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Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, collaborators in anger.

Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, collaborators in anger. (photo)

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Some actor-director pairings are legendary: Anthony Mann and James Stewart, François Truffaut and Jean-Pierre Léaud, Federico Fellini and Marcello Mastroianni, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, Tsai Ming-liang and Lee Kang-sheng.

To that illustrious list, we have lately been invited to add another pair: Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe. At first, the idea seems too spurious to even think about. And yet…

To date, Scott and Crowe have collaborated five times: “Gladiator,” “A Good Year,” “American Gangster,” “Body of Lies” and the new “Robin Hood.” Asked recently to comment on their partnership by the Telegraph, Scott responded “He’s angry all the time and I’m angry all the time as well” (which presumably makes for a fun set).

On Tuesday, New York‘s Vulture blog detailed how this earth-shattering collaborative team nearly fell apart during “Robin Hood”‘s protracted script development process (“Their familiar bonhomie had been replaced by frosty, terse exchanges.”). It’s not quite “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” but it’s amusing.

Yet despite Scott’s answer — which I suspect has an ugly grain of truth within its flippancy — it’s still unclear what the pair bring out of each other. When a director and star team for multiple outings, it means that you’re obligated to turn off that nagging voice telling you that it all seems overfamiliar and consider how the variations being spun on a persona enrich every subsequent film, and also that the director’s concluded the actor in question anchors their work in a way no one else can.

05202010_spur.jpgThat said, there are different functions specific to each relationship. Mann got to make some of the more radically unsettled and unnerving Westerns of the ’50s under the cover of Stewart’s presumably calming presence, while Stewart got to darken his persona (something he conscientiously did every time he got the chance). Léaud and Kang-sheng serve as naked alter-egos for their directors.

De Niro embodied the kind of fierce energy and violence Scorsese was generating behind the camera. As for Burton and Depp, it seems like the visually oriented Burton relies on Depp to take care of the performance heavy lifting so Burton can do what he does. (Bill Murray has apparently taken on the responsibility of being Wes Anderson’s personal mascot; could be worse.)

Which leads us back to Scott and Crowe. Crowe’s a rock of smoldering intensity, but he’s proven to be far less versatile an actor than one would initially expect, while Scott is hung up on his colors, action set-pieces and — increasingly — a tone so portentous you’d think he was offering up moral instruction instead of wanly-received action movies. Who’s benefiting from these repeat outings? Not the audience, certainly.

[Photos: “Gladiator,” DreamWorks, 2000; “The Naked Spur,” Warner Home Video, 1953]

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Final Countdown

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 IFC.com

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Rev Up

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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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…