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In Case You Missed It: “Lord of War: Special Edition”

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By Thom Bennett

IFC News

It’s been a long time since I’ve been any sort of a Nicholas Cage fan. I’ve always had a problem with him as a leading man and have generally felt that he was meant for darker or quirkier things, like “Wild at Heart” or even “Moonstruck.” “Lord of War” was a pleasant surprise, to say the least, and one of my favorite films of 2005.

“Pleasant” might be a poor choice of word, as the film follows unscrupulous arms dealer Yuri Orlov (Cage), who travels the world with his brother Vitaly (Jared Leto) making a dollar wherever a revolution or civil war erupts. He rises from insignificance as a Russian immigrant in Brighton Beach to become one of the biggest illegal arms dealers in the world. Man, woman, child — doesn’t matter to him. How he makes his living lies in stark contrast to the lavish, insulated life he carefully creates and maintains for his wife and child without so much as a hint of remorse. He is constantly pursued by Interpol agent Jack Valentine (Ethan Hawke), who he eludes by manipulating existing loopholes in international law, carrying on with business as usual…and business is good.

Whereas most action movies rely on an empty barrage of guns and violence with no consequences, “Lord of War” is all about the cost and context of guns — where they come from, where they end up and ultimately the people and places they destroy. In one particularly powerful scene, Yuri is hallucinating after taking a mix of cocaine and gunpowder that the warlords give to children soldiers before they send them off to die. A young girl walks up to him, her arm having been blown off, and asks him if her arm will grow back.

Director Andrew Niccol’s remarkable attention to detail creates a film with a style and subject matter that seem almost ill at ease with one another and somehow make the film that much more effective. The opening sequence is seen from the point of view of a bullet and shows the journey from manufacturing to the point where it is used to kill a child.

The special edition DVD comes with the requisite making-of and commentary — however, there is a very interesting short documentary called “Making a Killing: Inside the International Arms Trade,” which helps put the subject matter at hand into context. Entertaining and ultimately insightful, “Lord of War” is something of an anti-action movie action movie and an overlooked gem from last year.

“Lord of War: Special Edition” is currently available from Lions Gate Home Video.

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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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