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Cannes: Over the hump.

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We’ve just past the midpoint of the 59th Cannes Film Festival, and it’s either so good there are no clear Competition frontrunners…or so inconsistent there are no clear Competition frontrunners, or maybe just so unexceptional. Kirk Honeycutt and Ray Bennett at Hollywood Reporter:

The 59th edition of the Festival de Cannes is shaping up as the best Competition since the much-celebrated 2002 vintage. ("The Pianist" won, you’ll recall.) Which does not mean that one can easily spot the winners. There are some obvious front-runners though, as well as some obvious disappointments. And certainly this jury, weighed so heavily with actors, has any number of superb performances to judge.

Todd McCarthy at Variety:

In the first five days of the Cannes Film Festival — as choppy as the rough seas currently besetting the Mediterranean — there have been two or three fairly strong films thus far in the competition. But few people can agree on which films those are.

To be sure, no one’s been caught running around whispering "Palme d’Or" about any of the entries.

Those who’ve traveled from distant points and will spend up to 12 days watching films here hope, as always, that at least one or two brilliant titles will reward the investment. If they exist this year, they have yet to be seen.

Richard Corliss at Time:

"Adequate" sums up the Festival’s offerings so far. No films yet have reaped unanimous critical acclaim. A few name directors are thought to have been coasting (Pedro Almodóvar‘s "Volver") or tailspinning (Richard Linklater‘s "Fast Food Nation") with their latest works. Some directors of promise, like the Turk auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan with his Climates, have brought works earning mild applause. We see and we shrug.

David Hudson at Greencine Daily‘s been doing such an awe-inspiringly thorough job of rounding up Cannes coverage that we feel unmotivated to do much more than sit back and take it all in ourselves. Nevertheless, a few thoughts:

"Southland Tales": Richard Kelly‘s undeniably ambitious "Donnie Darko" follow-up seemed doomed merely from the great weight of expectations. Still, we’re heard/read things ranging from "potential career-killer" and "profoundly incoherent" to "a sprawling, periodically dazzling, often funny pop-and-politics mash-up" and "a visionary film about the end of times" from heavies Manohla Dargis and J. Hoberman, respectively. We’re rather dying to see it now, train-wreck or not, though the film has no distributor yet, and, as Hoberman points out, "[a]t two hours and 40 minutes…[it] flirts with the ineffable and also the unreleasable."

"The Host": The most generous acclaim coming out of the festival seems to be for, of all things, this Directors’ Fortnight Korean horror film. "[T]he best film I’ve seen to date at this year’s festival," says Dargis, while Mike D’Angelo concludes "I can only hope to see a Competition entry this impressive," while also pointing out that "it’s a fair question whether Hollywood will come calling, because no major studio would ever countenance popcorn fare this determinedly bleak and despairing — ‘The Host’ makes comparatively grown-up summer flicks like ‘War of the Worlds’ and ‘Batman Begins’ look downright sunny by comparison."

Hazy generalizations: "Babel" response is mixed-to-good; "Shortbus" is also mixed-to-good, if never that enthused; "Red Road" also mixed-to-good, but not good enough, we’d guess, to secure a US distributor; "Fast Food Nation" is mixed-to-bad; "Paris, Je T’aime" is generally good (good enough to spawn a New York version?); "Volver" good-ish, with the caveat that no one seems predisposed to be fonder of Almodóvar than Cannes audiences/critics.

+ Critic’s notebook: Cannes midpoint finds Competition worthy (HR)
+ No consensus on Croisette (Variety)
+ Postcards from Cannes (Time)

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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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