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<p>Kevin Costner of &quot;Hatfields &amp; McCoys&quot;</p>

Kevin Costner of "Hatfields & McCoys"

Credit: History

TV Review: History's 'Hatfields & McCoys'

Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton star in an old-fashioned miniseries
The theory at work in History's three-night, six-hour (including commercials) "Hatfields & McCoys" miniseries is a simple one: Roughly 130-ish years after its bloody roots, most (many? [some?]) Americas are aware that the Hatfield and McCoy families had a long-running feud, but they know nothing at all about the nature and the depths of said feud. 
What results is a lengthy litany of grievances and miscommunications that led to a series of deaths and placed the two clans and their names forever in our cultural lexicon. 
Produced by Leslie Greif, directed by Kevin Reynolds and written by Ted Mann, "Hatfields & McCoys" is an epic endeavor that manages to be exactly the wrong length for its intentions, which are simultaneously expansive, but limited.
As a point-by-point anatomy of a tragedy, "Hatfields & McCoys" barely makes it past its first night before the repeating cycles of violence become monotonous, a regrettable series of actions perpetrated with vengeful sameness by scruffy hill-dwellers who blend into a bearded mass in no time.  Wave after wave of "Then, just when things could have died down, this person stubbornly made things worse and additional chaos ensued" events crash down and at least for a while, all sense of dramatic escalation is lost. [Things go appealingly bonkers on the third night, but nearly all of the second night is half-baked romance and other filler.]
With its current duration, though, "Hatfields & McCoys" comes across as way more superficial than it should. The question of why, in 2012, this story requires six hours of primetime real estate is never fully answered. It's a laundry list of unhappy occurence unbound by a grander sense of purpose. If I'm sitting through that much programming, I either need to be consistently entertained throughout or I need to be left with some sort of compelling takeaway. "Hatfields & McCoys" falters in the former and strikes out on the latter.
While technically solid, studded with good performances and, as I mentioned, satisfyingly fun in its last segment, "Hatfields & McCoys" is too repetitive and too hollow to fully justify itself. It's "Game of Hillbilly Thrones" only with much lower stakes, which is odd what with it being real and all.
The miniseries has been smartly programmed for the end of Memorial Day weekend when scripted competition is sparse. In that context, I can give it a slim recommendation if the subject matter intrigues you. If you set your expectations low, it's an OK diversion, but who sets their standards low when six hours are at stake? [Other than professional TV critics, I mean...]
More after the break...
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<p>Elisabeth Moss in &quot;Mad Men.&quot;</p>

Elisabeth Moss in "Mad Men."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Mad Men' - 'The Other Woman'

Don pitches Jaguar, and Peggy and Joan both receive offers that may be too hard to refuse

A review of tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I need a chocolate shake...

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<p>Bane (Tom Hardy)&nbsp;takes on Batman (Christian Bale) in the snowy, summer streets of Pittsburgh in &quot;The Dark Knight Rises.&quot;</p>

Bane (Tom Hardy) takes on Batman (Christian Bale) in the snowy, summer streets of Pittsburgh in "The Dark Knight Rises."

Credit: Warner Bros.

'The Dark Knight Rises' Set Visit: Hines Ward, Bane, Batman and exploding football fields

Plus: Producer Emma Thomas on how Twitter has changed production

PITTSBURGH - The last thing you'd expect to see in a Christopher Nolan movie is a football game. Certainly, not an NFL American football game.  Visiting the set of "The Dark Knight Rises" last August delivered exactly that, however. The Pittsburgh Steelers' Heinz Field was subtly transformed into the home stadium for the Gotham Rogues as the faux franchise took on the rival Rapid City Monuments.  If you're curious about the final score, I couldn't tell you.  The villainous Bane (Tom Hardy) appeared, literally destroyed the football field and made a big speech letting everyone know his plans.

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<p>Tom Hardy as Bane in Christopher Nolan's &quot;The Dark Knight Rises.&quot;</p>

Tom Hardy as Bane in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises."

Credit: Warner Bros.

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ star Tom Hardy doesn’t want to compete with Heath Ledger

'Star Trek: Nemesis' helped him realize the responsibility of the role

PITTSBURGH - It's never easy playing a villain on the big screen.  You have to avoid cliche's and over-the-top camp, but be memorable enough to raise the stakes for the film's hero. And, nine times out of 10 you end up getting killed at the end. Now, imagine how difficult Tom Hardy's shoes, er, mask is. In Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises," he's only following a legendary performance by the dearly departed Heath Ledger.

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<p>Anne Hathaway is Catwoman in Christopher Nolan's &quot;The Dark Knight Rises.&quot;</p>

Anne Hathaway is Catwoman in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Anne Hathaway: This is Christopher Nolan’s Catwoman in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Roundhouse kicks in high heels ain't easy

PITTSBURGH – Let's be honest, the past 18 months publicly haven't been the best of times for Anne Hathaway.  A year ago, the acclaimed actress was coming off co-hosting arguably the worst Academy Awards show of all time and had the “no, it really doesn’t work” drama “One Day” had been sent to the art house dumping ground of mid-August. And while those tough events might have been stewing around in the back of her mind, in actuality Hathaway was leaving out a dream; portraying the iconic character of Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.”  Of course, whether she thought that once in a lifetime opportunity would take place in the relatively unglamorous confines of Pittsburgh is still unclear, but when she sat down to talk about her experience on set she was beaming with pride.

It’s early August 2011 and Nolan’s “Dark Knight Rises” production has settled in Western Pennsylvania for a few weeks shooting exteriors in the Steel City. On this day, a major stunt is about to go off – literally – in Heniz Field during a game between the Gotham Rogues and the Rapid City Monuments. Hathaway plays Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) in the picture, but she’s not required on set today.  In fact, she’s stopped by to chat with visiting press about her dream role before quickly flying to New York to take part in some press for “One Day.”

Contextually, Hathaway’s Catwoman had just been revealed to the world in a still image released by Warner Bros. a few days before. The studio and the filmmakers had been concerned that the first image of the character would be captured by the public during a major set piece downtown and it would feature Hathaway’s stunt double and not the Oscar-nominated actress. It was a very smart move.

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<p>Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's &quot;The Dark Knight Rises.&quot;</p>

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Q&A: ‘Dark Knight Rises’ star Christian Bale admits he’ll miss wearing Batman’s rubber suit

If it was up to him you'd have a 'very bizarre Batman' movie

PITTSBURGH – The last time I saw Christian Bale with black smudge under his eyes was on the Chicago set of “The Dark Knight” in the summer of 2007.  The black makeup is used to make the actor’s eyes pop through Batman’s headgear and he sheepishly wore sunglasses during our entire interview likely out of embarrassment over it.  Four years later a more confident and relaxed Bale stopped by to chat on the set of the highly anticipated sequel, “The Dark Knight Rises,” and sunglasses were nowhere to be found.

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<p>Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver)&nbsp;go for a ride on &quot;Girls.&quot;</p>

Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver) go for a ride on "Girls."

Credit: HBO

Revew: 'Girls' - 'Welcome to Bushwick, A.K.A. The Crackcident'

Violence, drugs and rock 'n roll all figure into a memorable warehouse party

A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as I reduce you to a subculture and then fail to accurately name the subculture...

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<p>Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton and the cast of Wes Anderson's &quot;Moonrise Kingdom.&quot;</p>

Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton and the cast of Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom."

Credit: Focus Features

'Moonrise Kingdom' breaks 'Brokeback Mountain's' all-time per screen record

Memorial Day weekend's must-see in LA and NY

Welcome back Wes Anderson.

After strong reviews following its debut as the opening night film at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" ruled the box office in New York and Los Angeles this holiday weekend.  The Focus Features release grossed $509,000 on just four screens in New York and Los Angeles for a remarkable $127,500 per screen.  That breaks the art-house record for another Focus Features classic, "Brokeback Mountain."  The Ang Lee phenomenon averaged $109,485 in Dec. 2005.

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<p>Michael Haneke poses with his Palme d'Or as &quot;Amour&quot;&nbsp;star Emmanuelle Riva looks on.</p>

Michael Haneke poses with his Palme d'Or as "Amour" star Emmanuelle Riva looks on.

Credit: AP Photo

Michael Haneke's 'Amour' takes the Palme d'Or at Cannes

Other awards for Matteo Garrone, Ken Loach and Carlos Reygadas

So, it was the favorite all along. Michael Haneke's "Amour" looked, on paper, the film to beat before this year's Cannes Film Festival started. The rapturous critical reception that greeted its unveiling solidified its position as the frontrunner. Only concerns like "too obvious" and "he already has one" prevented some pundits (myself included) from predicting it for the Palme d'Or, and we were clearly overthinking matters.

Tonight, Nanni Moretti's jury handed Haneke the Palme, making him the seventh filmmaker to win the award twice -- and only the second to win for consecutive films. Between the predictability of the decision and the director's existing laurels, there's a temptation to complain that the jury has made a safe choice here, an anticlimactically conservative one. (And not just with the Palme: all five of the Competition filmmakers rewarded by the jury tonight have won at Cannes before. It's a members' club, all right.) The ideal way to ward off such petty feeling, however, would be to take an immediate second look at "Amour" -- to remind oneself of its immaculacy of construction, its delicacy of performance, its simple strength of feeling.

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Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of Southern Wild."
Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of Southern Wild."
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Beasts of the Southern Wild,' 'In the Fog,' 'The Hunt' take preliminary Cannes awards

Un Certain Regard, FIPRESCI and Ecumenical Jury prizes have been announced

We're only a few hours away from hearing what Nanni Moretti and his motley crew of jurors have decided is the best of the Cannes Film Festival, but in the meantime, a slew of smaller awards announcements have dropped -- some more surprising than others.

The most significant of these are the selections of the FIPRESCI jury, a rotating panel of international film journalists whose awards effectively represent the critics' choice of the festival lineup. As such, their Competition pick tends to fall in line with the established festival buzz that has, by and large, been created by critics. (Sometimes, however, they surprise: "On Tour" wasn't a critical darling of the fest two years ago, but took the prize anyway.) Rarely, however, do they tap the eventual Palme d'Or winner: they last time they did so was with "The White Ribbon" in 2009, while last year's FIPRESCI pick, "Le Havre," received nothing from the festival jury.

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<p>Emily Van Camp of &quot;Revenge&quot;</p>

Emily Van Camp of "Revenge"

Credit: ABC

DVR Gridlock 2012-13: Sunday Nights

How will your Sunday nights this fall be different?
[Over the next six days, I'm going to be glancing, night-by-night, at how the primetime schedules have changed after the network announcements at upfronts. I'll be looking at how the various changes will impact the ratings races on each night, as well as my own DVRing habits. Readers can chime in on how their own DVRs will be impacted. And yes, this brief series assumes that anybody still watches TV on their TVs. I'm old-fashioned.]
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<p>John Mayer in concert in April 2011.</p>

John Mayer in concert in April 2011.

Credit: AP Photo

John Mayer finds his voice at No. 1 on the next Billboard 200

Where happens with 'American Idol's' Adam Lambert and Kris Allen?

Though John Mayer’s performance wings have been clipped due to his current vocal issues, they won’t stop him from soaring into the top spot on the Billboard 200 next week by a wide margin.

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