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The week’s critic wrangle: “A Scanner Darkly,” “Heading South.”

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+ "A Scanner Darkly": New York‘s David Edelstein writes that "It’s terribly frustrating when one’s Dick is at arm’s length" — ba-dum ching! In his lukewarm review of Richard Linklater‘s latest, he calls the film "static and remote." Meanwhile, Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir, the New York TimesManohla Dargis, and the Village Voice‘s J. Hoberman all like the film to varying degrees. O’Hehir calls it "among the darkest and loveliest movies you’ll see this year," and calls it "a strange brew that I found as full of passion, humor and tragedy as any so-called realistic film I’ve seen all year." Dargis focuses more on Dick’s novel and life than the film; she finds Linklater’s use of rotoscoping "makes certain sense," but still wishes the film were live-action. And Hoberman salutes Robert Downey Jr.‘s performance and the film, asiding that "Midway through 2006, this supporting turn is the performance to beat in what seems the year’s American movie to beat."

Armond White at the New York Press, having long-established himself as Linklater’s mortal enemy, continues his campaign:

[D]irector Richard Linklater may be the most trendily attuned yet vacuous filmmaker at work. He’s made a career out of pandering to hipster self-involvement and here enlists hip-cred actors (Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey, Jr.) to claim media attention.

Oh, Armond. As for the film, he adds that "the film’s ideas—on homegrown dystopia, everyday alienation—could only seem inventive to cultural retards."


"You're going to have a ball."
+ "Heading South": Laurent Cantet‘s follow-up to his excellent 2001 film "Time Out" opens in New York to mainly positive reviews. At the New York Times, Stephen Holden writes that the film "becomes one of the most truthful examinations ever filmed of desire, age and youth, and how easy it is to confuse erotic rapture with love." He also likes the fairness with which the film treats all of its complex characters, something Salon‘s Stephanie Zacharek also notes. She writes that:

"Heading South" is a seemingly straightforward and simple picture that’s really defiantly complex, sexually, politically and emotionally. Even the look of the picture has many muted layers: It’s been beautifully shot by Pierre Milon, whose lens drinks in gorgeous beach vistas and breeze-ruffled foliage. Yet somehow we’re always aware of the poverty, and the danger, just beyond the margins of the screen: This isn’t a travelogue brochure.

Less impressed is J. Hoberman, who calls the film "less analytical than overwrought," suggests that "’Heading South’ makes its points in the first 20 minutes." And at indieWIRE/Reverse Shot, no one’s fond, and James Crawford actually proposes that

"If I didn’t know better, I would swear that ‘Heading South’ was a
parody of a particular American institution: the movie-of-the-week
social problem film."

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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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