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<p>Cho Min-soo in &quot;Pieta.&quot;</p>

Cho Min-soo in "Pieta."

Credit: Next Entertainment World

Review: Mother doesn't know best in proudly nasty Golden Lion winner 'Pietà'

Winding down our Venice coverage with thoughts on the fest's top prizewinner

(As promised, we still have a couple of straggler reviews left to wind down our Venice coverage, kicking off with the film that wound up taking the gold -- and which I caught up with on the festival's final evening.)

VENICE -- As a general rule of thumb, no film that opens on an image of a rusty meat hook is going to rival “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” in the innocuous-crowdpleaser stakes. Sweatily, almost loving lit in such a way that suggests the “Saw” franchise hasn't entirely missed batty Korean auteur Kim Kim-duk's cultural radar, that hook – which almost certainly has never been used for curing Christmas hams – promises a baseline of nastiness from which this elevated exploitation thriller never deviates, whether tilting into geometrically ironic black comedy or the florid maternal melodrama implied by the title. There's a lot going on in “Pietà,” but with most of it falling under the column of extreme suffering and humiliation in variously high keys, it won't feel that way to those with only one eye on the bubbling plot. 

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<p>Bruce Springsteen</p>

Bruce Springsteen

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder joins Bruce Springsteen for 'Atlantic City' in Chicago

Tom Morello shows up too

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Rage Against the Machine’s have long had sweet, younger brother-type relationships with Bruce Springsteen.

Both joined Springsteen this past weekend when The Boss played two shows at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Below is the clip of Springsteen and Vedder’s impassioned take on “Atlantic City” (which now has a bit of a celtic flavor to the guitar passages).

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Daniel&nbsp;Day-Lewis in &quot;Lincoln&quot;</p>

Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Watch 44 seconds of Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln'

Counting down to the trailer launch with...a trailer

Oh me, oh my. Trailers for trailers. I guess they're here to stay.

Last week we gave you the heads up that the trailer for Steven Spielberg's hotly anticipated biopic "Lincoln" will drop on Thursday as part of a bizarre Google+ hangout thing. And it'll be screened in Times Square to boot. But to make sure everyone gets the picture, a preview of the preview has landed today, representing the first footage of the film to yet be revealed. The 44 seconds features what I imagine is a touch of John Williams's original score and is carried through by dialogue from Union soldier to Daniel Day-Lewis's 16th Commander-in-Chief.

The film will surely enter the season amid a lot of speculation and awards chatter. Much of that is thanks partly to numbskulls like me, who write things like, "[The project] is a marriage of artist and material that couldn't be packed with more potential, a portrait of another very divided time and the one man who could collect the strands and strengthen the ties that bind a nation," as I did in this season's introductory Oscar column two weeks ago.

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<p>Carly Rae Jepsen's &quot;This Kiss&quot;</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen's "This Kiss"

Listen: Is Carly Rae Jepsen's new song 'This Kiss' maybe a hit?

Can it top 'Call Me Maybe's' success?

At the end of the video for “Call Me Maybe,” it became all too clear that the object of Carly Rae Jepsen’s affections was not going to be returning her feelings any time soon.

On new single, “This Kiss,” she has another issue: the boy she’s “taking it way too far” with is not available for another reason: he’s got a girlfriend.

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: 'Hell's Kitchen' finalists Justin and Christina talk 'From Justin to Kelly'

Watch: 'Hell's Kitchen' finalists Justin and Christina talk 'From Justin to Kelly'

The season's finalists discuss what sets 'Hell's Kitchen' apart

Monday (September 10) night's season finale of "Hell's Kitchen" features a showdown between Justin Antiorio and Christina Wilson.

You may read or see many interviews with Christina and Justin between now and the finale and following the finale. 
It's my guarantee, though, that this is the only interview to ask Justin and Christina about the legendary feature film "From Justin to Kelly," which also focused on a pair of FOX reality TV finalists. 
Did I ask the question only because one of the finalists is named "Justin"? Yes.
Did they play along gamely? Also, yes. 
Check out the video for their answer to that bizarre question and to find out what Justin and Christina have to say about what a "Hell's Kitchen" victory would reward.
And, again, the "Hell's Kitchen" airs tonight.
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<p>Mumford &amp; Sons in &quot;I Will Wait&quot;</p>

Mumford & Sons in "I Will Wait"

Watch: Mumford & Sons rock Red Rocks in 'I Will Wait' video

Performance clip sets up 'Babel's' Sept. 25 release

On the small off chance that you have forgotten how wildly popular Mumford & Sons are during the brief absence, the video for “I Will Wait” will surely remind you.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Mandy Patinkin in the &quot;Homeland&quot;&nbsp;season 2 premiere.</p>

Mandy Patinkin in the "Homeland" season 2 premiere.

Credit: Showtime

Watch the first 20 minutes of 'Homeland' season 2 now

Showtime previews the first episode in advance of September 30 premiere

"Homeland" doesn't return to television until Sunday, September 30 at 10 p.m., but Showtime made the first 20 minutes of the season 2 premiere available online and On Demand, both to whet the appetites of subscribers and to convince other people to sign up before the month is over.

The preview is supposed to be available on Demand on over 40 cable and satellite providers, including Comcast, Cox, DirectTV, Dish, Time Warner Cable and Verizon, and it's also online right now, as you can see below. Enjoy, and we'll be back to discuss the full thing on the 30th.

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<p>Jax (Charlie Hunnam)&nbsp;sits at the gavel on the new season of &quot;Sons of Anarchy.&quot;</p>

Jax (Charlie Hunnam) sits at the gavel on the new season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Credit: FX

Review: 'Sons of Anarchy' returns for season 5 with same strengths and weaknesses

Lots of great characters matched with lots of goofy plots for the motorcycle club drama
Creating television is not an exact science. For every show that debuts as a fully-formed entity ("The Shield," "The Sopranos," "Arrested Development"), there are plenty that struggle early on but improve dramatically over time, usually when they return for their second seasons, having had a few months to examine what worked and what didn't in the debut year. For some shows ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Breaking Bad," "Parks and Recreation"), that creative leap taken in year 2 is one that sticks, while for others (say, "Chuck") it represents an early peak, where all the elements consistently click in a way that didn't often happen before or after.
I had hoped "Sons of Anarchy" was one that made it to the next level and stayed there, but as the motorcycle club drama enters its fifth season tomorrow night at 10 p.m. on FX, it's clear that incredible second year was the exception and not the rule.
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<p>Maggie Smith and Pauline Collins in Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut, &quot;Quartet.&quot;</p>

Maggie Smith and Pauline Collins in Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut, "Quartet."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Review: Dustin Hoffman's 'Quartet' is sweet and slight

Pauline Collins is the film's true awards hopeful

TORONTO - It's always news when an acclaimed actor decides to direct their first feature, but it's hard to believe it took Dustin Hoffman 45 years to step behind the camera.  The two-time Oscar winner has gone in an unexpectedly sweet direction for his first directing gig with the slight romantic comedy "Quartet” that debuted Sunday night at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

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Matt Stone and Trey Parker

Matt Stone and Trey Parker

Credit: AP Photo

'South Park''s Trey Parker and Matt Stone talk about 'Book of Mormon'

The Tony winners discuss the show as it makes its West Coast debut

"The Book of Mormon," having won nine Tony Awards in New York, is now spawning a national tour, making its official West Coast premiere at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles on Sept. 12. In previews, the show is as polished and fine-tuned as you might expect a Broadway show to be -- though even jaded Los Angeles audiences are likely to be at least a little surprised by exactly how many times they hear not only the F-bomb, but jokes about sex with babies, sex with frogs, genital mutilation and dysentery (complete with enthusiastic pantomimes of all of the above).

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"Big Brother"

"Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

'Big Brother' recap: Another Pandora's Box and will Dan's secret be revealed?

A new HOH steps up, but will Dan be able to hid his many alliances?

So, do you think Dan is an evil genius, just evil, easily manipulating gullible and possibly stupid fellow players, or all of the above? Discuss. Anyway, we rewind a little bit in this episode so that viewers can watch all the crazy strategy and backstabbing that took place during this week's double elimination of Frank and Joe. And yes, there was a lot of crazy strategy and backstabbing, most of it on Dan's part. But surely, the dark underbelly of his game play will finally be exposed, won't it?

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<p>Denzel&nbsp;Washington in &quot;Flight&quot;</p>

Denzel Washington in "Flight"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Denzel Washington Best Actor push takes 'Flight'

Will Robert Zemeckis's latest bring him back to the dance?

Ever since I first heard word of Robert Zemeckis's "Flight" back in the early summer, and certainly since the trailer dropped some time later, it's been at the top of my list of anticipations for the year. It's exciting to me that a mid-budget, adult, character-driven drama from a major director with a movie star at its center has been made. They seem all too rare.

It was doubly exciting to see the New York Film Festival tap the film as its closing night gala, part of a defining 50th anniversary slate that really announces the fest as a significant stop for awards season contenders. I'm counting the days until that premiere and my fingers are crossed that all the positive word I've heard on the film bears out.

Meanwhile, though, there's a foundation being laid. We've had Denzel Washington tapped for potential Best Actor consideration every since we first launched the Contenders section for the 2012-2013 Oscar season, but you can finally see the gears turning on the upcoming campaign.

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