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The overdeveloped titles of Andrew Niccol’s films.

The overdeveloped titles of Andrew Niccol’s films. (photo)

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Andrew Niccol’s first film in five years is a sci-fi love story set in a future in which, according to Variety, “time has become the currency. Once you turn 25 and your aging gene turns off, you must buy and bank time. If you are rich enough, you can live forever. But if you run out of time, you are engineered to die automatically.” Amanda Seyfried has just been cast.

There was a time when the news that Niccol was going to make another insanely ambitious-sounding movie full of sweeping concepts and sweaty paranoia would have been cause for much excitement. Unfortunately, that time was 1998, a year after Niccol’s “Gattaca” had been released and as “The Truman Show” — which he wrote, thought director Peter Weir reportedly removed a lot of the more over hysterical elements — was hitting theaters. Niccol seemed poised for Christopher Nolan-esque things. He could package high-concept notions in the guise of more exciting populist fare.

But then there’s his title problem.

Now, “Gattaca” isn’t terribly catchy, but it combines the four letters used to label DNA nucletide bases, which — I suppose — is part of the reason I ended up watching it in tenth-grade biology class. At least it sounds good — if you like the inscrutable, it’s a neat way to pique your attention.

07132010_simone.jpgBut Niccol followed that up in 2002 with “S1m0ne,” the most typographically annoying title since “Se7en.” The movie itself is a dispatch from Al Pacino’s late “hoo-aa” days, a clunky satire about notable truths like hey, we live in a superficial, celebrity-obsessed culture. But that title! It’s got the 1’s and 0’s of binary code, and it’s also an abbreviation for “Simulation One.” A lot of characters in the movie are named after computer brands, and at a certain point you have to just throw your hands up.

Niccol’s last film was the relatively normally titled “Lord of War” — from a Liberian dictator’s muddling of “warlord” — but this new project called “I’m.mortal.” Why? At least “Gattaca” was clever-ish — this is just two words combined into one with a period that’s been drafted into service. It barely qualifies as a pun. Much worse, it can’t help but bring to mind, and overwhelming Black Eyed Peas associations probably aren’t the first thing you look for in a concept-heavy sci-fi film.

[Photos: “Gattaca,” Sony, 1997; “The Truman Show,” Paramount, 1998; “S1m0ne,” New Line, 2002]

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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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