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Cannes remnant: “My Blueberry Nights.”

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"You can't blame the blueberry pie -- it's just, no one wants it."One last one.

Nah, we didn’t like it much either. Looking back at "My Blueberry Nights" with some remove, though, the film doesn’t seem such a crushing disappointment as much as just
Wong Kar Wai
on an off day. He was certainly due. The run of "Happy Together," "In the Mood for Love," "2046"  and his  "Eros" segment "The Hand" makes it easy to forget that there have been other times his signature fixations, his heady visual style and his narrative aimlessness haven’t congealed into a great film. That it should happen with his highest profile film to date is a shame, but "My Blueberry Nights" isn’t a complete write-off — it’s just not, with the exception of one silent, quivery kiss, shot through with that particular cinematic felicity that suffuses his successes. 

Part of that’s the setting: Wong’s America turns out to be a diffuse and figurative creation, sketched out in half-filtered details: New York is empty streets and elevated subway trains, Memphis is trolley cars and "Try A Little Tenderness" on the jukebox. It’s all as lusciously photographed as you’d expect, but also feels stretched thin, like he took the hyperdense Hong Kong of "Chungking Express" and spread it out across an entire continent. The best parts of the film take place in New York, where a winsome heartbroken girl played by Norah Jones starts frequenting a cafe and chatting with the scruffily charming owner (Jude Law) in the aftermath of a bad breakup. You really couldn’t do much better by way of director for your debut than did Jones, who, done up as a dusky 50s ingenue, looks fantastic in her first on-screen role. She not a strong actress, but that only grates in the beginning — as the film goes on, she’s more an unobtrusive observer, taking in the lessons imparted to her by those she meets on the road once she takes off, not yet ready for what’s blossomed into a tentative pre-courtship.

Those middle segments, in Memphis and Nevada, are clunkier, in part because those aforementioned lessons are delivered with such discordant directness (Wong co-wrote the script by mystery writer Lawrence Block), and in part because of the context-free casting. The buttoned-down David Strathairn plays a lovelorn drunk; the
aristocratic Rachel Weisz a trashy Tennessee bombshell. Natalie
, in bleached curls and a thigh-skimming dress, is supposed to
be a strutting, seen-it-all poker player, and it’s the toughest act to buy.

It’s Chan Marshall, the singer also known as Cat Power and whose "The Greatest" serves as the warmly weary theme of the film’s first segment, who makes the biggest impression in the least amount of screen time. In what’s again inexplicable casting, she plays, honeyed twang and all, one of the character’s Russian ex-girlfriend. Turning up at the edge of a night, she sweetly embodies the universe the rest of the film aspires to encompass, one of unguarded moments in emptying bars and swept-up restaurants.

"My Blueberry Nights" will be released in the US by the Weinstein Company.

+ "My Blueberry Nights" (
+ "My Blueberry Nights" (IMDb)

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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.

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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…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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