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“Hard Candy.”

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Ellen Page
For best viewing of David Slade‘s feature debut, we’d recommend that whenever a character looks like he or she is about to spout some broad nonsense like "I am every little girl you ever watched!", you clap your hands over your ears and sing "Lalalalalala" until the moment passes. Sans these occasional aspirations towards being a revenge allegory, "Hard Candy" can be enjoyed as the glossy exploitation flick it is at heart.

So, a 14-year-old girl and a 32-year-old guy meet online, then at a coffee shop, and then go back at his swank house in the hills. The girl, Hayley, is at turns boldly flirtatious, precocious and disturbingly naive; the man, Jeff, is a smooth-talking, handsome professional photographer. These early scenes are fraught with almost unbearable dread (fortunately, the trailers have taken care of any doubts we might have that Hayley won’t turn out to be the victim she first appears to be). And then…and then.

"Hard Candy" has the whiff of a film that was adapted from a play —  confined almost entirely to one location, a dialogue-heavy duel between two verbose antagonists — though it wasn’t. Screenwriter Brian Nelson is a playwright who was approached specifically for the project, and between the plot twists and power plays between Hayley and Jeff and Jo Willems‘ gorgeous, richly colored cinematography, the film never has the airlessness of most play adaptations. What it does have is quite a bit of camp appeal. Hayley (played gamely by pixieish Ellen Page in what was proclaimed the big breakout role of Sundance last year) quickly shifts from anything resembling a real person to an archetype: Little Red Riding Hoodie, wreaking vengeance on behalf of young girls everywhere. Hayley is impossibly smart, a great actress, and sadistic to the point of insanity, and by the end of the film one wonders if even the most wronged girl would condone Hayley’s actions on her behalf, as she pokes and prods at Jeff’s psyche to get him to own up to his own inner Big Bad Wolf.

The film’s set piece is a prolonged sequence replete with creative sound effects calculated to make every male in the audience protectively cross his legs. The cynic in us wants to say it’s the reason the film was picked up by marketing hook-happy Lionsgate…except how would you ever promote it in an ad? "Hard Candy" has one foot in the indie film world and one foot in the land of the B-movie, and we can’t help but think it would have been better off picking a side of the fence to stand on.

Opens in New York and LA.

+ Hard Candy (official site)


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.


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…


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.