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<p>Kathryn Newton stars as a teenage girl who finds herself at the center of some unexplainable events in 'Paranormal Activity 4'</p>

Kathryn Newton stars as a teenage girl who finds herself at the center of some unexplainable events in 'Paranormal Activity 4'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: 'Paranormal Activity 4' treads water instead of pushing forward

The series stumbles for the first time, but they can still correct their course

I think the "Paranormal Activity" series is fun.  Not great.  Not important.  Not a redefining series of genre films.  But fun.  2007's "Paranormal Activity" did not pick up a distributor right away, and it didn't hit theaters until September 2009, with Paramount treating it almost as an experiment.  It caught fire and it quickly became evident that the studio was going to want a follow-up.  Oren Peli, who wrote and directed the original, stepped into a more supervisory position, and as he started branching out with projects like "The River" and the still-unreleased "Area 51," he helped other people build out the mythology that he started.

Tod Williams directed the sequel, and Michael R. Perry and Christopher Landon and Tom Pabst all contributed to the script.  It expanded the world a bit and started to try to make sense of what happened to Katie (Katie Featherston) and Michah (Micah Sloat) in the first film.  It carefully built the big set pieces so it leaned on the exact same sort of scares that the first film did, but with a baby right there in the middle of things.  The film ended with an upsetting cliffhanger of sorts with Katie making off with young Hunter (William Juan Pietro), and part three went back in time to the '80s to show Katie and her sister Kristi as kids, bringing in co-directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman to work with with Christopher Landon, who returned as the sole writer this time. I think the last fifteen minutes or so of "Paranormal Activity 3" is the scariest sustained sequence in any of the movies, and I thought it set up a really interesting broader canvass for the films.  When I saw that Joost and Schulman were coming back to direct the fourth film, I thought the movie was in great hands, and I was excited to see what they came up with.

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Chris Colfer and Sarah Jessica Parker on 'Glee'

Chris Colfer and Sarah Jessica Parker strike a pose at Vogue.com on "Glee"

Credit: Fox

'Glee' recap: 'Makeover' introduces Sarah Jessica Parker

High school elections and New York fashionistas combine for a light, fun hour

I love Ian Brennan's vision for "Glee."

"Makeover," which "Glee" co-creator Brennan wrote and Eric Stoltz directed, wasn't a Very Special episode like last week's "Britney 2.0." There was no musical icon to celebrate or serious social issue to tackle. There was a special guest star in Sarah Jessica Parker, but Brennan knows how to write to that having previously penned Gwyneth Paltrow's debut episode "The Substitute" and Ricky Martin's "The Spanish Teacher."

More importantly, Brennan knows how to keep "Glee" light on its feet. "Makeover" was both the most relaxed and best episode we've seen so far in Season 4. We're still making progress.

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"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway' recap: 'It's Fashion Baby'

It's a baby design challenge - complete with screaming dolls

Can you believe Ven is gone? I know; it's a huge relief. Anyway, the designers feel the same way, and not just because they were so sick of that fan/flower trick they wanted to yank their own teeth to distract themselves from the searing pain of seeing it over and over and OVER again. But Ven's timely exit has left them a little shaken -- and focused on getting to Lincoln Center. Christopher, however, is feeling confident, having won three challenges. I think Christopher may be getting a little smug, really.

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<p>Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller are Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes in &quot;Elementary.&quot;</p>

Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller are Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes in "Elementary."

Credit: CBS

Series premiere review: 'Elementary' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new CBS mystery?

I posted my review of CBS' "Elementaryyesterday. Now it's your turn. For those who tuned in tonight, what did you think? Was it too easy to compare it to either "Sherlock" or "The Mentalist" (or any other CBS procedural) to enjoy, or were Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu interesting enough to make it work? If you're a Sherlock Holmes fan, did this feel like a fair take on the character? Did you figure out where the story was going before Holmes and Dr. Watson did? And will you watch again?

Have at it.

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<p>Chris Pratt and Rob Lowe on &quot;Parks and Recreation.&quot;</p>

Chris Pratt and Rob Lowe on "Parks and Recreation."

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Parks and Recreation' - 'Soda Tax'

Leslie plays the role of Mike Bloomberg, Andy gets in shape, and Ben tries to be cool

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I lecture you on consistent font use...

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<p>A scene from Ernst Lubitsch's &quot;The&nbsp;Patriot&quot;</p>

A scene from Ernst Lubitsch's "The Patriot"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Academy goes on the hunt for its own history

A 1928 Best Picture nominee by Ernst Lubitsch is still at large

Fixating as we do on the seasonal ins and outs of the Oscar process, it’s easy to forget that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a purpose beyond handing out gold stars to the industry’s great and good. As an organization dedicated both to the development and preservation of the medium, they have fostered a wealth of films and archive materials that have scant relationship to the Academy Awards. Little wonder they warmed so to the film-preservation paean that was “Hugo” last year.

Still, when their archiving obligations overlap with celebration of the awards that made them famous, it’s an irresistible promotional opportunity for AMPAS. Hence the launch of their Oscar’s Most Wanted movement, which seeks to complete their library of every single film, short or feature-length, that was once graced with the golden man’s touch.

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<p>Band of Horses</p>

Band of Horses

Credit: Columbia

HitFix interview: Band of Horses talks 'Mirage Rock,' Railroad Revival and Pearl Jam

Bill Reynolds can't hang like Willie Nelson hangs

Band of Horses will contend that the move from an indie to the major label system definitely works in some artists’ favor. It did for them. Since moving on from esteemed Sub Pop to a partnered drop with Fat Possum and Columbia, now squarely on Columbia, the rock troupe has seen a lot more sales action even without a big radio presence. Just this week, they earned their second-best charting and sales tally for new “Mirage Rock,” landing at No. 13 yesterday. 

Bassist Bill Reynolds, who’s been with the band for five years, admits that the move wasn’t popular with everybody, and he’d heard the horror stories.
 
“It could have easily become a sh*tty situation. But creatively we were allowed to do what we wanted,” he said in our recent interview. “We have longer arms, to get our releases into other countries… The assumption with major labels is that they’re gonna try and knock a homerun at every opportunity, which means everyone assumes you’re working too hard.”
 
The secret, he said, is working with the right team, so think in terms of being in a rock ‘n’ roll band as a company “a lot of employers and employees. I got friends who are like, ‘Can you come play at my cousin’s event?’ But we have all these employees who depend on this for their living. Even though I’m the one who gets to be on stage, there’s so many people involved.”
 
Over the years of headlining tours and supporting slots, Reynolds said he learned the most from playing out with Pearl Jam, for precisely those reasons above. Referring to the Seattle band’s operations as “a well-oiled machine,” he said from day one, “each one of them would take us under their wings. And they were just so humble, it’s amazing to see musicians of their caliber to be humble. We’ve been on tours where there’s [the band] yelling and screaming at everyone. I thought, with [Pearl Jam], this is how you maintain that long. They’ve had a really long career. That would the dream.”
 
Band of Horses, fronted by Ben Bridwell, is combining with another crew of unique musicians, on the second incarnation of the Railroad Revival train tour. Last year, it was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show travelling on the tracks together. This year, it’s BoH with Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson and actor/musician John C. Reilly and Friends.
 
“Hell yeah, I’d love it if Willie Nelson was to rub off on me, it’d be awesome,just being in the presence of someone like him. I also hear Jamey Johnson likes to jam a lot. That dude’s a badass ,” Reynolds enthused. “The train… one of the cars is a recording studio. So we can all meet up in there when we want. As for Willie, I’ve been to his house before. He hangs out a lot later than I do. I can’t hang like that dude does. He operates on his own time.”
 
On the heels of last week’s release of “Mirage Rock,” Band of Horses just released their six-song “iTunes Festival” live EP yesterday. Check it out here.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/itunes-festival-london-2012/id564894821

 

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<p>Scott Speedman in &quot;Last Resort.&quot;</p>

Scott Speedman in "Last Resort."

Credit: ABC

Series premiere review: 'Last Resort' - 'Captain'

What did everybody think of the new ABC military thriller?

I posted my review of ABC's "Last Resortyesterday. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of the show? Did the writers make good use of Andre Braugher's gift of gab? Did you think Scott Speedman was up to working opposite him? Did the story flow well, or do you feel like there was too much of a rush to get the sub to the island? Too many characters? Not enough? Once we got to Hawaii, did you start waiting for Smokey to start clicking away? Did you like how they called it "Captain" instead of "Pilot" because of the setting? And will you watch again next week?

Have at it.

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<p>Mumford &amp;&nbsp;Sons' &quot;Babel&quot;</p>

Mumford & Sons' "Babel"

Credit: Glassnote Records

Mumford & Sons head for record week on Billboard 200

'Babel' will tower above previous first-week sales tallies for 2012

There’s still four days before the chart reporting week closes, but look for Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” to score the largest debut of 2012 next week.

The British group’s sophomore set, released Sept. 25, may sell as much as 600,000 copies  in its opening frame, according to Billboard. That total would handily topple the previous biggest 2012 debut, Justin Bieber’s “Believe,” which sold 374,000.

The sum will also be the largest opening week  for a rock act since AC/DC sold 784,000 with “Black Ice” in 2008.

“Babel’s” predecessor, “Sigh No More,” has sold 2.5 million in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan.

So why is this happening? Although album sales are definitely losing ground to single downloads, there are still certain acts whose fans want to hear their complete body of work as the artist intended for it to be heard. This is usually the case for a rock act, like Radiohead or Coldplay, who is not as dependent on Top 40 radio and pop support as a superstar like Rihanna or Katy Perry. While such artists’ albums sell well, the bulk of their sales has switched over the digital singles sales.  That’s not to say that all the radio play that M&S received so far on “I Will Wait,” which is at No. 2 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs Chart, and the band’s stop at “Saturday Night Live” this week don’t deserve credit as well.

The pop exception (other than Adele) is Taylor Swift. We fully expect "Red," which comes out Oct. 22, to blow past 600,000 in its first week, despite the fact that her singles immediately top iTunes sales chart as soon as they become available and the album's first single, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together " has already sold more than 1 million copies in the month since its release.

Read our review of “Babel” here.

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<p>It's Britney!</p>

It's Britney!

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Thursday - Auditions #6

Would more singers thrive? And would Trevor Moran survive?

Have you been holding your breath for the past 23 hours?

When we left "The X Factor" on Wednesday night, 13-year-old Trevor Moran was being raced to the hospital. Yes, Trevor was annoying, but we hope he survives.

Note that this is the third or fourth time that FOX has used the "Medical Emergency Cliffhanger" to liven up an otherwise dull episode of reality TV auditions. Each time, the hospitalized contestant has survived. 

So I've got a good feeling about Trevor.

Let's see!

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Listen: Soundgarden's snarly new single, 'Been Away Too Long'
Credit: Universal Republic

Listen: Soundgarden's snarly new single, 'Been Away Too Long'

First single from 'King Animal' rules

That’s more like it. After Soundgarden returned earlier this year with the perfect pleasant but rather generic "Live To Rise"  from “The Avengers,” today we got a better taste of what to expect on “King Animal,” the band’s first album since 1996’s “Down On the Upside.”

“Been Away Too Long” is a hard-charging, snarling rock blast with a wicked little Middle Eastern guitar lick that inserts itself briefly before it sounds like someone starts banging on a trashcan lid.

[More after the jump...]

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"Made in Jersey"

 "Made in Jersey"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Kyle McLachlan talks about playing straight in 'Made in Jersey'

The 'Twin Peaks' star still isn't ruling out a sitcom

 If there's one thing you can expect from Kyle McLachlan, it's the unexpected. After establishing himself as a quirky leading man in films like "Blue Velvet," "Dune" and on TV shows like the cult classic "Twin Peaks," McLachlan had of late seemed destined to get into sitcoms with comedic turns in "How I Met Your Mother" and "Portlandia." But he's all business as a buttoned-up lawyer with a blue collar background in "Made in Jersey," premiering Sep. 28 at 9:00 p.m. on CBS.  I talked to him during the recent TCA press tour about his latest role, why he isn't ruling out a sitcom and why his new series had reshoots to up the comedy quotient -- but not from his character.

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