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Cannes 2009: “Up.”

Cannes 2009: “Up.” (photo)

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Pixar’s proven, again and again, a miraculous ability to spin cinematic gold out of almost perversely unlikely scenarios, but the beginning of “Up,” the opening night film at this year’s Cannes, is something else entirely. A boy, Carl, watches a newsreel in a ’30s theater about larger-than-life adventurer Charles Muntz, and when making his way home, enraptured with his hero’s exploits, he encounters Ellie, a gap-toothed girl who’s taken over an abandoned house to play out her own Muntz-inspired imaginings. One minor mishap later, they’re fast friends, and from there “Up” cuts to the two, quiet Carl and exuberant Ellie, as young adults getting married. In the marvelous, wordless montage that follows, the pair have a whole life together, one with joys and disappointments and, of course, certain dreams left to gather dust. Carl sells balloons for a living and Ellie plans for children that don’t appear, and they never manage to make it to South America like they talked about, but, living together in the little house in which they first met, they’re happy. When Ellie eventually passes away, Carl bunkers down in their home, now surrounded by new construction, to wait out his remaining years.

And the adventure that follows — the movie, really — is great, a trek that ties in elements from those grounded first few minutes to things fantastical and otherwise, like a jungle landmark called Paradise Falls; a pudgy, talkative Wilderness Explorer trying to earn his “assisting the elderly” badge; dogs with collars that translate their thoughts aloud and a legendary giant bird. And there are brilliantly sequenced bits of action (something Pete Docter of “Monsters, Inc.,” sharing director credit here with Bob Peterson, seems to excel at), and Carl encounters his old idol and finds a new lease on life. But it none of it equals that sublime, bittersweet non-adventure of a start. None of it, save the moment when Carl unleashes hundreds of balloons and pulls his house up by the foundations, leaving the men who’d come to take him to the retirement home behind, a scene of giddy delight. That it’s in 3-D, the little house winding its way between modern city buildings and passing flocks of birds, is only an enhancement. 3-D’s a novelty because it’s been, for the most part, treated as such, but “Up” is without jarring made for the medium moments, and would work just fine flat. The 3-D only makes the animation a little more rich, a little more alive, but those aren’t qualities Pixar’s lacked yet.

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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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