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Critic wrangle: “Diary of the Dead.”

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George A. Romero’s "Diary of the Dead" has been drawing mixed reactions since its premiere at Toronto — some critics find the zombie update nothing short of brilliant, others heavy-handed and ponderous. Of the first school is Premiere‘s Glenn Kenny, who proclaims that "besides an examination of us-against-them and us-against-us politics and a trenchant commentary on the it’s-okay-to-torture-under-the-‘right’- circumstances mentality that’s been foisted on the American public, Diary is one of the most revealing and fascinating critiques of image-making since Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom." Scott Foundas at LA Weekly, in a hefty review that offers more depth than the film it’s addressing, writes "It’s a zombie movie by way of Brecht and Godard: Where most directors
strive to elide the audience’s awareness of the physical filmmaking
process, Romero delights in exposing the rivets and joints holding
together his movie’s disparate pieces." In another lengthy piece brought on by the film, Slant‘s Jeremiah Kipp salutes the use of the first-person camera: "The front-line imagery forces audience identification, so when monsters trudge toward us in the distance or pop up around the corner, the shock feels personal and direct."

"Romero initially conceived the project for Web-only broadcast, and if
Poppa Zombie isn’t quite the second coming of McLuhan when it comes to
media critique, his return to small-scale indie filmmaking delivers big
genre kicks," writes Nathan Lee at the Village Voice. "Diary of the Dead isn’t bad," shrugs Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Gleiberman. "It’s a kicky B movie hiding inside a draggy, self-conscious-work-of-auteurist-horror one." "Even bad Romero is a far sight more interesting than the coolly sadistic guts-porn that currently passes for mainstream horror," claims Slate‘s Dana Stevens, who does add that "Diary’s constant stream of sociopolitical speechifying, most of it channeled through Deb’s voiceover, often sounds like an old crank on the corner waving a ‘The End Is Nigh’ sign." A similar sentiment from Michael Koresky at indieWIRE: "[A]s smartly staged, and even emotionally tender as it often is, Romero’s latest, with its central and oft-repeated mistrust of the "new information age," also can’t help but seem a little like the product of aged paranoia–like your pissed-off grandpa, a little preachy and slightly doddering."

Amongst the disappointed: "Diary asks some compelling questions about documentarians’ responsibility to the people they’re chronicling. Then it asks them again and again and again, wasting scores of valuable brain-munching opportunities in the process," sighs Nathan Rabin at the Onion AV Club. "There’s some striking filmmaking in ‘Diary of the Dead,’ but there’s also a lot of less-than-elegant speechifying," writes the New York TimesManohla Dargis. "Having already scared the stuffing out of us with his past films, Uncle George has decided it’s time for a good talk." "It should be said that Romero’s lack of oomph is not just a sign of his age. It’s also a matter of conviction," suggests David Edelstein at New York, adding that "Romero can’t make a first-person movie without indicting his own techniques." And at Salon, Andrew O’Hehir proclaims a life-long soft spot for Romero, and then addings:

"Diary of the Dead" is a limp and dreary experience, at least after you get past its intriguing premise. It’s poorly written and woodenly acted, completely formulaic and hopelessly imprisoned by both its genre and finally its form. I mean, it’s great that George Romero knows about MySpace, I guess, but spicing up a middling, muddling zombie flick with a few electronic-lifestyle fillips is beneath him, frankly.

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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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