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Critic wrangle: “Romance & Cigarettes.”

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Lonely is a man without love.
Armond White at the New York Press sort of likes "Romance & Cigarettes," which generally does bode well for a film. Either way, it’s only sort of: He admires the way director John Turturro takes the movie-musical seriously, and the way the film "expresses a deep love of pop," but dislikes moments in which the movie "becomes cute and campy. Turturro understands the emotion inside
musicals but is too skeptical, or ultimately unskilled, to treat them
with coherent depth." At Salon, Andrew O’Hehir loves it, called it "the most original picture by an American director I’ve seen this year, and also the most delightful… There’s more hilarity, more sense of risk and more sheer filmmaking joy in ‘Romance & Cigarettes’ than in roughly the last 157 indie pictures I’ve sat through." Stephen Holden at the New York Times agrees that "There is more raw vitality pumping through ‘Romance & Cigarettes,’ John Turturro’s passionate ode to the sensual pulse of life in a working-class neighborhood of Queens, than in a dozen perky high school musicals." He also points out that "If the film’s proudly bawdy audacity goes a long way toward compensating for its narrative shortcomings, that audacity is still a commercial liability," a thought followed up by Michael Koresky at indieWIRE, who writes that the film, "like ‘One from the Heart,’ is an interiorized musical set somewhere between stark lower middle-class reality and all-consuming artifice–also like that film, it’s not entirely successful in its aims, often poking around rather than rooting to its characters’ emotional core. Yet the labor of Turturro’s love is evident in nearly every frame."

The film doesn’t work for Michelle Orange at the Village Voice, who writes that "Romance & Cigarettes is less a story than a state of mind, and less a musical than a meditation on how we instinctively set our lives to music, if not other musicals; unfortunately, it is just shy of convincing on both counts." Gregory Kirschling at Entertainment Weekly adds that "With [Christopher] Walken around, hair up high, of course there are fleeting moments of fascinating weirdness, but even then, you’re still moderately embarrassed for the cast."

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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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