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<p>Daniel&nbsp;Day-Lewis in &quot;Lincoln&quot;</p>

Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Yes, Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln' has a big date with Oscar

The director's 27th theatrical feature is a marvel of design and performance

While Guy is shrewdly noting the potential for British voting contingents to rally behind this or that (particularly "Les Misérables") in this year's Oscar race, I've just emerged from what is undeniably one of the most quintessentially American efforts of the year: Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln." Though the irony of the fact that the titular Commander-in-Chief and the leader of the Union army are portrayed by Brits in the film is not lost on me, I assure you.

Nevertheless, the film -- which has seen a staggered press screening roll-out since its "surprise" New York Film Festival bow last week -- pumps with the blood of a nation and one of its darkest chapters. It's Spielberg's most performance-heavy work to date, and indeed, features a cross-section of character actors and star-caliber players all spouting off dialogue thick with the drama of the moment. Every inch of the frame feels heavy with Importance (with a capital "I"), and for good reason. It's a crucial moment and the need to emboss that fact is never lost on Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner.

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<p>Maroon 5</p>

Maroon 5

Maroon 5's 'One More Night' makes it 5 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100

Band holds off Psy one more time. What happens with Adele's 'Skyfall?'

Maroon 5 makes it five weeks in a row as “One More Night” spends one more frame atop the Billboard Hot 100.

The song continues to hold off a charge from Korean rapper Psy and “Gangnam Style,” thanks primarily to continued strong radio airplay. “Gangnam Style” remains at No. 2, according to Billboard.

Taylor Swift’s decision to unveil one new track from “Red,” out Oct. 22,  each week for the past several weeks results in Swift’s third song in as many weeks debuting in the Top 10. This week, “I Knew You Were Trouble” blows onto the Hot 100 at No. 3, bolstered largely by digital sales.  “Red’s” first single (and former No. 1), “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is at No. 3. Sandwiched between the Swift double pack is fun.’s “Some Nights” at No. 4.

Following Swift, the only other new entry into the top 10 is Ke$ha with “Die Young,” which jumps 14-8.

On the rest of the top 10, Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” featuring Big Sean rises 7-6. Alex Clare’s “Too Close” climbs  10-7. Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” holds at No. 9 and Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Good Time” slides up one notch to No. 10.

Adele’s James Bond theme, “Skyfall,” falls out of the top 10, dropping five places to No. 13 in its second week.

 

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<p>Caitlin and Brittany of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Caitlin and Brittany of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Caitlin & Brittany talk 'The Amazing Race'

Latest eliminated team discusses cab problems and lack of TV time
Another week, another "Amazing Race" team done in by a problematic cab ride in a foreign country. 
 
Last week, it was Amy & Dan doomed by their driver's failure to find the proper Detour location, dropping them from second place to last on a lengthy misadventures.
 
On Sunday's (October 14) episode, it was Caitlin & Brittany whose pedicab wrong-turns led them into last and then briefly into next-to-last and then finally to elimination after going the wrong way at a fork in the road. 
 
In this week's "Amazing Race" exit interview, the two blonde friends discuss their cab problems, as well as their lack of screentime in early episodes. In addition, Brittany offers her opinion on the way her frustration was portrayed in the episode. 
 
Click through for the full interview...
 
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<p>Carol Anne better stay away from television screens and Sam Raimi, because both evidently have evil plans in store for her</p>

Carol Anne better stay away from television screens and Sam Raimi, because both evidently have evil plans in store for her

Credit: MGM/UA Home Video

Is Sam Raimi directing the 'Poltergeist' remake after all?

The remake's writer seems to confirm that Raimi will be at the helm

If you spend much time on horror-oriented websites, chances are you saw some footage from the upcoming "Evil Dead" remake that leaked from the New York Comic Con.  I'll say this much for the film based on that quick look… it felt like an "Evil Dead" film.  I do not envy Fede Alvarez because he's going to have a lot of people gunning for him sight unseen on that movie.  The original is more than just a well-liked low-budget horror film.  It was a major announcement of voice by Sam Raimi, and the "Evil Dead" series features one of the most iconic central performances in the history of the genre from Bruce Campbell.

Monday night, DreamWorks Animation screened their upcoming animated film "Rise Of The Guardians" in New York, and it seems like people liked it.  I'm seeing it soon, and I'm very curious about it.  The combination of talent on the film is intriguing, including creative consultant Guillermo Del Toro, author and visual designer William Joyce, storyboard artist Peter Ramsey who is making his jump to directing on the film, and of course the screenwriter, David Lindsay-Abaire.

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<p>Beyonce</p>

Beyonce

Credit: AP Photo

What's your dream Beyonce Super Bowl halftime look like? Here's ours

Who will join her on Feb. 3?

Now that Beyonce is confirmed for the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, we’ve had a few hours to think about our dream program. When Madonna was announced last year, we already knew that she was working with Cirque du Soleil. Plus, since there were rumors she was recording with Nicki Minaj, people speculated that she might join her on the field. This time, all we have is the confirmation that Bey will be at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Feb. 3.

Here’s how we’d like to see her 12-minute show play out. We already know the production and costumes will be bright and sparking, so we’re focusing on the music. There’s not room to do all these song in totality, to we’re suggesting snippets and medleys.

1. Open with “Countdown” with a marching band. Or since she is in New Orleans, pay homage to the Crescent City by including a great brass band and a colorful Second line.

2. Even women who aren’t interested in the game usually want to tune into the Super Bowl half time so go into the arc of a relationship: Start with “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” and do something fun with the dance, such as  bring on NFL players to do it or Justin Timberlake (to recreate the “Saturday Night Live” sketch)

3. Segue into “Irreplaceable” as the relationship goes into turmoil. Have dancers or a marching band on the field all going “to the left, to the left.”

4. Finish the segment with a happy ending and reconciliation with a high-energy “Crazy In Love” and bring out hubby, Jay-Z, for the rap. Plus, flash a few shots of Blue Ivy. Or here’s an idea!  You’ve got four months! Go ahead and conceive Blue Ivy’s sibling so you’ll be showing ever so slightly at the Super Bowl and you can rub your tummy sweetly to announce your pregnancy like you did at the Grammys a few years ago.

5. Speaking of reconciliation, everyone is hoping for a Destiny’s Child reunion. With hundreds of millions watching, here’s the time. Bring out Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Can you imagine how crazy the crowd will go if you jump into “Bootylicious.” They are definitely ready for this jelly.

6. End on an emotional high note. After a tremendously fast-paced, up-tempo fun show, finish with “I Was Here” and bring on a children’s choir.


PLAN B: If the Destiny’s Child reunion doesn’t work, do a fun salute to New Orleans with “Iko Iko” or bring on Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans, and sing a sassy “(You Can Have My Husband But) Don’t Mess With My Man” or slow it down a bit with “It’s Raining.”

What do you want Beyonce to perform?

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<p>Eddie Redmayne in &quot;Les Mis&eacute;rables.&quot;</p>

Eddie Redmayne in "Les Misérables."

Credit: Universal Pictures

The Long Shot: Are the British coming?

In a weak year for UK film, 'Les Mis' carries the Limeys' Oscar hopes

"I'm not going to be narrow enough to claim these fellows can't act,” wrote acidic industry columnist Hedda Hopper in 1964. “They've had plenty of practice. The weather's so foul on that tiny isle that, to get in out of the rain, they gather themselves in theaters and practice 'Hamlet' on each other.”

“These fellows” were, of course, the British – who, much to the chagrin of Hollywood loyalists like Hopper, enjoyed a golden streak at the Academy Awards consistent with the all-purpose ‘British Invasion’ of the mid-60s. When she wrote this, the UK had claimed back-to-back Best Picture wins with “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Tom Jones,” while victories for such British stars as Julie Christie, Julie Andrews, Rex Harrison and Paul Scofield lay ahead.

It’s a love affair the Academy has maintained over the decades, in some periods more passionately than in others: Colin Welland’s cry of “The British are coming!” as underdog “Chariots of Fire” claimed the 1981 Best Picture Oscar signalled another mini-surge. More recently, after a lengthy stretch of American domination, triumphs for “Slumdog Millionaire” in the 2008 race, and “The King’s Speech” two years later, suggested another invasion might be afoot.

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<p>Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper in &quot;Silver Linings Playbook.&quot;</p>

Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

De Niro's awards trail kicks off with Santa Barbara tribute

Veteran actor is seeking his seventh Oscar nod for 'Silver Linings Playbook'

Though he's still revered as one of his generation's finest, it's been an awfully long time since Robert De Niro's name came up in any kind of awards conversation. Over 20 years have passed since the actor's last Oscar nomination -- his sixth -- for "Cape Fear," and give or take some Golden Globe comedy attention, awards voters have shared in the general consensus that the great man has gone off the boil in his later years.

That dry spell, of course, looks to end this year, with probable Best Picture contender "Silver Linings Playbook" a likely bet to land De Niro his seventh nod -- and his first in supporting since he entered the Oscar fray nearly forty years ago in "The Godfather Part II." With the Weinsteins set to campaign hard for the Toronto fest favorite, De Niro's campaign is already picking up steam: he's getting the Supporting Actor honor at the Hollywood Film Awards (for whatever that's worth, but it's still a publicity opp), and is now set to receive the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

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<p>Jessica Lange as a nun on &quot;American Horror Story:&nbsp;Asylum.&quot;</p>

Jessica Lange as a nun on "American Horror Story: Asylum."

Credit: FX

Review: FX's 'American Horror Story' is very different and the same

New 'Asylum' set-up brings back Jessica Lange and friends in new roles
"American Horror Story" was not a show I enjoyed at all in its first season, but I couldn't help admiring the decision its creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, made at the end of it. Having spent 13 episodes telling a story with a beginning, middle and end about a family who moves into a haunted house, dies, and becomes closer in death than they were in life, Murphy and Falchuk elected not to continue that story in the FX drama's new season. Instead, "American Horror Story" (it returns tonight at 10) will be that rarest of 21st century TV creatures: an anthology drama. Each season will tell a complete story, then start over from scratch, perhaps bringing along some actors (Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Zachary Quinto, Lily Rabe and Sarah Paulson all return from last year, among others) but in entirely new roles.
 
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<p>Logan Lerman and Emma Watson in &quot;The Perks of Being a Wallflower.&quot;</p>

Logan Lerman and Emma Watson in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Roundup: On 'Perks' and other Oscar wallflowers

Also: Carax on Kylie's 'Holy Motors' number, and Foxx talks slavery in 'Django'

Variety's Jon Weisman has fallen a little bit in love with "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." As have many people, including us here at In Contention. Yet the film isn't even being mentioned as a dark-horse Oscar player in most circles. Why so? Because, Weisman, argues, it wasn't tapped for awards glory sight-unseen. Referring to awards season as being run a bit like a high school clique: "[S]ome pics get a head start and others a hurdle based on little more than their loglines. This is true even though movies don't need to please everyone to reach the Dolby Theater in February." (He points to the recent Best Picture nomination for the poorly received "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" as an example of the latter.) What other gems are fighting to be considered awards material? [The Vote]

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2013 Best Supporting Actor Oscar Contenders: Leonardo DiCaprio and Tommy Lee Jones round out a crowded field

2013 Best Supporting Actor Oscar Contenders: Leonardo DiCaprio and Tommy Lee Jones round out a crowded field

Is it a wide open field or a battle for two slots?

Predictably, awards season begins with almost every major category either being characterized as too competitive or more wide open then you could possibly imagine.  The 2012 best supporting actor field is somehow an intriguing mix of both (at the moment).

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<p>Kurt Sutter and Maggie Siff of &quot;Sons of Anarchy&quot;</p>

Kurt Sutter and Maggie Siff of "Sons of Anarchy"

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' recap: 'Small World'

The body count keeps rising this season on 'Sons of Anarchy'
The body count keeps rising this season on "Sons of Anarchy" and "Small World" was full of "collateral damage."
 
The hour's four violent deaths provide a pretty decent overview of the episode, so let's look at each one:
 
 
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<p>Godspeed You Black Emperor's &quot;Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!&quot;</p>

Godspeed You Black Emperor's "Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!"

Credit: Constellation

Review: Godspeed You! Black Emperor's 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!'

Listen to the album -- the post-rock band's first in 10 years -- in its entirety

Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s new album “Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!”  -- for fans in waiting for 10 years – succeeds not in its tightness, but where the bolts are loose and their joints feel flung everywhere. Given the space of five minutes or 20, they fill up the moments with large and small matter, for the listener to apply their own context and analysis as the band grinds, heavy-lidded, through the noise-making they love.

For an instrumental group whose lineup is not complete without a film projectionist, they leave their story-telling generously open to interpretation. The new mystery machine begins with an urgent sound sample, of a man’s voice describing a someone “with his arms outstretched,” over and over again as the emergency gets clouded by guitars. First, it sounds of gulls, then washes of bleating, repeating scales, quarter tone gray matter, and then parting of the clouds into a drum march straight from the Occupy movement (car horns and all). And that’s just the first song.
 
And to looking too deeply for ultimate political or timely thesis is almost contrary to the clamor. The group’s drones of “Their Helicopters Sing” sounds like a Celtic orchestra warming up, the entropy of molecules seeking order, bellowing voices made mechanical, or simply a resting heart-rate exercise to get the to their next 20-minute workout. There isn’t the benefit (or distraction of lyrics), but the element of storytelling is still there in the dozens of electric instruments and their operating conductors. Why would they keep a glockenspiel in the studio anyway, if not to tell the whole story? Or the literal breath exhaling at end of exhaustively titled “Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable?” The Recording Gods even bless the room noise blaring toward the end of 20-minute highlight “We Drift Like Worried Fire,” perhaps only for the reason that it just sounds good there, allelujah.
 
It’s good to know there’s intentionality underneath all of that abstraction and chaos. That way, the infinite becomes immediate, even if you don’t know what the hell it all means.
 
Listen to the whole album below.
 

 

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