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<p>Breathe Carolina</p>

Breathe Carolina

Credit: Sean Hagwell

Song of the Day Exclusive: Breathe Carolina's 'Hit and Run' Wideboys remix

Monday morning dance-off

Over the last year, electro-pop rockers Breathe Carolina has made some huge strides. They earned a Hot 100 hit with "Blackout," made it to No. 2 on Top Electronic Albums with latest set "Hell Is What You Make It," joined the Warped Tour in a top spot and signed to Columbia.

Tomorrow (July 10), "Hell Is What You Make It" is getting a digital deluxe "Reloaded" reissue. Included in the set -- via iTunes -- is a hot revamp their dance floor banger "Hit and Run" by the Wideboys. For those playing at home, the British House collective Wideboys have left their stamp on remixes from Rihanna and Beyonce to Cascada and Eric Prydz.

Below, you can check out the exclusive premiere of the jam, which has adds more jagged edges and glittery stops to Breathe Carolina's wild-eyed formula.

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Nelsan Ellis in 'True Blood'

Nelsan Ellis is a lonely Lafayette on "True Blood"

Credit: HBO

'True Blood' recap: Death comes calling in 'Let's Boot and Rally'

A long-awaited return and a dramatic exit?

Is it wrong to feel a little bit excited we may have lost one member of the absurdly large "True Blood" ensemble tonight? Probably. But only because with the amount of fake outs and close calls on this show it's less likely someone was killed than just seriously injured.

Whoever did or didn't die this week, it was a typically busy, busy, busy episode with lots of movement on all story fronts, but little in the way of standout moments. Let's break it down...

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<p>Eric McCormack of &quot;Perception&quot;</p>

Eric McCormack of "Perception"

Credit: TNT

Interview: 'Perception' star Eric McCormack discusses his twisty TNT drama

'Will & Grace' veteran knows just how much to spoil
For months now, TNT has been urging critics to say as little as possible about the new drama "Perception," for fear of spoiling the show's various twists.
 
Because most of those twists center on Eric McCormack's character, Dr. Daniel Pierce, I was wary that when I got on the phone with the Emmy-winning actor he might be cagey or entirely silent about his new role. 
 
Fortunately, McCormack is a pro and he has found a very good approach to revealing and discussing certain aspects of the "Perception" backdrop without giving away the entire store.
 
"I would love the idea that I can tell people honestly that this is a show about a brilliant professor who gets involved with his ex-student and helps her solve crimes for the FBI," says McCormack, recently seen on Broadway in "The Best Man." "If that's all you know, I think there are some really fun, interesting, surprising things in store."
 
If that's all you want to know about "Perception," you probably don't want to read this interview before Monday's (July 9) premiere. 
 
If, however, you want to hear more about McCormack's approach to Pierce's eccentricities, his eagerness to serve as a producer on "Perception" and getting audiences to move beyond Will Truman, click through...
 
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<p>Sam Waterston in &quot;The Newsroom.&quot;</p>

Sam Waterston in "The Newsroom."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'The Newsroom' - 'The 112th Congress'

Will takes on the Tea Party

A review of tonight's "The Newsroom" coming up just as soon as the best analogy I can use is "Rocky II"...

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<p>Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan of &quot;Beauty and the Beast&quot;</p>

Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan of "Beauty and the Beast"

Credit: The CW

Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Beauty and the Beast'

The CW has given its best time slot to its worst new show

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show: "Beauty and the Beast" (The CW)
The Pitch: Unfortunately, the pitch isn't the problem, so I have nothing to say. They wanted to remake "Beauty and the Beast" for a new generation. I have no problems with that. But the pitch was probably "Let's do 'Beauty and the Beast,' but ours is gonna be more like 'Beauty and The Hot Guy With Anger Issues."
Quick Response: Like I said, the pitch wasn't the problem. The problem with "Beauty and the Beast" is the execution on absolutely every level. But even that, I can forgive. As I often say: Sometimes, pilots just don't work. It happens. And when a pilot fails as badly as "Beauty and the Beast" fails, you simply don't send it to series and you don't air it and you move on. In the pilot process, misses are part of the business. But I look at the "Beauty and the Beast" pilot and there's no element here that I can imagine future improvements being built around. I can't latch onto a source of hope. The adaptation of the basic premise is ludicrous and unimaginative: Something about military experiments and cross-species DNA and zzzzz. Kristin Kreuk, while unquestionably fulfilling the basic edict of playing the "beauty" in the title, is otherwise hilariously miscast. You know who won't laugh when her Catherine bursts through a door yelling, "NYPD. I've got a warrant"? Nobody, that's who. It's hilarious. And not intentionally so. And the interpretation of The Beast? Possibly even funnier than Kristin Kreuk as a badass Manhattan cop. As played by Jay Ryan -- yet another New Zealand actor with strong cheekbones and no clue how to do an American accent -- this alleged "beast" is basically unbeastly in every way. He has a scar, but not a scar that would impact his ability to be on the cover of Tiger Beat. Seriously, somebody with a bad haircut would be more aesthetically handicapped than this guy. Sometimes he kinda hulks out, but that's hilarious, too. The script is nothing but cliches strung together. A character actually walks in on a character believed to be dead and says, "You look pretty good for a dead guy." Ugh. If you're a writer in 2012 and you write a line like that without any irony or self-awareness... That's bad. And because nothing in the pilot really illustrates the story's core theme -- Because The Beast is a ripped hottie, Beauty hardly blinks before she starts getting naughty feelings in his presence -- somebody has to actually say, "Sometimes things aren't as they seem. You can't tell who the real monsters are." Does that mean that the hot vigilante hero might ACTUALLY turn out to be a beast, rather than just a misunderstood "Magic Mike" reject with some mutated genes? No. Probably not. The action in the present is cheap-looking and ridiculous. The mythology-driven stuff from Catherine's past (and Vincent's past) isn't involving in the slightest. I don't know what anybody involved, including usually sturdy director Gary Fleder and all of the top brass at The CW, were thinking here. Except that I do. They're ignoring the blunder and selling the brand. Yeah. That always works.
Desire To Watch Again: I watch a lot of bad stuff on The CW. I made it through a whole season of "Ringer" and all of the episodes of the new "Melrose Place." I'm also a faithful enough "The Vampire Diaries" viewer [and Phoebe Tonkin fan] that I stuck around after "TVD" to watch a full season of the generally average "The Secret Circle." I don't think I could watch another episode of "Beauty and the Beast." I guess I'll give "Beauty and the Beast" a second episode to see if there's any indication that anybody recognized the need for a massive overhaul, but that's it.

 

Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries

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<p>Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams of &quot;666 Park Avenue&quot;</p>

Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams of "666 Park Avenue"

Credit: ABC

Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'

The supernatural meets real estate porn in ABC's newest guilty pleasure

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show:"666 Park Avenue" (ABC)
The Pitch: "Rosemary's Luxury Apartment Complex" or "Don't Trust the Demons in 666 Park Avenue" or "Dirty Satanic Money." Take your pick, really.
Quick Response: ABC's "666 Park Avenue" isn't a great pilot and it's unlikely to become a particularly good show, but it has a reasonably high quotient of proficiently handled goofiness and, at least for the first 44 minutes, I was content to giggle along with the derivative lunacy. On one hand, there's something to be said for mystery, mythology and obfuscation, but TV audience have been burnt so many times recently by TV shows that promise answers, but never get the chance to get out of the gate. With "666 Park Avenue" we establish within seconds that Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams own a ritz Manhattan apartment and also possess a skillset of powers that almost certainly come either directly or variably indirectly from Satan or his Mexican Non-Union Equivalent [Either El Diablo or Senor Satano, I suppose]. It's "Needful Things" with Manhattan rent control and you don't waste time trying to get to the meat of the narrative. O'Quinn is, in particular, having a fantastic time with the lack of subterfuge. If he isn't twirling his mustache, it's only because creator Dan Wilcox wanted to leave some manifestations of malevolence to unfold in subsequent episodes. From Rachael Taylor to Dave Annable to Mercedes Masohn to Robert Buckley, the supporting cast is just full of actors and actresses whose strengths and limitations are perfectly designed for what is basically a real estate porn-driven supernatural soap opera. They all look terrific, but none of them is being asked to upstage the interior and exterior design, which get the true star treatment from pilot director Alex Graves. The address is the A-lister here and it's treated with every bit of the subtlety as its numeric associations imply. The "666 Park Avenue" pilot isn't full of genuine scares, but there are creepy things afoot. I guess my biggest reservation before crowning this as the season's best new guilty pleasure is that too much of what transpires will be familiar to anybody who has seen "Rosemary's Baby" or any of the countless films that have aped it over the years ["Devil's Advocate" would be a clear influence if "Devil's Advocate" weren't just a rehash of "Rosemary's Baby" itself]. The pilot is a *little* crazy, but I want it to be absolutely berserker. I want "666 Park Avenue" to follow the "Vampire Diaries" formula of eight-to-10 jaw-dropping surprises every episode. I want everything that transpires to make me go, "Did they really just do THAT?" as opposed to "Well sure. Of course that happened. Not bad." Even NBC's "Revolution," which I probably liked less than "666 Park Avenue" overall, had more moments that surprised me.
Desire To Watch Again: I think "666 Park Avenue" makes for a very compatible night of ABC programming with "Once Upon a Time" and "Revenge" and I'll say, without hesitation, that I preferred this pilot to last fall's "Revenge" pilot. It lacks the self-seriousness and literary pretense that irked me when "Revenge" rolled out. This is probably trash TV, but I think it ought to be fun trash and barring a real drop from the pilot, I'm assuming this'll be a Season Pass for me.

Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries

 

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<p>Taylor Kinney of &quot;Chicago Fire&quot;</p>

Taylor Kinney of "Chicago Fire"

Credit: NBC

Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'

Finally a drama for people who thought 'Rescue Me' was too complicated

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show: "Chicago Fire" (NBC)
The Pitch:"Let's do a network-friendly version of 'Rescue Me.'" "So 'Rescue Me' only without the mature themes, instantly vivid characters, boundary-pushing language and humor?" "Yup. Those weren't exactly essential, were they?" "As long as we've got fires, it's all good."
Quick Response: A couple years back -- I remember this and maybe one or two viewers do as well -- NBC had an EMT drama called "Trauma." It had strong production values and a very solid cast and it was the kind of show which, if it had had a cable show's interest in character, could have possibly worked. Instead, I tuned out after three or four increasingly generic episodes. [I heard "Trauma" got a little better towards the end, but I needed something sooner.] Well, the Dick Wolf produced "Chicago Fire" is like "Trauma," only even more desperately in need of a cable sensibility, especially given how well similar terrain was covered in "Rescue Me." Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, the "Chicago Fire" has at least one decently executed inferno sequence that might really be a nail-biter if you cared an iota about any of the characters whose lives are ostensibly in jeopardy. Dick Wolf dramas have often struggled with the need/imperative to display deserved respect for the people in difficult and honorable professions, while simultaneously capturing the colorful ways people in those professions act. Here, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas' script gets bogged down in firehouse jurisdictional squabbles and barely sketched character details and then wallows in an even more frustrating self-seriousness. Jesse Spencer, battling an accent that probably should be dropped entirely, suffers most from the pilot's earnestness, which allows him to be frequently upstaged by "Vampire Diaries" veteran Taylor Kinney, who has charisma to burn. Yeah. I went there. And i feel awful about it. Sorry. This will become The Taylor Kinney Show if Spencer doesn't watch out. I'd be OK with that, but I'd rather watch The Eamonn Walker Show and, as is the case in nearly everything he does, Walker is underserved in the pilot and destined to be underserved in the series. Inevitably. The pilot could also stand to get more use from the often interesting Monica Raymund and several other familiar faces. The pilot sent to critics was at least two or three minutes shorter than the usual network drama. The right two or three character-based minutes could actually make a huge difference.
Desire To Watch Again: Very little. Like i said, there are actors I like in "Chicago Fire," but not actors I like enough to weed through the generic procedural stuff in the hopes that the character moments are better done in subsequent episodes. The pilot isn't an exciting version on the Dick Wolf formula and the version of "Chicago Fire" that I'd watch regularly isn't the sort of show Wolf has ever wanted to make.

Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries

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<p>The cast of FOX's &quot;Ben and Kate&quot;</p>

The cast of FOX's "Ben and Kate"

Credit: FOX

Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'

FOX may have a charming accompaniment to 'Raising Hope'

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show: "Ben and Kate" (FOX)
The Pitch: "Would a show about an quirky blended family raising an unbearably cute child make a good pairing with 'Raising Hope'?" "Why yes. Yes it would."
Quick Response: "Ben and Kate" is an immediately charming companion piece to "Raising Hope" in FOX's Tuesday 8 p.m. hour. The operative words for the pilot are the one I just used -- "charming" -- and also probably "likable," because although I found "Ben and Kate" to be genially amusing, I don't think I laughed a single time in 24 minutes. I smiled a lot, though, and I came away feeling like I'd happily spend a half-hour per week with these people and that's sometimes enough. Dakota Johnson, as the half-eponymous Kate, is immediately amiable and although he may be working on a slightly more sitcom-y level than the people around him, Nat Faxon is amiable as well. Pint-sized thespian Maggie Jones is adorable, but also seems to have more comedic timing than many/most Hollywood moppets. Echo Kellum as Ben's best bud, and the pilot's lone nod to diversity, has an easy comic rhythm as well. My concern about "Ben and Kate" is its energy level, which isn't spectacularly high and the basic premise -- Brother who never grew up joins Sister who grew up too fast in raising a kid -- doesn't set up any kind of raised comedic stakes. Going forward, I think the most important element in the series could turn out to be Lucy Punch. The "Class" MVP raises the energy level every time she comes on screen, while simultaneously not exactly fitting into the ensemble. If they can find a way to organically work Punch in more regularly, "Ben and Kate" could evolve well. If they can't, "Ben and Kate" could suffer in comparison to the high level of ensuing wackiness in its lead-in and the subsequent drop-off. [I'm encouraged by "Community" favorites Garrett Donovan and Neil Goldman coming in as showrunners.]
Desire To Watch Again: Reasonably high. I like it when networks put shows I kinda wanna keep watching after shows I already watch. It makes my decisions much easier. I'd have stuck with "Ben and Kate" for a while anyway, but now I can give it definite time to grow. [TREND WATCH: "Ben and Kate," "The New Normal" and "How to Live With Your Parents Blah Blah Blah" all take last season's Quirky Female Lead template and add a cute child to the mix. Gilding the lily or valuable formula evolution?Viewers will make the call!]

 

Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries

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<p>Blake Lively sat down with us to discuss the difficult material she had to play in the new film 'Savages'</p>

Blake Lively sat down with us to discuss the difficult material she had to play in the new film 'Savages'

Credit: HitFix

Blake Lively talks about the emotional side of her threesome in 'Savages'

She's not just the pretty face we've seen so far in her work

It's safe to say that there are few people given less genuine respect in the Hollywood system than pretty girls.

Sure, they're given money and fame frequently, and sometimes for no reason other than how they look, but respect?  That's a whole different kind of currency, and that's where pretty girls often come up short.

You can see it in the headlines about them.  You can see it in the roles they are offered.  You can see it in the way they're churned through, given a few shots at things before they're replaced by the newer younger model.  And it really underlines the way Hollywood treats pretty people as a commodity, not as people.

Blake Lively has taken her fair share of critical abuse and then some.  She's also enjoyed some really warm and encouraging words about her work in "The Town."  I don't know her TV work at all, so I can only judge her by the films I've seen her in, and while I thought she was fine in "The Town," it's not a great role to judge anyone by.  It's too brief.  In a much larger role in "Green Lantern," I didn't care for her work at all, but that may well be because I think the film is a mess and the script a sham.

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<p>Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone's chemistry is one of the biggest draws of Marc Webb's new reboot 'The Amazing Spider-Man'</p>

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone's chemistry is one of the biggest draws of Marc Webb's new reboot 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

Credit: Sony Pictures

A second look at 'The Amazing Spider-Man' only heightens the frustration

We try to sort out our reaction to the divisive new chapter in the series

One thing became clear when we published our second look at "Prometheus" after the film arrived in theaters:  you seem more excited about the conversation when you've actually had a chance to see the movie, and you participate more.

Makes sense.  And on "The Amazing Spider-Man," I feel like there is a pretty wide range of reactions rolling in.  I wanted to take a second look at the film because I'm a little puzzled by some of the wildly positive reactions, and because I'd love to see the movie that other people seem to be seeing, the one that they love so much.

Let's be clear about something:  I don't begrudge anyone their enjoyment of the film.  I'm not writing about it a second time to sway anyone else or to lambast people who feel differently about it than I do.  Instead, I'm hoping to raise some questions here, dig deeper into why I feel the way I do, and try to sort out the reactions I'm hearing from others.

THE REBOOT QUESTION

The most common dismissal of my review so far is "You didn't want a reboot, so your opinion on the film isn't fair."  That's not true, though.  I don't have an inherent problem with the notion of creative solutions to the problems posed by trying to keep a franchise up and running for a decade or more.  I can't imagine any creative team that would want to do the same thing over and over and over and over without eventually getting to the point where they want to move on and do other things.  Something like the "Harry Potter" films come with an ending in mind, so there's always a sense of building to something, and there is a conclusion that means something eventually.

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<p>The Sandman, The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy all attempt to recruit Jack Frost to face a deadly threat in 'Rise Of The Guardians'</p>

The Sandman, The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy all attempt to recruit Jack Frost to face a deadly threat in 'Rise Of The Guardians'

Credit: Dreamworks Animation

New trailer for 'Rise Of The Guardians' introduces Chris Pine as the film's lead

From Captain Kirk to Jack Frost, Pine has a way with smart-ass heroes

Okay, now everything's starting to come into focus.

The new Dreamworks animated film "Rise Of The Guardians" is on the radar for the kids in my house in a big way.  We've been enjoying the William Joyce books that are already out there that introduce the world and the characters, and the first teaser trailer was enough to convince the kids that they were interested in a film with the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman.  You don't really have to sell the story at first because you've got such a big high concept idea to play with.

What the first trailer didn't show at all was the main character in the film, Jack Frost, voiced by Chris Pine.  In fact, that trailer actually removed Jack Frost from several key shots, which I found very odd.  My guess is that they didn't want to confuse people until they'd had a chance to explain the big idea.  Now that that's had time to settle in, they've released a second trailer for the film, and this time, it's all about Jack Frost.

In a way, his story arc in the film reminds me of Jason Bourne in the first "Bourne Identity," since Jack Frost has no real recollection of a life before he was Jack Frost.  The movie begins with him waking up in a frozen pond, under the ice, not sure how he got there, and much of his journey in the film involves figuring out who he is.

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<p>Quvenzhan&eacute; Wallis (left)&nbsp;and Dwight Henry in &quot;Beasts of the Southern&nbsp;Wild&quot;</p>

Quvenzhané Wallis (left) and Dwight Henry in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'

The film continues its expansion this week

It's been a while since I caught Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" at Sundance. I've been aching to give it another look ever since and it's been in limited release the past week, so soon enough, I'll do just that. Today, though, it's expanding a bit farther so more of you will be able to get a look for yourself. The film has won awards at Sundance, Cannes and the LA Film Fest and continues to appear formidable this year. We spoke to Zeitlin about it recently (with another chat with cinematographer Ben Richardson still to come) and also talked up young star Quvenzhané Wallis's awards prospects. If and when you get around to seeing the film, come on back here and let us know what you thought. You can also rate it in the tool above.

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