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“Volver” and the zen of “M:i:III.”

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"I don't know how I have lived all these years without you..."
Some morning reads:

"Volver" opened in the UK on Friday; reviews were (natch) good, if tending toward reserved. Peter Bradshaw at the Guardian is admittedly rapturous: "The picture’s ingenuities and contrivances just seem to float out of the screen, like psychedelic moodshapes. I found myself floating right along with them." Philip French at the Observer
thinks that the film, "though perhaps not quite as good as All About My Mother and Talk to Her, is masterly…it zips along without a wasted second in its 121 minutes." James Christopher at the London Times writes that "Age has mellowed [Pedro Almodóvar‘s] two-fingered arrogance towards convention. Time has polished the craft." For him, this is a good thing; Sukhdev Sandhu at the Telegraph, however, while also liking the film, cautions that

Volver is enjoyable enough, but it presents us with disquieting evidence of Almodóvar operating well within his comfort zone, too ready to sluice out any hint of the vulgarities, raucousness and formal raggedness that characterised his earlier pictures in order to produce smoother, more emptily elegant fare. The pervasive dissent and the attendant desire to provoke of those early 1980s pictures have disappeared; but here, unlike in All About My Mother and Talk To Her, it has not been replaced with anything that might linger in the imagination.

If he’s not careful, he risks losing his status as one of the most consistently intoxicating European auteurs and becoming little more than a brand-provider, offering "films de Almodóvar", soft-focus retreads of vivid, galloping former glories.

At Twitch, Todd has a review of Satoshi Kon‘s "Paprika," which will be premiering at Venice next week and then heading to the New York Film Festival:

The film finds Kon mining his favorite and most fertile ground, the strange subconscious urges and desires that shape and manipulate our daily lives whether we are consciously aware of them or not. Nobody captures the shifting reality of dream life better than Kon, the peculiar logic that rules there, the unsettling way that dreams can turn from pleasant to terrifying seemingly without warning.

At BBC News, actor Amitabh Bachchan eulogizes director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, who passed away yesterday:

You actually saw your character unfold before you. It felt good – I felt that I had left myself in the hands of a master. One really didn’t have to worry because one knew that Hrishida was going to mould you.

He was a master editor and knew his craft incredibly well – he would shoot a scene and you would know nothing about it till you saw it.

And yet when you saw it finished, it was amazing how well he had actually conceived the thing. He could do the last shot first and could put something in the middle days later and it was just marvelous to see a person so gifted.

Via Ray Pride at Movie City Indie, writer James Ellroy pens a long love letter to LA in the LA Times Magazine:

I moved back to L.A. three weeks ago. It’s the only place I feel safe. I’ve got a slick pad near my old prowling turf and an arriviste sports car. I want to live here, I want to work here, I want to end my days here. I want the all-new and wholly familiar stimulation that only L.A. provides. I want to reclaim L.A. with a revitalized and mature imagination.

My old neighborhood is now Koreatown. My old market is a Korean church, my old neighborhood bar is a Korean supper club. I drove down Western Avenue this morning. Old buildings bore new facades. The signs were all Korean. I saw Korean folks queued up outside stores I used to loot. I want to know who they are and why they came here. I want them to thrive. I want them to grasp opportunity and render it with love.

And two bits of silliness: Stephen Hunter in the Washington Post waxes ridiculously and blissfully eloquent on the unappreciated joys of "M:i:III."

For in any form, seen in any direction, in any language, no movie is as
full of perfect Zen emptiness as "M:i:III." It’s the hole in the
doughnut, the shoe that never drops, the sound of one hand clapping,
the moon in reflection in the cold stream. It’s there/not there at
once. It’s so . . . wonderful.

And it’s a leftover from last week, but we didn’t get around to then — Choire Sicha at the New York Observer on "Snakes on a Plane" and race, and, as an afterthought, "Idlewild":

What was that film exactly? Airplane! meets United 93? Not quite. If SoaP were a band (and who’s to say it won’t be soon?) and this were a Pitchfork album review, we’d settle on: Soul Plane meets Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal.

+ Volver (Guardian)
+ Volver (Observer)
+ Volver (London Times)
+ Volver (15) (Independent)
+ Volver (Telegraph)
+ Paprika Review (Twitch)
+ ‘We just followed what he said’ (BBC)
+ The Great Right Place: James Ellroy Comes Home (LA Times Magazine)
+ Film Studies: A three-year-old can watch this? (Independent)
+ The Bliss of Watching ‘Mission’: Incomprehensible (Washington Post)
+ Spoiler Alert: Honkies Get Iced in Snakes (NY Observer)

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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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