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Odds: Wednesday – Slow.

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It's a hit.
Patrick Goldstein gets all curmudgeonly about the whole print critics/web critics thing at the LA Times again. We have run out of things to say on this topic — though there are still plenty of others out there who haven’t — so we’ll direct you to Xan Brooks at the Guardian‘s blog, who at least uses amusing British slang.

So the pundits become the punters and the punters become the pundits
until it’s hard to keep track of exactly who is who. The irony is that,
just when Hollywood thought it had killed off the critic, the reviewing
population is exploding beneath its very nose, and their opinions are
spread, free of charge, across the internet. The studios might be able
to crush a handful of scribblers but a whole planet’s worth is a
different matter altogether. There are simply not enough wild devil
dogs to go around.

In other news, Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts at the Washington Post report how Dan Futterman was cast to play slain journalist Daniel Pearl in Michael Winterbottom‘s "A Mighty Heart":

Security concerns were so high that all involved were sworn to secrecy. Because they hoped to be perceived as a documentary or news crew, the filming took place without any Hollywood trappings. There was also some concern because Futterman, like Pearl, is Jewish. "One thing I admire about Danny is how proud he was of his heritage, and how he refused to lie about it, no matter where he was," he said.

Futterman, 39, was picked for the part two months ago after a two-hour meeting with Winterbottom. "The movie’s not about Daniel Pearl — it’s about the search for him," Futterman said. "We talked a lot about the balance, showing enough to make an impact. By all accounts, he and Mariane had a really blessed relationship." The actor has met with Pearl’s parents: "They were extremely generous, but I was aware that it was an incredibly sad meeting to be having."

Via the AP, the rumors are confirmed: Johnny Depp will play the lead role in the adaptation of musical "Sweeney Todd," with Tim Burton set to direct. And in our favorite headline of the day, Canadian site Movies Online announces that "3 Hotties Join Hostel 2" — those would be Lauren German, Bijou Philips and Heather Matarazzo. Yup, Dawn Weiner.

Jake Coyle at the AP interviews Bill Murray about nothing in particular, as far as we can tell — but hey, it’s Bill Murray:

"I tell people I’m retired," says Murray, 55.

This at first sounds like a bombshell that would strike a lightening bolt of sorrow in the lives of the King of the Deadpan’s fans. But he continues.

"I kinda like this Jay-Z thing, where he’s retired, but he keeps doing shows. I think I beat him to that," Murray says. "If you say you’re retired, people don’t bother you so much, and then if you want to do something, you can do it."

At Kaiju Shakedown, Grady Hendrix points to this open letter from Ursula Le Guin in which the author rips Goro Miyazaki‘s first Studio Ghibli film, "Gedo Senki (Tales From Earthsea)," to bits. Le Guin has done this before. A selection:

In August 2005, Mr Toshio Suzuki of Studio Ghibli came with Mr Hayao Miyazaki to talk with me and my son (who controls the trust which owns the Earthsea copyrights). We had a pleasant visit in my house.

It was explained to us that Mr Hayao wished to retire from film making, and that the family and the studio wanted Mr Hayao’s son Goro, who had never made a film at all, to make this one. We were very disappointed, and also anxious, but we were given the impression, indeed assured, that the project would be always subject to Mr Hayao’s approval. With this understanding, we made the agreement.

At that time, work had already started on the film: a copy of the poster of the child and the dragon was given us as a gift, and also a sketch of Hort Town by Mr Hayao and the finished version of it from the studio artists.

Work on the film went on extremely rapidly after that. We realised soon that Mr Hayao was taking no part in making the film at all.

I had a very moving letter from him, and later one from Mr Goro. I answered them as well as I could.

I am sorry that anger and disappointment attended the making of this film on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

I am told that Mr Hayao has not retired after all, but is now making another movie. This has increased my disappointment. I hope to put it behind me.

And Arthur J Pais at Rediff notes that Karan Johar‘s "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (Never Say Goodbye)" had a $1.35 million opening weekend, the highest ever for a Hindi film in North America. The New York-set film features Bollywood superstars Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. In his review in the New York Times, Neil Genzlinger wrote that "For something so silly and so long, the film is surprisingly engaging, thanks largely to its very watchable actors."

+ Critics’ Voices Become a Whisper (LA Times)
+ Critical mass (Guardian: Culture Vulture)
+ Lying Low on Location While Portraying Daniel Pearl (Washington Post)

+ Depp, Burton let hair down for musical

+ 3 Hotties Join Hostel 2 (Movies Online)
+ Bill Murray on car chases & ‘retirement’ (AP)
+ KANK, big hit overseas (Rediff)

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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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