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Odds: Thursday – Torture, hair extensions.

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Video: Michel Gondry solves a Rubik’s Cube with his nose here — the long-awaited (?) sequel to this (via Rex Sorgatz at Fimoculous).

Steven Winn at the San Francisco Chronicle finds that "[t]orture is a current preoccupation in the culture," from "24" to Fernando Botero‘s "Abu Ghraib" paintings:

I don’t think this is some accident or random coincidence. The artists are reading the map. They’re showing us where we are. Even the arrival of McDonagh’s 1994 play about the bruising interrogation of two brothers who may or may not be involved in three torturous child murders, seems uncannily tuned to the times. "The Last King of Scotland," "Pan’s Labyrinth" and "The Pillowman" come at their congruent themes in different, instructively complementary ways. All three lead us toward the dark heart of torture and the poisoned blood it pumps.

At Greencine Daily, David Hudson points to an interview on the site with Rory Kennedy, the director of doc "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" in which, when asked about "the value of documentary as a corrective or instructive ameliorative against fictionalized torture porn," she responds with an anecdote:

Tony Lagouranis – who is one of the characters that we interviewed in the film – was an interrogator at Abu Ghraib but was also on a mobile unit that traveled throughout Iraq. He interrogated people at a number of different facilities throughout the country. What he said was that there were a lot of interrogators who he worked with who said that they got their ideas of how to interrogate through television.

Television really does have a significant impact in terms of having a material effect. If you go to Iraq and somebody’s torturing somebody like they torture them on 24, it’s obviously inspired by that television show.

Meanwhile, Idi Amin’s son Jaffar breaks his family’s long media silence to speak out on the news wires against his father’s portrayal in "The Last King of Scotland." Via Katy Pownall at the AP: "I’d ask dad, what happened? He’d look at me and say ‘people fought me, I fought them but I never killed innocent people. God will be the one to judge me."

Elsewhere… At the Risky Biz blog, Borys Kit writes that Warner Bros. Pictures has picked up the rights to illustrated children’s novel "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick, with Martin Scorsese a possibility to direct:

Part of the idea for “Hugo Cabret” came to Selznick when he heard how George Méliès, the French film pioneer who made “A Trip to the Moon” (which features the iconic image of a rocket hitting the eye of the man in the moon), died a financial failure, having lost his collection of automata, which are complex windup toys. Thus came the idea of a mechanically minded orphan and an impoverished, dispirited pioneer of French cinema, set in 1930s Paris and replete with references to the heroes of French cinema, from the Lumière brothers to François Truffaut.

Aaron Gerow at Daily Yomiuri and Mark Schilling at the Japan Times each offer a review of "Exte," which stars Chiaki "Gogo Yubari" Kuriyama and haunted…hair extensions. Writes Gerow:

Our uncertainty over whether this is a horror film or a joke begins with the title: Is J-horror scraping the bottom of the barrel to find something artificial in our world, beyond cell phones and video tapes, to attack us? Or is that the first sign this is a parody?

And Marisa Meltzer at Slate wonders at the state of another genre — the slacker comedy. She looks over "Mutual Appreciation" and "The Puffy Chair" and wonders

If these movies are meant to celebrate slacking, why must the slackers always give it up at the end? Sure, everyone likes a character arc, but there are many ways to be an adult between the extremes of the wake-and-bake and the morning commute. It seems lazy that Bujalski and the Duplass brothers don’t try very hard to represent that. After two decades of slackers on film, the genre hasn’t grown up—it’s just moved to Brooklyn.

Well, these days, haven’t we all?

+ Michel Gondry Solves a Rubiks Cube with his Nose (YouTube)
+ From ’24’ to images on the big screen, our eyes are being opened to torture (SF Chronicle)
+ Interview. Rory Kennedy. (Greencine Daily)
+ Idi Amin’s son lashes out at movie (AP)
+ Scorsese Turns to Fantasy Genre (Risky Biz)
+ Horror film about haunted hair extensions skirts edge of parody (Daily Yomiuri)
+ Breaking out of the underground (Japan Times)
+ The Slacker Movie’s Quarterlife Crisis (Slate)

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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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