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Odds: Monday – Altman, Disney, Mel.

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"I could play the violin and wipe my own ass all at the same time."
We meant to post a link to the Film Criticism Blog-a-Thon on Friday, but now it’s massive and complete. We particularly recommend Matt Zoller Seitz‘s compilation post over at The House Next Door, Bilge Ebiri‘s piece on "Graham Greene vs. Shirley Temple," Peet Gelderblom‘s reflections on Armond White, and more, and more.

The crew at Stop Smiling have "a few personal appreciations of individual films by Robert Altman."

On the flipside, the crew at the Boston Globe survey, less lovingly, some Mel Gibson moments:

"The Million Dollar Hotel" (2000)
Wim Wenders‘s little-seen film raises a rarely asked question: Is Mel on a leash scarier than Mel unloosed? Third-billed, he plays an FBI agent investigating a mysterious death in a supremely seedy hotel in downtown LA. His character, Skinner, wears a neck and back brace that barely allows him to move. He was also born with a third arm (later amputated). "I could play the violin and wipe [myself] at the same time," he boasts. It’s the weirdest onscreen mind-body relationship since Dr. Strangelove’s.

John Waters posts his top 10 films of the year over at Artforum — we’ve been frantically trying to get a few last titles under our belt before posting ours next weekish, and yes, sometimes this is a ridiculous job.

Anthony Lane at the New Yorker has a hefty and nicely written piece on Walt Disney:

In one sense, Disney’s choice of subjects was bizarre. How would all these feudal formulas—the princes who crown the climaxes of “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” and “Sleeping Beauty”—play in a modern republic? In the event, they scarcely mattered. Nobody leaves those movies pining for the unfailingly limp human males into whose arms the spunky heroines fall. Indeed, to criticize the Disney corpus as pap ignores the fact that pap was the thing that Disney, at his best, did worst of all. What lodges in the brain, after Snow White has been yanked out of her glass casket, is the macabre punch of the buildup: the poisoned apple rolling from her outstretched hand, the witch transfigured from a snotty Joan Crawford figure to something yet more disturbing. (Her voice was provided by Lucille La Verne, who is said to have managed the transition to a cackle by the simple expedient of removing her false teeth.) As for the sight of the threatened girl haring through the forest, pursued by a posse of swirling leaves, with the branches clawing at her clothes, it possesses not just the sharp-toothed, half-Teutonic atmosphere that Disney could reliably conjure from his artists; it is also edited with a violent sophistication that chops straight into children’s dreams. For a moment, it looks like Eisenstein.

Charles Solomon at the New York Times writes that "[a]fter a hiatus of nearly 50 years, Walt Disney Studios is getting back into the business of producing short cartoons, starting with a Goofy vehicle next year."

Via Reuters: Bollywood stars Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan have been accused of obscenity on the basis of a kissing scene in "Dhoom 2.":

Shailendra Dwivedi of Indore, near Bhopal, the capital of central Madhya Pradesh state, said the scene from the movie, titled "Dhoom 2," lowered the dignity of Indian women and gave an obscene message to youth.

Roger Clarke at the Independent takes a closer look at the celebrated sex scene (it’s classy!) in "Don’t Look Now."

And over at the Observer, Liz Hoggard writes of Judi Dench‘s role in "Notes on a Scandal":

Barbara is a brilliant addition to cinema’s regiment of monstrous females. Think of Kathy Bates in Misery; Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?; or Beryl Reid in The Killing of Sister George. It’s not often cinema is brave enough to offer us a wholly unlikable female lead – which is what makes them so powerful. By contravening proper feminine modes of behaviour and dress, these women refuse to accept the patriarchal order. They are also great fun: we get to live out their transgressive behaviour without any of the consequences.

+ Welcome To The Film Criticism Blog-a-Thon! (No More Marriages)
+ The once & future Mel (Boston Globe)
+ Best of 2006: Film (Art Forum)
+ For Disney, Something Old (and Short) Is New Again (NY Times)
+ Stars face court action over kiss (Reuters)
+ Story Of The Scene: ‘Don’t Look Now’ Nicolas Roeg (1973) (Independent)
+ Far deadlier than the male (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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