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Sympathy for Mr. Overkill.

Sympathy for Mr. Overkill. (photo)

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Like a bell to Pavlov’s dogs, the merest whiff of a new remake announcement is all it takes to make the internet froth at the mouth. And today there were two: Park Chan-wook’s “Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance” and “Thirst” are both slated for American redoes.

The chances of either of these actually happening are far from good. A proposed “Oldboy” remake starring Will Smith went nowhere, and Park’s material so errs on the side of the extreme that it outdoes pretty much everything short of “300.”

But hey, there’s anger anyway. “Bothered by all those annoying subtitles?” launches Pajiba‘s Dustin Rowles in a fit of heavy sarcasm. “You find stunning visuals annoying? Don’t really care for simple, but visceral violence? Not really into moral gray areas? We all love crass American remakes! Hoo-wa! Semper-Fi!” Go on, do your little dance.

Okay: it’s true that Park’s visuals rule; his images are so glossy they look wrapped in plastic. But while Park tends to focus in on violence that’s, yes, “visceral,” it also tends to be kind of grotesque. How much of it is violence for violence’s sake versus how much actually questions anything larger is a matter of debate, but when it comes to those moral gray areas he likes exploring, I dunno. I always thought once you [SPOILER ALERT] have someone finding redemption in incest, you’re pretty much out there on your own.

05162009_thirst.jpgNevertheless, there’s more than enough outrage to go around amongst Park supporters, especially in the case of the overlong “Thirst.” But honestly, just because something is overtly ambitious and foreign doesn’t mean it’s therefore subtle.

The moment you have vampires leaping from roof to roof and hammers being brought to bear upon heads, you lose the ability to get all righteous about “subtlety.” There are no compelling reasons to remake these movies, but to pretend they’re going to be unforgivably simplified and travestied is silly. They’re foreign, yes, but that doesn’t mean we’re entering rarified territories here.

[Photos: “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance,” Palisades Tartan, 2002; “Thirst,” Focus, 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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