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Battle of the Action Chick Flicks

Battle of the Action Chick Flicks (photo)

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Sometimes the director does the film critic’s job for him. Appearing at San Francisco’s WonderCon convention last weekend, Joe Wright — the director of “Atonement” and “The Soloist” as well as the upcoming “Hanna,” which opens this Friday — planted the seeds of a thousand thinkpieces by publicly calling out Zack Snyder’s recently released “Sucker Punch” for its — his words, now — “bullshit” combination of sexist imagery and female empowerment messages. More of Wright’s words from The Hollywood Reporter‘s Heat Vision blog:

While not naming names, [Wright] attacked a recent movie with young female characters in crop tops and short skirts, scoffing that the movie’s makers were “calling it ‘female empowerment.'”

“Sucker Punch,” Snyder’s latest film for Warner Bros., features five young female protagonists who escape their brutal existence in a mental institution by slipping into a fantasy world where a brothel and dancing for men are key components. The film did stir up some talk about its depictions of young women and sex, with Snyder and the producers calling it female empowerment, noting sex is a weapon in the characters’ arsenal and that the scenes were not shot in a titillating way.

“I think that’s bullshit,” Wright said.

Publicly bashing the competition is a smart move for a couple of reasons for Wright. For one thing, “Sucker Punch” isn’t exactly putting asses in the seats (Just $30 million in two weeks at the domestic box office). Since “Hanna” does tread similar thematic territory — young ass-kicking girls dominated by powerful male authority figures — it couldn’t hurt to distinguish itself from its relatively unpopular contemporary. And obviously a little controversy never hurt anyone (except maybe Snyder, who seems like the sort of man who means his overtly sexualized female empowerment very sincerely). A couple well-placed considerations of both films could encourage skeptical viewers to try out the entire double feature.

So there you have it, pop culture theorists, laid out for you on a platter. The representation of female empowerment in “Hanna” versus “Sucker Punch.” On your mark, get set: go for 2,000 words. I haven’t seen either film yet, so I’m afraid it won’t be me to do the analyzing, at least not right away. But maybe I’ll round up the best pieces that come out of the controversy in a few days.

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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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