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“Vendetta” takes Berlin; Berlin resists.

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Tres "Phantom of the Opera."
Despite careful wooing and winning-over of Jeffrey Wells and David Poland (both of whom have been breathless with adoration) by "V for Vendetta"‘s publicists, word trickling in from the rest of the web, post-Berlin premiere, is mixed at best.

In Variety, Leslie Felperin finds the film disappointing in most areas:

Thesping lineup offers an embarrassment of riches, which, unfortunately, the weak helming by [James] McTeigue rather squanders. Bambi-eyed [Natalie] Portman cries affectingly, and looks fetching with a shaved head, but her character is essentially passive and not especially interesting…

In the end, competent but bland craft contributions ensure pic looks less like sci-fi stalwarts "A Clockwork Orange" and "Fahrenheit 451" and more like "Batman Begins" or "Van Helsing"

Action sequences are serviceable but disappointing given the Wachowski pedigree

A tough review, but hardly a "slam," which is what Wells calls it when he leaps to the film’s defense:

She basically calls it turgid and tedious ("flat as a storyboard") because she’s obviously decided it doesn’t do what good movies are supposed to do, which is grab you by the lapels and turn you around and send you out of the theatre saying, "Man, I just saw something!"

Trust me — "V for Vendetta" does this, so I’m having trouble figuring Felperin out. I don’t want to suppose anything but critics have bad days like anyone else so maybe she ate some bad sauerkraut.

Wells probably shouldn’t looks to Lee Marshall at Screen Daily then:

"V For Vendetta" lurches into inanity around halfway, and though it features a few gritty performances – notably from Stephen Rea as an ultimately decent police chief – this is not a fifth of November that we will remember, remember for long.

James Christopher at the London Times, who managed to stop by the Marilyn Manson press conference (oh, how we eagerly await his directorial debut, "Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll") says

It’s hardly surprising that Moore has removed his name from the credits. His creepy freedom fighter, V, wafts through the murky cobbled streets of London slicing the throats of the secret police while spouting pseudo philosophical waffle about the power of ideas in Shakespearean doggerel.

Richard Bernstein at the New York Times doesn’t tackle McTeigue’s film in his Berlin dispatch, but does delicately suggest that Michael Winterbottom‘s much-praised "The Road to Guantanamo" has some serious, troubling blind spots. He also mentions this smidgen about Chen Kaige‘s expensive pan-Asian fantasy "Wu ji (The Promise)":

"The Chinese suffer from the American disease now, trying to copy the recipe for successful blockbusters ad nauseum," Die Welt wrote, consigning "Wuji" to the "fantasy swordplay racket" genre.

We’ve seen about half of "The Promise" (ankled after the first hour) and would like to say here that it is terrible, terrible, terrible — florid, silly, bloated. Our face hurt. From the wincing.

+ V for Vendetta (Variety)
+ Vendetta Dissent (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ V For Vendetta (Screen Daily)
+ Beauty, the beasts — and me (London Times)
+ Political Films Dominate Berlin International Film Festival (NY Times)

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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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