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DID YOU READ

The medium is the miracle.

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03242008_briefencounter.jpgIn memorializing Anthony Minghella last week, it seemed that there was one reference point from which no one could escape: “The British-born Minghella was a filmmaker of quiet strength who seemed perhaps more closely aligned with certain directors of a previous generation — like David Lean or Carol Reed — than with his contemporaries,” speculated Mark Olsen at the LA Times. The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Mick LaSalle wrote that “The English Patient” “established him solidly in the public mind as the heir to David Lean as the modern purveyor of the epic British vision,” Allison Pearson at the Daily Mail added: “Far and away the best British film director of his generation, Anthony stands comparison with the greatest of them all, David Lean,” and Ronald Bergan at the Guardian claimed that “Minghella, whose ample figure and cheery countenance exuded a love of life, seemed to be Harold Pinter, Orson Welles, David Lean and Richard Attenborough all rolled into one.”

And so this week, appropriately, Anthony Lane at the New Yorker turns to that load-bearing wall of British cinema, David Lean, in a long piece on the occasion of the centennial of Lean’s birth (tomorrow). It’s the kind of piece that brings out the best in Lane, who as a critic I can often take or leave — all amusing anecdotes and brief moments of grace. On “Lawrence of Arabia”:

The glory of Lean was that, with “Lawrence,” he summoned his earliest memory of awe and, perhaps for the last time, restored our illusion that a mass medium could be a miracle. And the sadness of Lean is that he went on clinging to that belief while the rest of us watched it drift away. He died in 1991. Thank heaven he was not around for the iPhone.

And on “Brief Encounter”:

The saga of thwartings is played out in the pleasure domes of suburbia: railway stations, luncheon tables, and boating lakes. For Lean, the humdrum was drenched in emotion; he himself, as a teen-ager, used to take the train up to London to see a film, then hang around in the refreshment room at Victoria Station, smoking and drinking coffee, spinning out the time so that he did not have to head home and find his unhappy mother still awake. I agree with Gene Phillips, in “Beyond the Epic: The Life and Films of David Lean” (2006), when he suggests that these lingerings spilled into “Brief Encounter.” The couple first meet at a station and, unbearably, part there for the last time, with Alec’s hand resting briefly on Laura’s shoulder in the refreshment room. They have measured out their love in coffee spoons.

[Photo: “Brief Encounter,” Universal Pictures, 1946]

+ Master and Commander (New Yorker)

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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…