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For the kids.

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Remember when little Dorothy gets shock treatment? Eek.What makes a children’s film great? The cynic in us wants to say that it’s the fact that people have such low standards for them that they’re willing to flock to any mediocre piece of shiny crap that will keep their offspring’s attention. But really, films are never as magical as they are when you’re a kid, which is doubtless why the hot young things of edgy film are flocking to reclaim their childhoods.

At the Telegraph, SF Said explores what makes a great children’s film, which, we’d say, is that it shouldn’t condescend, and that it shouldn’t be afraid to be dark. Lord knows, Pixar’s films have been consistently amazing because they haven’t, despite their technical excellence, ever neglected dialogue or characterization. As a side note, the paper also offers a well thought-out list of the top 20 children’s films and a piece in which Benjamin Secher goes out to a London school to ask the kids themselves what they like.

Here’s a list we’d like to see: the supposedly for-children films that scared the hell out of you when you were young. For us the undisputed top pick would be the great Walter Murch‘s sole directorial effort, "Return to Oz," which we’re still a little frightened of. Jean Marsh‘s head howling "Doooooorooothy Gaaaaaaallllle"? Eek.

Anyway, on the topic of Pixar, Laura M. Holson at the New York Times and Mark Caro at the Chicago Tribune both report that the fate of Disney rests on how well "Chicken Little" does — Holson because it will dictate the terms of any forthcoming Disney/Pixar negotiations, Caro because Disney sorely needs a hit after doing away with its (once hallowed) traditional animation department last year. Caro also talks to vet Disney animator Glen Keane about being brainwashed (or convinced, whatever) as to the benefits of CG animation for his planned "Rapunzel Unbraided."

And Mike Newell (best known for "Four Weddings and a Funeral") talks to David Gritten at the Telegraph about his approach to directing the latest Harry Potter thing:

Newell decided that essentially "The Goblet of Fire" was "a God-given thriller".

"I was explaining my idea of the story to Dan[iel Radcliffe], and he said, ‘What have you been watching?’ I told him, paranoid thrillers: ‘Three Days of the Condor,’ ‘The Parallax View,’ ‘North by Northwest.’ They’re all about people who don’t know what’s happening to them.

"I told him specifically to watch ‘North by Northwest,’ because there you are, it’s a sunny afternoon, you’re happy with your life, but suddenly stuff starts happening, and then you’re up against the bad guy, who had plans for you all along. That’s exactly what happens to Harry Potter in this book."

+ What makes a children’s film great? (Telegraph)
+ Top 20 children’s films (Telegraph)
+ But what do the children think? (Telegraph)
+ For Disney and Pixar, a Deal Is a Game of ‘Chicken’ (NY Times)
+ Can this chicken save Disney? (Chicago Tribune)
+ The making of a convert (Chicago Tribune)
+ I was so fearful of breaking the spell (Telegraph)

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Rev Up

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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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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