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The many faces of controversy.

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"...a hurricane of pain..."We’re still making our way through the "United 93" reviews (which, despite their surprising sameness in sentiment, we still find more interesting than the film itself). David Segal at the Washington Post was at the Tribeca premiere, and writes about the surreality of the first 9/11 Hollywood blockbuster:

The theater was filled with relatives and friends of those who died that day, and at the end of the film, the section where they sat — in rows of seats in the balcony — dissolved into a collective wail of grief. Have you ever heard 100 people crying at the same time? Sounds simply don’t get any sadder.

And evenings don’t come much stranger. This was the opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival and that meant that alongside the deadly serious business of this horrific national tragedy was the utterly silly business of a hip movie premiere. These two elements, let the record reflect, don’t mix well. It was like a showdown of crass versus poignant. A squadron of public relations aides were in combat mode, chaperoning celebrities down a red carpet and introducing them to correspondents from shows such as "Entertainment Tonight." There were paparazzi on hand by the dozens, not all of them happy with the level of talent.

"All B-listers," said one, grimacing a little as he struggled for a better view of Tom Selleck, Carol Kane, Gabriel Byrne and Steve Buscemi. "They said Halle Berry was supposed to be here, but I think she bailed."

Ah, that makes us laugh through our tears…or are we weeping through our laughter? David Usborne at the Independent presents a more removed report on the premiere and on Paul Greengrass‘ involvement in the film. And over at the Chicago Tribune, Julia Keller attempts to canonize the film in essay form.

Thus it follows that the real measure of the force of "United 93" may
not be box office receipts or tallies of Oscar nominations — much as
the film’s makers would doubtless appreciate such compliments — but
rather how long it retains this status as an event, not a movie. As a
dampened finger in the cultural wind.

At the Toronto Star, Peter Howell commends the film’s refusal to go for an easy jab at the administration, and, after making fun of Roger Ebert‘s dubbing "American Dreamz" "daring" for it’s heavy-handed presidential depiction, finally wondering "Is there nobody in Hollywood who can make light of the U.S. president without resorting to spitballs and silly faces?"

In a piece from last week in the London Times, Garth Pearce talks to Tom Hanks about how the "Da Vinci Code" controversies will affect his standing as weeper king of the world, not realizing that Hanks completed his transmutation to plastic long ago, and now can be cleansed of any controversy simply by being run through a cold rinse in your typical household dishwasher.

In the New York Times, Elisabeth Bumiller writes about Deepa Mehta‘s "Water" and the violence it was met with while in initial production.

At the San Francisco Chronicle, Ruthe Stein checks in on Eric Steel’s Golden Gate Bridge suicide doc "The Bridge" (which is, full disclosure, an IFC Original), which had it’s premiere at Tribeca and which screened at the San Francisco International Film Festival on Sunday. Steel’s doc attracted controversy before it got out of production, with Bridge officials claiming Steel misled them with regards to his intentions behind filming on the famous landmark. Stein checks out crowd reactions.

Loie Hayward, a 59-year-old legal secretary from San Francisco in the audience, said she had mixed feelings about "The Bridge’s” depiction of people jumping to their deaths. "But I’m just about as much a voyeur as anyone else is.”

Paul Lewis in the Guardian presents the following list of the ten most controversial film ever made, lifted from Time Out‘s just-published "1,000 Films That Change Your Life" guide.

1. "Salò" (1975) Pier Paolo Pasolini
2. "Natural Born Killers" (1994) Oliver Stone
3. "Crash" (1996) David Cronenberg
4. "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988) Martin Scorsese
5. "The Devils" (1971) Ken Russell
6. "Pretty Baby" (1977) Louis Malle
7. "Birth of a Nation" (1915) DW Griffith
8. "Straw Dogs" (1971) Sam Peckinpah
9. "Monty Python’s Life of Brian" (1979) Terry Jones
10. "Bandit Queen" (1994) Shekhar Kapur

And at indieWIRE, a controversy far less salacious but just as heated: Eugene Hernandez reports on Monday night’s Tribeca panel discussion on changing distribution platforms with Steven Soderbergh, Ashwin Navin of BitTorrent, Todd Wagner of Landmark Theaters and Magnolia Pictures and the MPAA’s Dean Garfield.

+ A Red Carpet Tragedy (Washington Post)
+ Cinema tackles terror: Courage on a day of death (Independent)
+ ‘United 93’: More than a movie. It’s a choice. (Chicago Tribune)
+ Old slurs die hard (Toronto Star)
+ Welcome to the dark side (London Times)
+ Film Ignites the Wrath of Hindu Fundamentalists (NY Times)
+ Golden Gate Bridge suicide film draws crowd at festival (SF Chronicle)
+ Torture, necrophilia, and a very naughty boy: the films that shocked us (Guardian)
+ TRIBECA ’06: In a Time of Change for the Movie Business, Talking About Emerging Distribution Platforms (indieWIRE)

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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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