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A clockwork gray.

A clockwork gray. (photo)

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As The Playlist points out, the first poster for the upcoming remake of British noir classic “Brighton Rock” pays reverent homage to that iconic, dorm-room staple one-sheet for “A Clockwork Orange.”

Sam Riley’s thug has the same hat, ditto the thrust-upwards knife. What’s different are the colors — the lurid orange, white and black combo are swapped out for dismal gray — and the facial expression. Malcolm McDowell was grinning, while Riley is definitely scowling. (It’s even more interesting to contrast it with this poster design, whose out-of-nowhere naked woman ups the surrealism.

“A Clockwork Orange” has a fanatical following among college students, who dearly treasure the film’s easily embraced mixture of jet-black humor and gleeful violence. Many probably take the latter at face value a bit too much, but that’s why it’s a staple.

“A Clockwork Orange” doesn’t so much celebrate the poetry of violence — the way, say, John Woo builds aesthetic raptures out of bullets and blood — as render it an oddly comic spectacle. There’s a significant gap between that and the lyrically “serious” violence of something like the once-decried, now-feted slow-motion deaths in “Bonnie and Clyde,” which softens the kick of the violence.

03172010_underworld.jpgThe grayscale, po-faced seriousness proposed by the “Brighton Rock” poster is a new development. Rare these days is the blockbuster or action film not color-corrected to death one way or another — think of the blurry gray of “Sherlock Holmes,” the lurid overcranking of orange in “Crank,” the collected saturation hues of Tony Scott movies, the blues of “Underworld.” (It’s not a stretch to suggest part of “Iron Man”‘s appeal was its unfussy, workmanlike and natural colors.)

A corollary of this new aesthetic is a relative lack of joy in violence — often shown slightly amped up, slowing down only for the money shots and/or spurts of blood, resulting in a dull trudge than a spectacular ride where the violence of a film like “Clockwork Orange” remains intact, but without the ambiguous feeling of glee that makes it interesting or engaging. It’s colorless, and not just in its palette.

[Photos: “A Clockwork Orange,” Warner Bros., 1971; “Underworld: Evolution,” Screen Gems, 2006]

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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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