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Critic wrangle: “Battle for Haditha.”

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05092008_battleforhaditha.jpgDocumentarian provocateur Nick Broomfield, of “Biggie and Tupac” and “Kurt & Courtney,” goes semi-scripted in “Battle for Haditha,” which portrays a real and ugly incident involving 24 Iraqi men, women and children, all civilians, who were killed by a group of United States Marines, possibly in retaliation for the earlier death of one of their own. Broomfield uses non-professional actors, many former military, in his film, which begs comparison to Brian De Palma’s “Redacted” but is certainly getting a better reception from the critics. Certainly most see it as more balanced — New York‘s David Edelstein compares it to the multi-POV “The Wire,” concluding that “even when the dialogue is stilted, the acting and directing take the starch out of it. Battle for Haditha has some of the raw energy of Sam Fuller’s war pictures, which weren’t subtle but left you energized by their ambivalence (there was no good or evil). It’s a hell of a picture.” “‘Battle for Haditha’ is a relentlessly exciting war film, unafflicted by moralism or finger-pointing, that leaves all the judgment to us, adds Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir. “Which only makes it harder to bear.”

For Armond White at the New York Press, the film’s “greatest breakthrough comes from Broomfield unabashedly portraying al-Qaeda characters while the rest of Hollywood fears facing this reality–as if following the Muslim prohibition against portraying Mohammad… This taboo-busting is an act of humane imagination; that’s what’s missing from one-way Iraq War films that condescend or propagandize.” Leo Goldsmith at indieWIRE finds that “it is the event itself — and not how it is reported or misrepresented — that fascinates Broomfield, and this is what distinguishes his film.” Though he thinks that it “sometimes feels like an amateur remake of Jarhead,” Nathan Rabin at the Onion AV Club declares that the film “ultimately derives much of its primal power from its bluntness and simplicity.”

Others have quibbles: Anthony Kaufman at the Village Voice acknowledges that “[w]hen the shit finally hits the fan, though, the results are more emotionally bruising than many of Haditha’s predecessors… Then again, the film’s affective power occasionally bubbles over into the manipulative.” And Manohla Dargis at the New York Times writes that the film, “though technically exemplary, falters dramatically on occasion, becoming dangerously close to overheated whenever the characters speak for any length.”

{Photo: “Battle for Haditha,” Hanway Films, 2007]

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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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