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DID YOU READ

Communicating the “Magic and Light” of Spielberg

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The team over at Press Play is in the midst of an impressively comprehensive study of director Steven Spielberg. Each chapter of their “Magic and Light” series deals with another facet of the popular filmmaker’s career. They started with a video essay about the depiction of violence in Spielberg’s work; later they examined the roles and representation of villainy in his work. That “chapter” was subdivided into four smaller videos, so when I say impressively comprehensive, you know I am not easily impressed (or comprehended. Wait…).

My favorite chapter of “Magic and Light” so far though was the one written and edited by Matt Zoller Seitz about the pervasive theme of communication in Spielberg’s work. Like Kevin B. Lee’s “The Spielberg Face,” Seitz observes a fundamental but easily overlooked aspect of Spielberg’s work, explaining its importance with clear writing and smart editing. Take a look:

Seitz’s observations mesh perfectly with Spielberg’s new films “The Adventures of Tintin” and “War Horse.” Animals feature prominently in both films — Tintin’s canine sidekick Snowy and the eponymous equine Joey, respectively — as do their attempts to bridge the communication gap between man and beast. Snowy is easily the smartest creature in “Tintin” but as a dog he can’t directly communicate with the much dumber humans he spends his time with. He frequently struggles to get Tintin’s attention with barks or grunts, or by tugging on his shirt. Joey’s intelligence level isn’t as cartoonishly high but at one point he functions in much the same way that Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” does to the Israelis and Palestinians in “Munich.” In a delicate and moving scene set in No Man’s Land on one of the battlefields of World War I, one German soldier and one English soldier find common ground as they try to save Joey from a tangle of barbed wire. In Spielberg’s cinematic universe, beauty, purity, and goodness transcend the boundaries of country and especially language.

For more on the new Spielberg films, make sure you check out my reviews of “The Adventures of Tintin” and “War Horse.” For the previous and future installments of “Magic and Light: The Films of Steven Spielberg,” go to Press Play.

What’s your favorite Steven Spielberg film? Tell us in the comments below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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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.

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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…