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<p>It's official... he is both man AND Muppet.</p>

It's official... he is both man AND Muppet.

Credit: Walt Disney Company

James Bobin and Nick Stoller reportedly set deal for 'Muppets' sequel without Jason Segel

Why doesn't that worry me?

I'm not sure I'd make too much of the news that Disney has signed a deal with James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller to start development on a sequel to "The Muppets" without Jason Segel attached to co-write.

First, even last year, when I visited them on the set of "The Five-Year Engagement" (and we'll have more on that this weekend), Stoller and Segel said they'd already brainstormed ideas for a sequel.  Those guys make great collaborators, and I have no doubt that at this point, Stoller would be able to take those ideas that they'e discussed and execute them quite ably.

The big news here is that Disney feels good enough about the performance of "The Muppets" to officially start development on a sequel.  I think it's amazing that the characters have finally made their pop culture comeback in a way that stuck, and I hope this is the beginning of a real return to the sort of omnipresence they had when I was a kid in the '70s.

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<p>Amy Poehler, Kathryn Hahn and Carl Reiner in &quot;Parks and Recreation.&quot;</p>

Amy Poehler, Kathryn Hahn and Carl Reiner in "Parks and Recreation."

Credit: NBC

'Parks and Recreation' - 'Campaign Shake-Up': The woman behind the curtain

Kathryn Hahn and Carl Reiner guest star, and Pawnee has a health crisis

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I eat egg salad with Colin Powell...

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Born to Rock: Bruce Springsteen's 7 best albums
Credit: AP Photo

Born to Rock: Bruce Springsteen's 7 best albums

On the eve of 'Wrecking Ball,' a look at the Boss's finest

Bruce Springsteen’s 17th studio album, “Wrecking Ball,” comes out March 6 and The Beat Goes On is blatantly stealing a page from our colleague Kris Tapley’s “The Lists” concept. In anticipation of the new set, we’re ranking The Boss’s Top 7 albums. Take a look at our gallery and let the debate begin.

Springsteen’s canon of work dates back more nearly 40 years to 1973’s “Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.” While there was a major shift with his third album, 1975’s “Born To Run,” in terms of transforming from a proud Dylan wanna-be who crammed as many words as possible in to a song to someone who found his own identity and voice, what hasn’t changed has been his commitment to his craft and his live show.

At 62, Springsteen has become the chronicler of our times. Or as he says, it has always been his job to write about the distance between the American dream and American reality. Unlike many other artists whose songs aren’t rooted in any specific geography,  Springsteen’s narrative spans from sea-to-shining-sea. He is a product of New Jersey and the U.S.A. and the lyrical territory he roams in song seldom extends beyond our shores (despite the fact that he is now a bigger concert draw in Europe than he is here).

But to concentrate on Springsteen’s role as social commentator only shows one part of the story. Over the last several decades, Springsteen has delivered some of the goofiest, most joyous songs ever committed to record, whether it be the rollicking “Ramrod,” the double entendre-filled “Pink Cadillac,” the giddy “So Young And In Love” or the purely jubilant “Rosalita.”

It felt like a cheat to include live albums on here, so I didn’t. (I also chose not to include any bootlegs). However, any Springsteen fan’s collection is incomplete without two sets: “Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Hammersmith Odeon London 75” and “Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Live 1975-1985.” The Hammersmith set, which wasn’t officially released until  2005, captures a moment in time: Springsteen's first U.K. show that has now become the stuff of legend. Springsteen was freaking out beforehand as Columbia’s hype machine was in full effect and he wanted the music to speak for itself. The loose-limbed, sped-up “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” is a frenetic frenzy, and the 13-minute “E Street Shuffle” feels like it traverses space and time. It’s nothing less than revelatory to hear a 25-year old Springsteen, still so early in his career, at such command of his stage craft. 

“Live 1975-1985,” if nothing else, shows the tremendous range of the E Street Band and serves as a de-facto greatest hits. It was also the first album to capture the wide-ranging magic of Springsteen's show including such chestnuts as his covers of “Raise Your Hand” and “War” and songs that lay flat on vinyl, like “You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)” but came alive in concert.

There are high notes on every album released, even the ones I would rank toward the bottom of a list should I have included the full catalog, such as 2009's “Working On A Dream” (though I’m hard pressed to find anything good to say about “Queen of the Supermarket”). As with all such lists, this one is totally subjective. For example, though I find them among his most cinematic works, I find myself seldom returning to  largely acoustic, solo albums like “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and “Devils & Dust” 

Before you flip to the gallery, if you aren’t a Springsteen fanatic (yet), watch this video, and  see what joy he brings millions of us (plus, there are wonderful shots of dearly departed members Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons):


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Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog

Credit: I.D.

Inmate featured in 'On Death Row' put to death just before mini-series debut

Executed Texas 7 gang member tells his story in Werner Herzog documentary

Werner Herzog's new documentary mini-series, "On Death Row," got even more real yesterday when interview subject George Rivas was executed by lethal injection in Texas. Rivas, who was 41-years-old, was known as the ringleader of the Texas 7 gang, which organized the state's biggest prison break. While on the run, the group committed a robbery that led to the death of a police officer. All of the escapees were ultimately sentenced to death, including another man Herzog features in the program.

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<p>Jim Rash as Dean Pelton in &quot;Community.&quot;</p>

Jim Rash as Dean Pelton in "Community."

Credit: NBC

Why I miss 'Community': Because Jim Rash won an Oscar

A salute to the show's game-for-anything award winner

We're two weeks away from "Community" returning to NBC's airwaves — and fans attending Saturday night's PaleyFest panel in LA (or watching the feed in New York) will be able to see a new episode even earlier than that(*) — but I pledged to keep these posts about why I miss the show going until it returned, and so I gladly shall.

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<p>Heejun Han of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>
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Heejun Han of "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Results - The Top 13 is Chosen

Which 10 singers did America put through? And who did the judges select?

It's Results Night on "American Idol."

Over the next TWO hours, we're going to find out which Semifinalists received America's seal of approval and which three singers will be rescued by the judges.

For the purposes of this live-blog, I've decided that Heejun Han is making the Top 13. I don't know if it's gonna be via America's vote or via the judges, but if Heejun doesn't make it, I'm gonna be both sad and surprised.  But still, I'm using his picture as a guess. It doesn't spoil anything, at least not anything I know about.

Anyway, click through and follow along. Last year's equivalent of this show was actually a really good, jam-packed two hours. Hopefully this year's won't be bad either...

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<p>The Once-ler (Ed Helms) tries to protect himself from the anger of The Lorax (Danny DeVito) in the new animated adaptation of 'The Lorax'</p>

The Once-ler (Ed Helms) tries to protect himself from the anger of The Lorax (Danny DeVito) in the new animated adaptation of 'The Lorax'

Credit: Universal/Illumination

Review: Dr. Seuss adaptation 'The Lorax' aims high and makes it partway there

Illumination Entertainment makes some interesting missteps in their new film

It is an unenviable task to adapt the work of Dr. Seuss from page to screen, and for the most part, I think his work has resisted full-length feature adaptation with a vengeance.

I mean, when you look at a film like "Cat In The Hat," it's hard to imagine that the source material is any good at all.  It's a coarse, gross, vulgar fart joke of a movie, and it should have, by any conventional wisdom, killed the idea of making Dr. Seuss movies.  But "Horton Hears A Who" seemed to be a major course correction, and their expansion of the world that Seuss created felt like a fairly organic way to approach his work.

With "The Lorax," Illumination Entertainment has done a solid job of trying to preserve the most important parts of the book and its themes, and there is a lot of it that honors Seuss.  I think kids will enjoy this film, and my own kids, who have been raised as Seuss-faithful as possible, liked the way the story expanded to fill out a feature running time.  I had more issues with the new material, and I think adults will be less likely to just accept the film as a whole.

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<p>Paul Dano and Olivia Thirlby end up entangled in the grim family drama 'Being Flynn'</p>

Paul Dano and Olivia Thirlby end up entangled in the grim family drama 'Being Flynn'

Credit: Focus Features

Review: De Niro and Dano in 'Being Flynn' paint a turbulent picture of a creative life

Paul Weitz adapts an acclaimed memoir to fascinating effect

You know, you should never count the Weitz brothers out.

Both Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz made their names early.  "American Pie" put Paul on the map as a director, and they seemed to indicate that their careers were headed to a more personal and heartfelt place with 2002's lovely "About A Boy," which they co-directed.  Since then, they've both had some pretty big creative misfires, although no one could accuse them of being anything less than ambitious.  I may not like "The Golden Compass" as a movie, but I can see what drew Chris Weitz to it, and I respect the effort.  For Paul, the nadir of his film work so far would have to be the one-two punch of "Cirque du Freak" and "Little Fockers," both movies that felt corporate and calculated.

Last year, Chris made the piercing "A Better Life," featuring an amazing performance by Demian Bichir, and it felt to me like he had roared back to life as a filmmaker, besting whatever his own high-water mark was so far.  While I don't think Paul's new film, "Being Flynn," reaches the same beautiful heights as "A Better Life," it strikes me as authentically observed and deeply felt, and a huge step in the right direction for him as a filmmaker.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Frankenweenie&quot;</p>

A scene from "Frankenweenie"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Trailers for 'The Avengers' and 'Frankenweenie' make for a nice antidote to awards season

March and April, meanwhile, look a little dicey

Now that the Oscar dust has settled and the early-year dumping ground has come to a close, studios are beginning to float materials for their (hopeful) moneymakers out there. Two trailers have dropped this week, for "The Avengers" (opening May 4) and Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie" (which doesn't hit until October).

On the former, I have to say, I'm on board. I have a built-in sense of caution when it comes to Joss Whedon, though, and I have to admit, as much as I don't mind seeing her face in, well, anything, Scarlet Johansson seems incredibly pointless to that enterprise. Nevertheless, my fingers are crossed Marvel pulls this off.

Robert Downey Jr. called it the real "most ambitious film" of the Hollywood system at Comic-Con two years back (amid similar talk surrounding "Avatar" at the time). Marrying these properties together, getting it to come off without an ego hitch, it's daunting. And there are money shots in the trailer that have me stoked. It should be an awesome way to kick off the summer movie season.

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<p>I'm going to guess this is exactly how Tim Burton actually saw some of the kids he grew up with, and not an exaggeration at all.</p>

I'm going to guess this is exactly how Tim Burton actually saw some of the kids he grew up with, and not an exaggeration at all.

Credit: Walt Disney Company

Watch: Tim Burton's 'Frankenweenie' trailer feels like a master class in the director's themes

His latest stop-motion film feels like a summation of everything he does

I like this trailer a lot.

When Tim Burton first announced plans to take his 1984 short film and turn it into a stop-motion animated feature film, I sort of dismissed it as a weird late-career indulgence and haven't thought much about it since.  After all, once a director makes a billion dollars for a studio with one movie, he's in a position to get any random weird-ass dream off the ground as a movie, and it felt like the sort of thing where Disney was just allowing him to do it as a thank you for the Scrooge McDuck style vaults full of money they were swimming in thanks to "Alice In Wonderland."

But looking at this trailer, it strikes me that if George Lucas would have just been honest with himself and remade 1977's "A New Hope" instead of endlessly tinkering with the original film and giving it weird digital face lifts, my guess is the outrage would have been more pronounced at the beginning, but it eventually would have settled down because they would exist as different movies.

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<p>Sound mixers Tom&nbsp;Fleischman (left)&nbsp;and John&nbsp;Midgley backstage at the 84th annual Academy Awards</p>

Sound mixers Tom Fleischman (left) and John Midgley backstage at the 84th annual Academy Awards

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

AMPAS to break the soundtrack barrier

Oscar-winning sound mixers will demonstrate their craft

One of the things that always seems to be nebulous to new film enthusiasts and, in particular, new Oscar watchers is the difference between sound editing and sound mixing. We've certainly made it a point to explain it over the years via the two categories' separate Tech Support entries each season, but for those in the LA area, here's your opportunity for a thorough crash course, AMPAS-style.

The Academy has just announced its "40 Years of Sound for Film" event set to take place on Tuesday, March 6 at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood. Fresh off his Oscar win for "Hugo," sound mixer Tom Fleischman will be on hand along withlegendary three-time Oscar-winning mixer Chris Newman ("Amadeus," "The English Patient," "The Exorcist") to "explore the intricacies of building a motion picture soundtrack using clips from 'Hugo,' 'The Silence of the Lambs' and 'The French Connection,'" according to the press release.

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<p>Lil Wayne</p>

Lil Wayne

Credit: AP Photo

Lil Wayne and Limp Bizkit collaborative single due next week

Cash Money's latest signee combines rock and rap, just like Weezy likes it

Limp Bizkit love rap-rock, and Lil Wayne loves rock-rap, so it only makes sense that they combine. Sort of.

YMCMB head Bryan "Birdman" Williams told Billboard that the two acts will combine for a brand new single, "Ready to Go," due out some time next week.

"It'll be a great way to let the world know that [the band] is a part of us," said Birdman. "It's rock, but it's hip-hop-rock. I think we got that hip-hop-rock swagger."

Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst and Weezy hashed out the track during the week following the Grammy Awards to bang out the song. The Cash Money artists will all appear together in a music video, shooting soon.

The Limp Bizkit/Cash Money signing announcement sent a shock (confusion?) wave through music news world last week, considering that the band is YMCMB's first straightforwardly rock signing. Birdman said the label is working to expand into other musical territory beside hip-hop.

The other element to the signing is that Limp Bizkit's last album hasn't sold all that strongly: "Gold Cobra" has only moved 69,000 copies since it was released last June. The band's last top 10 album was "Results May Vary," released eight years ago. This isn't exactly Limp Bizkit's peak commercial era. Perhaps the label and Durst are readying a second act for the band?

Birdman said that a new Limp Bizkit would be out by year's end, but that this particular collaboration would just be a one-off.

What the hell is going on here.

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