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DID YOU READ

Critic wrangle: “In Bruges.”

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"It's in Belgium."
After a glowing critic reception as the opening night film at Sundance, playwright Martin McDonagh’s feature debut "In Bruges" opens in theaters to somewhat more mixed reviews from our favorite critics. Liking it the most: Roger Ebert, who describes the film as "an endlessly surprising, very dark, human comedy," and raves that McDonagh "has made a remarkable first film, as impressive in its own way as ‘House of Games,’ the first film by David Mamet, who McDonagh is sometimes compared with." Also a fan is Glenn Kenny at Premiere, who notes that despite the film’s marketing representing it as a kind of Guy Ritchie road movie, and "for all its very snappy dialogue and daringly crass humor, In Bruges aims to be about, in one character’s words, ‘guilt and sins and hell and all that.’" "All the leads are perfectly cast, and they help turn a light farce with thriller overtones into something deeper and sweeter," writes Tasha Robinson at the Onion AV Club, adding that the film is "an endless pleasant surprise."

Manohla Dargis at the New York Times deems "In Bruges" "a goof, both diverting and forgettable," concluding that McDonagh "talks a blue streak beautifully, but he has yet to find the nuance and poetry that make his red images signify with commensurate sizzle and pop." "McDonagh’s basic ability is undeniable," writes Nick Pinkerton at indieWIRE. "He writes carefully wrought duets for dialect, accommodates generous space for his actors to build character, and knows how to pack a scene with ballast… Then the question comes: what’s the sum of these scenes? What’s the angle in another hit man movie?" "Tolerably well-crafted, In Bruges is also mighty pleased with itself, and not entirely without reason," allows Ella Taylor at the LA Weekly, while finding that  "there’s something glib and derivative about this clever chatter, and for all McDonagh’s genuflections to Bosch, who never met an original sin he didn’t want to commit to canvas, both the look and the moral agenda of In Bruges suggest warmed-over Italian surrealism with a dash of early Scorsese." Anthony Lane at the New Yorker adds that "you could argue that McDonagh is staking his claim to the infernal Boschean tradition; he even prepares the way by having Ray and Ken mull over the quandaries of guilt and damnation that they learned at school. Nice try, but I don’t buy it."

"For In Bruges to click, McDonagh needed either to get more real or more fake," suggests David Edelstein at New York, while Entertainment Weekly‘s Lisa Schwarzbaum thinks the problems is that "McDonagh hasn’t yet solved the construction of a feature film. The writer in him lets his characters declaim and banter too indulgently, and the theater guy in him positions his thespians as if envisioning stage-set changes, his eye not quite attuned to the cinematic requirements of movement through real space."

Liking the film the least: Nick Schager at Slant, who writes:

The tenor of [McDonagh’s] material is hopelessly off, especially in the comedy department, here amounting to Farrell making jokes at little people’s expense, having hoods slander each other as "gay" (or "poof"), and taking some crude, unearned jabs at boorish Americans that—considering the film’s empty, self-consciously "clever" vulgarity and sizeable debt to stateside crime (and crime-buddy) pics—come off as the height of hypocrisy.

And Armond White at the New York Press (whose "here’s what you should be talking about" choices this round are, distractingly, "Hitman" and "War") claims that "It’s deeply insulting to movie audiences when an award-winning playwright thinks that this sub-Tarantino nonsense carries the essence of cinema in some way."

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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 IFC.com

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…