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That tricky directorial debut.

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"Only when you taste lemon do you understand what sugar is."
There are two conflicting critical impulses one has to fight off before ever seeing (and presumably honestly reviewing) a film like Madonna’s directorial debut "Filth and Wisdom," whose Berlin Film
Festival premiere yesterday was described by many as the hottest ticket
in town, even if that warmth was generated by a desire
to see La Madge commit acts of cinematic hubris. On one side is the urge to wield the long knife one’s probably been sharpening since the film’s presence at the festival was announced, and on the other is, perhaps, that wild contrarian compulsion to hold up the sure-to-be-maligned film as a misunderstood masterpiece. Unfortunately, no writer’s been willing to go as far as the latter in the reviews of the film so far, but there has been a lot of "Hey, it’s not actually awful!" A sampling of the range, from wretched to "huh": 

Peter Bradshaw, Guardian: "Well, it had to happen. Madonna has been a terrible actor in many, many films and now – fiercely aspirational as ever – she has graduated to being a terrible director."

Leslie Felperin, Variety:
"Having contributed to arguably the worst films of some other big-name
helmers (i.e. Warren Beatty’s ‘Dick Tracy,’ John Schlesinger’s ‘The
Next Best Thing’ and Abel Ferrara’s ‘Dangerous Game’), Madonna seems to
have learned little about directing from her experiences in filmmaking.
Her stylistic approach seems most akin to that of late-’80s/early-’90s
pop videos, wherein story is often revealed without dialogue in
music-backed montages, the likes of which abound here. It’s as if she’s
taken her video for ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ as her main dramaturgical

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily:
"While Filth And Wisdom may not quite inhabit the same Hall of Shame as
Shanghai  Surprise, Body of Evidence and (God save us) Swept Away, it’s
likely to be forgotten as quickly as most of them. The big surprise is
that she’s chosen to make her directing debut with a cheap and cheerful
London ensemble comedy that’s no better or worse than the average
creaky low-budget Britflick."

Sheila Johnston, Telegraph:
"The movie is – disappointingly, perhaps – not an outright
embarrassment; there are even a couple of intentional laughs in it.
It’s not an entirely unpromising first effort. But the director would
do well to hang on to her day job."

Ray Bennett, Hollywood Reporter: "’Filth and Wisdom’ is unexpectedly sentimental, too, but the three leads are sufficiently engaging that while chaotic and more than a bit silly, the film in the end conjures up a surprising amount of goodwill."

James Christopher, London Times: "Despite its many shortcomings and an ending so mushy and neat it would embarrass Richard Curtis, Madonna has done herself proud. Her film has an artistic ambition that has simply bypassed her husband, the film director Guy Ritchie. She captures that wonderfully accidental nature of luck when people’s lives intersect for a whole swathe of unlikely but cherishable reasons. Altmanesque would be stretching the compliment too far, but ‘Filth and Wisdom’ shows Madonna has real potential as a film director."

Daily Motion has a clip from the film here.

+ Filth and Wisdom (Guardian)
+ Filth and Wisdom (Variety)
+ Filth and Wisdom (Screen Daily)
+ Filth and Wisdom: Don’t give up the day job, Madonna (Telegraph)
+ Filth and Wisdom (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Review: Madonna’s Filth and Wisdom (London Times)
+ indieWIRE: Madonna’s "Filth and Wisdom" (Daily Motion)

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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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