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Watch: Jonathan Liebesman talks 'Wrath of the Titans' and 'Ninja Turtles'

'Wrath' director discusses improved 3D and reassures 'TMNT' fans
New York, NY - HitFix's Drew McWeeny and Guy Lodge agree: "Wrath of the Titans" is the rare sequel that improves on the original source material. Were I to write a review, I'd also salute the improvements from 2010's "Clash of the Titans."
 
Last weekend, I sat down with director Jonathan Liebesman to discuss his approach to storytelling on the big budget sequel. 
 
One of the particular goals for the "Battle Los Angeles" and "Darkness Falls" director, as you will hear, was overhauling the 3D, which was a much maligned afterthought on "Clash," but became a central concern in planning and producing "Wrath."
 
Liebesman also discusses finding the proper balance between spectacle and the father-son story at the center of "Wrath."
 
And, finally, because it couldn't go undiscussed, Liebesman talks about the "Ninja Turtles" movie he's going to be directing down the road, a project that has generated quite a bit of controversy in recent weeks, at least in certain circles. 
 
"Wrath of the Titans" is now in theaters.
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<p>Dirty Projectors</p>

Dirty Projectors

Listen: Dirty Projectors release new track 'Gun Has No Trigger'

Bjork had an effect on her 'Orca' collaborators

Bjork and the DPs collaborated on "Mount Wittenberg Orca" and now, more than ever, the Icelandic star's influence on frontman Dave Longstreth's voice is heard like never before on new track "Gun Has No Trigger." I enjoy the boldness of his biggest notes here, and that cold, surreal phrasing. I also continue to applaud the return of his backing singers Amber Coffman, Haley Dekle and Angel Deradoorian who sing like the women that they are (as opposed to sounding like little girls).

But don't look for the hooky, boppy arrangement like those that were all over 2009's "Bitte Orca." This is a much sadder, simpler track.Longstreth told SPIN to expect as much.

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<p>Wayne Coyne with some heady fwends</p>

Wayne Coyne with some heady fwends

Credit: Warner Bros.

Interview: Flaming Lips frontman talks 'Heady Fwends,' recording for Ke$ha

Wayne Coyne talks about Beck and Jimmy Page, Billie Joe Armstrong and McDonald's

The Flaming Lips tapped into some seriously weird talent for their forthcoming collaborative album “The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends” -- weird, not just in type, but the breadth. The Oklahoma-based rock band put their heads together with noise rockers Lightning Bolt for something called “ I'm Working At NASA On Acid,” but then flipped a cover of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” with Erykah Badu. Other big names like Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Yoko Ono and Nick Cave grace the track list of “Fwends,” but it was Ke$ha that surprised Lips frontman Wayne Coyne the most.

“She’s a f*cking freak,” he told me in our interview this week. “She is so much fun and so creative and she just goes for it.”
 
The pop singer is actually a huge fan of the band, and called Coyne herself to make the connection. After months of back and forth, he went to her house, they banged out apocalyptically inclined “2012” (“It’s what you’d think it’d sound like”) and even got to work on three or four “other ideas” over a day and a night, stuff for the Lips and stuff that may potentially make the cut for Ke$ha’s next album. They already have another session lined up.
 
“I wouldn’t really approach people just based on ‘You’re a big pop star.’ And I’m not saying I want to be a producer. We’re just gonna get together again just before Easter and probably do three or four more ideas. And then I’ll take those to my people and we’ll f*ck with them. I don’t know if anything ends up on her record, I just loved working with her, she gave it her all.”
 
Turns out that almost everybody who contributed songs to “Fwends” put at least little bit of themselves into the album… literally. As widely reported last week, each contributing artists’ blood will be incorporated into extremely limited edition releases, dispersed into “the middle of the record.”
 
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<p>&nbsp;Usher</p>

 Usher

Credit: AP Photo

Usher turns reflective on new album, 'Looking For Myself'

New set streets June 12

Usher will release his seventh studio album, “Looking For Myself,” on June 12.

The album, which will be available in standard and deluxe versions,  was preceded by first single, “Climax,” a smooth R&B, sexy jam that sits at No. 40 this week on the Billboard Hot 100. Producers on the album include Swedish mastermind and Britney Spears' collaborator Max Martin, Diplo, who produced "Climax"; Salaam Remi, Rico Love and Jim Jonsin.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&nbsp;Jennifer Lopez</p>

 Jennifer Lopez

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull percolate on 'Dance Again'

Will it match the success of 'On the Floor?'

We’ve been getting snippets of Jennifer Lopez’s “Dance Again” featuring Pitbull all week and today we get the full song. And it lives up to its title:  You'll want to put on your dancing shoes and dance again.

The song isn’t as interesting musically as the pair’s  previous hit collaboration, “On the Floor” but it is more consistent in its commitment to being a full-on dance twirler—it percolates in a pleasing pop way, as opposed to throbs —It’s totally charming, especially the "woo..ooh" background singing.

Both Pitbull and  Lopez want the same things: to dance and love because if this were the perfect world they long for, we would all be able to go straight from the dance floor  to the bedroom— and look as awesome as she does doing it without our mascara running.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Jack (Alec Baldwin)&nbsp;interrupts Liz (Tina Fey)&nbsp;in mid-meditation on &quot;30 Rock.&quot;</p>

Jack (Alec Baldwin) interrupts Liz (Tina Fey) in mid-meditation on "30 Rock."

Credit: NBC

'30 Rock' - 'The Shower Principle': 30 Rock already did it!

Liz realizes her life never changes, while Jack finds salvation in sofas

A review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I pants Deepak Chopra while Craig T. Nelson tapes it...

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<p>Julia Roberts and Nathan Lane in &quot;Mirror Mirror.&quot;</p>

Julia Roberts and Nathan Lane in "Mirror Mirror."

Credit: Relativity Media

Review: Delightful 'Mirror Mirror' restores magic to fairytale revisionism

Tarsem's latest opens in theaters today

"I bet you think you know this story. You don't -- the real one's much more gory." With this crisp opening couplet, Roald Dahl announced his imminent desanctification of the Grimm Brothers' "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," one of six done-to-death fairytales given a black-comic makeover in his 1982 bestseller "Revolting Rhymes."

Dahl's book was itself a tangy kid-lit response to Angela Carter's ingenious adult sexualization of that dusty literary canon in her essential 1979 volume "The Bloody Chamber"; working at opposite ends of the scale, both writers were making a concerted effort to reclaim these darkly symbolic stories, originally targeted to grown-ups, from their sweetened, child-oriented colonization by Disney. Bar the occasional valiant but underseen effort, however -- Neil Jordan's Carter adaptation "The Company of Wolves" among them -- it was a while before Hollywood arrived at a similarly subversive memo, particularly as Disney revived their commercial fortunes at the end of the 1980s by returning to the pages of Andersen and Perrault, their traditionalist approach interrupted only by happier endings.

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<p>Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos return for &quot;The Killing.&quot;</p>

Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos return for "The Killing."

Credit: AMC

Review: AMC's 'The Killing' returns, slightly improved, for season 2

The plot is still a mess, but at least the characterization is getting better
Late in the two-hour season two premiere of "The Killing" (Sunday night at 8 on AMC), the show's heroine, Seattle cop Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) laments several mistakes she's made and says, "I wish I had known the truth."
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Watch: Toby Kebbell explains how his 'Wrath of the Titans' sidekick is more Chewbacca than Jar-Jar

'RocknRolla' veteran shares why the sequel improves on 'Clash'
NEW YORK, NY - When it comes to running around cinematic deserts in togas, Toby Kebbell's an old pro, coming to "Wrath of the Titans" following roles in "Alexander" and "Prince of Persia."
 
While Kebbell may be a sword-and-sandals veteran, what he brings to "Wrath of the Titans" is new, or at least something that was missing from "Clash of the Titans." As Agenor, half-God son of Poseidon, Kebbell has a wounded pride, but he also provides a comedic energy, a spark that won't surprise fans of Kebbell's turn as Johnny Quid in Guy Ritchie's "RocknRolla."
 
I sat down with Kebbell over the weekend to talk about the kind of sidekick he wanted Agenor to be -- he worried the script made him seem too much like Jar-Jar Binks, while star Sam Worthington compared him to Chewbacca. We also discussed the improved 3D in the sequel, why he wasn't a fan of the 1981 "Clash of the Titans" and what it was like brawling with Edgar Ramirez.
 
Unfortunately, our full conversation about his cinematic beard, how it's all natural and how eager he was to shave it when it was done, happened before the cameras started rolling. I'm sure you're disappointed.
 
"Wrath of the Titans" opens on Friday, March 30.
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<p>Jason Isaacs in &quot;Awake.&quot;</p>

Jason Isaacs in "Awake."

Credit: NBC

'Awake' - 'Oregon': The grass is always greener

Britten's cross-timeline 'hunches' come back to bite him while chasing a serial killer

A review of tonight's "Awake" coming up just as soon as I learn a hundred dollar lesson...

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<p>The Mars Volta</p>

The Mars Volta

Review: The Mars Volta tighten up on 'Noctourniquet'

Word salad, tangled rhythms and some slow jams for the ladies

Making your way through a new Mars Volta record isn’t that it's always a challenge; there’s just always the promise of density and compositions that take some digestion. With newest “Noctourniquet,” there’s also bigger bevy of memorable refrains than before, with fewer diatribes. The songs are singular and tighter, too. This may piss some fans off.

Omar Rodríguez-López again arranges each track like a choir of power tools, this time with drummer Deantoni Parks (of KUDU) battling melodies with avant, behind- or off-beat flavors or with a metronomic exactness. I mention the importance of this new rhythm member because of the tumult of tracks like standout “Dyslexicon” or bendy “The Malkin Jewel.” Toms tangle up with bass lines, with singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s trill and hooligan-yelps jutting into the machine like brambles, even on the slower tunes.
 
And of those, there are a few in the 13 tracks.
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<p>John Goodman and Danny Pudi in &quot;Community.&quot;</p>

John Goodman and Danny Pudi in "Community."

Credit: NBC

'Community' - 'Digital Exploration of Interior Design': The spy who loved Subway

Troy and Abed fight again, while Britta falls in love with a corporation

A review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I'm flown to Dubai to stay in an underwater hotel...

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