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Chinese democracy…er, miscellany.

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Happy New Year! And lord, we’ve missed a lot…the Slate Movie Club (A little self-congratulatory this year? Or perhaps it just seems that way without Armond White’s furious windmill-tilting?), the New York Times’ best ofs, the Village Voice‘s Take 7indieWIRE‘s top tens…so while we’re off catching up and sorting through days and days of email build-up, some scattered film-related vacation notes and photos:

Hk05_2Anyone with a Wong Kar Wai fetish knows that Chungking Mansions is the place to go in Hong Kong for cheap tailoring, decent takeout and drug smuggling. There’s a general air of "you’ll wake up in a bathtub of ice with your kidneys missing" to the place, which silly…no self-respecting Hong Kong resident would waste precious floor space on a needless bathtub. But the Mansions’ 17 or so floors are also packed with what are inarguably the least expensive accommodations in a rather pricey city, if you’re not so picky about fire-safety standards or being mistaken for a prostitute and followed back to your room (boy, that was really a highlight). Anyway, US $30 can net you a luxurious room like this, which sleeps three (sort of).

Hk09_4 Cozy.

Hk03_1And then you have to pay a visit to the Mid-Levels Escalator, where, if you summon all of your movie dork powers, you might be able to see the apartment Tony Leung was supposed to live in.  If not (and we couldn’t pull it off) you can settle for just gazing at his "Infernal Affairs" counterpart, Andy Lau, who will almost certainly be grinning in his somewhat sinister way from a nearby billboard, as he’s managed to make himself the official spokes-actor of a bewildering array of products.

Hk04 CYMA watches

Hk07 Nescafé coffee

Hk06Uncharacteristically sporty Baleno clothing

Hk08The newly unveiled Bruce Lee statue on the waterfront in Tsim Tsa Tsui seems to be going over well, luring masses with its irresistible temptation: to strike one’s own kung fu-esque pose in front of it and get a picture taken while yelling "WaaaaAAAAAAAAA!"

In Guangzhou, where we spent the actual holidays, pirated DVD sales are still going strong despite a general national attempt at cracking down on the industry. Plenty of stores still sell them openly, with prices averaging under a dollar each, but the DVD place that we will surely see in our dreams for years to come had to be approached via a small shop in a mall that half-assedly pretended to sell cellphone chains. When you asked, they’d escort you upstairs to a gutted apartment filled with thousands and thousands of DVDs, including, yes, all the new US releases, but far better, every Asian release that never got picked up in the US and plenty of European ones (before there was "Wicker Park," there was "L’Appartement," after all, though good luck finding it).

While we’ve never been found of Hollywood’s desperate attempts at guilting audiences re piracy, particularly when their messages tend to preface movies people have just paid $10 (and sat through 20 minutes of ads) for, we’re not willing to wave the skull-and-crossbones over our head either — the making of movies is both an art and a business, for all of the frequent unease of that alliance. But we can’t pretend to be anything but gleeful over scoring a working subtitled copy of "The Wayward Cloud," wherever it came from.

Hk10The tragedy of the misused pullquote — from the back of a copy of "All About Lily Chou-Chou", Michael Phillips of Citysearch declares the film "Meandering and confusing."

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Rev Up

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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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.


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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