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<p>Fiona Apple at Stubb's during SXSW</p>

Fiona Apple at Stubb's during SXSW

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Fiona Apple performs three new songs at first SXSW performance

Review: The singer-songwriter's first large-scale bow in six years was hard-fought, triumphant

AUSTIN -- Fiona Apple made a return to a large-scale stage for the first time in six years last night (March 14), for an audience eager for an early answer: Will the singer-songwriter be a "best" or "worst" of 2012? For attendees at the South By Southwest Music Conference, there is rarely anything in between, as hype forms hyperbole and fans are converted to fanatics.

The NPR showcase at Stubb's was Apple's opportunity to bow new material from her forthcoming full-length "The Idler Wheel," which has a tentative ETA in June. It proceeds her last album "Extraordinary Machine," out in 2005, evidence of just how much credence the Los Angeles-based gives to traditional album release schedules. Her set list boasted three new songs along with a mix from her three previous efforts, including tracks from her debut "Tidal," an album that still seers with lust, sexual abuse, self-abuse and coming-of-age. Apple, now 34, was ever-emotional on stage, consistently embracing all the instability and jitters of her late teens and early 20s, with endearing snarls and that patented, quivering vibrato.

As is custom, Stubb's had embarrassing sound problems. Apple continued screwing her in-ear monitor back onto her head though she and her four-piece backing band showed no unprofessional attitude, let alone revealed any error in-set. During instrumental jams, the artist would bury her head in her arm on top of the full length piano, or close her eyes and smooth her skirt. Her slender arms would slash Xs in front of her, or she's flail her high ponytail as she restively put her hands on her hips.

You've got to hand it to someone who makes their home in uncomfortable places. For all the volatility that comes with a "comeback," she, well, makes the most of it.

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<p>Banksy shrouded in mystery in &quot;Exit to the Gift Shop.&quot;</p>

Banksy shrouded in mystery in "Exit to the Gift Shop."

Credit: Paranoid Pictures

AMPAS's Contemporary Docs program returns with ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ and ‘Catfish’

The controversial films will screen at the Academy next Wednesday night

Part two of the AMPAS’s 30th annual "Contemporary Documentaries" screening series features two of the most talked about docs of the last few years. "Exit Through the Gift Shop" and "Catfish" will screen on Wednesday, March 21, at 7pm at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Admission is free to the public.

2010 Best Documentary Feature nominee “Exit Through the Gift Shop” inspired the oft asked question, “Who is Banksy?” Its legitimacy as a documentary has also been called into question. Ostensibly, the film follows street artist obsessed Thierry Guetta on his journey to capture some of his heroes in action. In the course of his filming the most elusive of them all, Banksy turns the tables, takes over the director’s role and makes the film about Guetta himself. (Incidentally, it was also Kris' number one film of 2010.)

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<p>Can &quot;Sons of Anarchy&quot;&nbsp;keep powering through Hulu's Best in Show with a little help from Kurt Sutter?</p>

Can "Sons of Anarchy" keep powering through Hulu's Best in Show with a little help from Kurt Sutter?

Credit: FX

Hulu's Best in Show moves into round 2

How to choose between 'Community' and 'Parks and Recreation'? And will showrunners again make a difference?

The real March Madness begins today, while Hulu's Best in Show competition has already moved into its second round, with me once again serving as guest judge.

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<p>The &quot;Happy Endings&quot;&nbsp;gang flashes back to one of many Penny birthdays gone awry.</p>

The "Happy Endings" gang flashes back to one of many Penny birthdays gone awry.

Credit: ABC

'Happy Endings' - 'Party of Six': Reverse the curse!

The gang celebrates Penny's birthday in a series highlight

A quick review of last night's "Happy Endings" coming up just as soon as I make a straw harpoon...

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<p>&quot;Community&quot;&nbsp;friends Troy (Donald Glover)&nbsp;and Abed (Danny Pudi)&nbsp;aren't always so good at being normal.</p>

"Community" friends Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) aren't always so good at being normal.

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Community' tries to be 'normal' in its return from hiatus

Fortunately, things at Greendale are as crazy and funny as ever
After a long mid-season hiatus, "Community" returns to NBC's lineup tonight at 8 with an episode that's almost aggressively normal.
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<p>A scene from &quot;Brooklyn&nbsp;Castle&quot;</p>

A scene from "Brooklyn Castle"

Credit: Rescued Media

SXSW: 'Brooklyn Castle' ranks among the top tier of this year's fest

Newly tapped for a Rudin remake, Kate Dellamaggiore's doc rises above similar terrain and inspires

AUSTIN, Texas - On Monday at a SXSW screening here, director Katie Dellamaggiore announced that Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin purchased the remake rights to “Brooklyn Castle,” her documentary about a group of New York schoolkids that compete regularly in national chess tournaments. This of course is but the latest doc set to be remade by Hollywood, but it’s hard to imagine a fiction film doing justice to the complexity and utter humanness of Dellamaggiore’s version.

The film uses school chess programs to evidence both the neglect legislators show towards education when time comes to cutting checks, and yet the remarkable impact that programs like these can have on the lives of the children who participate in them. A truly inspiring story, “Brooklyn Castle” ranks among the first tier of SXSW’s 2012 films, and deserves a place among documentaries like “Rize,” “Resolved” and “Spellbound” that choose to emphasize substance over sensationalism in their depiction of kids who are sadly often looked at as statistics.

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The Flaming Lips' musical 'Yoshimi' sets late fall premiere

Join the robots at La Jolla Playhouse

The Flaming Lips’ new musical, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,” based on the 2002 album of the same name, is coming to theaters. The musical will bow this fall at the prestigious La Jolla (Calif.)  Playhouse.

Des McAnuff, who has directed such plays as “Jersey Boys” and the current Broadway revival of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” will helm the production, according to the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper notes that screen writer Aaron Sorkin, who was previously connected with the project, which has been in the works for five years, is no longer associated with it.

Like Green Day’s “American Idiot,” “Yoshimi,” which chronicles the adventures of a female Japanese artist who ventures into the world of robots, includes the songs from the titular album, but also includes tunes from other Flaming Lips albums.

Look for a November or December premiere.
 

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<p>Ashley Judd of &quot;Missing&quot;</p>
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Ashley Judd of "Missing"

Credit: ABC

HitFix Interview: Ashley Judd talks ABC's 'Missing'

What drew her to episodic TV? And where would Season 2 take place?
Thursday (March 15) night will be a big one for Ashley Judd.
 
At 6:50 p.m. ET, Judd's beloved Kentucky Wildcats begin what is expected to be a long NCAA Tournament run, tipping off as a No.1 seed against a Western Kentucky Hilltoppers squad that isn't expected to put up much of a fight.
 
By 8 p.m. the game is expected to be a blowout, just in time for Judd to make her return to primetime TV as the star of ABC's "Missing."
 
In the globe-trotting thriller, Judd plays Rebecca Winstone, a mother who taps into an unexpected reservoir of skills when her teenage son goes missing in Europe. Butt-kicking and international intrigue ensue.
 
With its mixture of action and empowerment, "Missing" is designed almost as an extension of hit Ashley Judd features like "Kiss the Girls," "Double Jeopardy" and "High Crimes," giving ABC high hopes in a time period that has been a problem spot in recent seasons. 
 
Late last week (before the NCAA brackets were announced), I got on the phone with Judd to discuss taking on episodic TV, shooting overseas, the plan for "Missing" Season 2 and, of course, Kentucky basketball.
 
Click through for the full interview.
 
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<p>Ginger Baker was a huge force in the classic rock world of the '60s and '70s, but also one of the most notorious monsters in rock'n'roll, and the new documentary 'Beware Of Mr. Baker' takes an unblinking look at his highs and lows</p>

Ginger Baker was a huge force in the classic rock world of the '60s and '70s, but also one of the most notorious monsters in rock'n'roll, and the new documentary 'Beware Of Mr. Baker' takes an unblinking look at his highs and lows

Credit: Insurgent Media

Review: Documentary 'Beware Of Mr. Baker' offers wild ride with rock's greatest monster

First-time director delivers a fascinating close-up look at music legend Ginger Baker

The film begins in total darkness, and an older English man is screaming at someone.  "NO YOU WILL NOT TALK TO THEM! NOT IN MY MOVIE! I DON'T WANT ANY OF THEM IN MY MOVIE!"  Then the darkness splits and you realize someone was pressed up against the camera.  The person moves back, waving a cane, swinging it with real intent.  We get our first look at the Ginger Baker of today, red-faced and furious.

"Are you really going to try to hit me with that?" someone asks from behind the camera.  That only seems to make Baker crazier, and he thrusts with the cane, rewarded with a satisfying crack for his efforts, and he roars, "I'LL SEND YOU TO F**KIN' HOSPITAL!"

There's a cut, and we see the director of the documentary, Jay Bulger, stagger outside the car, bleeding freely from the gash across the bridge of his nose.  "I think Ginger Baker just kicked my ass," he says.  BOOM.  The main title comes up.  "BEWARE OF MR. BAKER."  And just like that, you're off and running on a truly hilarious and harrowing look at one of the great monsters of rock, the legendary drummer Ginger Baker.  The film manages to make the case for his place in the firmament of musicians who helped shape an era, and it also reveals that time has not dulled his fangs one little bit.

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<p>Muscular Mark Twain of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
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Muscular Mark Twain of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: One World' - 'A Bunch of Idiots'

May the eggs be ever in your favor as 'Survivor' shakes things up
Pre-credit sequence. The Men did the crazy thing last episode, but we're starting with the Women, who are cuddled up in a ball against the elements. For some reason, Troyzan comes to visit and also gives up Colton as the power player behind the brilliant Let's Vote Ourselves Out plot. "I'm not gonna question their nonsense over there," laughs Sabrina, vowing that the seven Women are going to stick together. "We don't know what the guys are thinking. That's crazy-stuff that's happening over there," Christina diagnoses. "The guys messed up big-time," Alicia says before the tribes head to their next challenge. She adds, "They are so dumb. They handed us a million dollars."
 
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<p>Jamie Chung's work in 'Eden' won her a special award at this year's SXSW&nbsp;film festival, and it should launch her to a whole new level of roles she's offered as a result.</p>

Jamie Chung's work in 'Eden' won her a special award at this year's SXSW film festival, and it should launch her to a whole new level of roles she's offered as a result.

Credit: Centripetal Films/IndieWire

Review: Jamie Chung does star-making work in harrowing SXSW award-winner 'Eden'

A look at what one woman is willing to do to save herself from a Hell on earth

I was not familiar with the name Megan Griffiths until now, but it appears that I've been watching her work for years.  She produced two of Todd Rohal's films, she co-produced the outstanding "Your Sister's Sister" which I saw this year at Sundance, and she also helped produce the documentary "Zoo," which is a terribly disturbing film.  I did not see her previous films, but "The Off Hours" was at Sundance last year, and I know a few people who liked it.

I will definitely catch up with it, because I thought her new film, "Eden," was a strong, simple presentation of a harrowing story, with a great performance from Jamie Chung to ground the whole thing.  Based on the real life of Chong Kim, who gets a co-story credit, "Eden" tells the story of a young Korean girl who works for her parents in their store and who is just starting to experiment with freedom, sneaking out with her friend, smoking cigarettes.  She's very young, and despite her little white lies, she seems like a fairly innocent girl.

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<p>Susan Sarandon is just as cool in person as you would expect, and seemed pleased to discuss her work in 'Jeff Who Lives At Home'</p>

Susan Sarandon is just as cool in person as you would expect, and seemed pleased to discuss her work in 'Jeff Who Lives At Home'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Susan Sarandon and Judy Greer wrestle with love in 'Jeff Who Lives At Home'

Greer talks about working with Ed Helms and Sarandon shares time with an unlikely love interest

There are worse ways to spend a Saturday than chatting with Susan Sarandon and Judy Greer.

Both of them were part of the same press day for their new film "Jeff Who Lives At Home," and I was excited to discuss the movie with both of them.  They are both sharp, vibrant performers who have spent most of their career making movies better just by being in them.

I love that Sarandon is so hard on her own work in the movie "Joe," which I brought up while we were talking.  That's a pretty great little '70s picture with an amazing central performance by Peter Boyle, and Sarandon stars as his daughter.  It's one of her earliest roles, and she shuddered at the mention of it, saying she's awful in it.  While I agree that she is much, much better now, I don't think she's right about how bad she was.  Even in the early part of her career, Sarandon had a great live-wire energy onscreen that made it impossible to look away.  Is her performance in "Dead Man Walking" better than her work in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"?  Sure.  Of course.  But she's still fascinating in "Rocky," and in "Joe," because you could see right away that she was wildly alive behind those giant almond eyes of hers.

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