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By Matt Singer

IFC News

[Photo: “Revolver,” Samuel Goldwyn Films, 2007]

“We are all approval junkies. We’re all in it for the slap on the back,” one character helpfully informs us in Guy Ritchie’s “new” film “Revolver.” Ritchie will have to look elsewhere for any backslapping, but would you settle for some knee-slapping over this laughably crummy conman thriller and “Kabbalist’s Guide to Chess” instructional video?

This long-shelved project — which premiered in the U.K. over two years ago — follows a crook named Jake Green (Jason Statham) with an annoying penchant for waxing philosophical in voiceover as he tries to extract a measure of revenge from a former business associate named Macha (Ray Liotta) who played a part in sending him to jail some years earlier. But before he can complete his plan, Green discovers that he has a terminal blood disease whose only cure rests in the hands of another pair of pontificating ruffians: Zach (Vincent Pastore) and Avi (André Benjamin). Also working against Green? His laughably bad hairpiece and handlebar moustache, a follicle ensemble so wretched it looks like the sort of getup worn in the “awkward teenage years” flashbacks in Farrelly brothers comedies.

The interviews with real philosophers and academics that attempt to make some sort of sense out of “Revolver”‘s dreadful ending over the closing credits suggest Ritchie is interested in educating his audience somehow, but his gimmicky camera tricks obscure whatever actual insight the film contains. Consider a lengthy game of chess between Green and Avi, shot almost entirely from the perspective of pieces on the board. The low-angle images are striking, but they distract us from the meat of the two men’s conversation, and they make it totally impossible to actually follow the flow of the chess match (you could also argue that Ritchie is calling his audience a bunch of pawns). No doubt the film’s Kabbalistically infused lessons make perfect sense to Ritchie, but they’re hopelessly lost in the sea of flashbacks and tough guy clichés. Even the “shocking” twist ending is none too shocking; anyone who pays attention through the running time (not an easy proposition, I know!) will figure out the final reveal an hour before the characters do.

The press materials for “Revolver” include an interview with Ritchie in which he explains how to con people. “Feed them an opinion of themselves that makes them feel superior in someway,” he instructs. “Make them feel clever, special or attractive.” “Revolver”‘s empty style, empty enlightenment, and empty story all suggest Ritchie pulled his ultimate con on himself. What kind of movie sits on the shelf for two years before its theatrical release? This kind.

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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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