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Critic wrangle: “Trouble the Water.”

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08222008_troublethewater.jpgAnother Sundance film, this one the winner of the Grand Jury Prize, also hits theaters today — Carl Deal and Tia Lessin’s documentary about New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, “Trouble the Water,” uses footage shot by Lower Ninth Ward resident Kimberly Robert to chronicle the devastation of the storm. And reviews would indicate it does so aptly: Jim Ridley, writing at the Village Voice, calls it “history captured in the visual grammar of Cloverfield,” and adds that “[t]he resilience of the movie’s subjects–survivors of street crime and drugs and HIV–irradiates Trouble the Water like sunshine.” Manohla Dargis at the New York Times finds that the filmmakers “have created an ingeniously fluid narrative structure that, when combined with Ms. Roberts’s visuals, news material and their own original 16-millimeter film footage, ebbs and flows like great drama.”

“In many ways, I think Kim Roberts’ authorship, not just of her amazing storm footage or her music but of her life, is the true subject of ‘Trouble the Water,'” suggests an impassioned Andrew O’Hehir at Salon. “We can have a ‘national conversation about race’ until we all turn blue and keel over from boredom — Did we have it already? If so, what did we say? — but people like Kim and Scott Roberts don’t generally have their own voices, or any other kind of autonomy.” “In one scene,” writes New York‘s David Edelstein, “Kimberly and fellow refugees line up for FEMA assistance at some kind of ranch, where a sign overhead points to Gate B–CATTLE ENTRANCE. You can’t make this stuff up. You can, however, capture it on film for all time. Trouble the Water is ineradicably moving.”

For Nick Schager at Slant, “The directors’ unwavering concentration on their two subjects’ plight simultaneously brings the calamity down to a human scale and, consequently, enhances the depth of the tragedy. It also, however, allows for an artless depiction of sacrifice, compassion, altruism, and hope amid misfortune.” Noel Murray at the Onion AV Club, however, allows that “Trouble The Water is infuriating in its depiction of helpless Americans getting left behind, and uplifting in the way it shows the Roberts putting their lives together, but it’s also frustrating, because it lacks some focus,” while Michael Joshua Rowin at indieWIRE believes that the “thankfully infrequent miscalculations” of newscast clips featuring FEMA director Mike Brown and George W. Bush are balanced by “revealing moments and painfully experienced truths.”

[Photo: “Trouble the Water,” Zeitgeist Films, 2008]

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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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