This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


All the Rage

All the Rage (photo)

Posted by on

Sally Potter’s “Rage” (2009) has made itself noteworthy as the latest effort of a name filmmaker to address — or experiment with, or mambo around — the fact that cinema, as it’s traditionally made and consumed, is being starved by digital culture. Everyone knows the drill — movies, TV, music, newspapers, publishing, etc. are all dying pig-stuck deaths because of the internet, although no one dares to say that the internet is, in fact, the problem, and increases its dominance at a very real and looming set of costs to us all.

Filmmakers are being forced to look at inexpensive, or even budget-free, ways to get their material out into the public eye, although obviously it’s a transitional phase, and if indies can’t make a living making films, those films — all films outside of four $150 mil mega-stools every year — will cease to be made. Steven Soderbergh tried to embrace quick-cheap digital filmmaking (with the ostensible series of projects that began and ended with “Bubble”), and now it’s Potter’s turn. “Rage” was as cheap to make as a bare-stage monologue play (which is what it is), and has been “released” first to mobile devices via Babelgum (in separate episodes), then to DVD, then online, and so on in quick succession.

The attempt to cater to “platforms” above and beyond all other considerations is hard to stomach, since, let’s face it, in the history of visual entertainment there has never been a worse way to see a film than on an iPod. I’d consider watching a premiere on a “mobile device” to be a form of punishment, certainly not something I’d pay for; it’s like being delighted by the opportunity to read the new Jonathan Lethem novel printed on postage stamps.

Potter’s movie is, in any case, a self-conscious bit of voguing, a talking-head satire on the fashion industry that despite its pretensions and fatuities is surprisingly watchable. Star power and pulpy drama carry the day when Potter’s restrictive structure grows dull, and if some of the actors are just dreadful (in the shockingly idiotic role of a velvet-suited detective, David Oyelowo proves to be the low point), then others (Dianne Wiest, Eddie Izzard) are hypnotic, subtle and seductive. Lily Cole’s bizarre beauty — an anime face with foot-apart eyes colored a half-dozen shades of cyan — is its own kind of cinematic spectacle.

09222009_RageLilyCole.jpgPotter’s camera stands in for the (improbably high-quality) cell phone one of Michelangelo, an intern in a haute couture firm prepping for a show; as the egos preen and explain themselves to him in front of a green screen, there are unseen murders (you hear gunshots, and then the on-camera characters either dash off or begin to weep, mustering hope that it’ll turn into a game of “Clue”), and the show begins to collapse. But this isn’t a matter of story, it’s character sketches, and of them, Jude Law (in drag as an aging model with a fake Russian accent) may have had the most fun, while Judi Dench, looking like a David Levine caricature of herself and playing an acid-tongued fashion critic just a few years ahead of Addison DeWitt, is the most professional. And so on. If anything, “Rage” is too Warhol — the full-frontal agenda is obviously reminiscent of Warhol’s “screen tests,” muddied by monologuing, and the fluorescent-colored backgrounds are silk-screen portrait hues via Ikea.

The film’s proud artifice rubs the mock-doc set-up the wrong way if you’re keeping score, except that “fashion” is all about the dishonesty of surfaces, and Potter’s film seems to be less about its subject and story than about how to make movies with as little as possible (another Warhol principle) and conform them to the new digital world. (In an interview in the latest Sight & Sound, she calls it “survivalist filmmaking, a no-waste aesthetic.”) The film’s context and methodology are more interesting than its material, and that’ll be so only for the moment, before movies and their restless “platforming” change into something else.

Watch More

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

Posted by on

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

Watch More

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

Posted by on

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.

Watch More

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

Watch More