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Cannes pre-commencement bits.

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Are you all watching the Cannes Cam? Opening ceremonies start soonish.

Speaking of, more inevitable "Da Vinci Code" stories (and we’ve avoiding the bulk of them). At the New York Times, Sharon Waxman writes about the unprecedented marketing of a film 96% of people polled were aware of and 60% "definite interest," and then slaps us with this:

Industry estimates of the film’s expected ticket sales for the opening weekend at the domestic box office range from $70 million to over $100 million.

Ouch! For a film that’s never going to keep the interest of most anyone under 16? We shall see.

Adam Edwards in the Telegraph writes about how, for all their varied fury or bemusement about the book and the film, many churches in England are happy about the cash infusion and renewed interest they’ve brought about.

[T]his cascade of freshly generated cash is putting kindly theologians in a hilarious quandary. These gentlemen may not want to be bothered by believers in Dan Brown’s fanciful notions – but also, they don’t want to dismiss new spending customers out of hand.

Take, for instance, the Dean of Lincoln Cathedral, the Very Rev Alec Knight, who, while cheerfully branding the book ”a load of old tosh”, happily agreed to let the film be shot at the cathedral after the producers made a donation of £100,000.

And Peter J. Bower in the New Yorker has an interesting piece on Sony Pictures’ spinning of the film for Christians.

So how is the damn thing? Fresh off the wires, AP‘s David Germain reports of last night’s press screening that "reaction from Cannes critics ranged from mild endorsement of its potboiler suspense to groans of ridicule over its heavy melodrama." And at the Risky Biz blog, the Hollywood Reporter‘s Anne Thompson, who found the film overly cautious, writes that:

The thing to remember about the Cannes press, especially the film
critics, is that they are global, sophisticated, pretentious and quite
often vicious. They love to slam the seats at a press screening, or
hiss a movie during the closing credits. That level of rejection did
not occur tonight. For the most part the movie unfolds like an
engrossing glossy international thriller, and hews fairly closely to
the book, which is a page-turner, if mechanically executed. But there
were uncomfortable waves of titters throughout the film tonight, and
when the BIG REVEAL comes, there was outright laughter.

[Update: David Hudson rounds up more early reviews at Greencine Daily.]

Feh. Far more entertaining than the film will probably turn out to be (two and a half hours?) is Laura Barton‘s interview with the film’s villain, Paul Bettany, in the Guardian, in which we are reminded that an evil albino is really the role the extremely beige Bettany was born to play:

Bettany has the type of bleached-out colouring that makes looking at
him something like blinking through the midday sun. On screen this can
be used to convey a peculiarly wholesome prettiness – as Tom, in Lars
von Trier
‘s "Dogville," or as a faded tennis player in "Wimbledon" – or to
unsettling effect, as a struttingly brutal upstart in "Gangster No 1,"
for example, or now in "The Da Vinci Code."

Inexplicable great quote from Bettany on living in America:

"[I]n America bread lasts so long. You buy bread, and then
it’s bread forever – it’s Forever Bread! I remember when I first went
over there and bought a pint of milk, and I kept going up to it, weeks
later, going I can’t believe this! It’s still fresh! It’s a miracle!
Miracle Milk!"

Jada Yuan at New York has a list (with apologies to NOAH) of "favorite albino villains."

At the Guardian, Sean O’Hagan examines Ken Loach‘s in-Competition "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" as the director’s first "Irish" film since 1990’s Cannes Jury Prize-winner "Hidden Agenda."

And at the Hollywood Reporter, Winnie Chung and Jonathan Landreth write that Lou Ye‘s in-Competition "Summer Palace," which is set to premiere tomorrow, has in fact not been approved by Chinese censors yet, which could cost the director distribution in his homeland along with many other problems.

+ ‘Da Vinci Code’: The Mystery of the Missing Screenings (NY Times)
+ Da Vinci double standards (Telegraph)
+ ‘Da Vinci Code’ Misses the Mark for Critics (AP)
+ Cannes Unveils Da Vinci Code (Risky Biz Blog)
+ The Da Vinci Code. (Greencine Daily)

+ When albino monks attack (Guardian)
+ Who Says Evil Albinos Are Such Bad Role Models? (New York)
+ Making waves on the Riviera (Guardian)
+ ‘Palace’ in China’s doghouse (Hollywood Reporter)

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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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