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<p>Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, and Eugene Levy are all important to the overall success of the new comedy 'American Reunion'</p>

Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, and Eugene Levy are all important to the overall success of the new comedy 'American Reunion'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: 'American Reunion' offers predictable laughs and familiar faces

One of the most unexpected franchises of today bows out with a bit of grace

The "American Pie" films are an unlikely franchise, and I'm surprised to actually see us reach this place with it 13 years down the road, a moment when "American Reunion" actually earns some emotional resonance because of the real passage of time it signifies.

The first film in the series was a charming little teen sex comedy, distinguished by an eager puppy-dog glee about how dirty it was.  It was to "Porky's" what "Scream" was to "Halloween," an introduction to one of the mainstay genres of the '80s, dressed up and freshly scrubbed.  The young cast was appealing, well-chosen, and they embraced the material whole-heartedly.  In addition, the adult cast like Jennifer Coolidge and Eugene Levy were such exceptionally smart and funny performers that they helped set a tone that the younger cast absolutely embraced.

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<p>Kris Allen</p>

Kris Allen

Credit: 19/RCA

Watch: Kris Allen's 'The Vision of Love' video inspires

Even the smallest steps make a difference, according to the 'American Idol'

Doing the right thing can be scary, but in Kris Allen’s video for “The Vision of Love,” show that a few seconds of courage can make all the difference.

The song, the debut single from the “American Idol’ winner’s second album, “Thank You Camellia,”  out May 22, is about standing up for those less fortunate, even when fear takes over. That theme plays itself out in two scenario’s in the video. In the first, a high schooler is bullied  and one of the cool kids looks on doing nothing (both the kid being bullied and the onlooker have on hoodies with the hood up... probably shot too early to be a Trayvon Martin statement, but maybe not).  In the second case, a girl, with a black eye, who yearns to be told she’s beautiful (in cliched, typical fashion, the addition of eye glasses signify her “homeliness.” Please...), but feels too scared to join a group of girls talking.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston in &quot;Sparkle&quot;</p>

Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston in "Sparkle"

Credit: Sony

Q&A: Jordin Sparks on Whitney Houston, R. Kelly and taking lead in 'Sparkle'

The 'American Idol' star's thought on the remake, before superstar Houston passed away

DETROIT -- There is a lot of pressure on Jordin Sparks, according to Jordin Sparks. Back when I visited the set of the “Sparkle” remake in early November last year, the singer spoke on the nail-biting audition process and gaining the film’s title role. It’s her first film, period, let alone her first lead character in a movie, and the “American Idol” star expressed some first-timer jitters.

But since then, the public slant on the film has changed. It’s longtime executive producer and one of its principal actresses, Whitney Houston, died in February, resetting it with tone of finality, a “could we have seen this coming?” and anticipation to see what becomes of it when it finally hits theaters in August. The pressure continues to rise.
 
In her interview with just a handful of us journalists this winter, Sparks only had the highest of praises for the singer-superstar, who was then still alive and shining off the final two weeks of shooting “Sparkle.” Houston plays Sparkle’s mom, Emma Williams, a former singer with her own past.
 
“[Houston] has millions upon millions of fans and I think they’re going to be very happy to see how she is in this movie. As well as the people who doubt that she’ll be able to do it -- I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised as well,” she said during her Q&A.
 
Below is a complete interview from November with Sparks, who talked about the new and old songs of the 1976 redux, her own connection to the character of Sparkle Williams and acting on Broadway, her thoughts on R. Kelly’s contributions and on what Whitney Houston was like on set.
 
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<p>Armie Hammer, Lily Collins and the cast of &quot;Mirror Mirror&quot; in Eiko Ishioka's animal-inspired finery.</p>

Armie Hammer, Lily Collins and the cast of "Mirror Mirror" in Eiko Ishioka's animal-inspired finery.

Credit: Relativity Media

Costume designer Eiko Ishioka's fantastic farewell in 'Mirror Mirror'

Is a posthumous Oscar on the cards?

I realize that this is my third post in the space of a week to mention the staggering wardrobe created by the late Eiko Ishioka for "Mirror Mirror." But since a posthumous Best Costume Design Oscar for the Japanese visionary -- a word diluted by overuse that fully applies here -- who passed away in January after battling pancreatic cancer, is going to remain near the top of my wishlist for the next awards season, you may as well get used to it. Certain feats of genius demand appropriate respect, and with so many shiny (and shinily dressed) objects still to arrive and distract viewers in the next nine months, one may as well hammer the message home early.   

Accents, details and color flashes of Ishioka's "Mirror Mirror" designs still drift into my head two weeks after seeing the film: the saturated cobalt tone of Snow White's fighting gear, or the absurd detailing on the ship-shaped hats worn by Julia Roberts' literal court pawns. Not many films invite a rewatch just to drink in background garments one might have missed; here's one.

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Dance Moms: Miami

Susan and Brigette have big dreams for their poor kids on 'Dance Moms: Miami'

Credit: Scott Gries/Lifetime

Review: 'Dance Moms: Miami' puts the guilt in guilty pleasure

Lifetime's spinoff offers more moms behaving badly

Last night's premiere of "Dance Moms: Miami" was good news for "Dance Moms" fans broken up about the flagship show airing its season finale. Now there's a whole new set of ambitious kids, crazy moms and flamboyant instructors to follow.

It's less good news for anyone who doesn't enjoy seeing kids put under unreasonable amounts of pressure, grown women embarrass themselves and arguments inflated for entertainment purposes.

I'll admit I'm in the second camp, and I've never bothered to check into the "Dance Moms" phenomenon before this. I've seen clips and interviews, but it always seemed like something worth ignoring.

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<p>Justin Bieber</p>

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber's 'Boyfriend' sets records on the Billboard Hot 100

Watch the latest video teaser for 'Boyfriend'

It’s a good week for Justin Bieber: His new single, “Boyfriend,” enters the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 2 based on sky-high digital sales and tremendously strong acceptance at Top 40 radio.

“Boyfriend” sold a staggering 521,000 copies this week, making it the fourth highest sales week for any digital song (debut or otherwise). The record still belongs to Flo Rida’s “Right Round,” which sold 636,000 copies in 2009.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Soundgarden's Chris Cornell during tour last summer</p>

Soundgarden's Chris Cornell during tour last summer

Credit: AP Photo

Listen to Soundgarden's first new song in 15 years, for the 'Avengers' soundtrack

The whole movie song list is bro-rific

It's been long in the works, long touted, hyped to the point of saturation. Are we talking about "The Avengers" or the recording return of Soundgarden?

I'll let you be the judge. The '90s rockers have officially been back on the road and back in the studio, this song "Live to Rise" the first fruits of those efforts. It's undeniably Chris Cornell, all meat and long hair on a memorable hook. The guitars have their share of flangers, the drums now have an updated "pop." The guitar lines go in one ear and out the other, but thematically, the song will be a hit for movie-goers, who will enjoy this midtempo testosterone fuel.

CLICK HERE for the stream, on KISW.

"Like the sun, we will live to rise again," goes the refrain. Appropriate for all involved. It is Soundgarden's first newly recorded song in 15 years, since the release of their last album "Down on the Upside"; as you'll remember, they also dropped "Black Rain" for "Guitar Hero" a couple years ago, but that was simply a previously unreleased tune from former sessions.

The whole soundtrack tracklist is very bro-dude, with names like Bush, Papa Roach, Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch and Buckcherry contributing. Stone Temple Pilots' Scott Weiland shows up, thankfully with something other than a Christmas song.

"The Avengers" soundtrack will be out on iTunes first, on May 1. The film hits theaters nationwide on May 4.

Soundgarden are expected to release a new full-length album some time in 2012. They have several tour dates listed for 2012, all overseas, with a couple of high profile festival-headlining gigs for the Download Festival in Donington, England and Hard Rock Calling in London.

Here is "The Avengers" soundtrack tracklist:

1. "Live to Rise" - Soundgarden
2.  "I'm Alive" - Shinedown
3.  "Dirt and Roses" - Rise Against
4.  "Even If I Could" - Papa Roach 
5.  "Unbroken" - Black Veil Brides 
6.  "Breath" - Scott Weiland
7.  "Comeback" - Redlight King 
8.  "Into the Blue" - Bush
9.  "A New Way to Bleed (Photek Remix)" - Evanescence
10. "Count Me Out" - PUSHERJONES
11. "Shoot to Thrill" - Theory of a Deadman
12. "Wherever I Go" - Buckcherry 
13. "From Out of Nowhere" - Five Finger Death Punch 
14. "Shake the Ground" - Cherri Bomb

Additional track on the international release:
15. "Pistols At Dawn" - Kasabian

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<p>Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone in &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone in "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

'New Girl' - 'Secrets': The one where everyone finds out

Schmidt and Cece's affair creates tension in the apartment in another series highlight

A quick review of last night's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I start talking like a Native American when I get angry...

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<p>Henry Ian Cusick and Kerry Washington in &quot;Scandal.&quot;</p>

Henry Ian Cusick and Kerry Washington in "Scandal."

Credit: ABC

Review: Kerry Washington is strong in ABC's 'Scandal'

New Shonda Rhimes series deals with a crisis management expert close to the White House
Olivia Pope has a law degree, but she's not exactly a lawyer. "Scandal," the new ABC series (Thursday at 10 p.m.) of which Olivia is the central character, deals a lot with legal matters, but it's not exactly a legal drama. To be perfectly honest, after watching four episodes of "Scandal," I'm not 100 percent clear on what it is that Olivia and her team (most of them fellow lawyers who don't practice law) do, nor on exactly what the show is.
 
I'm also not entirely sure that it matters. "Scandal" is a good example of what a show is about being far less important than how it's about it — and when you have Kerry Washington as your star and Shonda Rhimes at her most confident as your creator, the "how" comes pretty easy.
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<p>Greta Gerwig, Carrie MacLemore, Analeigh Tipton and Megalyn Echikunwoke talk to HitFix about Whit Stillman's comeback film &quot;Damsels in Distress.&quot;</p>

Greta Gerwig, Carrie MacLemore, Analeigh Tipton and Megalyn Echikunwoke talk to HitFix about Whit Stillman's comeback film "Damsels in Distress."

'Damsels in Distress' on the joys of helping 'stupid boys' and tap dancing in water fountains

Greta Gerwig and crew on Whit Stillman's comeback film

Before Wes Anderson made a name for himself with "Rushmore" and kindred spirit Noah Baumbach found his voice in "Kicking and Screaming" there was another filmmaker bringing a quirky, WASP-y world view to independent cinema, Whit Stillman.

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<p>Eliza Coupe and Casey Wilson of &quot;Happy Endings&quot;</p>
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Eliza Coupe and Casey Wilson of "Happy Endings"

Credit: ABC

HitFix Interview: Eliza Coupe and Casey Wilson talk 'Happy Endings'

ABC comedy's leading ladies talk on the eve of the Season 2 finale
"Happy Endings" finishes its season season on Wednesday (April 4) night with a finale that totally delivers on the promise of its title, "Four Weddings and a Funeral (Minus Three Weddings and One Funeral)." 
 
It's a madcap episode that includes Madonna impersonators, Brian Austin Green and even a couple surprising relationship zigs and zags. It's also a terrific showcase for Eliza Coupe and Casey Wilson, who never hesitate to make themselves look ridiculous in the name of hilarity. 
 
Last week, I ran my recent interview with Damon Wayans Jr. and Zachary Knighton, who talked about the show's Season 2 improvements, its impressive punchline pace and more. 
 
This conversation with Coupe and Wilson continues on those themes, with a lot of amusing and interesting back-and-forths between the two stars. 
 
Click through...
 
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Giuliana & Bill
They love it when you watch: Bill & Giuliana Rancic
Credit: Andrew Eccles/The Style Network

5 reasons why someone might watch 'Giuliana & Bill'

Scenes from a marriage, now in season five

Until today I had never seen an episode of Style Network's "Giuliana & Bill." And now that I have, I'm wondering why anyone would watch this show on a regular basis.

Obviously someone out there likes it. Tonight was the fifth (!) season premiere, which apparently was much more serious than usual as it tackled Giuliana's diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer.

I wouldn't say "E! News" host Giuliana Rancic and her "Apprentice"-winning husband Bill are bad, or even boring, people. I'm just curious where the appeal in an entire show chronicling their relationship lies.

This is all pure speculation, but here are five possible explanations for why people watch:

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