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<p>Benh Zeitlin arrives at the New Orleans premiere of &quot;Beasts of the Southern&nbsp;Wild.&quot;</p>

Benh Zeitlin arrives at the New Orleans premiere of "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

Credit: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Interview: Benh Zeitlin on 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' and the magnetism of New Orleans

The director's own personal El Dorado informed a lot of the project

BEVERLY HILLS - Have you had a chance to see "Beasts of the Southern Wild" yet? The film only opened in limited release Wednesday, so chances are it hasn't crept your way yet, but when it does, you're sure to be treated to an undeniably singular and assured vision if nothing else.

The purveyor of that vision is writer/director Benh Zeitlin (along, of course, with his co-writer and childhood friend Lucy Alibar), and he seems to be seeking out a zen space amid overwhelming response to the film first at Sundance and later at the Cannes film festival, both of which brought laurels. On the eve of the Los Angeles fest (which would again bring another award), he's cool and collected at a press day for the film, the specter of release hanging overhead.

The bayou-set modern fable was seeded in Alibar's original play, "Juicy and Delicious," though it wasn't always a Louisiana tale. All of Alibar's work are set in her native Georgia, but when Zeitlin sat down to work on it as a feature film, he wanted to transport the setting to New Orleans.

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<p>I hope this means we can look forward to the announcement that Brad Pitt will be joining 'The Avengers 2' as the voice of Rocket Raccoon.</p>

I hope this means we can look forward to the announcement that Brad Pitt will be joining 'The Avengers 2' as the voice of Rocket Raccoon.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Will Marvel announce 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' at Comic-Con next month?

Kevin Feige's been hinting at leaving the planet for a while now

Marvel Studios seems to enjoy the game of Comic-Con each year.  True, they sat out last year's event in order to focus on D23, but the year before, their big end-of-the-panel reveal was when they brought all the members of The Avengers out on stage at the same time for the first time.  It was a big moment for Hall H, and it's the sort of thing studios try to create, a "moment" that really pops.

A few weeks ago, Latino Review reported that "Black Panther" is a priority title for Marvel Studios, and they theorized at that point that "Panther" might be the mystery 2014 title that the company hadn't announced yet.  Today, they are stating emphatically that "Guardians Of The Galaxy" will be the title that Marvel announces at Comic-Con, and if they're right, did they just steal Marvel's thunder?

If you're talking about risks for the studio, this would represent one of the biggest they've taken so far, and I'm excited to see them step outside the safety zone of the established name-brands they've been using so far.  After all, industry types were convinced that "Thor" was too obscure a name for the mainstream, and he's way more visible in the media landscape than "Guardians Of The Galaxy."

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<p>Alicia Keys</p>

Alicia Keys

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Alicia Keys unveils radically different sound on 'New Day'

What do you think of her new sound?

Has Alicia Keys been listening to Beyonce? The Grammy winner unleashed a new track today and the militant drum pattern definitely recalls Bey’s “Run the World (Girls).”

“New Day” is an upbeat, celebratory song is dominated by the drum beat, as Key delivers one of her most dramatic, lively vocal. Singing in a island-like patois, Keys heralds the coming of a “New Day,”  declaring “Take a look in my eyes, can’t you see I’m ready/If you want to touch the sky, hands in the air one time.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Meryl Streep in &quot;The&nbsp;Iron&nbsp;Lady&quot;</p>

Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Academy announces changes to Makeup, Original Song, Visual Effects and Foreign Language Film categories

Did 'The Iron Lady' play a hand in the makeup category's new moniker?

The Academy has announced rule changes for the 85th annual Academy Awards, which were voted upon Tuesday. All of the changes are quite minimal.

However, in the makeup category -- which will now be known as Best Makeup and Hairstyling -- I'm guessing the change has a lot to do with "The Iron Lady" hair stylist Marese Langan not being able to share in the win last year when she could at the BAFTA Awards. But things were actually reversed there, where prosthetics designer Mark Coulier originally wasn't allowed to share in the honor across the pond.

All of that caused a bit of a dust-up last year, thanks in part to Guy's spotlighting a post from blogger Bradley Porter (who worked on the film and later removed the post as a favor) on the matter.

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Watch: Red Hot Chili Peppers pay tribute in 'Brendan's Death Song' video

Watch: Red Hot Chili Peppers pay tribute in 'Brendan's Death Song' video

Band honors their fallen friend with a New Orleans send-off

It’s hard to say goodbye, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers make the most of it in the video for “Brendan’s Death Song,” directed by Marc Klasfeld.

The song, from the band's current album, "I'm With You," is exactly what the title describes: a goodbye to the band’s friend Brendan Mullen. He ran the Masque, a Hollywood club that gave the band one of its first gigs.

The video, shot in New Orleans, takes on the feel of a very somber second line, complete with carnival masks, a funeral procession, lovely outfits and emotional, beautiful vocal from lead singer Anthony Kiedis, who, of course, despite his mourning, still manages to end up shirtless (as does Flea). The clip premiered on RollingStone.com today. Watch it here. We'll embed it when RS's exclusive is up on Friday.

It’s a very fitting tribute to an important contributor to the band’s storied past.

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<p>&quot;Lawrence of Arabia&quot;&nbsp;received 10 Oscar nominations and won seven.</p>

"Lawrence of Arabia" received 10 Oscar nominations and won seven.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

AMPAS to celebrate 50 years of 'Lawrence of Arabia' with restoration screening

A rare opportunity to see it on the big screen

Recently you may recall Drew McWeeny and I separately participated in Cole Abaius's answer to the Sight & Sound all-time list of the greatest movies for Film School Rejects. In summing up his pick for the #1 movie ever, Drew said of David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" that the film's subject, T.E. Lawrence, "is a fascinating historical figure, full of contradictions, and it is fitting that David Lean's epic masterpiece manages to be funny, thrilling, sad, political, and dynamic."

Indeed, while it's been far too long since I last saw the film, it's one that sticks with you. It's the kind of thing the word "movie" was made for. The kind of thing you should experience on the big screen once in your life if you can. Or, as Drew prefers, in 70mm (indeed). Well, there's an opportunity coming up.

The Academy has announced that it will be presenting the US premiere of a new digital restoration of the film on Thursday, July 19 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The restoration originally bowed at the Cannes film festival in May.

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<p>Future of the Left</p>

Future of the Left

Interview: Future Of The Left talk ‘Common Sense’ and the most annoying fans

How does Andy Falkous feel about Denzel Washington and Mclusky song requests?

Earlier this month, Future of the Left released their new album “The Plot Against Common Sense.” You could say, in a way, the band encourages some nonsense, anyway. FotL’s live shows are rowdy, most banter-heavy social events (and yes, they’re more like an event than a traditional concert), a hard rock free-fall through song titles like “Robocop 4 – F*ck Off Robocop” and “adeadenemyalwayssmellsgood.” The Welsh group boasts new members Jimmy Watkins and Julia Ruzicka to round out this eclectic new mix of tunes on ”Common Sense,” which has inspired an increase in dancing at these shows.

Their audience has broadened, too. According to frontman/songwriter and founder of FotL’s former bedrock band Mclusky, they’ve gotten more press opportunities out of this Xtra Mile Recordings deal than they did with their last label, 4AD. They just finished a U.S. tour and plan on returning later this year.
 
Below is an abridged chat I had with the very enteraining Falkous, on his business perspective on label deals, annoying fans, his old songs with Mclusky and film.
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<p>Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston in 'Sparkle'</p>

Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston in 'Sparkle'

Credit: TriStar Pictures

Watch: Whitney Houston in the new video for 'Celebrate' with Jordin Sparks

The music clip pays tribute to the late singer

Whitney Houston makes one of her last video appearances in the clip for “Celebrate” from “Sparkle.”

The music video primarily focuses on Houston’s co-star Jordin Sparks and her buddies dancing around and frolicking both in additional footage and in scenes from the movie. There are only a few shots of Houston, many of them spliced into the video, and only one of her dancing.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Bruce Springsteen</p>

Bruce Springsteen

Credit: AP Photo

Bruce Springsteen selected as MusiCares Person of the Year

The Recording Academy will honor the Boss on Feb. 8

Bruce Springsteen will be honored at 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year on Feb. 8, 2013.

The event, presented by the Recording Academy, will feature artists saluting The Boss. Part honorees include Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, James Taylor and Paul Simon.

Honorees are chosen in recognition of their creative accomplishments  and charitable work.

“Bruce Springsteen is a truly gifted and Renaissance artist of the time, a national treasure and an exemplary humanitarian,” said Neil Portnow, president/CEO of the MusiCares Foundation. “His career is a testament to the power of creative excellence, and his contributions as a philanthropist speak to the tenacity of the human spirit.”

Proceeds from the evening go to MusiCares, the Recording Academy’s offshoot that provides financial, medical and personal assistance.

MusiCares Person of the Year will be held in Los Angeles two days before the 55th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10.

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<p>Bradley Cooper in &quot;The Silver Linings Playbook&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper in "The Silver Linings Playbook"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence shine in the trailer for 'Silver Linings Playbook'

David O. Russell's 'Fighter' follow-up will be part of TWC's awards arsenal

The Weinstein Company, as noted a few times already, has quite the slate of films to throw at the wall this awards season. But what will stick? Will Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" sweep through the branches as a favorite or will it just be seen as a fun romp? Will Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" find a welcome rhythm? Will "Lawless" and "Killing Them Softly" find a much warmer reception than they did at Cannes? And what of something like Dustin Hoffman's "Quartet," stealthy and unassuming?

"The Silver Linings Playbook" is part of all of this too. It was featured with "Django" and "The Master" at Cannes as part of a footage screening package and comes from "The Fighter" director David O. Russell. I've heard this and that about the film, about how Robert De Niro is finally not phoning it in, about how stand-out "it" girl Jennifer Lawrence is, etc. But I've also heard Bradley Cooper is a bit surprising with his performance, and judging by the recently released trailer, I can see immediately he's firing on different cylinders than usual.

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<p>Jessica Hynes and Hugh Bonneville in &quot;Twenty Twelve.&quot;</p>

Jessica Hynes and Hugh Bonneville in "Twenty Twelve."

Credit: BBC

Review: BBC America's 'Twenty Twelve' a formulaic mockumentary

Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes don't have a lot to work with

Attitudes about TV comedy are an ever-evolving thing. For decades, the most popular, respected version of the form was done in the style of "I Love Lucy": shot on a stage in front of a live studio audience who were prompted to laugh early and often. Even on the occasion where a comedy was put on film with no audience, a laugh track would be added later. There were rhythms to the jokes, and to the way each scene flowed to the next, that became a familiar, beloved language among the audience.

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<p>Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison on &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison on "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

If I had an Emmy ballot 2012: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Claire Danes seems like a lock to win, but who deserves to join her in the field?

We're in the home stretch now of our look at the 2012 Emmy ballot. (Today is, in fact, the deadline for Academy members to turn in their ballots; we still have two categories to go, but we've never assumed that these stories have any impact on the actual voting.) As always, Fienberg and I are going to approach things in two ways. I'll pretend that I have an Emmy ballot and make my picks for the six actors or shows I would put on my ballot, while Dan will rank the potential nominees from most likely to least. And, as always, we are working off of the actual Emmy ballot, so we can't consider people who didn't submit themselves, nor can we reassign anyone to a more suitable or easier category.

We're up to our final acting category, with Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Dan's predictions are here, and my preferences are coming right up...

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