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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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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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