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Cannes: “No Country For Old Men.”

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"We dedicate ourselves daily anew."
"No Country For Old Men" is the best thing the Coens have ever done. We would never have guessed that Cormac McCarthy’s laconic fatalism would combine so well with the brothers detached genre sensibilities, but here it is — a dark thriller laced with darker humor that unravels to reveal something greater, wiser and regretful.

Josh Brolin (Josh Brolin!) is Llewellyn Moss, who stumbles on the wreckage of a drug deal gone wrong while hunting out on the plains of West Texas (as more than one later visitor to the site observes, as if to underline the carnage, they even shot the dog). Amongst the bodies he finds a load of Mexican heroin and $2 million in bundles of $100s in a leather briefcase.

Moss is careful — the outstanding first sequence outlines his methodical competence, from his retrieval of his own shotgun shells to his patience in approaching a man who may or may not be dead. Still, in taking the money he acquires an enemy even more efficiently badass: Anton Chigurh, played by Spanish actor Javier Bardem in the kind of role that has "Best Supporting Actor" written all over it, is a terrifyingly flat hired killer with a Prince Valiant-in-hell haircut, an unnaturally deep voice and a cattle gun. In his strangeness, he verges on being an element of the supernatural — one character even calls him "a ghost." Moss and Chigurh engage in an epic duel of sorts spanning dusty hotels and nighttime streets, as Moss tries to break free from the consequences of his ill-fated decision and chase the promise of a fresh start with his wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) and Chigurh inexorably tracks him down. Also in the mix is Tommy Lee Jones as Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, who starts the story off with a voiceover, returns to end it, and in between pieces the action together in Chigurh’s wake, becoming a wearily Cassandrian figure unable to stop the bloodshed.

This sounds like grim stuff, and in McCarthy’s hands it was overly so — not one of his better works — but under the Coens’ direction it’s intoxicatingly well done, from the vast, spare look of the cinematography to the unexpected humor found in its wry, hyperunderstated exchanges (a character describes Chigurh as being "a psychopathic killer — so what? There’s plenty of those to go around."). There are imaginative action sequences butch enough to recall Albert Finney‘s "Danny Boy" moment in "Miller’s Crossing,"
but "No Country For Old Men" isn’t the pastiche that film was, and when
it reaches for genuine emotion there’s none of that sense of gears
grinding that has plagued the brothers’ past films — they’ve always had trouble with
sincerity. The dialogue is almost entirely McCarthy’s, but the Coens have discarded much of the novel’s heaping dolorousness, saving what’s left for Jones’ coda, an almost mystical monologue that’s both heartsick and heart-stoppingly good.

"No Country For Old Men" will be released by Miramax on November 9th.

+ "No Country For Old Men" (
+ "No Country For Old Men" (IMDb)

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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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