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Odds: Wednesday – The discreet charm of the Shaolin and the Marines.

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And never looked better.


That, our friends, is a dateline for you. Back in September there was word that the Shaolin monks were taking charge of their public image and making their own damn martial arts movies, and Geoffrey York at the Globe and Mail makes the hop over to Henan to check in on the monks and their reasons for making what will be a relatively bid-budgeted production entitled "Legends of the Monk Warriors of Shaolin Temple." The monks manage to both sound both extremely business-savvy and satisfyingly like the films they’re trying to disprove.

"When I am doing calligraphy, I am actually practising martial arts," says Mr. Shi, one of the temple’s most senior monks. "And when I am drinking tea with you, this too is part of martial arts. You have to understand what kinds of tea leaves to use, what kind of water, the temperature of the water and how many seconds to immerse the tea leaves. The timing is very important. You have to practise it every day to understand it. The same is true of calligraphy and martial arts."

He gives his visitors a paper he has written on the relationship between tea ceremonies, calligraphy and martial arts. "The water pouring into the tea cups is like the smooth and integrated movements of Shaolin martial arts — to attack like the release of a strong tiger and to withdraw like a swift cat," he writes in the paper.

The Hollywood Reporter‘s ever-reliable Anne Thompson now has a blog: the RiskyBiz Blog.

Ian Johns at the London Times bemoans the death of the great swooning screen kiss.

indieWIRE announces that its first Undiscovered Gems Film Festival, a travelling series of seven films picked off its annual top undistributed films list that kicks off this Monday at our own IFC Center. The films:

• "Dear Pillow"
• "House of the Tiger King"
• "Hotel"
• "No Rest for the Brave"
• "Awful Normal"
• "Liberia: An Uncivil War"
• "Speedo"

Susan King at the LA Times looks at our enduring cinematic fascination with the Marines:

"When I was growing up there was always this kind of special aura that
surrounded the Marine Corps," says Rick Jewell, film professor at the
USC School of Cinema & Television. "The Marines were the elite
branch of the service. There was this notion that the Marine Corps were
the group you called on first when you had a major military problem.
This is stretching it a bit, but it was almost like the Marine Corps
was the cult of the military. You wanted to be part of this because it
made you into something special — the best that America had to offer."

Via Gregg Goldstein at Reuters, Bob Saget is writing, directing and will narrate a dirrty mockumentary entitled "Farce of the Penguins": "A poster depicting penguins wearing a bra and panties with the tagline, ‘What happens in Antarctica, stays in Antarctica,’ already has been created to attract buyers at the American Film Market underway in Santa Monica."

"Battle in Heaven" director Carlos Reygadas talks to Sheila Johnston at the Telegraph about why Abel Ferrara‘s "Bad Lieutenant" is so great.

And Bollywood superultramegastar Shahrukh Khan turned 40 yesterday: Rediff has a whole special section to celebrate.

+ Battling cliches in birthplace of kung fu (Glove and Mail)
+ RiskyBiz Blog (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Action! Give me a little more mouth-to-mouth (London Times)
+ 7 Films Set for 9 Cities at indieWIRE Undiscovered Gems Film Festival (indieWIRE)
+ Eager to enlist the Marines (LA Times)
+ Saget roasts ‘Penguins’ in mockumentary (Reuters)
+ Film-makers on film: Carlos Reygadas (Telegraph)
+ SRK, 40 (Rediff)

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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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