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Trailering: Errol Morris’ beautiful documentation of ugliness.

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03242008_standardoperatingprocedure.jpgErrol Morris’ “Standard Operating Procedure” examines the Abu Ghraib scandal via the now-iconic photographs that kicked it off, pairing actual images and video of the abuse with interviews with the soldiers and reenacted scenes. It is, as you can see from the trailer here, also a strikingly stylish doc, a fact that troubled critics at Berlin, where “S.O.P.” had it’s premiere. Stephanie Zacharek at Salon wrote:

A soldier describes appearing on the scene as one of the Abu Ghraib prisoners is dying. The soldier says a drop of blood fell on his uniform — and I’ll be damned if Morris doesn’t show us a beautifully lit, semitranslucent droplet of blood, magnified a bajillion times, falling in slo-mo on a crosshatching of uniform cloth. (When you’re Errol Morris, this is what you keep a great cinematographer — in this case, Robert Richardson — around for.) What on earth is that heavily art-directed droplet (and the movie includes plenty of other similar visual touches) doing in a documentary about such a horrific crime against humanity?

The film opens April 25th.

There’s a trailer here for “Train” — the film, which features Thora Birch and company as college athletes being stalked and violently killed on a train to Odessa, looks a lot like “Hostel 3: Eurail Pass,” but was actually first conceived as a remake of ’80s Jamie Lee Curtis slasher “Terror Train.” No release date yet.

And, for anyone who shares my love of foreign language blockbusters never aimed at American consumption, there’s a trailer here for the upcoming “Aleksandr.” It’s in Russian without subtitles, but you can still enjoy the lush and pricey-looking epic visuals. The film is, best I can tell, another one based on the life of 13th century Russian military hero Alexander Nevsky, whose exploits were the basis of Sergei M. Eisenstein and Dmitri Vasilyev’s 1938 film scored by Prokofiev.

[Photo: “Standard Operating Procedure,” Sony Pictures Classics, 2008]

+ Trailer: Standard Operating Procedure (Apple)
+ Trailer: Train (Terrorfeed)
+ Russia Gets Historical With ALEKSANDR (Twitch)

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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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