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<p>Miguel's &quot;Kaleidoscope Dream&quot; </p>

Miguel's "Kaleidoscope Dream"

Credit: RCA

Album Review: Miguel's 'Kaleidoscope Dream'

Colorful R&B album is a runaway success

While you’re losing it over that Frank Ocean album, another set this year can scratch that itch, and perhaps more efficiently.

Miguel’s “Kaleidescope Dream” is a relevant, saucy R&B adventure that incorporates rock, funk, electronica, soul and pop not out of novelty, but guardless necessity. The 25-year-old’s second album has more pronounced arrangements, and a unique combination of producers like Jerry Wonda, Pop & Oak and even Miguel Pimentel himself, on growing hit “Adorn.” Salaam Remi -- whose fingerprints sunk into retro grooves of similarly-minded old souls like Adele and Amy Winehouse -- helmed the lush title track and searing single-in-the-making “How Many Drinks?”.
 
As with that title, and “Pussy Is Mine” and “Do You…”, Miguel isn’t making capital-S Serious R&B music on every song, and even defaults to genre chestnuts like rhyming “pants” with “dance,” bless his heart. But then he’ll hit you with surprisingly delicious refrains like on sizzling “Arch & Point,” between the bars of 808s and distorted guitars: “Arch your back and point your toes.” “Where’s the Fun in Forever” freshens up the classic request to celebrate good times, with the bass going on a cardio workout while the drum lines are just chugging away at 70 mph on a flat, straight highway. Alicia Keys is along for the ride.
 
All the while is Miguel’s versatile vocals, recorded close to the mic and under control. Stars like Usher and Trey Songz make their erotic declarations in their loudest voice possible, like, “DROP YOUR PANTIES, NOW WE SEX,” but Miguel weaves his way around negative space and washy beats in his lust, like on Prince-ly “Use Me.” “Don’t Look Back” borrows lyric lines from the Zombies’ “Time of the Season” and “Kaleidoscope Dream” utilizes the beat from Eminem’s immensely popular “My Name Is,” and in neither case of borrowing is it obnoxious.
 
“Is there a God? / Is he watching? … But if not / what are we doing?” he sings on tasteful closer “Candles in the Sun,” signaling the end of an album that’s a little more heightened and a little less desperate than top 40 fashions. Every song feels special and tight, whether he’s singing on heaven or bedroom realms. And speaking of bedrooms, do not sleep on this album. You may want to sleep with it.

 

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Watch: 'Raising Hope' star Lucas Neff celebrates keeping Hope alive

Watch: 'Raising Hope' star Lucas Neff celebrates keeping Hope alive

FOX comedy star discusses Jimmy and Goth Jimmy
Lucas Neff is a good company man. 
 
When I sat down with the "Raising Hope" star, he was wearing a "Raising Hope" hat, a "Raising Hope" jacket and he was drinking from a "Raising Hope" mug. He's also wearing a "Raising Hope" t-shirt underneath the jacket, not that you can see it.
 
"Raising Hope" is returning for its third season on Tuesday (October 2) night and much of my conversation with Neff focuses on the way that the show has grown and changed, including the progression of his character and the evolution of the twins who play Baby Hope. 
 
He also, in moments of variable jest, discusses a fatalistic potential ending for "Raising Hope" and picks his favorite twin. 
 
It's a funny interview and I think you'll always keep in mind what show Neff is promoting, which is truly what counts.
 
"Raising Hope" returns on Tuesday, October 2 at 8 p.m. Stay tuned for my interviews with Garret Dillahunt & Martha Plimpton and with Shannon Woodward.
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Adam DeVine and Rebel Wilson

 Adam DeVine and Rebel Wilson

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Adam DeVine and Rebel Wilson talk 'Pitch Perfect'

Aussie comedian Wilson says 'we were too hot for the camera to handle'

Though Oscar-nominee Anna Kendrick might be the highest profile star of "Pitch Perfect," it's quirky comedians Adam DeVine ("Workaholics") and Rebel Wilson ("Bridesmaids") who steal the show. As members of competing a cappella singing groups, Bumper (DeVine) and Fat Amy (Wilson) have a love-hate relationship that seems on the verge of blossoming into something steamy -- but we may have to wait for the sequel to get the skinny. "There was a lot more between us," Wilson deadpanned. "I think they decided Anna Kendrick had been nominated for an Oscar, so she should get the main love story, really."

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<p>Rudy Parris of &quot;The Voice&quot;</p>

Rudy Parris of "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Monday - Blind Auditions, Part 8

Is this really the end of Blind Auditions? Yes!!!
We’re here at the end of the blind auditions for “The Voice”, ladies and gentleman. Tomorrow night’s one-hour slot will be a recap of the entire audition process, so expect a 60-minute mega-mix of “The Cupid Shuffle”. In the meantime, all four teams have fourteen members, leaving eight remaining slots in total.
 
Still, after tonight we’ll get Battle Rounds, which will feature a twist in which each coach can steal two contestants from other teams should they be eliminated in that round. Ostensibly, this should produce some chess-like strategy between the coaches. But I’m not sure we’ll get even “Connect Four” levels of gamesmanship between the four of them. But who knows? Maybe Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, and CeeLo Green worship at the altar of Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov when not offering up sacrifices to the musical muses to produce a hit single. We’ll just have to see. For now? We need eight more contestants. Eight more sob stories. And eight more chances for me to rewrite those stories should I see fit. Let’s do this.
 
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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' gets even tougher for the final 12

The stars get serious after Pamela Anderson's exit

So, this all-star season is actually shaping up to be some kind of awesome, at least when it comes to the level of dancing we're seeing. Of course, with the dancing being pretty impressive across the board (with a few exceptions), this season may be more of a popularity contest than usual -- and great choreography is going to be more important than ever. We've already seen some stinker routines, and there's only been one week of dancing -- so I hope that the stars aren't the only ones committed to bringing their A games to the floor.  

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Watch: 'New Girl' star Hannah Simone discusses Cece's evolution

Watch: 'New Girl' star Hannah Simone discusses Cece's evolution

Why do Cece and Schmidt make sense?
My first mistake: Insinuating to Hannah Simone that her "New Girl" character, Cece, may have started out last season as just The Hot Friend, before very quickly becoming a valuable part of the show's comedic ensemble. 
 
In my mind, this was a double compliment. Lesson learned, though. Hannah Simone is sure that Cece was funny from the beginning and since she was a tremendously good sport and, I'd like to believe, only feigned offense, I'll take her word for it. 
 
That was probably my only real mistake in the conversation I had with Simone a couple weeks back, discussing Cece's evolution and her increasingly pivotal relationship with Max Greenfield's Schmidt. 
 
Simone was battling laryngitis, but she did a terrific job of perking up for the conversation, especially when discussing her awe at getting to play opposite legendary Indian actress (and cookbook maven!) Madhur Jaffrey, who played Cece's grandmother last season.
 
Check out the full interview above.
 
After its two-episode premiere last week, "New Girl" settles exclusively into its regular Tuesday 9 p.m. slot on October 2.
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<p>Frank Ocean</p>

Frank Ocean

Credit: AP Photo/Vegard Grott/NTB scanpix

Mumford, Frank Ocean, Bob Dylan lead Grammy album of the year contenders

Who else makes our Top 10?

Did you hear that sound Sunday night? It was the door slamming on eligibility for the 2012 Grammy Awards.

The Grammy year runs Oct. 1-Sept. 30, so Sunday at midnight marked the last moment that artists could release albums for consideration. The Grammy nominations will be announced Dec. 5 during a CBS special. The 55th annual Grammy Awards will take place Feb. 10, 2013.

In July, we looked at early contenders for album of the year with the caveat that September would see a rush of contenders. The past two months have given a little perspective on some earlier selections. For example, I would not expect Fiona Apple’s “The Idler Wheel...” to still be a front-runner.

Here are my predictions for the ten albums most likely to get an Album of the Year nod. There will be five titles in contention, six if there is a tie among Grammy voters. I listed them alphabetically, but I’d put Mumford & Sons and Frank Ocean under sure bets.

The Black Keys, “El Camino”:  This album seems to have garnered less excitement than  “Brothers,” but it’s a very solid effort that continues to expand on Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney’s musical exploration that combines rock and blues in a way that appeals to both the mainstream audience and purists.

Bob Dylan, “Tempest”: 
Dylan devotees love this album, calling it his best and most cohesive in years. This year also marks the 50th anniversary since he released his first album. He’s won this award before in 1998 for “Time Out Of Mind.” Voters may be aware that time to honor our greatest living singer/songwriter could be running out. 

Florence + The Machine: “Ceremonials”: Flo and friends’ second album didn’t have the massive mainsteam hit like “Dog Days Are Over.” It has something better:  a breadth of cuts that keep springing forth from the set, making the album far more consistent than “Lungs.” There seemed to be a new video every month and the act spent a lot of time touring here, which got them in front of lots of eyeballs, as well as ears.

Maroon 5, “Overexposed”: It’s not a likely choice, to be sure, but it is a pop album that delivered this year: two top 10 hits and counting, and helped continue bring back Maroor 5 on the back of “Moves Like Jagger.”

John Mayer, “Born & Raised”: John Mayer’s latest suffered greatly due to his inability to promote it properly because of his vocal issues. It’s a shame because it is a beautiful album, full of nuanced guitar playing and songs from a singer who has grown up in front of us and is finally acting like a man.

Mumford & Sons, “Babel”:
  While the British folk-rock group isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, even people who don’t love their furious acoustic tunes, admire their musicianship and the emphasis they put on live instrumentation. They’ve been nominated before and were good enough to play with Dylan, for goodness’s sake.

Frank Ocean, “Channel Orange”:
Released to universally strong reviews, “Channel Orange” is an exceptionally intimate, interesting R&B album that appeals to a wide audience. Plus, Ocean’s story is a compelling one that complements, instead of overshadows, the music. If he can keep momentum going, he’s the closest thing to a sure bet for a nomination.??

Bonnie Raitt, “Slipstream”: Grammy favorite Raitt’s first album in seven years showcases her seemingly effortless guitar work as well as her always touching, raspy vocals. Every year, the Grammys look to honor veteran artist and she could fall into that slot, although even suggesting that she’s in any way a token nominee denigrates her great work on “Slipstream.”

Bruce Springsteen, “Wrecking Ball”:
As he did with “The Rising," The Boss taps into these troubled times and crafts an album full of what we need to hear, even if we don’t want to. Plus, the strength of a number of cuts, including “Rocky Ground,” “Jack of All Trades,” and “We Take Care of Our Own” are undeniable, even if the album as a whole is not consistently great. ??

Usher, “Looking 4 Myself”:
Seven studio albums in, Usher released a tour de force that displayed a new maturity, without sacrificing his famous playful or sexy sides. He fearlessly incorporated other styles in a way that never felt forced or contrived, but instead seemed to be a natural evolution. The set hasn’t sold particularly well, so lack of commercial success could hamper its chances. ?


DARK HORSES

Dr. John, “Locked Down”
Gotye, “Making Mirrors”
Norah Jones, “Little Broken Hearts”
Lionel Richie, “Tuskegee”
Rihanna, “Talk That Talk”
Jack White, “Blunderbuss”

Who do you think will be nominated on for Album of the Year? 

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 152

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 152

Dan and Alan talk '30 for 30,' ratings, 'Homeland' and much, much, much more

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
 
It's a Kitchen Sink installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
In this week's installment, we talk about Tuesday's return of "Raising Hope" and review the first two new "30 For 30" films. We also talk about a ton of TV from last week, including weighing in on "Sons of Anarchy," "How I Met Your Mother," "The Office" and "Homeland." We also discuss the idea of Seth MacFarlane as Oscars host and Week 1 ratings. 
 
Seriously. Lots of stuff. 
 
And pay close attention to the outline if you don't want things spoiled. I take a long pause before we get into The Big Thing That Happened on "Sons of Anarchy," but beyond that... It's on you!
 
Today's breakdown:
"Raising Hope" (00:01:15 - 00:10:55)
"30 for 30" (00:10:55 - 00:23:45)
Oscar host Seth MacFarlane (00:23:45 - 00:31:40)
Early Ratings (00:31:40 - 00:40:30)
"Sons of Anarchy" (00:40:40 - 00:50:15)
"The Office" (00:50:15 - 00:54:05)
"How I Met Your Mother" (00:54:10 - 01:00:45)
Listener mail - Guest Appearances (01:01:10 - 01:04:15)
Listener mail - "Life" (01:04:15 - 01:07:15)
"Homeland" (01:07:15 - 01:14:00)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry in &quot;Beasts of the Southern Wild.&quot;</p>

Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry in "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Beasts of the Southern Wild' ineligible for the SAG Awards

Quvenzhané Wallis will have to get that Oscar nod without the Guild's help

When I saw "Beasts of the Southern Wild" back in May at Cannes -- in the early stages of a festival that, for all its cinematic riches, hadn't offered awards pundits much to chew on -- I felt emboldened to make my first confident Oscar prediction of the year: that, whatever the film's fate elsewhere, 8 year-old Quvenzhané Wallis was poised to become the youngest Best Actress nominee in history, on the beguiling strength of her onscreen presence and off-screen charm.

I stand by that call, even if the category has got slightly more competitive than it seemed prior to Toronto. But if/when the young dynamo gets the nod, it'll be without any help from that prime Oscar bellwether, the Screen Actors' Guild -- which has ruled Benh Zeitlin's Sundance sensation ineligible in their 2012 awards. In addition to freeing up a Best Actress spot, that also takes the film out of the running for SAG's ensemble prize.

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<p>Bruno Mars</p>

Bruno Mars

Listen: Bruno Mars returns with 'Locked Out Of Heaven'

Can he take you to paradise with the new track?

Bruno Mars is one of the brightest names to emerge in the pop world over the last few years as an singer, writer and producer (as one-third of the Smeezingtons).

He returns today after nearly a year away with “Locked Out Of Heaven,” the first single from his sophomore set, “Unorthodox Jukebox,” out Dec. 11.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Christopher Lee and Roger Moore prepare to face off near the end of the ninth James Bond film, 'The Man With The Golden Gun'</p>

Christopher Lee and Roger Moore prepare to face off near the end of the ninth James Bond film, 'The Man With The Golden Gun'

Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Video/MGM/UA

James Bond Declassified: File #9 - Moore is less in the silly 'Man With The Golden Gun'

Christopher Lee gives it his best, but the series is starting to sag

JAMES BOND 007 DECLASSIFIED
FILE #9: "The Man With The Golden Gun"

This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.

Directed by Guy Hamilton
Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz
Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman

CHARACTERS / CAST

James Bond / Roger Moore
Scaramanga / Christopher Lee
Mary Goodnight / Britt Ekland
Andrea Anders / Maud Adams
Nick Nack / Herve Villechaize
Hai Fat / Richard Loo
Hip / Soon-Tek Oh
Chew Mee / Francoise Therry
J. W. Pepper / Clifton James
Rodney / Marc Lawrence
Lazar / Marne Maitland
M / Bernard Lee
Moneypenny / Lois Maxwell
Q / Desmond Llewelyn

CREDITS SEQUENCE

This is one seriously weird Bond film.

There's something almost "Prisoner"-esque about the film's opening sequence.  I like how in the book, Scaramanga's third nipple is mentioned in passing as part of a briefing dossier, but in the film, they immediately zoom in on his chest in extreme close-up with a dramatic music sting, as if this is important plot information that we're going to need later.

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<p>Like many kids of the '70s, I grew up with the Ingalls family in my house every week and harbored a shameless crush on Half-Pint.&nbsp; Whoever stars in the new film will have some imposing shoes to fill.</p>

Like many kids of the '70s, I grew up with the Ingalls family in my house every week and harbored a shameless crush on Half-Pint.  Whoever stars in the new film will have some imposing shoes to fill.

Credit: NBC/Universal

David Gordon Green set to build a new 'Little House On The Prairie'

With Scott Rudin producing, this should be a class act

Somewhere today, the Hughes Brothers are very, very sad.

As unlikely as it sounds, they once claimed that a big-screen version of "Little House On The Prairie" was one of the projects they most wanted to make.  They grew up watching the show, and they felt a real love for the material.

As equally unlikely as it sounds, the director of "Your Highness," "Pineapple Express," and "George Washington" is now the man who will bring the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to the big-screen, with a script by Abi Morgan, best known for the Fassbender-f**king-everything-that-moves drama "Shame."

I think it's a no-brainer for some studio to develop this material again.  After all, the books by Wilder were the inspiration for the TV series that ran from 1974-1983, but I would hardly call the show a faithful adaptation.  The books are an industry unto themselves, and the eight books published while Wilder was alive were just the starting point.  There were at least four books published posthumously based on her writing, and a number of other series that built off of what she wrote, eventually chronicling something like five generations of her family, from their time in Scotland to the age of her daughter living in San Francisco.  Her personal papers have been combed through repeatedly by scholars and writers, and there's plenty of material for the filmmakers to use when they sit down to decide what story they're telling.

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