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DID YOU READ

“A Somewhat Gentle Man,” Reviewed

“A Somewhat Gentle Man,” Reviewed (photo)

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Reviewed at Fantastic Fest 2010.

Released from prison after serving 12 years for murder, Ulrik (Stellan Skarsgård) makes his own way into town. There’s no one to pick him up. Everyone he looks up from his old life swears they thought he was getting out the next day or next month. The only one happy to see him is Rune (Bjørn Floberg), his old boss from his tough guy days, who’s eager to have Ulrik pick up where he left off by killing the man who testified against him and put him in jail for murder — not for any profit, really, just to prove Rune’s not the type of fellow to be messed with.

“A Somewhat Gentle Man,” directed by Hans Petter Moland, is an incredibly agreeable gangster movie, in part because Ulrik’s not very interested in becoming a gangster again. Rune helps him get a day job as a mechanic at a shop run by the all-business Sven (Bjørn Sundquist), who speaks in abrupt, funny paragraphs. Rune also gets him a room at the house of his world-worn older sister Karen Margrethe (Jorunn Kjellsby), and then starts reminding Ulrik of how much he owes — though of course he can pay it back whenever, presuming he come back to work for Rune.

Wearing one of the world’s worst haircut — a straggly, graying ponytail, balding on top — Skarsgård portrays Ulrik as someone who’s so unsure about what comes next that he allows other people’s desires to guide him. He tails the snitch because Rune wants him to. He has what can only be described as slapstick sex with Karen Margrethe because she demands it. He helps his coworker Merete (Jannike Kruse) with her abusive ex, and he plays along with his son Geir’s (Jan Gunnar Røise) lie to his pregnant girlfriend that his father is dead — she wouldn’t want an ex-con as her child’s grandfather.

Ulrik demonstrates a flash or two of the scarier guy he used to be, but for the most part he’s hangdog and malleable, a generally gentle giant, qualities that end up drawing people in — there’s a recurring almost joke (it never quite has the momentum of a punchline) that women feel compelled to feed him and then offer him sex, both of which he impassively accepts, though sometimes it’s the food that’s more exciting to him.

“A Somewhat Gentle Man” is slight, but its deadpan humor grows on your, and Skarsgård’s performance is everything — when Ulrik starts to realize he might be able to put together something resembling a normal life after all, his joy is irresistible, like, as the film itself puts it, the first signs of spring after a long winter.

“A Somewhat Gentle Man” will be released by Strand.

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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.

Uncle-Buck

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…