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DID YOU READ

Critic wrangle: “The Band’s Visit.”

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"Just to hear the music.""The Band’s Visit," the first feature from Israeli director Eran Kolirin, was Israel’s Foreign Language Film Oscar submission until the Academy rejected it for having too much English dialogue. The film is about how an Egyptian police force brass band headed for a performance at the opening of an Arab cultural center ends up in the wrong town in Israel, and there’s a lot of English because it’s the only language the townspeople and the band members have in common. That a film that’s actually about cross-cultural confusion and communication gets disqualified from the category makes the idea of a "foreign language film" prize even sillier — are subtitles really the end goal? Anyway, much love all round from our crowd of critics.

"[W]hat Kolirin achieves is–given our current hit-you-over-the-head cinematic climate–just about remarkable: a tender, poignant allegory for Arab-Israeli tensions that never makes a single overt gesture toward articulating its larger concerns," writes Nick Schager at Slant. "In the hands of another filmmaker, that same basic set-up might have made for an overly earnest exercise in getting to know thy former enemy" adds Scott Foundas at the LA Weekly. "But Eran Kolirin, the 34-year-old writer-director of The Band’s Visit, has a sense of humor as dry as Bet Hatikva’s arid desert wind and is too smart to bore us with ham-fisted humanistic bromides." Noel Murray at the Onion AV Club finds that "[t]onally, The Band’s Visit steps gingerly on the line between ‘sweetly humane’ and ‘cloyingly quirky,’ but Kolirin pulls back the reins just enough, maintaining control by expressing as much with his framing as with his script."

At Salon, Andrew O’Hehir also suggests the film is worth sticking with through a seemingly sickly set-up, finding that it "has an irresistible tragic and romantic undertow," and that in the end, all the band’s "encountered along the way is a few people and a few moments; almost nothing, really, but enough to suggest an entirely different world." "[T]he comedy eases you into the story and obscures the currents of seriousness swirling under the film’s surface," notes Manohla Dargis at the New York Times. Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly lauds that way that "something marvelous happens as the filmmaker, in his first feature, expertly metes out small scenes of communication between people taught, for generations, to be wary of one another: This Band swings with the rhythms of hope." "’The Band’s Visit’ remains an astute crowd-pleaser without sacrificing its core emotional honesty," finds Michael Koresky at indieWIRE, while Anthony Lane at the New Yorker writes that "what [Kolirin] has conjured up is not some cloying, heal-the-world paean to political harmony but a meditation… on the tough art of rubbing along."

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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…