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Cannes: Weinsteins take Asia, everyone hearts “Babel.”

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Imminent new dad Mr. Pitt.
The juicy biz announcement du jour: via Gregg Kilday at Hollywood Reporter, "Bob and Harvey Weinstein unveiled a new label Tuesday called Dragon Dynasty, under which the Weinstein Co. will release Asian films." Given the Weinsteins’ track record releasing Asian films through Miramax, this announcement has probably sent fans shrieking in fear off into the distance (and straight to the bootleg import DVD store)…but don’t worry, all, Quentin Tarantino has been called in to advise on the new label, which will span DVDs and some theatrical releases.


At least this explains the fate lying in store for the various titles the Weinsteins have acquired over the months. "Ong Bak 2," "Tom Yum Goong"  and "Seven Swords" are among the planned releases, along with 50 films from the Shaw Brothers collection.

Elsewhere, "Babel" seems to be gaining steam, at least in the press, as the film to beat for the Palme d’Or. At Time‘s Big Picture blog, Richard and Mary Corliss have a back-and-forth on the film, with Mary pulling for the film and Richard less impressed. At the New York Times, A. O. Scott notes that fucking-with-chronology-friendly Alejandro González Iñárritu was treated to an unexpected plot leap himself at the film’s first screening, when the reels were mixed up:

A glitch like this is every director’s worst nightmare, literally so in Mr. González Iñárritu’s case. "I had this dream three days ago that exactly this kind of thing had happened," he said in an interview later on Tuesday. "I called my friend Guillermo del Toro" — whose own Cannes competition entry, "Pan’s Labyrinth," is to be shown on Saturday — "and he said he’d had the same dream." When Mr. González Iñárritu mentioned his premonitions at a technical check the day before the screening, he said that the projectionists assured him that such a mishap was impossible. "They acted like I was insulting them by bringing it up."

At indieWIRE, Eugene Hernandez, Brian Brooks and Kristina Woo report on some of the deals made over at the Market: Sony Pictures Classics will release "Persepolis," based on Marjane Satrapi’s best-selling graphic novel autobiography) in North America. Satrapi co-wrote and is co-directing the project with Vincent Paronnaud. And IFC Entertainment picks up "Destricted," a "concept for an ongoing franchise of erotic short films by well-known auteur directors, fashion designers, photographers, artists and actors." The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year.

And a few bits and pieces: At the LA Times, Robert W. Welkos interviews Peter Hoffman (in his yacht, natch). Hoffman, once president of the late Carolco Pictures, "helped throw a soiree that some say still ranks as the single most extravagant and star-studded event in the festival’s history." These days, he says Cannes is "less important" and too crowded.

Matt Dentler
turns up for a mysterious "surprise screening" — the film turns out to be "Borat," the film based on Sacha Baron Cohen‘s character of the same name. "The film we saw seemed fairly complete, and I hope that it is, because it was damn near perfect. Funny, offensive, and timely, ‘Borat’ could become the kind of college-campus classic that speaks to the tasteless teenager in us all."

At the Washington Post, William Booth discusses Pedro Almodóvar‘s "Volver" (another one being seen as a top Palme d’Or candidate), the party that followed, and the prosthetic ass Penélope Cruz had to wear for her role. Money quote:

Critics are saying it is the best role of Cruz’s career. She’s saying Almodovar has changed her life: "My life has more color because of him." That is the kind of thing that actresses say at Cannes.

Almodovar confesses the same. He tells us that, as we probably knew, he’s gay, and that his last heterosexual love affair was in 1984. "But with Penelope, I felt again desire. I was completely hooked on her body." He says: "I was horny." That’s very Cannes, too.

And, sending in a Cannes dispatch for IFC News, Mark Rabinowitz shares an anecdote about the charms of the international press junkets:

[M]y favorite was the Chilean journalist who, at the "X-Men: The Last Stand" press conference, stood up and began by telling Halle Berry how long he had to travel from Chile and how he had gotten hemorrhoids from sitting so long on the plane. "Too much information," was Berry’s response. The questioner then went on to tell how famous the X-Men films and comics were in Chile (I found it odd that he had a Russian accent, though) and that "little children play your character, Storm, in the streets." He then went back to his hemorrhoids, explaining how painful it was for him to sit down and how hard it was for him to find cream in Cannes, due to the language difference. This went on for three to four minutes before any hint of a question appeared. Finally he asked Berry the following brilliant nugget: "Do you like acting?"

+ Tarantino to advise Weinstein Asian label (HR)
+ One Auteur’s Bumpy Trajectory Through a Decade of Cannes Festivals (NY Times)
+ CANNES ’06 MARKET DAILY: Sony Classics to Release Satrapi’s "Persepolis" Memoir; IFC Picks Up "Destricted;" Wong Kar Wai’s New Film; and More (indieWIRE)
+ Remembering when he was on top (LA Times)
+ Cannes 2006.9: ‘Borat’ Screens. I Like. (Matt Dentler’s Blog)
+ Pedro Almodovar, Rounding Out Cruz’s, Um, Career (Washington Post)
+ CANNES DISPATCH: #2 – On The Third Day Fast Food Took A Hit (IFC News)

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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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