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"Something's happening. I don't know what it is, but I can feel it."
Both Hugh Hart at the San Francisco Chronicle and Dennis Lim at the New York Times look over the films that have been adapted from the novel that Bay Area writer Jack Finney serialized in Colliers back in 1954: "The Body Snatchers." The novel ended on a more upbeat note than any of the films thus far — though no one’s seen the apparently podless "The Invasion" yet, so who’s to say. Hart focuses on Philip Kaufman‘s 1978 "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," noting that Kaufman put Don Siegel, director of the 1956 version, in a cameo role as a taxi driver, and that this latest incarnation preserves a through-line:

[Veronica] Cartwright‘s hippie mud-bath proprietor was the last human standing in 1978’s remake. She extends the "Body Snatcher" legacy in "The Invasion" by playing the first patient to alert Kidman’s psychiatrist character that something weird is happening in Washington.

Abel Ferrara‘s 1993 "Body Snatchers" is presumably the odd man out. Lim notes the shifting of the pod metaphor to reflect each film’s era, also pointing out that

Seen together, the first three films reflect shifts in cultural attitudes toward psychiatry. In each iteration a mental health professional treats the first wave of people who believe that impostors have replaced their loved ones. (This delusion is in fact a recognized condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as Capgras syndrome.)

The psychiatrist in the both the book and Siegel’s film is glib and ineffectual and eventually succumbs to the pods. One of the subtler jokes in Mr. Kaufman’s film is that it’s impossible to tell when exactly the self-help therapist (played by none other than Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy) became a pod.

At the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik dwells on that most adapted of sci-fi writers, Philip K. Dick, observing that Dick was better at ideas than eloquence: "At the end of a Dick marathon, you end up admiring every one of his conceits and not a single one of his sentences."

That’s probably why Dick’s reputation as a serious writer, like Poe’s,
has always been higher in France, where the sentences aren’t read as
they were written. And his paint-by-numbers prose is ideally suited for
the movies. The last monologue in “Blade Runner” (“All those moments
will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die”), improvised by
Rutger Hauer on the set that day, has a pathos that the book achieves
only in design, intellectually, because the movie speech is spoken by a
recognizable person, dressed up as a robot, where Dick’s characters
tend to be robots dressed up as people.

And Dennis Lim, popping up over at Salon, talks to William Gibson, another sci-fi great whose work has yet to be satisfactorily brought to screen. (Ferrara and Asia Argento apologists are welcome to attempt to defend "New Rose Hotel.")

+ Same Old Aliens, but New Neuroses (NY Times)
+ New ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ remake stars Nicole Kidman (SF Chronicle)
+ Blows Against the Empire (New Yorker)
+ Now romancer (Salon)

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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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