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Risky business.

Risky business. (photo)

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Since “Paranormal Activity” stomped all over “Saw VI” at the box office this weekend, it was only a matter of time before someone wrote about how creativity and risk-taking are rewarding, shaking up Hollywood and reminding executives not to write off the audience. So thank you, Patrick Goldstein, for making my job easier. “It’s yet another reminder for cynical studio execs that audiences are not simply sequel zombies, only willing to patronize the latest installment of a familiar, easily accessible franchise,” Goldstein exults. “Moviegoers still crave fresh, new, exciting ideas, even if they come in a primitive, low-budget package.” Also, it’s “a risk that has paid off. Big time.”

Big whoop. Making a lo-fi horror movie is hardly a “fresh, new” idea; the fact that Goldstein mentions “Paranormal Activity”‘s “visceral, ‘Blair Witch’-style appeal” in the same post should be proof enough of that. The perceived “risk” is in the heads of studio execs who think if something costs too little there must be something wrong with it. What’s else could be the problem? That there were no stars? Have you seen a horror movie lately? “The Unborn” starred Odette Yustman. Doubtless the “Saw” franchise initially drew in fans of Cary Elwes, Danny Glover and Tobin Bell, but surely it’s Bell’s star power that keeps bringing them back! Er, surely.

Nothing’s going to change. “Paranormal Activity” cost $300,000 to make and around $10 million to market; Oren Peli wants $10 million for his follow-up “Area 51,” which he’s shooting right now, and he can’t get it. Being behind the viral success story of the year: not enough.

Everyone seems to believe that faux-“viral” success of the film CAN’T BE REPLICATED EVER AGAIN, and therefore there’s zero value attached to the words “From the director of ‘Paranormal Activity.'” Clearly, they’re taking the wrong lesson from the “Blair Witch” example, because Paramount is working on “Paranormal Activity 2.” Book. Of. Shadows. Need I say more?

Here’s the real lesson, courtesy of Current‘s John Lichman: “It shows the worst thing possible to independent filmmakers and smaller studios: mainstream studios have perfected your grassroots campaign and they’ll gladly be taking all of those films you were going to spend months marketing for a mere direct-to-DVD release.” Right. Furthermore, let’s not forget the one true expense involved here: striking around 2,000 prints, a cost no true “viral” “indie” could’ve swallowed.

[Photo: “Paranormal Activity,” Paramount, 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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