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<p>Emmanuelle Riva gives a harrowing and beautiful performance in Michael Haneke's heartbreaking 'Love,' one of the films in competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival.</p>

Emmanuelle Riva gives a harrowing and beautiful performance in Michael Haneke's heartbreaking 'Love,' one of the films in competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Credit: Sony PIctures Classics

Review: Michael Haneke's 'Love' expertly charts the dissolution of self

In what may be his most human film, Haneke captures a couple in their twilight

CANNES - For the vast majority of his career, Michael Haneke has had a well-deserved reputation as a master of cinematic cruelty.  His best films have felt like cruel pranks on his audience, underscored by a deep contempt for human weakness.  I have always had an uneasy relationship with his work, admiring him on a technical level but afraid of each new film and the razor's edge contained within.

"Love," his new film, made its debut today in competition at the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival, and while it is unmistakably his, this may be the single most humane picture he's ever made.  Beautiful and sad, the film is essentially a two person piece, with Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva playing a French husband and wife in their twilight years.  The film opens with police breaking down the door of their apartment.  Covering their mouths and noses to protect from a smell, they search the apartment, finding one bedroom door sealed with tape.  When they finally get it open, they find a body on the bed, dead and covered in flowers.  With the next scene, Haneke takes us back in time to the beginning of the process that ended in that room, and it is a crushing experience he has crafted.

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Jacqueline Laurita in 'Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Jacqueline Laurita in 'Real Housewives of New Jersey'

Credit: Andrei Jackamets/Bravo

Recap: 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' - 'Spoiled Sports'

What happens when childish adults have to deal with an actual child behaving badly

Last week "Real Housewives of New Jersey" was all about ongoing battles between Teresa and her brother Joe.

This week's aftermath isn't quite as heated, but the episode's drama comes from a surprise source -- someone a lot younger than the usual suspects.

Let's just hope this doesn't get anyone thinking about a "Real Housewives: The Next Generation" spinoff. We don't need that. Seriously...

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<p>Don (Jon Hamm)&nbsp;and Joan (Christina Hendricks)&nbsp;in &quot;Mad Men.&quot;</p>

Don (Jon Hamm) and Joan (Christina Hendricks) in "Mad Men."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Mad Men' - 'Christmas Waltz'

Don takes Joan for a drive, and an old friend returns with a new look

A review of tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as you find a way to define those pronouns...

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<p>Lena Dunham and Lou Taylor Pucci in &quot;Girls.&quot;</p>

Lena Dunham and Lou Taylor Pucci in "Girls."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Girls' - 'The Return'

Her parents' 30th anniversary shows a different side of both Hannah and 'Girls'

A review of tonight's "Girls" coming up just as soon as I am from New York, and therefore just naturally interesting...

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An Appreciation of The Bee Gees' Robin Gibb and his magical musical gifts
Credit: AP Photo/Tracy Brand

An Appreciation of The Bee Gees' Robin Gibb and his magical musical gifts

Will anyone ever sound as heartbreaking as on 'I Started A Joke?'

Robin Gibb, who died today at 62 after a long battle with cancer, had a unique voice so filled with trembling, pure beauty that it had the ability to pierce your heart and break it in half.

As a third of the Bee Gees, and twin to Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb and his other brother Barry, shared lead vocals in the group that started in their native Australia in the late ‘50s, but it is Robin’s voice that dominated those early singles that so clearly set the brothers on their path to superstardom.

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<p>Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty in &quot;Sherlock.&quot;</p>

Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty in "Sherlock."

Credit: Courtesy of ©Hartswood Films for Masterpiece

Season finale review: 'Sherlock' - 'The Reichenbach Fall'

Moriarty attacks everything Sherlock cares about most

A few quick thoughts on how "Sherlock" season 2 wrapped up just as soon as I pose as your hostage...

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<p>Rose Leslie as Ygritte in &quot;Game of Thrones.&quot;</p>

Rose Leslie as Ygritte in "Game of Thrones."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Game of Thrones' - 'The Prince of Winterfell'

As we get close to the finale, is the show moving quickly enough?

A review of tonight's "Game of Thrones" coming up just as soon as I marry for a bridge...

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<p>Daniel Craig as James Bond in &quot;Skyfall&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig as James Bond in "Skyfall"

Credit: Sony Pictures

License to brood: James Bond and Batman wrestle internal and external demons

What will 'Skyfall' and 'The Dark Knight Rises' say about the contemporary hero?

Earlier today I was pursuing the Interwebz for something to jump out and scream “write about me” when I was struck by the image of the new “Skyfall” poster beside a still from “The Dark Knight Rises.” The first teaser trailer for the new Bond film is set to go online early Monday morning and there have already been several “previews” of said trailer released via the journalists who were treated to a glimpse at this year’s CinemaCon.

There is a slight trailer spoiler ahead so if you’d prefer to avoid that please click through and skip to the paragraph following the one below.

According to Cinema Blend’s description, 007 is in the midst of a revelatory word association game throughout the teaser. When presented with the word “Agent,” he responds with “Provocateur” (which indeed provokes a number of theories about his meaning). The most revealing and fascinating bit of word play, though, happens when the prompt “Murder” is met with the terse “Employment.”

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<p>Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur co-star in the largely inert new film 'Beyond The Hills,' one of the most disappointing films of this year's Cannes Film Festival.</p>

Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur co-star in the largely inert new film 'Beyond The Hills,' one of the most disappointing films of this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Credit: Sundance Selects/Wild Bunch

Review: 'Beyond The Hills' wants to incite but only manages to bore

Cristian Mungiu's new film simply can't connect the dots

CANNES - Cristian Mungiu arrives at Cannes this year as a sort of conquering hero, finally bringing a full-length follow-up to his breakthrough hit, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," which won the 2007 Palme d'Or.  This is only his third film, and all three have been invited to the festival, which certainly makes it seem like this is a home for him and for what it is he has to say as a filmmaker.  Considering it's taken him five years to make his third film, it's safe to say that expectations were running high when "Beyond The Hills" made its debut two days ago.

It is, then, no fun to report that "Beyond The Hills" feels like a pretty serious misstep, overthought and overwrought, with some big ideas buried beneath a leaden approach and a cast that simply can't enliven material that never manages to lurch to life.  I don't fault him for ambition, and I can certainly see how the film's core idea could be a springboard for great drama.  It just doesn't feel like the execution pays off any of the material's potential.

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<p>Mick Jagger and some musical friends on &quot;Saturday Night Live&quot;</p>

Mick Jagger and some musical friends on "Saturday Night Live"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Mick Jagger

Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters and other guests close the 'SNL' season
Here we are at the end of another season of “Saturday Night Live,” aka “the latest season that just proved for most people the show isn’t what it used to be, even though that particular version of the show only lives in selective, imperfect memory in the first place.” Pulling double duty tonight is host/musical guest Mick Jagger. Accompanying Jagger musically will be Jeff Beck, The Foo Fighters and Arcade Fire. That’s like “The Avengers” of guitar-based rock. And yes, I just saw “The Avengers” tonight for the second time, so I might accuse a lot of sketches tonight of lacking conviction. Just thought I’d preface that up front.
 
Once more unto the recapping breach!
 
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<p>Bono</p>

Bono

Credit: Marion Curtis/AP

Music Power Rankings: Taylor Swift, Bono, Britney Spears and Justin Bieber

How does String Cheese incident make the list?

1. Bono: As if he weren’t rich enough, with the Facebook IPO, the U2 frontman becomes a billionaire, and the world's richest musician. If he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for, we’re sure he can buy it now.

2. Taylor Swift: Swifty donates $4 million to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the largest ever by an artist. In perhaps a  sign of the times, Eonline.com’s headline about the generous gift?: “Taylor Swift Grabs Dinner with Dianna Agron, Donates $4 Million to Country Music Hall of Fame.” If she had made the donation in a bikini would that have been enough to top Agron?

3. Jay-Z: As if being a new dad weren’t enough, he gives birth to his own event, the Budweiser Made In America festival, to be held over, appropriately enough, Labor Day.

4).Britney Spears: She confirmed her position as a judge for “The X Factor” for a reportedly $15 million. Simon Cowell continues to go after the youth audience by also enlisting teenager Demi Lovato, who’s not a girl, not yet a woman.

5. One Direction: The British band is about to start on its sold-out summer tour in the U.S. Also sold out? The group’s US summer tour is already sold out and the band just sold out a dozen shows at London’s 02 Arena.The only direction this boy band knows is up.

6. String Cheese Incident: The jam band, who is feuding with TicketMaster, gave 50 fans (presumably very trusted ones) $20,000 to buy tickets , which the band will now sale through its website at face value so fans don’t have to turn to scalpers. That’s how you have a loyal following without ever having a huge radio audience.

7. American Idol: For all the word about the show losing its prominence, it’s about to have back-to-back No. 1s on the Billboard 200 as Adam Lambert’s “Trespassing” gets ready to take the place of Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away” on the Billboard 200.

8. Amanda Palmer: We were raving about her a few weeks ago when she’d raised nearly $400,000 through Kickstarter, now she’s passed $750,000.  That’s quite the recording budget...or the equivalent of what Dr. Dre has spent per month on "Detox." 

9. Justin Bieber:
The teen titan invests in Spotify. Is he the next Sean Parker?

10. Donna Summer:
She took her last dance on May 17, but her music will live on forever.

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<p>Melvil Poupaud in &quot;Laurence Anyways.&quot;</p>

Melvil Poupaud in "Laurence Anyways."

Credit: MK2 Productions

Review: Entering the exquisite void of 'Laurence Anyways'

Canadian director Xavier Dolan brings his third film to Cannes aged just 23

CANNES - Three feature films into his career, I rather imagine that high-haired Québécois wunderkind Xavier Dolan is getting a little tired of hearing the word "precocious" directed at his work -- though one rather has to accept this occupational hazard when you not only make your debut feature at the age of 19, but get to premiere it at Cannes Directors' Fortnight rather than in your mom's living room.

Having now reached the ripe old age of 23, Dolan is a known quantity these days, his signature confident and identifiable, his reach expanding within reason. A notably young auteur as opposed to a mere upstart, he can probably shed the label any time he chooses to stop making films that are so very, very precocious -- though "Laurence Anyways," his sporadically rapturous and less sporadically maddening new effort, suggests precocity is a quality than can actually increase with age.  

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