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Critic wrangle: “Son of Rambow.”

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05022008_sonoframbow.jpgHere’s my review from Sundance last year. “Son of Rambow,” the second film from music video team Hammer & Tongs, whose first was the not so well received “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” is long in coming — it was delayed due to a legal struggle with StudioCanal over use of footage from “Rambo: First Blood.” Word is, again, mixed on the way whimsical film about two children shooting their own sequel to Stallone’s action film.

Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly sighs that director Garth Jennings and producer Nick Goldsmith “display plenty of whirligig energy, if not much control or lightness of touch,” while Scott Tobias at the Onion AV Club suggest that “make that check out to Wes Anderson, care of Rushmore Academy, with a portion of the residuals due to Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie) and his signature Rube Goldberg setpieces.” He finds “the film works better in sequences than as a whole, and suffers from an overly familiar homemade aesthetic.” Nick Schager at Slant seconds the Anderson comparison, preferring the first half of the film to the second: “Jennings’s interest in dramatizing youthful male bonds of friendship and cinema’s function as a unifying medium giving way to sappy clashes and even sappier resolutions.” “Son of Rambow turns unfortunately insular and maudlin about the desperate sources of its boyhood outcasts’ imaginations,” agrees Armond White at the New York Press. “Even when enlisting kids at their school to help out in the remake, the amateur endeavor never becomes wild, subversive or original.”

Others are more won over: “[A]t its most likable, Son of Rambow evokes the rush of discovery that turns budding cinephiles into lifers–that delight in finding a film that seems to express or coalesce some inchoate yearning, including a yen to share,” writes Jim Ridley at the Village Voice. Dana Stevens at Slate dislikes the ending but still finds that “Son of Rambow bristles with the anarchic energy of late childhood and a genuine respect for the life-changing power of movies–even (or especially) the schlocky ones.” Michael Koresky at indieWIRE believes the film “jumps uneasily between gritty and surreal, never quite plumbing the depths of the childhood imagination as winningly as darker though more convincingly fanciful films like ‘Heavenly Creatures’ or ‘The Butcher Boy,'” but likes the way “the writer-director refrains from stargazing, dewy appeals to the ‘magic’ of cinema, even at the film’s effectively emotional denouement.” And Manohla Dargis at the New York Times adds that “although the film’s visual style feels more borrowed than organic, there’s enough truth to Will and Lee’s actions — and to the uninflected, touching performances of the two young leads — to keep the film humming along, even when Mr. Jennings veers into sentimentality and lets one too many tear drop.”

[Photo: “Son of Rambow,” Paramount Vantage, 2007]

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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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