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How to spot the culprit.

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A is for...In honor of the NFT’s Crime Scene 2005 Festival, the London Times has a section of delightful oddities on crime films, which isn’t really a genre we have here (it seems to lie somewhere between noir and mysteries).

As an introductory piece, Phoebe Greenwood talks to various real cops and robbers about their favorite criminal film moments. She ties everything up with there useful pointers for spotting a criminal (on camera):

+ It’s the fourth or fifth person billed in the credits.
+ A major character actor in a minor role will declare his guilt at the end.
+ A love of fine wines/high art/biblical quotations is the sign of a master villain.
+ If suspects are blind or wheelchair-bound, they are probably faking it.
+ Never trust anyone with a cast-iron alibi.

Maxim Jakubowski presents the A to Z of crime movies, from "Angels With Dirty Faces" to Cornell Woolrich (he kind of flakes at the end there). Then he offers the following list of the worst crime clichés (we love kitschy lists, can you tell?):

+ Cases burst open in a shower of banknotes
+ Answer machines always have one message vital to an investigation
+ Serial killers plaster their bedroom walls with newspaper cuttings and psychotic scribblings.
+ Assassins always wait too long for a better shot
+ It’s always the first day on the job for the bank teller being robbed

James Christopher interviews Donald E. Westlake, who’s written scads of crime novels under several aliases, each with their own literary style. Many have been made into films, among the better ones "The Grifters" (which is, hey!, playing on IFC next week) and "Point Blank."

He gracefully acknowledges that the industry occasionally makes a total hash of his work. He refuses to give specifics: "There’s a wonderful line from James M. Cain. He was once asked, ‘What do you think the movies did to your books?’ He answered, ‘They didn’t do anything to my books. There they are on the shelf.’"

Reporter Wendy Ide gets feedback on the realistic (or not) use of forensics in film from her father, a forensic scientist. Joanne Hines points out that women in crimes films tend to be arm candy, screaming victims, or feisty: "In Hollywood terms, this usually means a woman too stupid to respond plausibly in the kind of situation which would have any sane person passing out with fear." Author Ian Rankin lists his top ten crime films, and finally, as we always have to come back to celebrity antics these days, Kevin Maher details the ten crimes celebs tend to commit (there’s no "Overacting," or "Telling unfunny anecdotes on talk shows," which would be too easy, we suppose).

+ Real life True Crime (Times of London)
+ It’s a fair cop and robbers (Times of London)
+ Mystery man of many faces (Times of London)
+ Why I so love killing time with Dad (Times of London)
+ What’s a vice girl like you doing in flicks like these? (Times of London)
+ Molls, murder and mayhem (Times of London)
+ Lights, camera, infraction! (Times of London)

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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

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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

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