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Commemorating a revolution with movies, merchandise.

Commemorating a revolution with movies, merchandise. (photo)

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The People’s Republic has kicked off an eight-day holiday commemorating the 60th anniversary of the revolution — there’s so much going on in the country, film-wise, that I’m going to go in bullet-point style:

In the words of the AP headline: “Communist China marks 60 years with tanks, kitsch.” The tanks were part of a two-and-a-half-hour parade which, in the best Soviet tradition, showcased a great deal of weaponry. The real show came later, with an evening gala of thousands of impeccably choreographed people dancing and singing, plus fireworks, all courtesy of director Zhang Yimou, who also did last year’s memorable opening Olympic ceremonies. Once Zhang made movies that were banned on the mainland; now, civilians near the Tiananmen Square parade were banned from the area for its duration.

The all-star centerpiece of the state-sponsored movie deluge is “The Founding of a Republic,” a Chinese Civil War epic that features Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Zhang Ziyi, Stephen Chow and countless other stars. It’s doing well at the box office — according to official state media outlet Xinhua, it’s collected $39.5 million in two weeks. There are more than enough people in China to support an internal blockbuster industry; of course, with 80 A-list names over 133 minutes, that breaks down to an average cameo of one every 1.6 minutes, which undoubtedly helps.

Despite all this success, China’s film industry lags behind in the all-important merchandise category. Moviegoers have less money to blow on tie-ins, and — as You Fei, professor at Communication University of China, explains — they “regard movies more as propaganda… which is at odds here with the casual fun of movie merchandise.” There is, however, an exception: this spring’s children’s animated movie “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf,” a big-screen spin-off of a TV series which scored $11.71 million in tickets and $5.86 more on tie-ins; parents are willing to pay for tickets costing nearly $15 ” just for Goat and Wolf pencils worth little more than a penny.” Also, they’re on Visa cards.

[Photo: “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf,” Creative Power Entertaining, 2009.]

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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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