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Critic wrangle: “The Fall.”

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05092008_thefall.jpgA labor of love from Tarsem Singh (who often prefers to go by just “Tarsem”), the musical video director who made his feature debut with 2000’s “The Cell,” “The Fall” was paid for out of pocket by the filmmaker and shot over the course of four years. The film, about a movie stuntman (played by “Pushing Daisies”‘ Lee Pace) who narrates a fantastical story to the five-year-old girl with whom he’s in the hospital, is certainly visually striking, but reviews are mixed as to how well it all actually comes together. “[L]acking the ability to fashion cohesive tales driven by engaging characters, Singh overcompensates with his trademark visual palette and loses a hold on both in the process,” sighs Michael Joshua Rowin at indieWIRE. “If the human details are often problematic, the IMAX-grade bombast, ceremonial camera, and Jodorowsky-esque eclecticism still combine for a singular spectacle,” counters Nick Pinkerton at the Village Voice.

At the New York Times, Nathan Lee describes “The Fall” as “a real bore” and wonders at the way the girl is “cognizant, it would seem, of the full repertory of high-gloss, empty-headed pictorialism deployed by corporate advertising.” Tasha Robinson at the Onion AV Club admits the film “is pretentious to the point of laughability,” but finds “the structure is so delicate, the ideas are so ambitious, and the imagery is so hellishly flamboyant that it’s easy to fall into Tarsem’s over-the-top vision… It’s the most glorious, wonderful mess put onscreen since Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.” Slant‘s Ed Gonzalez believes the film to be insufferably self-indulgent: “Shunning logic and compassion, The Fall is a bedtime story impeccably designed to flatter its own maker.” Armond White at the New York Press writes that “Tarsem has that David Fincher problem of creating TV-flimsy imagery that lacks the spatial and emotional weight of true cinema. In the final sequence, Tarsem connects Alexandria and Roy’s wishfulness to silent film heritage and the mass audience experience. Yet The Fall remains remote and unengaging.” But Glenn Kenny at Premiere disagrees, finding that it “works like crazy as a multi-leveled, smart, jaw-droppingly beautiful, big-hearted piece of entertainment… I can’t quite bring myself to call it visionary. But it’ll more than do until the genuinely visionary comes along, as that doesn’t happen too often, especially these days.”

[Photo: “The Fall,” Roadside Attractions, 2006]

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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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