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The agony of the fall preview.

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Hot like fire.It’s fall preview season — and where to even begin summing up the flood of special sections centered around the same damn list of films? Well, probably with The Reeler, whose "Fall Movie Preview Review" is a far, far wittier thing than anything bouncing around in our caffeine-addled head at the moment. The Reeler‘s S.T. VanAirsdale runs through all of the New York-based round-ups, citing high points, low points, "Egregious Hype" and an estimate of the actual worth of bothering to read any of these preview packages. The always-wise David Hudson at Greencine Daily adds his thoughts on the New York Times‘ section.

Said section, crowned "The New Season" by the paper of record, is definitely the best of the bunch, solely on the basis of Manohla Dargis and A. O. Scott‘s dueling, ambitious thematic overviews (Stephen Holden, covering Woody Allen’s "Match Point," gets banished to the bottom of the page, which only enforces for us that, despite all the Cannes hype, no one cares that much about the film — we’ve just been hurt waiting for a recent quality Allen film too many times before.).

Ms. Dargis approaches the season by way of "A History of Violence," "Dear Wendy," "Where the Truth Lies," "Manderlay" and "Don’t Come Knocking" — films she sees as "holding up fun-house mirrors to America" (particularly to our fascination and fetishization of violence), as well as signs that we’ve finally passed beyond the moratorium on film’s criticizing the US following 9/11:

In these films, the focus isn’t on quiet and ugly Americans doing their lethally secret business abroad. Instead, these are films about ordinary Americans – fathers and mothers, sons and daughters – whose hands are dirty and sometimes covered in blood. Ordinary, smiling, guilty Americans.

A very worthy read, and one that adds to the growing hype surrounding "A History of Violence," which the Village Voice, in the wee fall preview we didn’t both linking to before (but will now: Michael Atkinson does his film round-up, the staff weighs in on the top ten fall movie-going highlights), breathlessly called "a brilliantly directed psychological thriller/neo-western that more than fulfills the philosophical and political dimensions of its title—and confirms its maker as the greatest director working in the English language today."

Scott tackles American film, something in general he finds is failing to engage with, as he puts it, "the realities of American life." He sees the awards season as a parade of safe, distancing biopics and period pieces, as well as (yes!) the ubiquitous navel-gazing Sundance "dysfunctional suburban teenage drama-satire":

Again, the point is not to indict particular movies…but to wonder why the themes they explore are so dominant. Uncomprehending parents, awakening sexuality, the stultifications of school and the inchoate longing for freedom – these problems are sufficiently ubiquitous as to make your local art house look like the young-adult section of your local bookstore. Except that the teenage-angst movies frequently come with R ratings and marketing campaigns aimed more at graduate students than at high school kids.

We are frequently needlessly snide about films of this ilk, regardless of their quality, and we apologize, but it’s because of similar sentiments to Mr. Scott here. God, for a young up-and-comer with ridiculous, impossibly broad ambitions! Screw "write what you know," Sundance Lab rats, no one cares about your thinly disguised adolescence — try harder, for chrissakes.

Anyway, lots of other good stuff in the that section. Also worth a look is the LA Times"Fall Movie Sneaks," which includes a massive amount of interviews with various stars and directors of scattered upcoming titles, along with Kevin Thomas rounding up highlights of LA-area foreign film screenings: "As has been increasingly the case over recent decades, many of the season’s new foreign films will be available only as one-time screenings as part of special series presentations at institutional venues."

Stephen Hunter in the Washington Post sees this upcoming fall as particularly literary adaptation-heavy, and advises us, film by film, as to whether or not we should bother reading the source book before heading to the theater.

Wesley Morris and Ty Burr at the Boston Globe disagree with A. O. Scott on the relevance issue — they see this as a particularly issue-heavy fall:

What’s exciting is that many of these movies are set in the present or recent past. They’re not allegories or full-on satires, which might leave us desperate for a film with a sense of farce — ”The Producers," say. But some have the potential to resonate with our current social and political climate. Of course, if that’s not to your liking, we’d like to guide you straight to ”Saw II."

For those of you as exhausted as we are by the above endeavor, we direct you to Heather Havrilesky‘s fall TV round-up at Salon, which is funny, smart, and blessedly not about film (plus it comes with a handy chart, and we ♥ those!).

+ The Reeler’s Fall Movie Preview Review (The Reeler)
+ NYT. Fall preview. (Greencine Daily)
+ The New Season: Movies (NY Times)
+ Fall Movie Sneaks (LA Times)
+ Hollywood Follows the Reader
(Washington Post)
+ Tough Stuff (Boston Globe)
+ White-knuckle TV (Salon)
+ Fear factored (Salon)

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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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