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<p>Ray Park's Darth Maul remains one of the most distinct pleasures you can take from a viewing of 'The Phantom Menace' in 3D</p>

Ray Park's Darth Maul remains one of the most distinct pleasures you can take from a viewing of 'The Phantom Menace' in 3D

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm Ltd.

Review: Film Nerd 2.0 gets a sneak peek at 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace' in 3D

Spoiler alert: one of us loved it

Well, it's still "The Phantom Menace."

That's pretty much all the review that matters.  Either you're okay going to see the first chapter of the "Star Wars" prequels, released to such heated response in 1999, or you're not.  The only new thing I can discuss is the 3D post-conversion, and that's another topic where it feels like everyone already knows their opinion about it before I say a word.

We're going to have some more content related to this re-release of the 1999 film this week, and all of it is going to be related to our Film Nerd 2.0 column.  After all, if we hadn't watched the movies for the column last year, and if Toshi hadn't started doing interviews for the column, there's a chance none of what happened last week would have happened.

Remember… I spent over a decade officially Banned From The Ranch.  While it upset me at first, it eventually just became a funny story, a battle scar from my long time writing about films online.  The short version of the story is that I learned about the banning in early 2000, when Harry and I were in San Francisco for a screening event, and we got invited out to Skywalker Ranch for a tour.  When we submitted names, everyone was cleared except me, and they explained that it was because I had reviewed the script for "The Phantom Menace" a year earlier.  Once that was established, I had to accept it, and I just resigned myself to never visiting the property or even being allowed to visit ILM's facility at the Presidio.

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<p>A scene from international competition winner &quot;Free&nbsp;Men&quot;</p>

A scene from international competition winner "Free Men"

Credit: Pyramide Productions

Santa Barbara fest announces jury winners

Traversing documentary, independent and international film

The winners of the 27th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival were announced yesterday, celebrating unique short-form, international, documentary and narrative film.

Kris participated in the jury alongside actor/comedian Dave Koechner, actor/director Brad Hall, actor/writer W. Earl Brown, actor Anthony Zerbe and his wife Arnette Zerbe, SBIFF originator Phyllis de Picciotto, director Glenn Jordan, actor Tim Matheson and writer/ director Perry Lang.

“Each year, SBIFF strives to feature film from all ranges of the ‘cine-spectrum,'" SBIFF executive Roger Durling said in the press release. "Successfully building upon this tradition of excellence, the lineup for the 27th edition of the festival showcased a particularly captivating yet challenging collection of works."

Of the hundreds screened, the following were the offerings that were collectively deemed outstanding in their given category...

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Train rolls on with new album, 'California 37'

Train rolls on with new album, 'California 37'

Set kicks off with first single, 'Drive By'

Rock group Train is keeping up the Golden State theme. Following 2009’s multi-platinum “Save Me, San Francisco,” the band returns with “California 37” on April 17.

The album, as well as first single, the infectious “Drive By,” was produced in San Francisco and Los Angeles with Butch Walker and Espionage. The tune has skyrocketed up the charts and is already at No. 17 on the adult top 40.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>The cast of &quot;The River&quot;&nbsp;gets wet.</p>

The cast of "The River" gets wet.

Credit: ABC

'The River' - 'Magus/Marbeley': Beyond the valley of the dolls

Back-to-back episodes give a strong sense of what the horror series is about

"The River" just finished its two-hour premiere. I posted my review of the series yesterday, and I have a few specific thoughts on these two episodes coming up just as soon as the doll tree has friends in Sumatra...

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<p>Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson)&nbsp;works the grill on &quot;Justified.&quot;</p>

Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) works the grill on "Justified."

Credit: FX

'Justified' - 'The Devil You Know': Off to see the wizard

Dickie's on the run, Devil makes a move and Limehouse is waiting

A review of tonight's "Justified" coming up just as soon as I can sense a disturbance in the Force...

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"The Real Housewives of Orange County"

 "The Real Housewives of Orange County"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Orange County' - 'Stranger Things Have Happened'

The girls get back together for a surprisingly tame season debut

After last season's acrimonious reunion show, you'd think the ladies of the O.C. would have plenty of pent-up hostility to vent for this season's debut. Instead, we get nicey-nice meetings, tediously staged coffees and a brand new housewife -- whose main attribute, according to the other girls, is that she's classy. Classy? Who wants classy? We want a spitfire who knows how to throw red wine, hurl insults and work an unconvincing hair extension! Really, this could not be a more stultifyingly dull season debut if it was on NPR. 

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<p>Matthew Morrison of &quot;Glee&quot;</p>
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Matthew Morrison of "Glee"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Glee' - 'The Spanish Teacher'

Tenure fights, frozen embryos, and Ricky Martin. Just another week in Lima.
There’s a seriously dark, twisted, depressing, and nihilistic heart beating deep within “Glee.” It’s not as aspect of the show that I loath. In fact, I usually like it when it surfaces in the show. It’s weird and jarring when it does so, to be sure. But then again, so were those shoes tonight during the “Bamboleo”/”Hero” medley. A lot of readers here at HitFix have railed in reviews past of both “Glee” and “Fringe” that I apparently talk about what I want the show to be, rather than what it actually is. I wouldn’t keep bringing up “Glee”’s heart of darkness if it didn’t reveal itself every so often.
 
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<p>Dan Auerbach</p>

Dan Auerbach

Credit: AP Photo

Today in New Music Videos: Black Keys, St. Vincent, Band of Skulls and Niki & the Dove

Annie Clark's a china doll, the Black Keys rock New York

Here's a rundown of some standout videos and tracks for the day, from Black Keys, St. Vincent, Niki & the Dove and Band of Skulls.

Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys hasn't just been hard at work on Dr. John's next album. He and Patrick Carney have been rocking audiences in support of latest "El Camino" in the last few months, with the below footage culled from a raucous set in New York. I find the setting disagreeable -- Webster Hall isn't even near one of the best venues in the city -- but the lights do a lot of doctoring Webster's walls for this vibrant scene.

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<p>Parker Posey talks about 'Price Check' during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.</p>

Parker Posey talks about 'Price Check' during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Parker Posey on 'Price Check' and the 'star-driven' world of indie cinema in 2012

A strikingly melancholy conversation with the independent film icon

PARK CITY - Is it fitting that Awards Campaign's last report from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is an interview with festival legend Parker Posey? 

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Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum of "The Vow"

 Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum of "The Vow"

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum take 'The Vow'

Channing's talks about stripping for his next project

In "The Vow," Paige (Rachel McAdams) forgets the last five years of her life after a car accident -- including her husband Leo (Channing Tatum). I asked McAdams and Tatum about what they'd most like to forget, and asked Tatum about his new movie, "Magic Mike," and how he feels about returning to stripping (on the big screen, at least). 

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<p>Robert Pattinson in &quot;Bel Ami,&quot; which will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.</p>

Robert Pattinson in "Bel Ami," which will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Previewing the 2012 Berlin Film Festival

Is there another 'A Separation' or 'Pina' in this year's lineup?

Tomorrow afternoon, I head off to a below-freezing Germany to cover the Berlin International Film Festival -- or the Berlinale, as you prefer -- for the third year running. As with Sundance, critics will be counting on the movies to provide a little heat against the February chill, even if they don't yet know which ones. Berlin is among the hardest of major festivals to second-guess in terms of highlights: though it ostensibly forms an elevated triad of European festivals with Cannes and Venice, it can no longer compete with its sunnier counterparts for major arthouse blockbusters. As Cannes hogs the holiest auteurs and Venice claims some of the fall awards hopefuls, the Berlinale programmers have to dig a little deeper -- and in turn, the critics there have to look a little harder.

After a slight slump at the start of the decade, the fest's quieter approach is beginning to reap rewards. Not that many people were anticipating Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation" before it premiered in last year's Berlin Competition; even during the first press screening, however, the electric ripple of surprise and excitement in the audience was palpable, as it was clear a major arthouse story was being born.

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<p>Adele in &quot;Rolling in the Deep&quot;</p>

Adele in "Rolling in the Deep"

Predicting the 2012 Grammy Awards: Song of the Year

Adele and Kanye West face off

The Grammy for Song of the Year is one of the most coveted awards. Unlike Record of the Year, which salutes the performer and producer, Song of the Year goes to the songwriter. Therefore, a good rule of thumb when trying to differentiate between the two often-confused categories is to think about how the nominated song sounds stripped down to just a singer and a piano or acoustic guitar. Does it still work on that level with all bells and whistles removed? If so, it’s a good candidate. Below are this year’s contenders.

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