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Critic wrangle: “Resurrecting The Champ.”

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It’s a film about boxing. It’s a film about journalism. It’s a film about dads. It’s "Resurrecting The Champ," the new film from former film critic Rod Lurie, following a sports journalist (Josh Hartnett) who writes a piece about a homeless man who claims to be a once great pro boxer (Samuel L. Jackson). Tasha Robinson at the Onion AV Club finds the film another instance in which director Lurie "seems ambitious beyond his means," presenting "a story that works well, except when it’s loudly proclaiming its own emotional depth and significance… Champ is a solid effort with a lot going for it, but it suggests that Lurie still isn’t willing to relax and let viewers interpret his films, instead of telling them what they’re thinking and seeing." Roger Ebert is one of several to praise Jackson’s performance: "What a fine actor. He avoids pitfalls like making Champ a maudlin tearjerker, looking for pity. He’s realistic, even philosophical, about his life and what happened to him."

At the New York Times, Stephen Holden‘s fond of the journalism side of the film, which "captures the hard-boiled tone of a big-city newsroom almost perfectly," but finds that "As the story takes a predictable turn from disgrace toward redemption, the film sacrifices credibility for a weepy, pandering pseudosincerity." Well, Robert Wilsonsky at the LA Weekly calls the film "a great movie about journalism — maybe the best there ever was — because Resurrecting the Champ is mind-erasingly boring… It’s a knockout — if only because watching it will render you unconscious for nearly two hours."

Nick Pinkerton at indieWIRE sighs that "Whenever you’re dealing with the plot keywords "fathers and sons" and "sports," the potential for emotional molestation is daunting, and "Resurrecting the Champ" doesn’t defy any expectations on that count." And Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly writes that "speechy monologues on the responsibilities of journalism, the particular evil of infotainment, and the gooey sanctity of the bond between fathers and sons all but nullify Jackson’s zesty performance."

As a sidebar, this film does find that magical blank that is Josh Hartnett attracting some of the most backhanded good notices in recent memory. A sampling:

Holden: "For Mr. Hartnett, who has the most screen time, Erik is a much less demanding role than his policeman in ‘The Black Dahlia,’ a movie he almost single-handedly sank with his clueless, wooden performance. Playing a handsome, feckless journalist on the fast track to celebrity, he doesn’t have much more to do than fill out the image of a gung-ho all-American dad with fixable character flaws."

Ebert: "Hartnett is efficient enough, but doesn’t have enough edges and angles on him to be a sportswriter. Robert Downey Jr. for sportswriter, Josh Hartnett for movie critic."

Pinkerton: "Hartnett’s work here isn’t surprising, really–who wants astonishment from Josh Hartnett?–but the actor does intent, unshowy work, ever sensitive to his boundaries as an actor."

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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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