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Adrien Brody, unlikely action star.

Adrien Brody, unlikely action star. (photo)

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Adrien Brody’s body of work is so studiously eclectic that the only surprising thing about his new bid for action hero status in “Predators” is that he didn’t try it sooner. Mr. Brody, the youngest male to receive the award for Best Actor at the Oscars (at age 29, for “The Pianist”), is also one of only two Americans to win a César (the other was Johnny Depp, for “The Man Who Cried”).

He’s a hip-hop enthusiast who dreams of someday being a producer and an intense Method freak (he learned to play Chopin for “The Pianist” and became a plausible ventriloquist for “Dummy”).

Mostly, though, Brody is a very good actor with sometimes dubious taste in scripts. His “full retard” schtick in “The Village” was painful, and some of his post-Oscar choices are puzzling (why “The Jacket” or, god help us, “Manolete”?). But he’s delivered a surprising number of surprisingly solid performances in above average movies: “The Brothers Bloom,” a part in “The Darjeeling Limited” that gave Wes Anderson’s dialogue a non-Anderson-y feel (a tricky achievement), running around adroitly enough in “King Kong.”

07082010_darjeeling.jpgWhen it comes to playing an action lead, he understands exactly what the problem is and doesn’t tiptoe around it: “The comment is constantly like ‘skinny actor.’ I’m thin. I’m not skinny at all,” he told the Los Angeles Times‘ Amy Kaufman. “At the end, I think I scared them because I had grown a lot and they were all pretty shocked at how I looked.”

The evidence is reportedly on-screen, but it’s not a bid for a permanent paycheck upgrade, a la Nicolas Cage. Kaufman notes that “it appeared that he had since shed much of the muscle mass he gained for the film.” (Presumably he won’t need it for his inevitable one-off Woody Allen appearance in “Midnight in Paris,” as Allen continues working with every English-speaking actor of note.)

In light of Sylvester Stallone’s clarion call for a return to muscle-bound men hitting each other without the help of CGI (he said when actors could “Velcro their muscles on, it was over”), it’s heartening to see Brody taking on his own body as the ultimate Method acting challenge — one he’s happy to discard when his role is over.

“It’s different,” he said. “It’s something I haven’t seen of myself.” Brody’s comfortable treating his body as just another acting tool rather than a goal in and of itself. Here’s hoping there will be no Cage change-up.

[Photos: “Predators,” 20th Century Fox, 2010; “The Darjeeling Limited,” 20th Century Fox, 2007]

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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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