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Caped crusaders can’t fail.

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07242008_thedarkknight.jpg“The Dark Knight” backlash fray has reached the New York Times, where A.O. Scott muses “Is it just me, or is the strain starting to show?” For Scott, “Iron Man,” “Hancock” and “The Dark Knight” are about as fine examples of the superhero genre as can be made, but also show its limitations:

Instead the disappointment comes from the way the picture spells out lofty, serious themes and then … spells them out again. What kind of hero do we need? Where is the line between justice and vengeance? How much autonomy should we sacrifice in the name of security? Is the taking of innocent life ever justified? These are all fascinating, even urgent questions, but stating them, as nearly every character in “The Dark Knight” does, sooner of later, is not the same as exploring them.

At Salon, Andrew O’Hehir surveys the serious debates on the film’s merits and the continued fan attacks on critics who haven’t loved it, and tries to turn the conversation to Brad Anderson’s beguilingly mean “Transsiberian,” which had a solid opening in New York this past weekend. To no avail, it seems — “The Dark Knight” remains the hot topic of debate for cinephiles the world over. In its blogs, the Guardian has already compared the film to “Hamlet,” sniffed at its 9/11 parallels, questioned its lofty IMDb ranking, and marveled at the enthusiasm of its fans to feel. And at the LA Times, Patrick Goldstein notes that “The Dark Knight” is even occupying quite a few screens at the otherwise indie Landmark theater, while Ty Burr at the Boston Globe reports that at a memorial service the past weekend, he was assailed with kids asking that he confirm the film as the best movie of all time: “Go ahead and scoff at the analogy, boomers, but one of the kids at the memorial service likened the opening of ‘Dark Knight’ to the JFK assassination and the Challenger disaster as quintessential where-were-you defining moments of his generation.”

Oy. Hopefully something shiny will come out of Comic-Con to distract the diehards — I’m running out of promo stills to use.

[Photo: “The Dark Knight,” Warner Bros, 2008]

+ How Many Superheroes Does It Take to Tire a Genre? (New York Times)
+ The saga of George W. Batman (Salon)
+ The Dark Knight: Batman is a Hamlet for our times (Guardian)
+ You must be joking (Guardian)
+ Is The Dark Knight really the best film ever made? (Guardian)
+ One thing all The Dark Knight’s fanatics have in common is profound enthusiasm. I envy that (Guardian)
+ ‘Dark Knight’: Hollywood’s new art-house hit? (LA Times)
+ The ‘Knight’ that shook the world (Boston Globe)

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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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