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IFC News: Straight-to-video, the year.

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"I don't think your Marxist dialectic is very orthodox."
Just popping our head in for a second to point out what’s new this week (and into next week — you try coming up with content for the films opening on January 5th) on IFC News:

"How could the new Eric Rohmer film not be awardable, simply because distributors have lost their nerve and/or their ability to market to an increasingly dumbed-down populace?" writes Michael Atkinson. "Born to kvetch, I offer up my favorite dozen-plus-three straight-to-disc U.S. debuts this year, the likes of which would fill up my year’s top ten list if we were playing fair." And so he does.

The rest of the IFC News team offers personal picks of  moments/performances/highlights/losses from the year that was that we’d rather not let go overlooked.

Aaron Hillis interviews Karen Moncrieff, director of "The Dead Girl":

I really couldn’t have imagined that I’d be writing a story that had serial killing and a drug-addict prostitute at its center. You might think that’s the stuff of generic films, but I had this unique experience of being a juror on a murder trial. When it was over, I felt like I knew this young woman who was the victim. Over time, each of the witnesses had offered up a different little detail about who she was. I pieced together a portrait of her, and her life really sprang into bold relief for me. After we convicted the guy, I was still left with this weight that I couldn’t shake, and the way I deal is to write about it. So I started taking notes, thinking about all these other people who were there, how none of us had known one another before we were pulled into this courtroom, and how murder creates this kind of community.

R. Emmet Sweeney offers a history of the backstage musical:

The backstage musical has gone through a plenty of mutations since then, but it’s really the only remnant of a once dominant genre to survive the demise of the studio system. The latest iteration is the early Oscar favorite "Dreamgirls," which follows a strikingly similar story arc to the "Broadway Melody" of 77 years earlier.

Instead of a vaudeville act, "Dreamgirls" is focused on a Motown girl group whose rupture also comes about because of a man and his fickle heart (and thirst for power) — the manager played by Jaime Foxx. It’s not just the tried and true story formula that "Dreamgirls" has inherited from its forebears, but a whole history of technical and directorial innovation.

Matt Singer reviews "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" and "Pan’s Labyrinth":

Tykwer‘s camerawork is frequently witty: through the use of clever lighting, Jean-Baptiste is introduced nose-first, and a shot of a door with two keyholes suggests a nostril’s eye view of the world. But there seems to be a fundamental flaw in the film version of "Perfume," in its focus on a sensory experience that is wholly absent from cinema: smell. A movie could captivatingly portray a person gifted with exception vision or hearing, but smelling is quite different. Without a "Polyester" Smell-O-Vision-style gimmick, Tykwer must somehow approximate Jean-Baptiste’s olfactory prowess, which leads to a lot of close-ups of his nose, flash frames of objects (flowers, fruit, entrails, dung) and a lot of heavy breathing on the soundtrack.

We discuss holiday film fare on the podcast, and Christopher Bonet offers the round-up of what’s opening in theaters.

+ IFC News

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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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