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A problem like “Marie.”

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The Queen and the princess.
In the Newark Star-Ledger, Charles Taylor wonders what it is about Sofia Coppola that so torments some critics.

The argument being made against Coppola and "Marie Antoinette" — that the film is Coppola’s apologia for rich, empty-headed luxury; that it has no historical or political sense; that it has, God help us, no ideas — is elitism masquerading as populism. "Marie Antoinette," which scores the doomed queen’s story to post-punk bands like Gang of Four and New Order, removes the story from the realm of stultified costume epics, all those stiff, worthy pictures that parents and teachers — and, yes, critics — urged on us because they were "enriching" without ever being pleasurable.

Taylor articulates many of our frustrations with coverage and reviews of the film — most notably the spite and schadenfreude directed at Coppola. Yes, yes, we are all resentful of Ms. Coppola’s daddy and fabulousness and the fact that she was not born like normal human beings but instead sprung fully formed from a Malvasia grape, and we all secretly long for Marc Jacobs to name a purse after us. That does not make reviewing one’s impressions of the director as opposed to the film good criticism.

At the Independent, Gill Pringle talks to Coppola and Kirsten Dunst.

At the Toronto Star, Olivia Ward questions Marie Antoinette’s sudden surge in cultural popularity:

Marie Antoinette’s life draws pity and frustration, in equal measure. Unlike the lives of other royal divas, such as Catherine the Great, Elizabeth I or Catherine de Medici, Marie Antoinette left no personal stamp on history save that of tragic victim. Even Mary Queen of Scots, who also perished under the executioner’s blade, was a tireless political manoeuvre.

And Rachel Abramowitz at the LA Times talks to Antonia Fraser, author of the biography "Marie Antoinette: The Journey," on which Coppola’s film was based:

During the course of filmmaking, the writer also acted as an Antoinette oracle for some of the actors, such as Mary Nighy and Jason Schwartzman, who crossed the Channel to discuss their characters. Schwartzman plays Marie Antoinette’s husband, Louis XVI, who was considerably portlier than the vulnerable idiosyncratic star of "Rushmore" and "Shopgirl." "I thought, ‘What’s this attractive man doing playing Louis XVI? And also, he’s very well made, but he’s not totally fat… and he kept saying he had to eat, he had to eat," Fraser said. "But what I thought in the film he captured was sort of a nerdy quality. Which is right."

+ Attacking Marie — and Sofia (Newark Star-Ledger)
+ Marie Antoinette: Sacrebleu! – a right royal rumpus (Independent)
+ Pop culture’s unlikely heroine (Toronto Star)
+ What’s all this about conceit and cake?
(LA 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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