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DID YOU READ

Grumblings.

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Love, not suicide.
Here’s a look at who’s been getting huffy about what lately:

The family of Col. Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, the World War II hero who took part in a failed Hitler assassination attempt, is not happy that Tom Cruise will be playing their famed relative in a recently announced film to be directed by Bryan Singer. Via Allan Hall at The Scotsman:

Count Caspar Schenk von Stauffenberg, the soldier’s grandson, said: "I have nothing against him [Cruise] and can even separate his work from his beliefs in Scientology. But I and other family members are worried that the picture will be financed by the sect and be used to get across its propaganda. Unfortunately the family Stauffenberg can do nothing about this. My grandfather is a figure from history."

Gregg Goldstein at the Hollywood Reporter writes that fifteen suicide prevention groups are prepared to protest After Dark Films’ planned suicide-centric advertising for "Wristcutters: A Love Story." "Haha!" says After Dark Films. "Why do we need to advertise when suicide prevention groups will do it for us?" Except they do not, as they were recently forced to pull questionable advertising for Elisha Cuthbert torture vehicle "Captivity."

"Critics are supposed to share perspective on a work, to think critically," writes Lewis Beale at The Reeler:

Read some of the greats — Kael, Agee, Hoberman — and you realize they have a way of looking at things: a historical and cultural perspective that adds up to an aesthetic world view. They’re not reviewers; reviewers tell you what the movie’s about. Critics tell you what it means. Get the difference? Critics are not meant to be Masters of the Vox Populi, but people we read for intelligent, reasoned, probing analysis.

It’s a reaction to the apparently critic-proof successes "Wild Hogs," "300," et al., and the re-raised question of whether critics matter. Beale suggests that critics no longer bother with films like the ones mentioned: "you’d think a critic’s time would be better spent writing about deserving indies, thoughtful foreign releases or Hollywood flicks like Zodiac, with its passionate look at obsession and physical decline, that actually merit an essay." We discussed this model of criticism briefly during our SXSW Blogging on Film panel — some of our fellow bloggers have taken the approach of generally championing films they like and want to support, seeing negative reviews as a waste of time. It’s an approach we respect but don’t share — it’s also one we don’t see working for mainstream press. Beyond the fact that it would permanently relegate criticism to relative obscurity, it also presumes a certain stratification of "important cinema" that we find distasteful. Cinema is a populist art — some films offer considerably more depth than others, but it doesn’t mean that even the most idiotic of features doesn’t have cultural value, at least as a reflection of our time and place. As we pointed out before, "300" may be inane, but the analysis and discussion it’s sparked have been the most interesting of the young year.

Over at the Guardian film blog, Ronald Bergan suggests that a deterioration in film criticism has sprung from critics, in general, being undereducated. He provides his own list of minimum requirements of what every film critic should know. Also at the Guardian film blog, Michael White weighs in on the "300" uproar, writing that "It may be homoerotic camp, but 300 also strikes me as a dangerous piece of fantasy, a racist confrontation between the good guys (the west) and those nasty foreigners."

At the Observer, Barbara Ellen decries the representations of Beatrix Potter in "Miss Potter" and Jane Austen in the upcoming "Becoming Jane," writing that Hollywood has taken to "rebranding them (or should one say re-blanding?) as wispy, likable, ‘fragrant’ characters."

And an AP story notes that Disney is reconsidering a DVD release of its controversial and long hidden-away 1946 animated feature "Song of the South." The un-PC film is a holy grail for eBay trawling novelty-driven cinephile (though the out-of-print "Salò" Criterion DVD tends to fetch higher prices). James Pappas, associate professor of African-American Studies at the University of New York at Buffalo, is quoted in the piece: "I think it’s important that these images are shown today so that especially young people can understand this historical context for some of the blatant stereotyping that’s done today."

+ Cruise’s anti-Nazi film role irks family (The Scotsman)
+ Groups protest ‘Wristcutters’ ads (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Stop the Presses (The Reeler)
+ What every film critic must know (Guardian Blog)
+ 300 is a dangerous piece of fantasy (Guardian)
+ Stop prettying up these great women (Observer)
+ ‘Song of the South’ release mulled despite possible controversy (USA Today)

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Final Countdown

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 IFC.com

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Rev Up

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.

Uncle-Buck

Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…