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Odds: Wednesday – “Cache” fallout and art equalling life.

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Oh, Gerard Butler.
At the LA Times, Robert W. Welkos notes that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has updated its Oscar rules again:

In one change, entries in the best foreign-language category will no longer have to be in an official language of the country submitting the film. So long as the dominant language is not English, the academy noted, a picture from any country may be in any language or combination of languages.

This is a direct response to Saverio Costanzo‘s "Private," last year’s Italian Oscar submission, which was disqualified because it’s primarily in Arabic, but for most people the change will call to mind Michael Haneke‘s superb "Caché," which Austria was unable to submit for Oscar consideration because the film is in French.

We’d always imagined that Johnny Depp‘s declaration that his Jack Sparrow was modeled after Keith Richards was a claim he manufactured on the spur of the moment to entertain himself on the publicity circuit, but see what’s come of it: Richards has actually signed on to play Sparrow’s father in the third "Pirates of the Caribbean" film (via AP).

Via Chosun Ilbo: Park Chan-wook has been asked to sit on the jury of the 63rd Venice Film Festival.

Via BBC, Chinese censors have banned breakout Korean hit "The King and the Clown" due to the film’s gay subtext and sexually explicit language. Nothing unexpected (homosexuality is considered a mental disorder in China) but interesting in that, as Filmbrain points out in his recent review of the film, "it calls to mind ‘Farewell My Concubine,’ a film ‘King and the Clown’ definitely owes a debt to."

In the New York Times, Charles McGrath has a great piece on the many "Beowulf"s of stage and screen, including Sturla Gunnarsson‘s version, which opens in New York this Friday:

It’s tempting to say that every age gets the "Beowulf" it deserves, or one that suggests what’s most on people’s minds: the kooky sci-fi version; the brooding, existential one; the sensitive anti-epic. What the original audience for "Beowulf" had on its mind was terror. They listened to the poem in circumstances much like the ones it describes, huddled together around a fire and fretting about what lurked outside in the darkness, and they knew something that some of the modern adapters may have lost sight of: that in the right circumstances it’s extremely pleasant to be scared out of your wits.

John Horn at the LA Times writes about how the filmmakers behind festival favorite "Quinceañera" worked for years in the porn industry first. (We had to rewrite that sentence three or four times to remove unintentional double entendres.) Fascinatingly, one of the films is a gay porn spoof of "The Ring" entitled "The Hole": "Before you’re gay…you see the hole." Horn outlines how it’s no longer a career kiss of death to have worked on porn:

"There is this presumption that people who work in porn somehow aren’t of very high quality," [Wash] Westmoreland says. "That if you’re an editor in porn, you’re not a good editor. That if you’re a porn cinematographer, you’re not any good. But nothing could be further from the truth."

In the Japan Times, Mark Schilling reviews Masahiro Kobayashi‘s 2005 Cannes contender "Bashing," "a sparely told, emotionally walloping film suggested by the real-life experiences of a Japanese woman who was on a self-styled volunteer mission in Iraq when she was captured by insurgents, held hostage and finally released unharmed. Back home, she was widely criticized by the media and public for going to Iraq in the first place, as well as for causing trouble for her rescuers and embarrassment for the nation."

Akash Arora at The Australian argues that Indian films have been unfairly and broadly categorized as prim affairs:

It’s widely, and wrongly, believed in the West that Indian movies are no-skin, no-sex affairs. And those who have brought Bollywood films to the West, instead of challenging and changing that image, have consistently fueled it.

"It’s what I call cultural pigeonholing, sticking to cliches to please the crowds," says Sydney-based Indian film-maker Anupam Sharma. "The West has a set image of India, which may not be entirely in sync with reality. Yet most forms of Indian arts and culture that are seen in the West seem to feed this (not so accurate) image rather than challenge it."

Last year, for instance, "Bend it Like Beckham" director Gurinder Chadha brought "Bride & Prejudice" to Australia with all the Bollywood bells and whistles. She was widely quoted as saying: "There’s no kissing in Indian movies."

"Which is all crap because Indian films had kissing scenes even in the silent-movie era," says Sharma, who is also the head of the Australia-India Film, Arts, Media and Entertainment Council.

At That Little Round-Headed Boy, there’s a splendid post about "The 25 tunes I discovered at the movies":

We’ve all had this happen: We’re watching a movie and this transcendent song comes spilling out, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s part of the texture of the film or just accompanying the closing credits. We love the song. We must have the song. The song will always bring back a sensory flashback to the movie, even if it’s the only thing we can remember about the movie.

We may have rushed out to purchase the soundtrack of Cuarón‘s "Great Expections" for that stupid "Life in Mono" song once upon a time. TLRHB’s list is significantly less fleeting.

Finally, on the occasion of its tenth birthday, Ain’t It Cool News asks its contributors "Imagine you’re trying to explain America to someone. What ten films would you show them, and why?"

+ Oscar rules altered for foreign films (LA Times)
+ Keith Richards to be in ‘Pirates’ movie (AP)
+ Park Chan-wook Asked to Sit on Venice Jury (Chosun Ilbo)
+ China bans film over gay themes (BBC)
+ Tears of a Clown (Like Anna Karina’s Sweater)
+ Politically Aware ‘Beowulfs’ Miss an Ancient Delight: Terror (NY Times)
+ The XXX factor (LA Times)
+ Campaign of hate (Japan Times)
+ No sex please, we’re Indian (The Australian)
+ Lights, camera, songs! The 25 tunes I discovered at the movies (That Little Round-Headed Boy)
+ AICN’s 10th Anniversary Article! AICN Picks The Greatest Films About America!! (AICN)

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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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