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<p>Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet in &quot;The Intouchables.&quot;</p>

Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet in "The Intouchables."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

France selects box office smash 'The Intouchables' for the foreign Oscar race

The Weinsteins' feelgood comedy could be a formidable challenger for the award

Those of you who have been assuming Michael Haneke's "Amour" is in an unassailable position for this year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar shouldn't be feeling quite so confident after this morning's news of the newest entrant in the race.

The French submission is always awaited more keenly than most at this stage: with 37 nods to date, France is the most-nominated country in the category's history, even if they haven't actually taken the gold in 20 years. It's for this reason that, in any given year, the French entry tends to be regarded as a frontrunner by default -- whether they've chosen particularly wisely or not. 

Their selection committee has made some daring choices in the past: think back to 2007, when they forsook what might have been a relatively easy nomination for "La Vie en Rose" to put forth the Iranian Revolution animation "Persepolis" instead. (They didn't even crack the January shortlist.) This year, however, they have put commerce ahead of art with a strictly strategic choice: Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's feelgood box-office smash "The Intouchables."

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<p>Hugh&nbsp;Jackman has been confirmed as the only lead campaign for the film.</p>

Hugh Jackman has been confirmed as the only lead campaign for the film.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Universal moves Tom Hooper's 'Les Misérables' to December 25

The film is set to go up against 'Django Unchained' at the box office

When Warner Bros. shuffled "The Great Gatsby" on to 2013, there was an opportunity for another holiday bow on December 25 opposite "Django Unchained." I had been wondering if any of the big latter-year films were going to jump on it but it started to seem like everyone was comfortable, until today, when Universal announced that it would be pushing Tom Hooper's "Les Misérables" two weeks to that date.

Meanwhile, one wonders whether the film could end up with the date all to itself (at least as far as films of this sort go). I keep wondering whether "Django Unchained," which was still shooting up until last month, will be ready in time. It surely has to be, given the revenue potential (and necessity) for The Weinstein Company. But with Quentin Tarantino working with a new editor -- Fred Raskin -- after the untimely passing of long-time collaborator Sally Menke, it might not be as fluid as usual. Of course, Raskin worked alongside Menke on the "Kill Bill" films, so he's not totally fresh, but you never can tell how these things will go.

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Paul Thomas Anderson at a Toronto Film Festival press conference for "The Master"
Paul Thomas Anderson at a Toronto Film Festival press conference for "The Master"
Credit: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Michelle Siu

How the internet gave 'The Master' its title

Fans may have had a big hand in dubbing Paul Thomas Anderson's latest

The pre-release strategy for "The Master" was interesting. Unique, I guess is the word. The marketing side of this business is driven by the typical, but sometimes filmmakers chafe at having their work pitched in the usual ways. So you get someone like David Fincher or Paul Thomas Anderson who says, "Nope, we're gonna do THIS."

As far as screenings have been concerned, Anderson has clearly been all about getting it to fans first. We broke the news last month about the film's first public screening following a special showing of "The Shining" in Santa Monica, and that tactic was employed multiple times thereafter with pop-ups in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Austin, etc. And in most cases, fans were getting a look at the movie before the press.

Well, Anderson's love affair with his flock stretches even further than that and their connection with "The Master" might be deeper than they even realize. It turns out, Paul Thomas Anderson's fans may have had a significant hand in giving the film its title.

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<p>&quot;Last Resort,&quot;&nbsp;with Andre Braugher, Scott Speedman and Robert Patrick, as this critic's favorite fall pilot.</p>

"Last Resort," with Andre Braugher, Scott Speedman and Robert Patrick, as this critic's favorite fall pilot.

Credit: ABC

Fall TV 2012: The best, the worst and a lot in between

Some strong shows at the top in 'Last Resort' and 'Nashville,' and then many question marks

It's that time again, folks: fall TV is here.

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<p>John C. Reilly may lend his voice to 'Wreck-It Ralph,' but it's Henry Jackman who's been charged with giving the film its sonic identity.</p>

John C. Reilly may lend his voice to 'Wreck-It Ralph,' but it's Henry Jackman who's been charged with giving the film its sonic identity.

Credit: Walt Disney Animation

A quick trip to the 'Wreck-It Ralph' scoring stage hits all the right notes

Henry Jackman heads up an interesting musical roster on Disney's next animated feature

This past Saturday night, I took my youngest son Allen to a birthday party thrown by one of the regular listeners of our podcast.  I've gotten to know the guy a bit on Twitter, and we have a number of mutual friends.  The party is now cemented in the memory of Allen as a highlight of his life because Brian, the host, is a collector of old stand-up arcade video games, and he had at least 30 of them turned on and ready to play.  We spent the first half-hour or so trying them all out, and Allen played "Burger Time," "Tempest," "Q*Bert," and that great old school "Star Wars" game before he finally settled on his new favorite thing in the world, four player "Gauntlet."

While kids may not know some of the characters from the '80s video games immediately, I have a feeling "Wreck-It Ralph" is going to play to gamers of every age equally well.  It seems to have been carefully constructed to not only illustrate the various ways gaming has evolved over the years, but to also work on a story level that doesn't require you to have any direct knowledge of games to understand what it is that Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) wants from his life.

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From 'Park Avenue' to 'Vegas' - The Best and Worst New TV Shows of Fall 2012

From 'Park Avenue' to 'Vegas' - The Best and Worst New TV Shows of Fall 2012

Which new shows are worth watching and which should be destroyed?
Normally I do separate "Best" and "Worst" galleries for the various new fall TV shows, but this year I just squished 15 notable shows together into a single gallery.
 
"Why?" you might ask.
 
First off, I do it for you, dear readers. This way, you're only clicking through 15 pictures, rather than 20. Aren't I conscientious? 
 
But more to the point, I think that combining my Best & Worst galleries is reflective of the degree of ambivalence I feel towards most of this year's new shows. I doubt that I'm going to have the time to write many full reviews this season. I don't have the time and I feel pretty awful about that fact. As you know, there's nothing I enjoy so much as writing 2000 words to say, "Meh." If, however, I were to be reviewing these new shows, there isn't a single one that would get an "A" or "A-" or even a "B+" grade from me. I like "Vegas" and "Nashville" and "Last Resort" and "Ben and Kate," I have reservations on each. Last year, there were four or five "A-" or "B+" pilots.
 
I have less reticence to call out the bad pilots, but other than "Beauty and the Beast," I'm not sure I could rank them. There's a lot of bad. 
 
And then there's a pile of so-so that this gallery is ignoring. So don't ask me where "Revolution," "Animal Practice," "Made in Jersey" and a couple other shows are. I might regret not coming down definitively on the "Good" or "Bad" side after a week or two, but for now, I'll just shrug.
 
Check out the gallery!
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<p>Thanks to &quot;The Voice,&quot; a woman who looks like this finally has a chance to make it in entertainment!</p>

Thanks to "The Voice," a woman who looks like this finally has a chance to make it in entertainment!

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Wednesday - Blind Auditions, Part 4

The second week of 'The Voice' begins with more spinning chairs

Today, “The Voice” announced that Usher and Shakira will be taking the temporary place of CeeLo Green and Christina Aguilera during the show’s next cycle. It’s a smart choice on the show’s part. Whereas the comings and goings of hosts on “American Idol” and “The X Factor” tend to overwhelm the show itself, building a deep roster of judges that can be mixed and matched each cycle seems like a smart way to not only keep the show fresh but also keep the coaches happy. If artists know they can drop in and out depending on their album/tour/celebrity status, wouldn’t they be more willing to sign on? Why buy a chair when you can rent one? With this move, “The Voice” turns into the X-Men of reality singing competitions, able to consistently change its lineup while keeping the core identity intact.

With that in mind, let’s kick off tonight’s running diary. As always, all times are EST. And no, I won’t make X-Men references all night. (Oh wait. I probably will.) As always, if the prepackaged sob story that accompanies a contestant is too dull, I reserve the right to come up with my own instead. Comic book writers re-con stuff all the time. Why can’t I?

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<p>JD&nbsp;Pardo and Billy Burke in &quot;Revolution.&quot;</p>

JD Pardo and Billy Burke in "Revolution."

Credit: NBC

Series premiere review: 'Revolution' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new NBC drama?

I posted my review of NBC's "Revolution" over the weekend. Now it's your turn. (Or, it is for those of you who didn't already watch it online and comment in the initial review.) For those of you who just saw it, what did you think? Did this power-less world seem intriguing or boring to you? Do you want to know more about where all the electricity went? Did you feel this was a better post-Fring role for Giancarlo Esposito than his "Once Upon a Time" gig? Did you like the swordfight? Do any of the teenage characters do anything for you? And will you be watching again next week? 

Have at it.

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<p>Andy Serkis will be back to give Caesar a soul again, but it looks like they may need a new director for 'Dawn of The Planet of The Apes'</p>

Andy Serkis will be back to give Caesar a soul again, but it looks like they may need a new director for 'Dawn of The Planet of The Apes'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Rupert Wyatt may drop out of directing 'Dawn Of The Planet of The Apes'

And if he does, he may be shooting his own career in the foot

Rupert Wyatt might want to take a breath and rethink things before he officially leaves the director's chair on "Dawn Of The Planet of The Apes."

Wyatt is very talented, no doubt about it.  His first film, "The Escapist," is stylish and full of good performances, and he managed to turn "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes" into an unlikely hit even under enormous pressure from the studio.  The Fox development system is hard to navigate even for filmmakers who have made dozens of movies, but for someone like Wyatt, especially on a franchise as overall important to a studio's long-term strategy as the "Apes" series is for Fox.

It's important to remember how many major missteps they made over the years trying to get the series off the ground again.  There was Tim Burton's nigh-unwatchable attempt in 2001, and before that, over a decade of revolving-door development with directors like James Cameron and Oliver Stone taking a shot at the material.  Considering the way the original film series essentially helped to create the modern movie franchise model, it was pretty much a given that Fox would want to eventually get back into the business of making the movies.

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<p>Jordana Spiro and Zach Gilford in &quot;The Mob Doctor.&quot;</p>

Jordana Spiro and Zach Gilford in "The Mob Doctor."

Credit: FOX

Series premiere review: 'The Mob Doctor' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new FOX drama?

As I've said, I won't be writing reviews of every new fall series, but Dan and I did discuss "The Mob Doctorat length on last week's podcast. The short version is that while I like Jordana Spiro in general, this is a combination of watered-down hospital drama and watered-down mob drama, and the combination not only doesn't make either half better, it makes both sillier. And even if I'd been more engaged by the pilot, the Spiro character's decision at the end felt so contrived and premise-sustaining that I likely would have bailed after that.

For those of you who watched tonight, what did you think? Were you just happy to have QB1 and Zeljko Ivanek back on TV, even in these roles? Did you prefer one half of the show to the other? Did you believe Spiro would make the decision she made? And will you watch again?

Have at it.

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Watch: Tamara Taylor talks 'Bones' and 'Invasion of the Mother Suckers'

Watch: Tamara Taylor talks 'Bones' and 'Invasion of the Mother Suckers'

What's in store for Cam as 'Bones' begins Season 8
Interviews are all about priorities. You have to know what you want to discuss and if you have limited time, you can't dilly-dally in getting there.
 
And that's why my very first question for "Bones" co-star Tamara Taylor wasn't about any of the pivotal things that happened to Cam Saroyan in last season's finale -- no less an expert than Patricia Belcher's Caroline Julian called Cam the hero of the finale -- or any key developments going forward.
 
Nope. I wanted to talk about "Invasion of the Mother Suckers," the blaxploitation homage B-movie that surfaced last season and featured Cam in her pre-Jeffersonian days. 
 
So yes, this interview touches on Season 8, which premieres on Monday (September 17) night. Taylor and I discussed her appreciation of more serialized storytelling and how that ties into the Pelant arc. We also talked about why it was nice to see Cam respected for what she did in the finale. 
 
But mostly? 
 
"Invasion of the Mother Suckers."
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<p>&quot;The Truth About Love&quot;</p>

"The Truth About Love"

Credit: RCA

Album Review: Pink's 'The Truth About Love' revels in life's messiness

Mommyhood hasn't made her soft

A major part of Pink’s appeal over the past decade has been that she is so down to earth. Her considerable pop chops put her up there with Rihanna, Beyonce and Katy Perry, but she is the furthest thing from a pop diva.

When she sings “It’s been a shit day” on “The Truth About Love’s” first single, “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” or prays for the elevator to come a little faster on “Walk of Shame” or admits “Sometimes I hate every single word you say” on “True Love,” there is something imminently relatable about Pink no matter how far up the charts she flies or how many platinum records she hangs on her walls. Even songs that seem joyous often come wrapped in a darkness that the self-proclaimed life-long “misfit” can’t ever quite shake. Unlike other artists who attempt to explain how things are to us, Pink is content to live in the confusing, murky margins along with the rest of us morons.

On “The Truth About Love,” her first album in four years and her first since becoming a mom, the effort Pink puts into making sure she doesn’t come off lost in the mommy afterglow is palpable (and audible). Motherhood has clearly added an important dimension to Pink’s life, but in many ways, she’s still the hot mess she’s always been. Thank goodness for that.

Much of “Love” deals with what the album title suggests: just how hard it is to make love stay. Sometimes she’s comical about it and sometimes Pink's heartbreaking, but she’s always honest. “The truth about love is it comes and it goes,” she sings in the title track and that may be the most that any of us ever really understand about it.

Musically she overtly reaches for more depth than we’ve heard from her before. She’s best known for party anthems or mid-tempo ballads about love gone wrong, but here she stretches into more musical millieus and they fit her just fine. Both the bouncy “True Love” and “The Truth About Love” owe more than a small debt to the hand-clapping songs made famous by the girl groups of yore. She goes for a White Stripes’ bluesy, echo-y vibe and distorted vocals on the verses of “How Come You’re Not Here.” Though she works with a raft of collaborators, including Dan Wilson, Max Martin, Jeff Bhasker, Greg Kurstin, and Billy Mann, there’s a consistency (and a certain recurring beat) that runs through the full album.

She can curdle with her withering lyrics. “I’ll wait right here until you get bored or she gets carded for beer,” she sneers as she simultaneously laments the absence of her cheating lover on “How Come You’re Not Here.”  “You’re an asshole, but I love you,” she sings to “the only love I’ve ever known,” on “True Love.” But we all know the truth: under that tough exterior is a soft marshmallow who isn’t beyond bursting into tears the second she’s alone.

One of the highlights is her duet with fun.’s Nate Ruess, who co-wrote “Just Give Me A Reason.” The two play a couple who are looking for some sign to stay together despite the fact their relationship is “collecting dust.” The song has an instantly recognizable  “We Are Young” stomp as its musical bed and the two play off each other well.

The same can’t be said for “Here Comes the Weekend,” one of the album’s weaker tracks. There’s an insistent four-on-the four beat that’s meant to “set off your sirens,” but the song feels a little flat until Eminem drops in out of nowhere. He’s a welcome presence, but it sounds as if he’s in a different song.  Lily Allen’s sweet-voiced guest verse on “True Love” fares much better. (Allen is credited under her married name, Lily Rose Cooper).

Pink doesn’t receive enough acclaim for her way around a ballad, even though she’s recorded beautiful ones before. She hits a new high on “Beam Me Up,” a poignant, string-laden tale about longing to be with someone who has died. Though never maudlin, the song, and her delivery, will touch anyone who “pick[s] a star to watch it shine” to feel a connection with the departed. On piano ballad, “The Great Escape” she recalls Bonnie Raitt. (Yep, you’re as surprised to read that comparison as I am to make it).

Though Ke$ha has tried to mud wrestle the title of trashy party queen away from Pink, Pink’s not about to give up her right to slur, wobble, and puke publicly without a fight, despite any new-found maturity. On “Slut Like You,” she borrows liberally from Blur’s “Woo Hoo” on the electro-clash rave up.  The message may be questionable, but the catchy beat is undeniable. On the hilarious “Walk of Shame,” she just hopes she hasn’t woken up with a tramp stamp as she tries to make a quick getaway from the previous night’s shenanigans.

With “The Truth About Love,” Pink continues on her path as the superstar we’d most like to grab a drink with. As her life experiences grow, so does her happiness, but also her questions and her confusion.  Better make that a double.

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