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The Werner Herzog, Jr. awards.

The Werner Herzog, Jr. awards. (photo)

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“The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” open Friday, Werner Herzog’s supposed latest exercise in unhinged lunacy. But as a colleague observed after a screening, “If you didn’t know going in Herzog had made it, would you be able to tell?” I’d say probably not: there’s none of his trademark stunning footage that was clearly dangerous to get. It’s understandable that at 67, Herzog hasn’t really endangered himself of late. But who are the filmmakers willing to take up his mantle of unusually arduous and potentially hazardous shooting? Some nominees:

Benjamin Gilmour (“Son of a Lion”)

Gilmour’s “Son of a Lion” — currently in limited UK release — was made after Gilmour had visited Pakistan in August 2001 and was dismayed by post-9/11 Islamophobia. So he did what any reasonable person would do: went to Pakistan to film a movie with no government permission, growing a beard and operating solely under the protection of local Pashtun tribes. Oh, and his lead actor was a former mujahadeen fighter who’d only watched one movie in his life, “Rocky III,” which he saw when the CIA used it as a recruitment tour for fighting against the Soviets.

11182009_TULPAN.jpgSergey Dvortsevoy (“Tulpan”)

A veteran documentary filmmaker before making 2007’s “Tulpan,” Dvortsevoy was perfectly willing to shoot for years, live like a nomad and subject himself to the same conditions as his Kazakh sheepherder subjects. “I think only crazy people can make this type of film” he said at the New York Film Festival last year before explaining how he filmed his lead actor helping a sheep give birth with no experience. With his inexplicably Teutonic accent and willingness to say things like “We just observed life and of course sometimes we were lucky enough that things happened — for instance tornadoes,” he’s the clearest Herzog heir apparent. He was lucky to get close to a tornado; sure.

Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat,” “Brüno”)

Speaking of Kazakhstan… Sacha Baron Cohen is not, technically, a director, and frankly I hope he’s done with the mockumentary pranking. “Borat” was more of an event than an actually funny movie, and “Brüno” was pretty dire. Nonetheless, I must congratulate him on his impressive physical courage. In the ’20s, the joke behind a lot of Buster Keaton stunts was in part precisely how physically dangerous what he was doing with inanimate objects was; in the aughts, the joke is how much Baron Cohen can get away with before real live people beat the stuffing out of him. It’s a trick that’s not nearly as politically loaded as he’d probably like, but still impressive.

Christian Poveda (“La Vida Loca”)

Posthumous division: Poveda spent 16 months getting members of of El Salvador’s Mara 18 gang to trust him enough for a documentary. For his pains, he was found shot through the head in his car, probably by his very subjects.

[Photos: Herzog in “Burden of Dreams,” Criterion, 1982; “Tulpan,” Zeitgeist, 2008]

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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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