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Brett Ratner is the new Harvey Weinstein.

Brett Ratner is the new Harvey Weinstein. (photo)

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One year, two recuts — Brett Ratner is stepping up as some kind of go-to producer savant. Last month, the talked-about Sundance doc “Catfish” was snapped up by Rogue Pictures with Ratner in line to “help to finish the final product since it’s still rough. He’ll refresh it.”

Now, as the New York Times reports, Ratner has performed the same dubious service for the Bollywood film “Kites”: cutting 28 minutes and dubbing most of the characters into English. “It was two characters that were fish out of water,” said Ratner, “only here it was an Indian and a Mexican.” Perfect — just like “Rush Hour.” Cross-over success, here we come.

Recutting films to smooth them down for audiences (especially foreign ones) is an oft unwelcome but time-honored studio practice. And it’d be foolish to argue with Ratner’s impeccably populist instincts — his “Rush Hour” films and “X3” were undistinguished but ubiquitous cultural monoliths. Ratner essentially has the instincts of a producer rather than a director — he understands the value of combinations of marquee names and franchises — so it’s not surprising people would trust his spin on acquisitions.

03092010_protector.jpgThe danger of recutting, of course, is risking choppiness and/or total incoherence. My favorite example was the Weinstein Company’s drastic sheering of “The Protector,” the lavishly entertaining follow-up to “Ong Bak.” Displaying a nearly total mistrust of the audience, the Weinsteins went all out, removing 25 minutes, changing entire plotlines in the subtitles and even cutting down the fight scenes (the film’s very raison d’etre).

This had the unexpectedly cool effect of rendering a seriously goofy movie nearly completely incoherent, which — considering martial-arts spectacles aren’t the heaviest on logic to begin with — was actually kind of fun. At one point, Tony Jaa enters a water-logged temple and has to fight with fire. Why is there water? Why is there fire? Who knows.

Ratner won’t do anything that extreme, of course. At least, unlike Weinstein, he’s not going to blather about how he’s just trying to serve the artist.

[Photos: “Kites,” Aamir Khan Productions, 2010; “The Protector,” The Weinstein Company, 2005]

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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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