decisive, brilliant and kick ass, Trinity was hacker chic before the hacker chic of Lisabeth Salander. As with most of the female characters on this list, Trinity is well-versed in the martial arts, technology and, of course, the care and maintenance of firearms. You know: the important things in Life. Further, Moss’ ‘Trinity dominated nearly every scene she was in in during that first Matrix film, one of the all time favorites of all men. And no wonder.


9. Yu Shu Lien and Jen, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”

Again, the martial arts figure strongly on this list. The martial arts equalizes the body mass differences between most men and women. But in the epic five minute fight scene outside of a school courtyard in Crouching Tiger, we see a stunning array of weapons, including: broadswords, an iron pipe, a spear, hook swords and, of course, the Green Sword of Destiny (wouldn’t you like to have one of those bad boys?) These two ferocious fighters (played by Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang) forever silenced the critics as to whether or not women can play tough on screen in the same way that Tina Fey’s 30 Rock answered Chris Hitchens’s ridiculous assertion –for all time – whether or not women indeed are funny. Hello?


8. O-Ren Ishii, “Kill Bill”

The so-called “Queen of Tokyo’s Underworld,” Lucy Liu’s O-Ren Ishii stands out among the other also badass members of the Deadly Vipers Assassination Squad mainly because of the delicate beauty with which she slices and dices her victims. O-Ren Ishii creates such beautiful Death. And — at least visually from the perspective of a removed viewer — dying, as Ishii does, bloody and in the snow, is as spectacular a way to go as any other. Very, very Zen. Which leads us to …


7. The Bride, “Kill Bill”

Uma Thurman’s Bride suddenly wakes up in a hospital after a coma. The Bride has lost her baby and she has been abused by an incredibly disgusting hospital staff worker and his Vaseline. That, and that questionable yellow track suit gives her as good a reason to be pissed at the world as anything else. What ensues thereafter in Kill Bill is roughly one hundred minutes of wildly inventive methods of spectacularly brutal murder and exquisite bloodletting (88 yakuza members and Lucy Liu’s scalp). What makes the Bride one of the toughest women in all of film is not just because of her ability to mete out fantastic violence, but also the unbelievable amount of punishment she is able to take and keep moving, gradually, towards the object of her revenge, this mysterious “Bill.”


6. Princess Leia, “Return of the Jedi”

In a space bikini, the leader of the rebel alliance strangling the perverse Jabba the Hut with the chains of her own captivity is how we best like to remember the woman of all of our crushes. An early adopter, Princess of Leia of Alderaan was down with the rebellion, outlasting the mechanical tortures of Darth Vader within the fetid bowels of the Death Star, even before Luke and Han were on board with saving the galaxy. Princess Leia so clearly rocks.

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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.

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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…