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DID YOU READ

The week’s critic wrangle: Broken Flowers in 2046.

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"In love you can't bring on a substitute."+ "2046": At last! Wong Kar Wai‘s ages-in-the-making sequel to his beloved 2000 film "In the Mood for Love" (a fact everyone dances around, feeling the need to bracket the term in quotation marks or preface it with "unofficial": it’s very clearly a sequel, people) makes its voluptuous way into limited release today. Michael Atkinson and Manohla Dargis are fondest: La Manohla calls it an "unqualified triumph" and notes it’s much improved from the yet-unfinished version that premiered at Cannes in 2004. Atkinson finds that the film’s power lies in its still-living state, in the sense that it has only been abandoned and will forever be unfinished, though he frets that "the movie seems like one of those culminating über-works after which careers often fade to black—has Wong made the definitive Wongian film?"

Let us agree that use of the word "Wongian" should be strongly discouraged from here on out.

Even Armond White, that cranky bastard, loves it, finding it a refutation of academic theory about the camera representing the male gaze, and, more simply, "all sublimnity." Andrew O’Hehir has a few reservations about the film:  "I found the decadent loveliness of ‘2046’ irresistible, but the morning after I felt a little rueful, as if I’d gone to a party and Wong had given me some really good drugs." She declares it needlessly murky, with symbolism that doesn’t add up to anything solid, but says it’s still "among the most beautiful and most mysterious movies I’ve ever seen." Scott Foundas thinks the film is unnecessary, an emotionally chilly, stylish reiteration of themes expressed better in "In the Mood for Love," a film that was, for him, "close to perfect."

Bill Murray, tragic clown.+ "Broken Flowers": There seems to be an unspoken agreement amongst critics that Jim Jarmusch can do no wrong, and Bill Murray has ascended to some greater plane of acting awesomeness lately, so it’s hardly surprising that almost everyone has a ringing endorsements for this meeting of the two masters of deadpan. David Edelstein declares Murray’s "Broken Flowers"

the crowning performance in what I call Bill Murray’s Loneliness
Trilogy, which consists of Broken Flowers, Lost in Translation, and The
Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. In his melancholy, he’s funny; in his
funniness, he’s at sea: The ironic hipster clown has become God’s
loneliest man.

"No actor is better than Bill Murray as doing nothing at all, and being fascinating while not doing it," says Roger Ebert, who goes on to wonder what, exactly, a Bill Murray imitation would look like and if it would be even possible. A. O. Scott salutes the film’s deceptive complexity of emotions and its refusal to tie things up neatly. Jessica Winter enjoys it, though she points out that it flirts with "About Schmidt"-style sneering at middle American on occasion. Winter also notes that certain female performers in the film have had plastic surgery that verges on the grotesque — Edelstein and Stephanie Zacharek come right out and name names, with Zacharek interjecting: "Jessica Lange (whose wonderful face, unfortunately, has lost much of its character, presumably thanks to the dread Hollywood scalpel)."

Matt Zoller Seitz, who clearly worships at the altar of Jarmusch, decides that "Broken Flowers" "doesn’t function simultaneously on five or six levels like Jarmusch’s amazing Dead Man. Most of the time it settles for one and a half." Jonathan Rosenbaum also finds it not quite up to the director’s greatest work. Scott Foundas defends the film from its detractors who would label it a compromise, or too commercial. And David Denby, who seems to be the least predisposed to like Jarmusch, admires the film’s craft but is left cold, ultimately finding it "an art object without the energy or courage to be a work of art."

A correction: We accidentally credited Andrew O’Hehir’s “2046” review to Stephanie Zacharek. It’s been fixed, and, also, we suck.

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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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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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