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Broken Embraces: Almodovar, Cruz, Cat Power

Broken Embraces: Almodovar, Cruz, Cat Power (photo)

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I had a Spanish roommate around the turn of the century when Penelope Cruz was blossoming into a huge star who could not believe what a sucker I was for her. He would stand shirtless in the kitchen over a pungent pot of puttanesca and tell me that she was a terrible actor, that she was like a whore. Whenever we would see a cute brunette with big brown eyes out at the bars (with which we were hopelessly distracted) he would inevitably launch into a rant against Penelope. “If you could only hear her as I do in Spanish, how stupid she sounds,” he would say.

[Penélope Cruz. Photo by El Deseo, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.]

He claimed her English, while maybe adorable to Americans, was even more offensive. It’s hard to argue with such a position and biased by her looks I considered myself an unreliable judge so I took his word for it. I think it was “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” that finally pushed him over the edge. He moved back to Europe and haven’t seen him since that film. He probably has a girlfriend who looks just like her. Only recently has it become clear to me that Cruz is the great actress I thought she was. She proved that definitively in last years “Elegy” opposite Ben Kingsley in case there was a remaining doubt.

Pedro Almodovar too is a great fan of Penelope Cruz, having cast her in four of this films now with “Broken Embraces.” It’s a four way “amour fou” story about a writer/director who fourteen years prior lost the love of his life and eyesight. The film moves between the present and the past mixing drama and comedy with noir which Almodovar has dabbled with before (“Live Flesh,” “Bad Education”).

Cat Power’s “werewolf” is on the soundtrack and while I have yet to screen the full film it does wonders in the international trailer (below). I think it was also in 09’s “Powder Blue” but who the hell saw that? Regular Almodovar composer, Alberto Iglesias returns to score the film after Steven Soderbergh’s 2 part “Che” epic.

“Broken Embraces” opens in the US November 20.

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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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