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Primrose Hill.

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061305_wotwWe’d hate to think that this summer’s 800-pound gorilla, "War of the Worlds," will now take over as the stuff of much cultural analysis — it just looks too bland (c’mon, you’ve thought the same). And we’re hardly done with the oddity that is "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" yet! (After much thought, we’ve figured out what the film reminds us of — that episode of "Daria" where, forced to do a reading at a cafe, she picks an over-the-top story about a femme fatale-ish secret agent that manages to whip the crowd into an anti-Communist fervor — Liman seems to be straddling that same manipulating the audience/flipping off the audience line.) 

Spielberg kicks things off at the Tokyo "WotW" premiere by pointing out that he’s done fantastical and benign aliens, adorable, stuffed figurine-worthy aliens, and enimatic, micromanaging aliens, but that now, the time is finally ripe once again for destructive, apocalyptic aliens.

The British press indulge themselves a bit, looking back at H. G. Wells’ original novel, written in a turn-of-the-century England that was racing towards a new age of industrialization. At the Observer, Peter Conrad also finds now an ideal time to revisit Wells’ themes of aliens practicing the same conquest and colonization England has practiced on the rest of the world.

For Spielberg’s screenwriter David Koepp, the story trips up that triumphal civilisation. His Martians, he claims, are merely conducting the belligerent foreign policy of the US, even though this time they happen to be stomping into New York. What stops the armoured, insensitive global power is ‘a local insurgency’; the film, he says, is his commentary on the Iraq war.

Over at the Independent, Jeff Wayne, the composer of 1978’s musical-as-concept-album version of "WotW" (now being rereleased), talks about his love for the novel, why it endures today (and how the idea of alien invasion was far more frightening and foreign to the original audiences back in Victorian England), and the story’s newest incarnation, in which, he points out, "they left the ‘The’ off the title, even though HG conceived it as the definitive war of all." Of course, since 1898 there’s been plenty to change our concept of "the definitive war of all" as well.

+ Spielberg Says Climate Is Right for ‘War’ (AP)
+ Why we love aliens (Observer)
+ HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds: the greatest story ever told (Independent)

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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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