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DID YOU READ

“Creation” vs. America.

“Creation” vs. America. (photo)

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Biopics about Important Men ironically tend to be Very Mediocre. So the fact that Toronto opening night film “Creation,” a Charles Darwin drama directed by Jon Amiel (who once helmed the original “The Singing Detective” but lately has turned out the likes of “The Core”) premiered to roundly indifferent reviews is no great surprise. What is a surprise is the fake controversy the film’s producer is trying to drum up to get attention.

Jeremy Thomas, clearly no fool, took to the UK’s Telegraph to complain that the film’s been sold everywhere but the U.S., because, of course, of the evangelical Christians. Thomas never says outright that distributors have expressed interest but shied away because they fear controversy; he just baldly states that the movie can’t get American distribution “because of what it’s about.” “This is what we’re up against,” he says with the resignation of the unjustly martyred. “It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America.”

Then again, as blogger/author John Scalzi points out, it’s not like there are any financial reasons for “Creation” to be a hot property. Paul Bettany, who plays the lead, isn’t a major star (though he definitely should be) and the plot is not a scintillating one: “A quiet story about the difficult relationship between an increasingly agnostic 19th Century British scientist and his increasingly devout wife, thrown into sharp relief by the death of their beloved 10-year-old daughter is not exactly the sort of film that’s going to draw in a huge winter holiday crowd, regardless of whether that scientist happens to be Darwin or not.”

Scalzi goes one better, calling out Thomas’ real motivation as being “flummoxed that such an obvious bit of Oscar-trollery such as this film has been to date widely ignored by the people he assumed would fall over themselves to have such a thing.” “See the controversial film about Darwin that almost didn’t show in the US, aren’t we brave in bringing it to you!” is his proposed press kit for whichever distributor eventually bites.

There’s smugness and cynicism draped all over this whole enterprise, conscious or not. Just because “On The Origin of the Species” is celebrating its 150th anniversary doesn’t mean a biopic is mandatory, and it certainly doesn’t mean that the filmmakers are picking up where Darwin left off and spreading the light. And if the film’s not actually any good, watching it just becomes an exercise in self-congratulation for showing up. I smell a major case of a mediocre film wrapping itself in the cloth of a righteous cause (something just as obnoxious when it’s done by the other side), hoping to gain points by association.

Or maybe it’s just annoying when a condescending British person sighs in exasperation about how unsophisticated the American backwaters are for not embracing his movie.

[Photo: Monkey, Paul Bettany in “Creation,” HanWay Films, 2009]

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Final Countdown

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 IFC.com

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Rev Up

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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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…