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"Nicole understood the part at a low frequency. At base level."
Critic David Thomson‘s decision to write a biography/analysis/meditation on Nicole Kidman seems both odd and rather ballsy, given that his previous biographies were of Orson Welles and David O. Selznick, both comfortably canonical and dead. Kidman is very much alive, and proving it by complaining in news outlets (like the Daily Mail) that Thomson only interviewed her once and neglected to inform her that the exchange was for a book he happened to be writing about her:

According to the star’s publicist Wendy Day: "Nicole has never met David Thomson. She has only spoken to him briefly on the phone about her acting processes and various films.

"He’s a well-respected film writer and she accepted the interview only because she was under the impression he was writing a series of film essays."

We’re sure Kidman would never have shared all those filthy anecdotes had she known they were destined for use in a book instead of a film essay series. The London Times has a Tom-centric extract from the straightforwardly named "Nicole Kidman" here. In another piece in the paper, Thomson defends his choice of topic:

I don’t say she’s the greatest actress ever, or even the best of her time — though I think she is the bravest, the most adventurous and the most varied of her age. Just remember these: Moulin Rouge!, Birthday Girl, The Others, The Hours, Dogville — that great run. And Birth, which was released two years ago. I know, many of you may say: Birth? What was that? I never saw it. I had better seek it out. Yes, you should, because it is her best, and she knows it went unseen, and forgotten. In Birth, and in a few others, she finds a shining, profound intimacy. But it was a commercial disaster.

We’re generally pretty indifferent to Kidman as an actress, but we’ve got to hand it to Thomson — it’s one thing to write about Welles, and quite another to go to bat for "Birth." Over at the New York Observer, Scott Eyman notes

Mr. Thomson has always put himself out there—he’s one of the rare writers who view criticism as an art form in its own right, and every artist has to reserve the right to fall on his face. In this particular book, there’s a dream sequence set in a Parisian bordello that verges on the embarrassing, and there are occasional sentences that could have been lifted directly from Photoplay magazine circa 1938: “It is Nicole’s nature to be sturdy, cheerful, robust, a real person, full of common sense.” At these times, the book is simply what my grandfather used to call a “mash note.”

Elsewhere, the new issue of Film Comment has an article from Paul Schrader that is "one of the longest published in Film Comment history" — the topic is no less than what makes a film worthy of being considered canonical, and the preface (entitled "The Book I Didn’t Write") and introduction are online here.

In March 2003 I was having dinner in London with Faber and Faber’s editor of film books, Walter Donohue, and several others when the conversation turned to the current state of film criticism and lack of knowledge of film history in general. I remarked on a former assistant who, when told to look up Montgomery Clift, returned some minutes later asking, “Where is that?” I replied that I thought it was in the Hollywood Hills, and he returned to his search engine.

Yes, we agreed, there are too many films, too much history, for today’s student to master. “Someone should write a film version of Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon,” a writer from The Independent suggested, and “the person who should write it,” he said, looking at me, “is you.” I looked to Walter, who replied, “If you write it, I’ll publish it.” And the die was cast.

And, via the always reliably trashy WENN, this tidbit from John Leguizamo‘s upcoming autobiography "Pimps, Hos, Playa Hatas, And All The Rest Of My Hollywood Friends," on the filming of "Carlito’s Way":

"You really have to know Penelope Ann Miller to dislike her. She’s the kind of girl who would flirt with anyone in the world as long as people are watching." Leguizamo and the wardrobe department decided to get even with Miller – by taking in her clothes an inch at a time. He writes, "Every day her outfits are getting a little tighter, a little tighter. She goes on a starvation diet. Watch the movie, you’ll see she gets thinner and thinner."

Lovely, John, lovely.

+ Kidman outraged at new love revelations (Daily Mail)
+ Kidman: the best actress of her time? (London Times)
+ Nicole uncovered (London Times)
+ A Great Critic’s Mash Note: Nicole Kidman Is To Die For (NY Observer)
+ PREFACE: The Book I Didn’t Write (Film Comment)
+ Leguizamo Slams Flirtatious Miller (WENN)

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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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