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TIFF in pieces.

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"A true story of survival... declassified."
We don’t see ourselves covering Toronto anytime soon — a good thing, because when we look over the festival we’re seized with an overwhelming sense of panic. So! Many! Movies! We imagine rushing around trying to fit in seven screenings a day and staying up all night attempting to write them up, and by day three turning up dead in a Canadian gutter, the paramedics forced to use the Jaws of Life to pry the laptop out of our cold hands.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of Toronto coverage out there. Lots of snippets:

At indieWIRE, Anthony Kaufman writes that "With many of Hollywood’s biggest offerings bombing here in Toronto (stay away from ‘A Good Year’ and ‘All the King’s Men’), critics have sought solace in half a dozen already proven Cannes favorites (‘Volver,’ ‘Climates,’ ‘Babel’) and a number of smaller, newer foreign discoveries and documentaries." That seems to be the general sentiment at the festival midpoint; Kaufman highlights three death-centric films, Bahman Ghobadi‘s "Half Moon," Roger Michell‘s "Venus," and Danish newcomer Peter Schønau Fog‘s "The Art of Crying."

Wesley Morris at the Boston Globe finds the prevailing message of the festival seems to be less death than the fact that "The world is a mess"; he’s one of many greatly (and surprisingly, given the relatively good reception at Cannes) unhappy with Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu‘s "Babel." He’s also not alone in disliking Marc Forster‘s Charlie Kaufman-lite "Stranger Than Fiction" and speaking well of "Shortbus." At the Globe‘s Movie Nation blog, Scott Heller‘s also reeling from the Forster film, but recommends Guy Maddin‘s "Brand Upon the Brain!”: "It’s very very Maddin (inky B&W, a Grand Guignol plot, overheated dialogue, juvenile jokiness) but delicious nonetheless."

David Poland is disappointed by the whole festival: "there just aren’t enough festival films to fill the schedule with quality right now." Peter Bowen at the Filmmaker blog also feels the malaise, allowing that "It is not that the films are bad; just not exciting."

At the Risky Biz blog, Anne Thompson reports on Michael Moore‘s "Sicko" preview, which was plagued with technical difficulties: "Word is, Moore was so angry with what ["Borat" director Larry] Charles called their ‘bad techno-karma’ that he treated the Toronto staff rudely and refused to speak to fest director Noah Cowan."

Speaking of "Borat," the premiere that wasn’t has been well documented: Jason Chow at the LA Times has a full account of Sasha Baron Cohen‘s always-in-character entrance and press encounters:

Are you propagating bigotry in the film? "Yeah." How will the movie affect Kazakhstan’s international reputation? "I hope it will help the people know about Kazakhstan and know that we are now a civilized country like everyone else…. Homosexuals do not have to wear blue hats and the age of consent has been raised to 11 years old."

Projection problems halted the film less than halfway though: "[Michael] Moore, a former projectionist, went up to the booth and attempted to solve the problem, but the filmmaker soon left the booth shaking his head, saying there wasn’t much he could do."

David Poland, catching the film’s full airing the next night (his third viewing) clearly is a fan, and willing to argue for Cohen’s Oscar chances: "This is, in its raw way, Chaplin or Tati."

Film Freak Central‘s Bill Chambers writes of "The Host": "I’m no scholar of the Man in Suit genre, but I feel pretty confident in saying that this is the pinnacle of giant-monster cinema.

Back at the Risky Biz blog, Sheigh Crabtree posts two video clips from the "Rescue Dawn" Q&A with Werner Herzog and Christian Bale. Brian Brooks at indieWIRE reports that MGM has acquired all North American rights for the film.

Mack at Twitch reviews (and likes) teen horror film "All The Boys Love Mandy Lane," which MovieWeb notes was picked up by The Weinstein Company for its Dimension Films arm. The Weinsteins also bought the rights to doc "Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show." Elsewhere on the otherwise relatively quiet doc front, TIFF’s Doc Blog has a note from the premiere of AJ Schnack‘s "Kurt Cobain: About a Son":

Cobain‘s impact on our culture could be felt in the line-up outside, as fans waited for hours in the rush line hoping to see the film. Inside the theatre, the presence of [journalist Michael] Azerrad and photography legend Charles Peterson echoed their tremendous support for the project, as did the contributions to the amazing soundtrack for the film. Azerrad, seeing the film for the first time tonight, said that one thing this film does do for him is give him a sense of closure.

Arthur Spiegelman at Reuters reports on the premiere of Gabriel Range‘s controvery-courting "Death of a President," which depicts the assassination of George W. Bush in the style of a TV documentary. "The 93-minute film’s subject matter has led to many protests in the United States, especially from conservatives. Range said he has received five or six death threats." Range claims to be on the verge of closing a US distribution deal for the film.

A few more reviews: Dave Kehr on Manoel de Oliveira‘s "sequel" to Bunuel‘s "Belle de jour" ("another of the great Portuguese director’s memory films"); Kehr on Jia Zhang-ke‘s "Dong" ("a companion piece to his fictional feature ‘Still Life’"). Girish Shambu reviews Nuri Bilge Ceylan‘s "Climates," Corneliu Porumboiu‘s "12:08 East Of Bucharest" and Aki Kaurismäki‘s "Lights In The Dusk."

And at the Miami Herald‘s Reeling blog, Rene Rodriguez writes "The best movie I’ve seen in Toronto thus far isn’t even playing at the festival." He caught a sneak preview of Scorsese‘s "The Departed": "[T]his is Scorsese’s best and most invigorating work since the underrated Casino, if not GoodFellas, as well as his most sheerly entertaining."

An update: Newmarket Films (who also distributed "The Passion of the Christ") bought the US rights for "Death of a President" for a reported $1 million.

+ "Half Moon," "Venus," "Art of Crying" Focus on Death; "Escape" and "Fire" Get Political (indieWIRE)

+ At Toronto film fest, some nuggets amid the overhyped (Boston Globe)
+ Toronto Day 3 (Boston Globe: Movie Nation)
+ September 11, 2006 (The Hot Button)
+ OH CANADA! (Filmmaker Blog)
+ Toronto Diary (Risky Biz)
+ Splashy Entry, but About That Exit, Borat… (LA Times)
+ BORAT II (The Hot Blog)
+ My TIFF So Far (FilmFreakCentral)
+ Video: Herzog, Bale in ‘Rescue Dawn’ Q&A at TIFF06 (Risky Biz)
+ "Rescue Dawn" Flies to MGM for North America (indieWIRE)
+ TIFF Report: All The Boys Love Mandy Lane Review (Twitch)
+ Weinstein Buys Up Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show and All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (MovieWeb)
+ Kurt Cobain Speaks Out at TIFF (TIFF Doc Blog)
+ Controversial "Death of a President" film debuts (Reuters)
+ Belle Toujours (Manoel de Oliveira, 2006, Toronto Film Festival) (
+ Dong (Jia Zhang-ke, 2006, Toronto Film Festival) (
+ Toronto Journal 1: Climates, etc. (
+ A dazzling "Departed" (Miami Herald: Reeling)

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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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