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The dark soul of Night.

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"I thought we were gonna be safe!"
Stepping forward to defend Mr. Shyamalan from the forthcoming tidal wave of negative criticism:

Michael Koresky at the Village Voice:

From plot point A to rug pull Z, his narratives don’t flow along as much as reveal themselves moment by moment: Try not to feel duped, but allow yourself to see the universe and, in confluence, the constructed movie world anew. His need for geometrical precision has resulted in overly tidy packages, yet the question must be addressed to those who bemoan his reliance on the "twist ending": So what? Now that Gore Verbinski films pass as "clever" studio product, why are so many so eager to come down so hard on Shyamalan, whose insistence on creating such ethereal, confounding universes is premised on constant invention and revelation?

Keith Ulrich at Slant:

Shyamalan’s self-described bedtime story is as uncompromised a film as they come, yet it is cut from distressingly egocentric cloth, the product of a man with a frighteningly sincere messiah complex. Shyamalan isn’t play-acting by casting himself in the film as a tortured writer who finds his muse in the mythical water creature Story (Bryce Dallas Howard). Like a populist Roland Barthes suddenly regressed to pre-adolescence, Shyamalan really believes in this hermetically sealed work’s every childlike (often childish) syllable, sign, and signifier that points the way to his inevitable deification. But what of the scenes where his character is genuinely humble before the muse, genuflecting and attentive as if in the presence of a power greater than him, and augmented by Hong Kong-based cinematographer Christopher Doyle‘s own holy gaze (credit Shyamalan for picking true visionaries as his collaborators)? There is authentic contradiction here, more so than in the superficial shenanigans of Shyamalan’s thinly veiled and ineffective political allegory "The Village," and it is not a narrative afterthought.

Ross Douthat at Slate:

In "The Village," as in all his films, Shyamalan seems to be aiming for something, amid our summers of high-grossing superhero movies and our winters of little-seen Oscar-bait projects, that’s increasingly rare these days: a marriage of entertainment and art, of mass-market tastes and elite sensibilities. This is a hard combination to pull off, as his stumbles have demonstrated, but it’s precisely the goal that the film industry, home to our last mass art form, ought to be aspiring to. So, Shyamalan deserves credit, despite his vanity and his missteps—not because he’s succeeding, necessarily, but because he’s willing to keep trying and unwilling to take his place with those timid, highly compensated directors who know neither victory nor defeat.

We really wanted to take a moment to guess, solely on the basis of the TV spots, the plot twist on which "Lady in the Water" rests, as we guessed the twist at the end of "The Village" from just the trailer and went around feeling even more smug than usual, something we quite enjoyed. Unfortunately, there are rumblings that "Lady" doesn’t end with a reveal the way Shyamalan’s previous films did. With that in mind, we’ll just predict that Bryce Dallas Howard’s character is evil. Look at those bangs: clearly, evil.

+ Night Moves (Village Voice)
+ Lady in the Water (Slant)
+ I See Good Movies (Slate)

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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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