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Inspired by the motion picture.

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Smile, Frank.
Jay-Z’s album "American Gangster," which hits stores today, was inspired by the Ridley Scott film. Way inspired, if Rob Sheffield at Rolling Stone is to be believed: "The concept is really just a spark to get Jay started. Forget Frank Lucas: The real black superhero here is Jay, and with American Gangster, Gray-Hova is back in black." Kelefa Sanneh at the New York Times addresses the ties between hip-hop and film:

Rappers have long loved (and stolen from) movies, but that doesn’t
mean they esteem the people who make them. In a song on the new album,
Jay-Z belittles the competition, sneering, “They’re all actors,” and
adding, “They’re all weirdos — De Niros in practice.” In his rhymes, it
seems, “De Niro” can be both a compliment and an insult. But then,
rappers like Jay-Z often don’t seem too enamored of their own
profession either. In one extraordinary, pretzel-logic stanza from the
song “No Hook,” Jay-Z backpedals twice while trying to explain how he
fits into the tough-guy firmament:

Please don’t compare me to other rappers,
compare me to trappers.
I’m more Frank Lucas than Ludacris —
and Luda’s my dude, I ain’t tryna diss.
Like Frank Lucas is cool, but I ain’t tryna snitch.

With all due respect to Mr. Carter, the dilemma Ryan Gilbey at the Guardian‘s Film Blog raises was closer to what came to our mind after we saw the film, namely "Who is the worse director out of the Scott brothers – Ridley or Tony?" Gilbey falls around where we do on this issue — fun, lively trashiness is always preferable to ponderous, unearned self-importance:

If you threatened to cut up my library card and forced me to choose between the two, I would – after acknowledging this as a textbook rock/hard place situation – plump for Tony. Although he makes trash, he mostly celebrates his own trashiness. In short, he makes it pleasurable, which means that films such as The Hunger or Top Gun have a faintly camp glee to them. And when he does deliver a film that rises above his usual fare, the shock is palpable: it seems amazing now that he directed Crimson Tide, a crackling suspense movie that tortures the audience with the threat, rather than the depiction, of war. But Ridley’s delusions about his own abilities usually paralyse his films – take another look at Hannibal, which proves conclusively that Ridley has contributed more to the promotion of ceiling fans, smoke and Venetian blinds than to cinema. Next to Jonathan Demme‘s The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal is needlessly jazzed up and dumbed down.

+ American Gangster (Rolling Stone)
+ Jay-Z Finds Himself at the Movies (NY Times)
+ Which Scott brother is the worse director? (Guardian Film Blog)

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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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