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DID YOU READ

Tribeca! Part deux.

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Stan the man.
A more promising round this time:

"The Road to Guantanamo"
Directors: Michael Winterbottom, Mat Whitecross
Winterbottom’s Silver Bear winner brushes by Tribeca on its way to a US theatrical release slated for June 23rd, one of the higher-profile Middle East-focused films in a festival heavy with them. Fleet and imbued with an extraordinary sense of urgency, "The Road to Guantanamo" isn’t a film you can really like or dislike — it’s intended to provoke a sense of outrage and, in that regard, it’s extremely effective. Winterbottom turns the story over to Ruhel Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul, the "Tipton Three," British-born Pakistanis who on a trip back to Pakistan for a wedding made a detour into Afghanistan just before the US bombings started. Rounded up with surrendering Taliban forces, they ended up being held at Guantanamo for two years without ever being charged. Interviews with Ruhel, Asif and Shafiq are intercut with actors depicting the events as described, rather like "The Thin Blue Line" without Errol Morris‘s remove or (mostly) the stylistic coyness of his reenactments. It’s sometimes uncomfortable that the film so unquestioningly follows the Tipton Three’s account, particularly in the vaguenesses surrounding how they unthinkingly ended up in Kabul, but the details of their time in Guantanamo ring unavoidably true.

"Lonely Hearts"
Director: Todd Robinson
Robinson’s not the first to wrangle the murderous couple of Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez onto the big screen, but he’s the first to have such a personal angle — his grandfather, Elmer C. Robinson (played in the film by John Travolta) was one of the detectives who caught the infamous "Lonely Hearts Killers." The film is a distinctly glossy affair, with Fernandez being played by Jared Leto (with faux receding hairline) and Beck being played (with panache, if nothing else) by Salma Hayek. That Beck was in reality quite obese isn’t as much an issue as the fact that the film just ignores Hayek’s fully vamped-up period piece beauty — when a voiceover informs us that while the pair were out conning wealthy single women, "Martha played the role of Raymond’s spinster sister perfectly," while the camera pans over a décolleté Hayek sprawled in a vintage gown, it’s bewildering. Still, Hayek’s psychotic turn is fun for a while; the police side of the story, tying in the unexplained suicide of Robinson’s wife to the investigation, is rote and creaky, with James Gandolfini and Laura Dern wasted in sketched-in supporting roles.

"East Broadway"
Director: Fay Ann Lee
Proof that an Asian American filmmaker can make as awkward and formulaic a romantic comedy as anyone in mainstream Hollywood, "East Broadway" is notable for being the film that was meant to be B.D. Wong‘s directorial debut, until reported "creative differences" between Wong and writer/star Fay Ann Lee led to Lee stepping up to also helm the film and Wong requesting his name be removed from the credits (despite playing a supporting role). "East Broadway" is a retooling of the Cinderella story, with Lee playing Grace Tang, a second-generation gal with aspirations toward high society who, thanks to a case of mistaken identity, soon has all of the Upper East Side believing she’s a Hong Kong heiress, including dreamy Andrew Barrington, Jr. (Gale Harold). The film neatly sidesteps all potentially interesting issues — Class barriers innately impermeable? Dodged! Romantic lead may have an Asian fetish? Ducked! — in favor of a standard mix of screwball comedy and stagy dialogue. When Grace admitted to being obsessed with "Grease" as a child, and Andrew asked her to sing a song from the movie, we bailed.

"First Snow"
Director: Mark Fergus
Mark Fergus’ directorial debut is not terrible, but it’s wholly unremarkable, a competent first film that happens to be mildly expensive-looking and star Guy Pearce. Pearce plays Jimmy, a slick Albuquerque salesman who happens upon an honest-to-God fortuneteller (J.K. Simmons) at a pit stop out in the desert who reluctantly foresees his death around the time of the titular turn in the weather. Simplistic meditations on fate and death are balanced by Pearce’s grounded performance and a somewhat interesting development about Jimmy’s past.

"Color Me Kubrick"
Dir: Brian W. Cook
More a collection of sketches than a film, but gleefully enjoyable sketches. You couldn’t call Brian Cook’s film a biopic; when we meet Alan Conway (John Malkovich) he’s already quite adept at passing himself off as Stanley Kubrick in order to drink for free and bed attractive young men, and he never really goes anywhere from there. It doesn’t matter — the pleasures of watching Malkovich enjoy himself as Conway enjoying himself as varying over-the-top interpretations of a Hollywood director are innumerable. Conway wasn’t even that familiar with Kubrick’s oeuvre, but he did know the important thing — that everyone has a script, or a band, or a fashion line, or a secret belief that they should star in films, and that their vanity could equal plenty of gratis meals. Cook mixes in references to various Kubrick films, most notably in the use of music, with Kubrick’s most famous choices underlying deliriously incongruous scenes of Conway conning his way around London.

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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 IFC.com

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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…