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“The City of Your Final Destination,” and the music of Jorge Drexler.

“The City of Your Final Destination,” and the music of Jorge Drexler. (photo)

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Though I am no scholar of their productions, and only somewhat fondly recall sitting still through “A Room with a View” in 1985, it seems apparent that “The City of Your Final Destination” is vintage Merchant Ivory – even with dear Ismail Merchant now passed on.

[Charlotte Gainsbourg in “The City of Your Final Destination,” Screen Media Films]

Bilge Ebiri, writing for IFC, said of the filmmaking duo, “what distinguishes their best work is an almost clinical focus on the rituals and behaviors of small communities facing imminent demise — be they the slowly evaporating families of the English upper class (“Howards End”), or the French aristocracy on the eve of the Revolution (“Jefferson in Paris”). In his own way, Ivory does for his often well-heeled subjects what John Ford did for his Western pioneers — reimagining and reanimating these often-lost worlds through their elaborate tribal rituals.”

I can sit still for that, but what excites me, aside from the details to which James Ivory pays such exquisite attention, is the cast, and the music. Anthony Hopkins delivers lines like, “He was my brother, I knew him better than anyone, I knew him when we were still tearing the wings off butterflies,” as if they were incantations to which you must but succumb. A lesser actor could easily pass that along, but Hopkins forces it on you, like a good hard tickle – it’s not really all that pleasant, but you chuckle. I think the way he says butterflies helps.

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Omar Metwally, Laura Linney, and Hiroyuki Sanada star as reluctant heirs of a celebrated South American novelist who resist and/or encourage a young American-Iranian academic’s attempts to to write an authorized biography of the deceased writer.

The music is by Uruguayan (incidentally, also the country where the film is set) guitarist and composer, Jorge Drexler. He won an Oscar for best song, called “Al Otro Lado Del Río,” for 2004’s “The Motorcycle Diaries.” The music in “The City of Your Final Destination” is no less wonderful. I’ve actually sat half the day with the film’s website open in the background to keep listening to it. Check it out.

The film opened in NYC on April 16th to enormous ticket sales (the highest measured per screen) and will expand to additional markets this Friday, April 23.

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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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