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Critic wrangle: “Filth and Wisdom.”

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10172008_filthandwisdom.jpgAh, it’s been a while, By the way, did you hear Madonna made a movie?

“Filth and Wisdom” came out of its premiere at Berlin this year with some of the expected scorching reviews and a few others that noted, with a shrug, that the movie wasn’t actually so bad, which about reflects the reviews not that it’s reached theaters. And why not? As Manohla Dargis notes at the New York Times, the film “is a ridiculously easy target, but it also creaks and strains with more ambition than most mainstream throwaways that just recycle the usual guns and poses,” like, perhaps, the recent entry from Madonna’s soon-to-be ex. “[I]t does keep you interested from scene to scene, which is a more generous compliment than it might seem.” “Considering that everything she does is subject to tabloid scrutiny, I can’t help but respect the courage it took for Madonna to make, and then show to the public, a film as honest, unpolished, and staggeringly naive as ‘Filth and Wisdom,'” adds Eric Hynes at indieWIRE, who sums up Madge’s filmmaking as “by turns exciting, tedious, disarming, and god-awful.”

Scott Foundas at the Village Voice allows that “there’s an undeniably funky charm and abiding can-do spirit” to the film, and offers this “message to the director”: “Don’t quit your day job just yet, but in the category of multidisciplinary artists moonlighting as filmmakers, I’ll take you over Julian Schnabel any day.” “‘Filth and Wisdom’ isn’t laughable or embarrassing,” agrees Andrew O’Hehir at Salon. “[I]nstead it’s rather sweet and 100 percent recycled, which might not be a bad way of describing its creator at this vulnerable time in her personal and professional life… It’s dumb. I sort of liked it.”

Ed Gonzalez at Slant offers sizable analysis of how Madonna’s persona is reflected in the film, “if this is the beginning and end of Madonna’s directorial career, it would be fine, because Filth and Wisdom presents a sweet, grimy, convincing enough portrait of people struggling to make something of themselves”

And of course there are other who weren’t pleasantly surprised: “The movie is short on wisdom, but it might have gotten by if it had had better filth,” sigh Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Gleiberman, while Anthony Lane at the New Yorker suggests the film seems to have been made on a budget of $365.23. “With any other name behind it, [this] pseudo-philosophical ode to Kabbalah teachings would get cast into the enormous slushpile of festival rejects that only a few intrepid selection-committee members have been forced to sit through,” writes Scott Tobias at the Onion AV Club. “Paying audiences aren’t usually subjected to projects this amateurish.”

[Photo: “Filth and Wisdom,” IFC 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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