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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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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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