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Using shorts to make movies longer.

Using shorts to make movies longer. (photo)

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In our Pixar podcast this week, Alison and I spent a few minutes acknowledging the fact that they seem to be the only studio still dedicated to the lost art of the short film. But yesterday Latino Review reported that Pixar’s sister company Marvel may follow their lead into the short subject arena. According to the article’s “well trusted” anonymous source, “Marvel/Disney are looking at doing 10 minute short films in front of their feature length movies that will introduce secondary characters like Black Panther, Luke Cage, Dr. Strange, etc.”

It’s obviously exciting news for comic book fans who’ve been dying for a live-action version of Forbush Man. But it’s also potentially exciting news for movie fans in general, and in particular, folks who still love going to the movies. The theatergoing experience has contracted from its Golden Age heights — when a trip to the movies also included a short, a cartoon, coming attractions, a newsreel, and maybe even a second feature, all for one admission price — to a point where the trip includes your paid movie, a couple of trailers, and a mess of commercials. Now even longish movies are often frowned upon, because they cut down the number of showings (and therefore admissions) a theater can cram into a single day.

With studios and exhibitors both struggling to find ways to distinguish the movie theater experience from increasingly high end home theater systems, re-elongating the duration of a multiplex visit could be a great option. Most people are willing to pay a $3-5 premium for a pair of plastic 3D glasses they can’t even keep; why wouldn’t they pay the same for high-quality extra content? Instead of simply replicating the old school theater experience, it could updated and improved upon. Why not, for example, show a movie twice to customers willing to pay a couple bucks extra: once as is, and a second time with audio commentary? How about live commentary via satellite? Or, for sequels, catch-up screenings of the previous movies in the series?

06222010_antman3.jpgI couldn’t be getting farther ahead of myself without some sort of Flux Capacitor. But even if these shorts don’t lead to anything more than an increase in the number of short films screened before features, that’s already an improvement. In the meantime, let me just suggest one Marvel character worthy of a, well, short subject: Ant-Man. Lots of cool avenues for cutting-edge effects and super-powers (shrinking, obviously) that couldn’t be better suited to a variety of genres that movies love, like detective fiction or espionage.

“Scott Pilgrim” director Edgar Wright has been attached to direct an “Ant-Man” feature for years, but the project’s never gotten off the ground. With this new shorts initiative, Wright could take the character out for a brief test drive. If the response is positive enough, it could finally put some momentum behind the feature.

[Photos: “News on the March,” from “Citizen Kane,” RKO, 1941; “Tales To Astonish” #35 (Sep. 1962), Marvel Comics]

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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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