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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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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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