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Critic wrangle: “Mister Lonely.”

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05022008_misterlonely.jpgWord is mixed on “Mister Lonely,” former indie poster child Harmony Korine’s first theatrical release since 1999’s “Julien Donkey-Boy.” The film, which premiered at Cannes last year, stars Diego Luna as a Michael Jackson impersonator who ends up at a remote Scottish colony composed entirely of celebrity impersonators, among them Marilyn Monroe (Samantha Morton) and Charlie Chaplin (Denis Lavant). In an alternate storyline, Werner Herzog plays a priest presiding over skydiving nuns.

Most critics are just lukewarm,: Andrew Sarris at the New York Observer offers “the faint praise of Mister Lonely as the least offensive of the works in the Korine canon.” (He also notes that “David Blaine plays Father Umbrillo’s priestly subordinate. Lalid Afkir plays someone called Habid in the credits, and I am not sure if either is a celebrity.” Well, Mr. Sarris, the former is, if not famous, at least an Oprah-endorsed world record holder.) “Mister Lonely reveals that the punk abrasiveness of Korine’s youth has been replaced by a lyrical self-pity–the apparent upshot of a decade on the skids,” adds David Edelstein at New York. “I’m glad he has pulled himself together, but the film is pretty ramshackle.”

“Korine’s biggest challenge to an already skeptical audience is the movie’s sleeve-hearted sincerity,” suggests Jim Ridley at the Village Voice, who finds that the film, despite often failing, “yields moments of wonder.” The Onion AV Club‘s Noel Murray agrees, to an extent: “Mister Lonely has its moments of wonder and beauty, but the film is obscure by design, and meant to appeal to those who favor the alternative canon of directing greats.”

Less fond: Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly complains that “none of the faux icons comes close to being a character.” The New York PressArmond White is, as is in character, not unsparing with one-time scenster prince Korine, who he calls “a zombie filmmaker” before running madcap in praise of Michael Jackson (particularly “exquisite ‘You Are Not Alone”) and dwelling on Samantha Morton’s “corpulent backside.”

More fond: Glenn Kenny at Premiere, who, as other have, finds “Mister Lonely” “Korine’s experiment in the extremes of bathos, even as the picture tries to propose itself as a comedy of sorts,” concludes that “that this is a picture that’s divided against itself in a way that’s perhaps too hermetic to be comprehended” and gives it three stars out of four. “[T]here will most likely be those who find his sensibility frustratingly hermetic, morbidly preoccupied with the poetry of compositions and camera movements and archly detached from the emotional currents of the story,” seconds A.O. Scott at the New York Times. “And yet ‘Mister Lonely,’ self-enclosed though it may be, nonetheless demonstrates that Mr. Korine, who showed his ability to shock and repel in earlier films, also has the power to touch, to unsettle and to charm.”

[Photo: “Mister Lonely,” IFC 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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