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<p>A classic image from &quot;Batman Begins,&quot; which was largely inspired by Frank Miller's &quot;Batman: Year One&quot;</p>

A classic image from "Batman Begins," which was largely inspired by Frank Miller's "Batman: Year One"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

10 Batman arcs to prepare you for 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Which stories have inspired Christopher Nolan's trilogy?

This Friday the giant zit that is "The Dark Knight Rises" hype will finally be popped and the anticipation for Christopher Nolan's superhero denouement will give way to discovery. But the great thing about Batman is that the character endures, even if Nolan's interpretation takes its leave.

"Definitive" will be a word thrown around a lot when considering these films, but -- and not to take anything away from Nolan -- when stacked against what? Nothing that came before understood the character well enough to be considered the mold. So I hope future filmmakers will not feel trepidation when saddling up to give their take. In this world of reboots, we all know it's coming. But I wouldn't let Nolan's trilogy cast too daunting a shadow. Again, the character endures. He was here long before Nolan.

And indeed, one of the reasons I'd argue this series has been so successful has been its reverence for that source material. Story arcs from Batman's 70-plus years were fruitful inspiration for the filmmakers, and with the closing installment right around the corner, it seemed like a good time to call back to those yarns from the pages of DC Comics.

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<p>Dave Matthews Bands' &quot;Away from the World&quot;</p>

Dave Matthews Bands' "Away from the World"

Credit: RCA

Listen: Dave Matthews Band's 'Mercy' will have you crying for it

Means well.

Dave Matthews Band's new single "Mercy" means well. With album "Away From the World" en route for September, the group is trying to set a tone, with a sentimental song on par with John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change." Which was his version of "People Get Ready."

Neither compare to the latter, and DMB's furthermore lacks a real discernible melody.

Matthews is featured spouting off truisms in an awe-inspiring stream-of-conscious, like a beauty pageant competitor caught off-guard with the question, "How do we end war among the nations?" Lift up your heart, yeah. We could turn it around, baby. Stand up for where we need to be.

It's cool-headed and honest, but tamely unedited. Will there be any real rock on this record?

"Away from the World" is out on Sept. 11 and is now up for pre-sale on iTunes. Those who purchase will get "Mercy" for free, bless your heart. Jam to fade.

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<p>Gillian Flynn's new novel &quot;Gone Girl&quot;&nbsp;is terrific.</p>

Gillian Flynn's new novel "Gone Girl" is terrific.

What's Alan Reading?: Reviewing Gillian Flynn's dark, twisty 'Gone Girl'

An ex-TV critic authors a gripping novel about a marriage gone very, very sour

Note: I'm taking much of this week off in between Comic-Con and press tour. This is one of a few posts I wrote in advance that should publish this week. If you're wondering why I didn't cover a particular show or story this week, it's because I'm on vacation.

Back at the old blog, I would sometimes write about non-TV entertainment that I was consuming. Usually, it was movies, but occasionally it would be a book I had read that really wowed me.

In this case, the book in question — Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" — has a TV connection of a sort, as it's written by a former TV critic. (Flynn used to write for Entertainment Weekly; I knew her well enough to say hello to at press tour, but no more than that.) But Flynn's old job is only interesting in the way that it informs the history of her two main characters, a married pair of ex-magazine writers forced by the bad economy and the decaying state of print journalism to leave New York and relocate to a small Missouri town.

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<p>Aris Servetalis in &quot;Alps.&quot;</p>

Aris Servetalis in "Alps."

Credit: Kino Lorber

'Alps' does the (limited) Stateside rounds

Catch Yorgos Lanthimos's 'Dogtooth' follow-up if you can

This is a total cop-out of an admission, but the best film I saw in my recent trip to the Karlovy Vary Film Festival was one I'd seen before. (Okay, including what I caught in the Jean-Pierre Melville retrospective, I should amend that to the best few films. But let us not split hairs.) The week hadn't wanted for worthwhile discoveries, but things swam into perspective when, in the last few hours before I had to leave for the airport, I impulsively ducked into a screening of Yorgos Lanthimos's "Alps." Coming out of it a second time, everything else I'd seen that week looked a shade smaller, a little more finite, by comparison.

Regular readers might remember I fell hard for Lanthimos's playful, existentially preoccupied follow-up to "Dogtooth" at Venice nearly a year ago: it was my favorite film of the festival, and wound up in my Top 5 of 2011. But it plays even better on a second go-round.

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<p>This image of Captain America and The Falcon just screams dark and gritty, doesn't it?</p>

This image of Captain America and The Falcon just screams dark and gritty, doesn't it?

Credit: Marvel Comics

Anthony Mackie will take wing as The Falcon in 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'

What does this mean for the sequel?

A little later, I'll have my thoughts on the "Marvel: Phase Two" panel from Comic-Con, which certainly indicated an organized approach to what they've got planned for the next few years, but it seems like they've already got more news than they announced on Saturday, and it suggests another interesting expansion for the potential roster they're looking at for "The Avengers 2."

Anthony Mackie has been showing up on fanboy wishlists for pretty much everything since "The Hurt Locker" was released, and when we ran a piece about a month ago about the possibility of a Black Panther film, Mackie seemed to be clear favorite for many of you.  He's done nice work in a number of films, but so far hasn't really found that role that pushes him over the top and establishes him as a bankable star.

That could change now that it's being reported he is in final negotiations with Marvel Studios to join the cast of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" as one of the most significant supporting characters in Captain America's ongoing comic history, The Falcon. 

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"The Real Housewives of New York City"

 "The Real Housewives of New York City"

Credit: Bravo

'The Real Housewives of New York City' recap: 'Good Trip, Bad Fall'

Carole's sick of LuAnn, but the real fight is between Ramona and Heather

The "Real Housewives of New York City" sans Ramona and Aviva are still frolicking in London this week. But as we know, you can take the girl out of Noo Yawk but it's considerably harder to take the Noo Yawk out of the girl, so the first thing we see is Sonja sticking her face in a bidet. Admittedly, it's filled with ice and Sonja swears this is the easiest way to reduce the swelling in her face as the sink is too shallow, but all I can think is that next week we will be seeing Sonja tooling around New York with enormous, blistering sores all over her head. 

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'The Bachelorette' recap: The guys speak out
Credit: ABC

'The Bachelorette' recap: The guys speak out

It's time for Kalon and Ryan's day of reckoning

 It's time for one of those "the rejects speak" episodes of "The Bachelorette," which is usually just an excuse to get people yelling at one another. But given how low this season was on friction, I'm not expecting fireworks. Okay, maybe someone will take a punch at Kalon, but I'm sure he's used to it. What I'm really not expecting is much animosity toward Emily. Emily may be one of the most universally adored heartbreakers in the history of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette," and it doesn't hurt that she can swear like a sailor (judging from how much she's bleeped) and isn't afraid to get her mama bear on when it comes to her kid. I do think Ricki, though she never meets the guys face-to-face, has been an effective tool in keeping them focused on exactly how much is at stake. And, in the case of Kalon, she has been a helpful tool in exposing him as a self-absorbed ass. But more on Kalon in a moment. Let's get to the episode!

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Watch: No Doubt's new video for 'Settle Down'

Watch: No Doubt's new video for 'Settle Down'

Was it worth the wait?

It’s been a decade since a new No Doubt album and fans got their first real look and listen at what to expect from “Push and Shove” today with the release of the first single and video “Settle Down.”

Directed by Sophie Mueller, who has helmed a number of No Doubt clips previously, was behind the lens for the music video, which features the four members as truck drivers heading to a reunion. That follows the lyrical them of Gwen Stefani carrying on a conversation over a CB radio.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Pink's &quot;The Truth About Love&quot;</p>

Pink's "The Truth About Love"

Look: Pink reveals the cover art for 'The Truth About Love' album

And she reveals a lot of leg too

For as forward as Pink’s music can be, she’s often liked a little retro look when it comes to artwork associated with her projects. For the video for “Raise Your Glass” she evoked WW2 cultural icon Rosie the Riveter.

This time, she’s a little more revealing. In the cover art for “The Truth About Love,” a trim Pink adopts a panties straight out of “Mad Men” with garters clipped to thigh highs. She’s also sporting a cropped jacket and blood red, silletto-heeled pumps.  No sign that she ever carried a kid for nine months. The font is straight out of a ‘50s horror movie. Sure, the tats and black fingernail polish bring the look screaming in to the 2010s, but there’s still something delightfully retro about it.

“Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” the first single from  “The Truth About Love,” is off to a rousing start at radio and was the No. 1 most added song at Pop and Hot Adult Contemporary radio last week, according to her label.

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<p>Christopher Nolan at the New&nbsp;York premiere of &quot;The&nbsp;Dark&nbsp;Knight Rises&quot;</p>

Christopher Nolan at the New York premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises"

Credit: AP

'Dark Knight Rises' cast and crew speak of 'bittersweet' goodbye at New York premiere

The family Christopher Nolan built bids farewell

Manhattan played host to the world premiere of Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" today on a hot day in the city (which also served as one of the key locations of the shoot). The Associated Press offered a live stream of the red (make that black) carpet arrivals, which, in addition to principals from the cast and crew of the film, included other such celebrities as Ron Howard and Dennis Haysbert.

"I'm very proud of what we've accomplished with the three movies," star Christian Bale said. "I'm very honored to have played this character and to have recreated it in our own fashion. And I'm very fascinated to see what consequent Batman incarnations will look like."

In many ways, Bale said he was amazed to be there for the premiere of a third and final film. Everyone involved with the production always said they should just assume one movie at a time and "not be arrogant enough" to assume they would have the opportunity to make sequels.

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<p>Big Sean in &quot;My Homies Still&quot;</p>

Big Sean in "My Homies Still"

Watch: Lil Wayne and Big Sean take over the neighborhood in 'My Homies Still' video

Elephants, pandas and dogs, oh my!

Lil Wayne and Big Sean have moved into a neighborhood straight out of topsy-turvy world for Weezy’s video for “My Homies Still”: A pink elephant, literally, roams the streets, disembodied mannequins take over otherwise well-groomed lawns, and men’s heads get transplanted onto dog’s bodies and vice versa. Did we mention the dancing panda and boa-clad skeletons?

As images of smoking skull heads and folks making out with mannequins weave in and out with Lil Wayne skateboarding and he and Big Sean dancing on the ceiling, the clip is one of Lil Wayne’s trippiest. And that’s before we’ve even gotten to the banquet where Big Sean and Lil Wayne are on the menu.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Jack White in &quot;Freedom at 21&quot;</p>

Jack White in "Freedom at 21"

Watch: Jack White and a hot cop don't stop in 'Freedom at 21' video

Prison: Not so bad

Leave it to director Hype Williams to suspend color along with reality and disbelief in an action-packed clip for Jack White. "Freedom at 21" is the celebration and dissent of women who do whatever the hell they please, and in this case, it's a hot cop who shirks her regular duties in order to turn. you. on.

White, as is his nature, is looking gaunt and borderline batsh*t in the video, the track culled from his eccentric solo debut "Blunderbuss." It's further evidence of the mystery that you never see the Third Man main man and Johnny Depp in the same room.

And, much like his "Sixteen Saltines" clip, this one leaves viewers on the edge of their seat, without resolve. White seemingly craves a violent death involving his car.

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