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“Black Swan” Charms the Critics at Venice

“Black Swan” Charms the Critics at Venice (photo)

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Darren Aronofsky’s ballerina fantasia “Black Swan,” starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel and Winona Ryder (!), premiered at the Venice Film Festival to shrieks of glee from the critics, though not all for the same reason (there’s at least one claim that it’s more good-bad than an actual triumph). A few samples:

“Every film festival benefits hugely from a strong opening film, and they don’t come a lot stronger than Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller set in the world of New York ballet. Powerful, gripping and always intriguing, it also features a lead performance from Natalie Portman that elevates her from a substantial leading actress to major star likely to be lifting awards in the near future… [Arofofsky’s] a director with a taste for the flamboyant and over-ripe – qualities that serve the narrative handsomely.” —David Gritten, Telegraph

“Alternately disturbing and exhilarating, this dark study of a mentally fragile performer derailed by her obsession with perfection is one of the most exciting films to come out of the Hollywood system this year.” —Mike Goodridge, Screen Daily

“Resembling a ‘Red Shoes’ on acid, ‘Black Swan’ takes the idea of giving one’s all for art to a morbid extreme. Applying the gritty handheld technique he successfully employed in the working class environs of ‘The Wrestler’ to the rarefied domain of classical ballet, Darren Aronofsky swooningly explores the high tension neuroses and sexual psychodrama of a ballerina on the brink of simultaneous triumph and breakdown.” —Todd McCarthy, indieWIRE

“Though the director never immerses us as deeply inside Portman’s head as he did Mickey Rourke’s in ‘The Wrestler,’ the latter third of ‘Black Swan’ depicts a highly subjective view of events that calls to mind the psychological disintegration of both ‘Repulsion’ and ‘Rosemary’s Baby.'” —Peter Debruge, Variety

“Portman has never been so cannily cast, nor so cunningly exposed, on screen.” —Guy Lodge, In Contention

“‘Swan’ is an instant guilty pleasure, a gorgeously shot, visually complex film whose badness is what’s so good about it. You might howl at the sheer audacity of mixing mental illness with the body-fatiguing, mind-numbing rigors of ballet, but its lurid imagery and a hellcat competition between two rival dancers is pretty irresistible. Certain to divide audiences, ‘Swan’ won’t lack for controversy, but will any of this build an audience? Don’t bet against it.” —Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter

“Black Swan” hits US theaters December 1st.

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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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