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The week’s critic wrangle: “Factory Girl,” “The Situation,”

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"Your work is so important!"
+ "Factory Girl": After garnering an impressive amount of gossip column inches for various perfunctory scandales, George Hickenlooper‘s Edie Sedgwick biopic finally arrives in theaters. At Slate, Dana Stevens sighs that "For a movie about the tumultuous friendships among artists, musicians, and filmmakers during one of the 20th century’s periods of creative ferment, Factory Girl is remarkably incurious about cinema, music, and art." She faults the script for weighing the film down. At Slant, Ed Gonzalez sums the film up as yet another biopic "spectacles of bad accidents, VH1 aesthetics, sketchy (almost nonexistent) period detail, and armchair psychology," allowing that "[w]hat’s novel about Factory Girl is Hickenlooper’s singular revulsion for Warhol as a human being."

At the New York Times, Stephen Holden declares "Factory Girl" a "deluxe photo spread of a film," calling out Sienna Miller‘s performance as Sedgwick as "furious, thrashing," while dismissing Hayden Christensen‘s not-Bob Dylan impersonation (in the film, he’s known only as "The Musician") as "abysmal." Stephanie Zacharek at Salon writes that the film "often feels torpid and listless," but does like Hickenlooper’s treatment of Sedgwick as a subject:

Hickenlooper doesn’t take the all-too-common tack of luring us in with pleasurably decadent images only to punish us later for having enjoyed them — this isn’t a "Look where loving style over substance will lead you!" morality tale à la "Blow-Up." Instead, Hickenlooper takes pleasure in Sedgwick’s allure, and he invites us to do the same. His approach suggests a kind of quiet generosity, the opposite of raking the bones of a famous dead person who met a bad end.


"The situation is all anybody talks about."
+ "The Situation": Fearlessly claiming to be the first U.S. feature film to deal with the occupation of Iraq (an assertion we feel a mystifying need to disprove, though we’ve yet to come up with a prior film on which we could bestow this title), "The Situation" is the latest work from director Philip Haas, of "Angels and Insects," and stars It’s attracting a wide range of reviews — on one end, J. Hoberman at the Village Voice calls it "an incitement to rage and despair—the most vivid critique of Bush’s War yet put on screen," and on the other, Manohla Dargis at the New York Times labels it "[e]xploitation cinema of the most narcoleptic kind," finding that the director "fails to invest this devastating situation with the thoughtfulness and the urgency it deserves."

In between: At the New Yorker, Anthony Lane (who argues that "Turtles Can Fly" is actually the first feature to deal with the occupation of Iraq, though not a US one) calls "The Situation" an "awkward and half-digested movie"; at Slant, Nick Schager finds it "noble in intention but less than successful in execution"; at Entertainment Weekly, Lisa Schwarzbaum writes it off as an "overstuffed, unengaging drama."

Fonder is Andrew O’Hehir at Salon, who thinks the film is "uneven but impressively ambitious," and writes that "’The Situation’ is a highly developed moral landscape, painted…in rapidly shifting colors rather than black, white or gray. No one is demonized."  David Edelstein at New York admits the film is "a spotty piece of work," but does find that when it works, it "catches the mood of the best recent journalism—the visceral feeling that, as one character puts it, ‘a box has been opened and all the bad things have come out.’"

At indieWIRE, Kristi Mitsuda faults "The Situation"’s "defensive timidity": "Though notable for its early attempt to sift through the mess even as Bush calls for more troops, the film’s overly solicitous manner surely stems from this same lack of historical distance." And at the AV Club, Noel Murray observes that "At times, the movie plays like one long monologue, spread between a dozen characters. And its feeble attempt at a romantic triangle leads nowhere, except to unintentionally campy scenes of Nielsen and Lewis grinding away while the sound of gunfire echoes in the streets."

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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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