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<p>Michael Mann (far left), Steven Waddington and Daniel Day-Lewis on the set of &quot;The Last of the Mohicans&quot;</p>

Michael Mann (far left), Steven Waddington and Daniel Day-Lewis on the set of "The Last of the Mohicans"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Michael Mann looks back on 'The Last of the Mohicans' 20 years later

American Cinemateque theatrically premieres the director's 'definitive' cut to mark the occasion

Michael Mann's 1992 colonial epic "The Last of the Mohicans" will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, if you can believe it. The film -- an adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's novel -- has remained a highly regarded effort in the director's filmography, which mostly consists of modern urban yarns concerned with the law and order imposed by man.

But it's the law and order of nature -- as it gives way to the impositions of occupiers -- that largely governs the tone and atmosphere of his fourth feature. The film is unique in Mann's canon for its period trappings, but of a piece with his penchant for deep emotional currents that announce themselves only in the nuance of performance.

Indeed, it is still the film's sweeping romance, its epic sadness, its viscous sense of honor that resonates emotionally to this day.

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<p>Aladeen does this so often it's practically a tic at this point.</p>

Aladeen does this so often it's practically a tic at this point.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: 'The Dictator' marks a significant shift in style for Sacha Baron Cohen

With no real-life victims, this is a different kind of comedy for Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen has spent the last few weeks in constant salesman mode, appearing on talk shows and in public as Admiral General Aladeen, the main character in his new film "The Dictator," and while this is standard operating procedure for Cohen when he's got a film coming out, it may be a miscalculation this time.  I think "The Dictator" is funny, frequently very funny, but it's a very different film than "Borat" or "Bruno," and this whole living-in-character thing may be sending the wrong message to audiences.

As I observed in my early report on the film from CinemaCon in Las Vegas
, it's important to note that this is a scripted comedy where everyone in the film is in on the joke.  This is a far more standard comedy than Cohen's earlier films, and it's an important jump for Cohen to make as a performer.  I'm on the record as a fan of both "Borat" and "Bruno," and I think they're remarkable as examples of performance art.  Those movies have victims, though, and that's something you just have to accept if you're going to watch them.  Cohen created these characters that he would then drop into reality to see what happened when people bounced off of them, and much of the point was to draw people out, to expose their feelings about foreigners or gays or to explore racial tensions.  They are impressive and even dangerous at times, and they felt necessary when they were made.

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Zooey Deschanel and Loretta Lynn at the Grand Ole Opry
Zooey Deschanel and Loretta Lynn at the Grand Ole Opry
Credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Thoughts on 'New Girl' star Zooey Deschanel and 'Coal Miner's Daughter'

The life story of Loretta Lynn comes back to life

Actress Zooey Deschanel is slated to bring the life story of 80-year-old country music icon Loretta Lynn to Broadway in a stage version of “Coal Miner’s Daughter." Lynn herself made the announcement at a Grand Ole Opry country classics show on Thursday night. In typical sweet-natured, country-girl style, the Hall of Famer announced Deschanel thusly:

“There’s a little girl back stage that’s gonna do the play ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ on Broadway and I think she can sing herself to death.”

After the announcement the pair did a duet of the play’s title song, a performance which was reminiscent of the introduction Lynn gave to Sissy Spacek when she was tapped to play the role in the 1980 Academy Award-winning film. (Spacek herself took home the Best Actress Oscar for her performance.)

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<p>Mathieu Amalric (center) and the ensemble of Alain Resnais's &quot;You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet.&quot;</p>

Mathieu Amalric (center) and the ensemble of Alain Resnais's "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet."

Credit: StudioCanal

Cannes Check: Alain Resnais's 'You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet'

Continuing our series of Cannes competition previews

The director: Alain Resnais (French, 89 years old)

The talent: No latter-day Resnais film comes without an ensemble of familiar French faces, with a number of regulars now forming the director's own repertory company of sorts. Mathieu Amalric, Lambert Wilson, Sabine Azema, Anne Consigny and Pierre Arditi have all worked with Resnais before, many of them in his last feature "Wild Grass." A more delayed reunion is with French veteran Michel Piccoli (acclaimed at last year's fest for "We Have a Pope"), whose last outing with the director was 1966's "La guerre est finie." New to Resnais's stable (I think, though it's hard to keep track with such long filmographies) is arthouse stalwart Hippolyte Girardot.

Laurent Herbiet, who co-wrote "Wild Grass" with Resnais (and previously acted as his assistant director), once more shares sceenplay duty with the director -- again writing under the nom de plume of Alex Reval. The director also maintains his collaboration with virtuoso cinematographer Eric Gautier ("Into the Wild," "The Motorcycle Diaries"), who also shot fellow Competition entry "On the Road." Oscar-nominated editor Herve de Luze ("The Pianist") is also back on board, as is American composer Mark Snow, who is perhaps best known for his TV work. (He has 15 Emmy nominations, several of them for his very recognizable work on "The X Files.")

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<p>The women of Wisteria Lane &mdash; Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross &mdash; back in the pilot of &quot;Desperate Housewives.&quot;</p>

The women of Wisteria Lane — Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross — back in the pilot of "Desperate Housewives."

Credit: ABC

'Desperate Housewives' says goodbye after improbable success

Primetime soap broke various rules, turned into huge phenomenon
It's tempting to look at ABC's "Desperate Housewives," which comes to the end of its eight-season run tomorrow night at 9, and suggest that a show like that would have trouble getting on television today. But the fact is, "Desperate Housewives" had just as much trouble getting on the air back in 2004. It was not only one of TV's biggest successes of the '00s, but one of the medium's most improbable.
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<p>Muscular Mark Twain's torch is stuffed on &quot;Survivor: One World.&quot; Or &quot;Greg&quot; or &quot;Tarzan.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Muscular Mark Twain's torch is stuffed on "Survivor: One World." Or "Greg" or "Tarzan." 

Credit: CBS

Interview: Greg 'Tarzan' Smith talks 'Survivor: One World'

Muscular Mark Twain discusses his leadership role and Poopy Pants
His drivers license reads Greg Smith.
 
His patients call him Dr. Smith.
 
His "Survivor" nickname was Tarzan.
 
My recaps called him Muscular Mark Twain.
 
On "Survivor: One World," Tarzan was often a subject of mockery. He had trouble with names. His vocabulary stumped Jeff Probst. And in one unfortunately incident he was accused of attempting to clear his soiled drawers in the camp water supply.
 
But was he also the man masterminding all of Colton Cumbie's big moves? 
 
Was he the power behind the throne helping Kim and Chelsea advance their "Survivor" causes? 
 
That's certainly the claim Tarzan makes now, after his recent elimination, and if sheer verbosity equals validation and verification, he may be right. My exit interview with Tarzan was easily the longest I've ever done and also involved easily the fewest questions I've ever had the time to ask. 
 
He's also the first interview subject I've ever had use the words "epicene," "hebetudinous" and "kwashiorkor" in conversation.
 
Click through for Tarzan's explanation of his subliminal leadership role, as well as his POV on The Poopy Pants Incident...
 
 
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<p>&nbsp;Carrie Underwood</p>

 Carrie Underwood

Credit: AP Photo

Carrie Underwood's 'Blown Away' stays still atop the Billboard 200

Only two titles look good to debut in next week's Top 10

Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away” should stay tied down to the top spot on the Billboard 200 next week, as it looks to be the only title that will surpass 100,000 in sales.

With a few days left of reporting until the chart’s Sunday close, the Top 10 looks relatively static with only two new entries: Silversun Pickup’s “Neck of the Woods,” at No. 6 and Tank’s “This Is How I Feel” at No. 9.

Adele’s non-stoppable “21” will be at No. 2 with up to 95,000 copies sold and “Now That’s What I Call Music” at No. 3. Lionel Richie’s “Tuskegee” and Norah Jones’ “Little Broken Hearts” are too close to call for No. 4 with both aiming for 60,000-65,000.

Similarly, while Hits Daily Double has “Neck of The Woods” projected to land at No. 7, that title and One Direction’s “Up All Night” are too close to call with both targeted to sell between 35,000-40,000.

B.o.B’s “Strange Clouds” rounds out the top 10 at No. 10 selling up to 27,000 copies.

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<p>Leonard Nimoy of &quot;Fringe&quot;</p>

Leonard Nimoy of "Fringe"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Fringe' Finale - 'Brave New World, Part 2'

Let it never be said the show took the safe path this season...but where has it led us?
So, yeah, that happened.
 
By “that” I mean a few things. Primarily, I mean the second half of the two-part finale “Brave New World.” But I also mean the fourth season of “Fringe” in general, which I think will go down as a case study in how following one’s muse sometimes allows you to lose your way. I’ve been watching a lot of the reaction online the past few days to announcements of renewals, pick-ups, and cancellations of various television shows. And it strikes me just how much people feel invested in those programs. Sure, I’ve always known about that investment, but it’s felt particularly acute over the past 48 hours. But there’s a difference in feeling invested in them and actually owning them. None of us watching these programs own them. It might feel that way at times, but it’s just not true. So when I say that “Fringe” bitterly disappointed me for nearly an entire year, I want it clear that I respected the decision of the show to go this route even as they took it further and further away from what I used to love. They had no obligation to make any show other than the one they wanted, and they absolutely achieved that goal.
 
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<p>Michael Ealy and Warren Kole in &quot;Common Law.&quot;</p>

Michael Ealy and Warren Kole in "Common Law."

Credit: USA

'Common Law' - 'Pilot': Not Penny's patients

What did everybody think of the new USA cop drama?

I posted my review of USA's "Common Law" yesterday. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of the new USA cop drama? Did the couples counseling gimmick freshen up all the old cliches, or just make them seem even sillier? Did you like the chemistry between Michael Ealy and Warren Kole? How did you feel they compared to some of the other USA duos and trios? Any "Tell Me You Love Me" fans who were happy to see Sonya Walger on the other side of a therapy session? "Rescue Me" fans glad to see Jack McGee, period? 

And, most importantly, will you watch again? Have at it.

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<p>Tara Lynne Barr is one of the stars of the jet-black comedy 'God Bless America,' which is kicking off its limited theatrical run this weekend.</p>

Tara Lynne Barr is one of the stars of the jet-black comedy 'God Bless America,' which is kicking off its limited theatrical run this weekend.

Credit: Darko Entertainment/Magnet Releasing

Weekend Watch: 'God Bless America,' After Dark Action, and grindhouse trailers on Blu-ray

The lines between theatrical and home release get blurry this week

You've got a lot of options for what to watch and how, and we want to help you plan your weekend with a new column where we'll highlight three things you can see in theaters, three things you'll find streaming, and three titles new to home video.  Appropriately enough, we call this The Weekend Watch.

"The Avengers" continues to suck all of the oxygen out of the room this weekend, even with "Dark Shadows" entering the marketplace.  I'm curious to see if they can get a $100 million second weekend out of the film, which would be a 50% drop, and I'm curious to see if the Depp/Burton pairing is enough to overcome decidedly negative reviews and an ad campaign that never really kicked into high gear.

With films that big and high profile, though, you know they're out there.  I doubt anyone's going to startled to hear that "Dark Shadows" is opening, and I'd be amazed if there's anyone on the planet who isn't aware of "The Avengers" by now.  So instead, let's point out some alternatives that are out there this weekend that might not be getting the same level of attention, but that are absolutely worth your time as well.

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<p>Giant Giant Sand</p>

Giant Giant Sand

Interview: Howe Gelb's Giant Giant Sand country rock opera mistake

Check out the EXCLUSIVE first-look at the album and storyboard artwork

A friend suggested I wait to publish anything on Howe Gelb’s latest project until I saw the guy play piano. Last night, the Giant Sand (now Giant Giant Sand) mastermind performed solo at Joe’s Pub in New York. I’d seen Gelb play a handful of other times – mostly when he’s on guitar, mostly with other people.

My friend was right, though. Gelb is a divine piano player, it brought in a new dimension. He has an ease around the keyboard. He likes to lay an object on some of the strings so there’s vibration and a ping when the hammer hits.
 
What I like about his playing – and his singing, and his songs – is that it’s unpretentious with a dash of tension. Gelb has made a lot of records over the last three decades, and now he’s prepared his first “country rock opera,” “Tucson.” It, too, is unpretentious; in spite of the daunting narrative structure that the term “opera” can bring to a traditional singer-songwriter, Gelb thrives in those kinds of constraints.
 
Giant Sand records have been written on the spot, in the studio or on the drive on the way to the studio. He’s played consistently with Denmark musicians Thøger T. Lund, Peter Dombernowski, Anders Pederesen and Nikolaj Heyman over the last ten years, but he’s also mixed in elements like a gospel choir or a horns sections from album to album. Or, y’know, made some sessions into an opera.
 
“Music has always been about handing it over -- music as evolution, it has to keep changing,” he said in our recent interview. He spoke from his longtime home of Tucson, the album’s namesake. “I dared myself to plan a concept, and to strip away the stuff that isn’t ‘it’ or meant for ‘it.’ I took a pretty good gamble that the songs we were gonna write are already inside of us.”
 
Gelb first had the “nagging notion” of making an opera around 1978, but like so many of his projects, he didn’t want to force it. Last year, he played music festival in Berlin, with “this big band which manifested itself by accident or by fate. None of us had gotten together until the moment we were on stage.” The event commissioned artists that represented deserts from around the world, a construct for which Gelb is well-suited. The group – who barely knew each other but tangentially all had connections to Denmark and Tuscon – began jamming on a cumbia, a seed planted that would later become “Caranito” on “Tucson.”
 
“If you’re hittin’ it, it’s gonna have a zing that you can never plan for. It got higher and higher in our set. It was wonderful night, and it was evident that something was in play.”
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Sacha Baron Cohen punks Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet at the Oscars in February.
Sacha Baron Cohen punks Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet at the Oscars in February.
Credit: E!

With Sacha Baron Cohen's 'The Dictator' on the way, let's not forget poor Ryan Seacrest

Plus: The prankster talks the Oscars and awards shows on Howard Stern

"Oh yeah. 'The Artist.'" Cheap shot but that crossed my mind the other day. It wasn't until a press release hit earlier this week announcing a theatrical re-release for the film* that I gave much thought to the season we just concluded in February. It's interesting, sometimes, to note the quick burn-off takeaway...if there is one.

But with Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator" (all 75 minutes of it) making its way to theaters next weekend, I can't help but recall poor Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet -- covered in the "ashes" of Kim Jong-il. I might have mentioned it while live-blogging that night (ugh), but I don't think we ever posted it, so we might as well now.

Meanwhile, Cohen was on Howard Stern earlier this week promoting the film, touting it as one of few out-of-character interviews he's done. In true Stern fashion it was a fantastic interview and covered a wide range of topics (including the since oft-reported news break that the actor is no longer a part of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained.")

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