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Odds: Wednesday – Magical black men and the Ancient Mariner.

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Is that you, God? It's me, Ofelia.
A few months ago, when that film about Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega going to Target and then going to Arby’s came out, we longed for someone to put together a list like this week’s at the Onion AV Club — we were not up to the challenge ourselves. They cite Christopher John Farley’s 2000 Time article "That Old Black Magic":

Farley explains them this way: "Hollywood screenwriters don’t know much
about black people other than what they hear on records by white
hip-hop star Eminem. So instead of getting life histories or love
interests, black characters get magical powers." Facile? Sure. But an
awful lot of movies, especially from the past decade, fit the bill.

And, for the record, only two of their 13 choices involve Freeman.

What is the greatest film of all time? According to Andrew Sarris at the New York Observer, it’s Max Ophüls"Madame de…" And next:

Still, I usually answer questions about the greatest film of all time by immediately throwing in my two runners-up: Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu Monogatari (1953) and Jean Renoir’s La Règle du Jeu (1939). Then, if I can grasp the questioner’s lapels long enough (much like Coleridge’s crazed Ancient Mariner), I rattle off the rest of my all-time ten-greatest list: Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), John Ford’s The Searchers (1956), Orson Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour (1967), F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise (1927), Charles Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936) and Buster Keaton’s The General (1927).

Some days you feel like a true cinephile; other days you feel like you’re just a dabbler. Reading that paragraph makes us want to curl up under our desk, unable to bear the shame of being such a dilettante — were we to ever find ourselves talking to someone with handy lapels to grab, we’d be hard pressed to commit to even a definitive all-time top three to bellow in that person’s face.

At the San Francisco Chronicle, Matthai Chakko Kuruvila considers "Pan’s Labyrinth" as a non-denominational religious fable:

"It’s very hard to stay away from religion. We’re talking about a realm of experience that gives us our greatest meaning," says Vamsee Juluri, a Hindu and a professor of media studies at the University of San Francisco. " ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ gives us the language of universal religion at a time when it’s very hard to do that in the popular culture."

This isn’t an angle that even crossed our mind when we saw the film — doesn’t that equate religion to a fanciful but ultimately somewhat harmful escape from the daily hardships of life?

Alejandro Jodorowsky likes Korean films. Via Kim Tae-jong at the Korea Times:

"Every night, I watch a film, usually an Asian one. I’ve watched a lot of Korean films. Hard to name them all, but I was surprised by Korean film’s refreshing elements in their themes, acting and techniques. I think Korean films have already outdone Hong Kong and Japanese movies," he said.

He named "King and the Clown," "Forbidden Quest," "Old Boy" and "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" as some of his favorite Korean movies.

"Borat"‘s loss of a domain name has been cited in the State Department’s annual human rights report, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Steve Daly interviews Frank Miller at Entertainment Weekly:

300 is largely faithful to your material. But it takes the character of Queen Gorgo, who only appears in a couple of panels in your version, and gives her a major subplot with a character called Theron, an evil politician. What did you think of that addition?

At first I very much disagreed with it. My main comment was, ”This is a boys’ movie. Let it be that.” The story itself, in historical terms, really didn’t involve her all that much, from most accounts. But Zack had his reasons. He wanted to show that King Leonidas was fighting for something, by giving him a romantic aspect and by lingering in Sparta a little bit.

And Tom Mes at Midnight Eye talks to Nobuhiro Yamashita, whose "Linda Linda Linda" is a film dear to our heart. His latest film, the comedy "Matsugane Ransha Jiken (The Matsugane Potshot Affair)" opened last week in Japan — in a review at the Japan Times, Mark Schilling gave it a lukewarm review, sighing that "What passes for comedy in the Japanese mass media is often little better than ijime (bullying) played for laughs — one comedian baiting or beating another — so in a sense Yamashita is simply going mainstream, but, no fan of ijime in any of its infinitely varied forms, I watched much of the film stone-faced."

+ Inventory: 13 Movies featuring magical black men (AV Club)
+ The Greatest Film of All Time: Ophüls’ Madame de … Is Coming Back to Town (NY Observer)
+ Embraced by many religions, ‘Labyrinth’ allows broad discussion of faith issues (SF Chronicle)
+ Cult Director Jodorowsky Likes Korean Films (Korea Times)
+ Borat seen as human rights victim by U.S. gov’t (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Miller’s Tales (Entertainment Weekly)
+ Nobuhiro Yamashita (Midnight Eye)
+ Potshots that fail to slay you (Japan Times)

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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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