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<p>&quot;Ernest &amp;&nbsp;Celestine&quot;</p>

"Ernest & Celestine"

Credit: GKIDS

GKIDS picks up 'Ernest & Celestine' for a fall 2013 release (UPDATED)

But the indie studio still has a lot to play with this year

Strike one potential animated contender from the list (which was just updated this morning). You might recall that Guy was a big fan of Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner's "Ernest & Celestine" at Cannes, offering that it's "schooled in the gentle economy of picture-book storytelling: its words are witty and well-chosen, yes, but it's the delicate visual construction of its parallel worlds that invites the most scrutiny and empathy." He then went on to declare that it deserved US exposure.

Well, it looks to get it, as hero to the independent animated film community GKIDS has just announced acquisition of the title. But it won't be bowing it in this year's race. It's being held for fall 2013, where it should be considered formidable amongst whatever usual usual studio fare will surely be in the conversation. The film is officially set for a North American debut at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival, but I'm hoping it might pop up at Telluride first. That's where I discovered "Chico & Rita" a year before GKIDS picked up that unassuming but beautiful ditty, which went on to nail down an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film last year.

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Fabio Viviani

 Fabio Viviani

Credit: Bravo

'Life After Top Chef' to follow Spike, Fabio, Richard and Jen

Fan favorites invite cameras into their lives
Ever wonder what happened to the "Top Chef" second-rans after a season ends? Bravo intends to tell you about at least a few of them with “Life After Top Chef,” premiering Wed. Oct. 3 at 10 p.m. ET. The show follows Richard Blais in Atlanta, Jen Carroll in Philadelphia, Spike Mendelsohn in D.C., and Fabio Viviani in Los Angeles as they continue to heat things up, from opening their own restaurants to expanding franchises and establishing their brands. For a sneak peek visit http://www.bravotv.com/life-after-top-chef/season-1/videos/the-insane-life-of-a-chef. Below, keep reading for a refresher on who you'll be seeing -- and what they'll be doing.
 
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<p>Usher in &quot;Dive&quot;</p>

Usher in "Dive"

Watch: Usher goes deep in hot new music video for 'Dive'

You'll wish you were in the same boat

Usher knows from sexy and he takes it to a new depths in his video for “Dive,” the latest single from his excellent “Looking 4 Myself” album. The song, which features Usher singing in his upper register, is sultry and sweet at the same time, like Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose,” but with a lot more sexual imagery.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Jeff Daniels and Terry Crews in &quot;The Newsroom&quot;&nbsp;season finale.</p>

Jeff Daniels and Terry Crews in "The Newsroom" season finale.

Credit: AMC

Season finale review: 'The Newsroom' - 'The Greater Fool'

Will reacts badly to the magazine article, and Don has a proposal for Maggie

A review of "The Newsroom" season finale coming up just as soon as I show you my recipe for beef stew...

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars' announces its viewers' choice contestant

Kyle Massey, Carson Kressley and Sabrina Bryan were up for the job

 So, the news is out. On “Good Morning America” today, the winner of the all-stars viewers' choice vote for the 13th celebrity to join the “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” cast is Sabrina Bryan. That meant Kyle Massey and Carson Kressley were sent packing, unless ABC chooses to lure them over for guest appearances. She will be joined by professional partner Louis Van Amstel, who returns for his ninth season.

 
“Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” and “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show” return this season with new surprises and all the performance elements viewers have come to know and love: “Macy’s Stars of Dance” features some of the best choreographers and performers from the different styles of dance who offer viewers performances that represent the peak of achievement in their genres. The show also welcomes the return of the “AT&T Spotlight Performance,” which features and celebrates people whose lives have been changed forever by dance. AT&T is helping in the search to find these performers by allowing fans to nominate potential dancers. 
 
Also new this year is “After Party: Dancing with the Stars,” a 15-20 minute live show that takes place online at www.ABC.com/DancingWithTheStars, Facebook and YouTube immediately following each Monday night performance episode. This original online video show will feature a host, a panel of dance experts, show talent and celebrity guests breaking down the highlights of the night and answering questions via Twitter, Facebook and ABC.com 
 
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<p>Daniel&nbsp;Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's &quot;Lincoln&quot;</p>

Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Off the Carpet: Getting out the vote

On the Oscars in an election year

The most important piece you're going to read on the awards season right now is Sasha Stone's "The Oscars in an Election Year" over at Awards Daily. Even if you chafe against her politics (with which I am personally aligned), you can't argue against the fact that she nails a certain truth: socio-political environment will impact reaction to art.

That's what's so great about movies, books, paintings, songs, etc. They are as much a direct reflection of the times as they are a nebulous Rorschach for them. Involuntary extrapolation can be as significant as clear-eyed reaction to a straight-forward treatise. And in an environment as heated, tense and divided as this, the art that escapes the cauldron is bound to be, if not willfully profound, then a fascinating looking glass, at the very least.

I hopped on iChat with Stone last week to chew on this idea a bit and do something I've been meaning to do for a while: really dig through the history of election years and the Oscars. Much of what follows is owed to that conversation and the ideas that came out of it. It's a fool's errand to try and tie any given election year down to the Best Picture winner, of course, but it certainly makes for intriguing considerations.

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<p>I recently took aim at the 'Robocop' remake on Twitter, and the reaction across the Internet suggests there is a real hunger for early spoilers on certain projects.</p>

I recently took aim at the 'Robocop' remake on Twitter, and the reaction across the Internet suggests there is a real hunger for early spoilers on certain projects.

Credit: Orion Pictures

The Vacation Read: What do you think of the state of online movie reporting?

We kick off our vacation with a request for you, the readers, to run things this week

Yes, that's right… I'm on vacation.

Right now, my family and I are on a private jet traveling the globe and having amazing adventures.  Or we're at my house and laying around in the pool.  Whichever version makes you happy, feel free to picture that.  The point is, I'm taking a week away from writing here at HitFix to relax before we start the insane crush of work that kicks off with our coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival on September 6.

In the meantime, I'm going to be publishing a topic for conversation every day between now and when I come back, and I am going to ask you guys to carry the weight here.  I've said in many place, during podcasts and in articles and even in person, that I consider all of this a conversation.  It doesn't work in a vacuum.  It doesn't work if it's just me talking at you.  You are an essential part of the equation, and that's why I want this week to work a little different.

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<p>'Who are you calling ugly?'</p>

'Who are you calling ugly?'

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

Our second look at 'The Dark Knight Rises' digs into the bad and the ugly

After a ridiculous delay, we wrap our revisit of the summer's biggest sequel

Yes, that took longer than I promised.

Yes, I should stop mentioning a deadline if there's any chance at all I'm going to miss it.

On that note, let's dig back in.  The first piece I published covered only one third of the characters I wanted to discuss.  I broke them all down according to the broad archetypes of "The Good," "The Bad," and "The Ugly."  Based on the comments section, I think some of you missed the point I was making.  This isn't a re-review where I'm using "The Bad" and "The Ugly" to point out flaws in the film.  Instead, I'm looking at "The Bad" as people who are motivated only by their own desires, who are willing to hurt others to get what they want.  And with "The Ugly," I'm talking about people who fall into some grey middle zone between good and bad, people who can occasionally do the right thing but who are often driven to do the wrong things.  I think those characters are the most fun to write and to watch because they get to have all the shameless fun of being a bad guy and all the cathartic release of being a good guy.

Hopefully after you read today's conclusion, you'll see what I meant, and I want to thank you guys for both being patient and for being such an active part of the conversation once I finally posted the first piece.  I want to challenge you to participate even more next week while I'm on vacation, but more on that later this morning.

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<p>Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Breaking Bad' - 'Say My Name'

Mike plots his exit strategy, but Walt doesn't want Jesse to go

A review of tonight's "Breaking Bad" coming up just as soon as I want to live in a world without Coca-Cola...

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Alexander Skarsgard and Anna Paquin in 'True Blood'

No, Alexander Skarsgard and Anna Paquin can't believe what's happening on "True Blood" either

Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO

'True Blood' season finale recap: 'Save Yourself'

Alan Ball leaves behind a big mess for season six

Alan Ball launched "True Blood" as a romantic horror show, laced with caustic wit and social satire (vampires were finally "coming out" of their coffins around the world, demanding equal rights). He gave us two (or arguably two and half) seasons of reliably entertaining summer escapism. And now Ball leaves "True Blood" in the worst state it has ever been: an overcrowded, emotionally empty, frustrating, convoluted, nonsensical mess.

Tonight's chaotic fifth season finale was Ball's swan song with the series (at least in full-time capacity) and carried his writing credit. Here was one last chance for Ball to play around with the characters, bring couples together or drive them apart, prove to us that "True Blood" still has some magic lurking under the shambles it has become. And what did we get? A big, fat middle finger to the fans, the cast and whoever else Ball's ditching with his exit.

Alan Ball has left the building ladies and gentleman, and if you don't get the message it's time to follow him out the door, well, you're just not paying attention. After all, the title of the episode was "Save Yourself."

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"Big Brother"

 "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

'Big Brother' recap: Pandora's Box is back and Frank is on the warpath

The hamsters are running scared when Boogie's BFF gets mad

Wow, tensions are high at the Big Brother house. Lots of yelling, most of it from Frank. Without Boogie around to be his creepy, Burgess Meredith-esque blankie, it seems Frank is a lot more comfortable ripping into the other hamsters. Of course, he has no reason not to do so. Though the other hamsters cower in fear when he raises his voice, he knows he's only hanging on by a thread -- and when he can't win POV or HOH at a critical time, the seemingly meek rodents will come after him with kitchen cutlery and spatulas, desperately trying to pancake-flip him out of the house. 

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<p>Steven Pasquale of &quot;Do No Harm&quot;</p>

Steven Pasquale of "Do No Harm"

Credit: NBC

Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Do No Harm'

'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' medical drama raises many questions, few answers

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show: "Do No Harm" (NBC) [MIDSEASON]
The Pitch: "Remember how 'My Own Worst Enemy' failed even though it starred Christian Slater and Taylor Lautner? Maybe what it needed was... ummm... that guy from 'Rescue Me.' And to be more serious and crazy and less fun and confusing?"
Quick Response: I don't know what "Do No Harm" feels like, but it doesn't feel like an NBC drama. Maybe it belongs on FX? Or Syfy? No clue. Anyway, this is NBC's latest attempt to tap into the "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" mythos, with "Rescue Me" co-star Steven Pasquale playing a charming neurosurgeon who loses control and becomes a demented sociopath at night. How? Why? Huh? David Schulner's pilot script is mostly invested in tying things up in confusing knots and planting dozens of perplexing mysteries and not especially invested in maintaining anything other than rudimentary internal logic or cohesion. It's a theme this midseason, when the networks are unveiling three or four audaciously weird, wacky and possibly terrible (but possibly terribly addictive) new dramas. I was completely involved in "Do No Harm," but much of that involvement involved writing "What the [fudge]?!?" in my notes every time something happened that I didn't understand or wasn't supposed to understand. And again, that's not an "I'm shocked!" kinda "What the [fudge]?!?" it's a "Wha' Happen?!?" thing. Bafflement is an acceptable response to a pilot -- I have no doubt there'll be people who just love how little of "Do No Harm" is spelled out, as if merely being murky were a sign of implied genius -- but it helps if you have confidence that there's a sure hand behind-the-scenes steering things in one specific direction. "Do No Harm" felt more chaotic and less structured and that left me less-than-pleased. Pasquale is the big x-factor in a show like this and he's taking an interesting approach that somewhat minimizes the distinctions between the doctor and his alter-ego (compared to the strict, rudimentary, contrast Christian Slater created in "My Own Worst Enemy"). Based on the pilot (and past work), I really can't tell if Pasquale is an interesting enough actor for this blurred Jekyll/Hyde. James Nesbitt, for example, delivered a masterclass in almost imperceptible delineation in "Jekyll," but Pasquale's not doing that yet. There's an odd sparseness to the supporting cast, which is almost entirely relative unknowns ... and then Phylicia Rashad. That also leads to the feeling that "Do No Harm" should be on cable or possibly Canadian TV. I watch a lot of TV. I know a lot of actors. So having a cast that's this devoid of familiar character actors or up-and-coming supporting players is... odd. Anyway... There's some strange Oliver Sacks-style stuff that may or may not attempt to ground this story in some kind of realism, but in a TV era in which we're accustomed to Dexter simultaneously being/balance both Jekyll and Hyde is the bifurcation actually all that interesting anymore? On a trivial side note, "Do No Harm" has the goofiest last line in TV pilot history. You may not notice its bizarreness if you've tuned out by then, but it's a classic.
Desire To Watch Again: I had so many questions at the end of the "Do No Harm" pilot that I want to watch a couple more episodes. I also think a couple more episodes would let me make a conclusive determination on whether Pasquale's subtly is a good choice or a damning choice. But this isn't an "I'm excited to see more," kinda thing. It's a "How long can they keep up this pace of vagueness and point-circling?" kinda thing. Like I said, there are a couple midseason dramas that I feel similarly towards and I'll get to those in the weeks to come.

 

Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'The Carrie Diaries'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Malibu Country'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'The New Normal'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Guys with Kids'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Mindy Project'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Partners'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Nashville'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Made in Jersey'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Emily Owens, M.D.'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Mob Doctor'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Animal Practice'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Last Resort'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Vegas'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Beauty & The Beast'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries

 

 

 

 

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