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<p>&nbsp;Carrie Underwood</p>

 Carrie Underwood

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Carrie Underwood has a few words of warning on 'Good Girl'

Former 'American Idol' champ belts it out on new single

The sassy Carrie Underwood is back. We last heard her lamenting faded love with Brad Paisley on their duet, “Remind Me,” but here she is taking no prisoners.

On “Good Girl,” the first single from her forthcoming untitled fourth studio album out May 1, hand claps and a rock guitar usher in Underwood’s warning to a girl that the man she thinks is a catch is a cad. It’s a fun, uptempo song that’s full of shimmies and shudders: “Better back away honey, you don’t know where he’s been,” she cautions. Heartbreak looms, even if the pretty young thing can’t see it.

[More after the jump...]


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<p>Louis CK</p>

Louis CK

Credit: AP Photo

Louis CK, The Roots and the Afghan Whigs lead U.S. All Tomorrow's Parties fest

Jersey City hosting indie fest for a second year, with the Make-Up, Jose Gonzalez and more

The U.S. version of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival is fully emphasizing their comedy programming with one major headliner this year: Louis C.K.

The ATP event -- dubbed I'll Be Your Mirror USA 2012 in full -- features the legendary comedian sharing the marquee with newly reunited The Afghan Whigs, "Jimmy Fallon" house band and vet hip-hop troupe The Roots, reformed Dischord post-rockers The Make-Up, Jose Gonzalez and the Dirty Three.

ATP USA, founded in 2008, returns to Jersey City, N.J. for a second year, running over the weekend of Sept. 21-23. Pre-sale for weekend passes has already begun, while general onsale for single-day and weekend passes starts on Monday (Feb. 27). More info on ticket-buying can be had here.

Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs was curator for part of the line-up and, while rock remains the running theme of the fest, his selections were pretty diverse. Louis CK, Dulli's own band and the Roots made his cut; Gonzalez -- who I interviewed last year about returning to solo songwriting -- will be likely performing lots of new material. Acts like Gutter Twins member Lanegan, Sharon Van Etten and the Dirty Three all have new albums from 2012 to work off of; the Dirtbombs will be playing their soul and Motown covers set "Ultraglide in Black" (2001) in its entirety. Soul will certainly be the them of Charles Bradley's spot.

The Make-Up have reformed especially for I'll Be Your Mirror; Louis CK makes very, very rare festival appearances these days. The Criterion Collection will be in charge of the movie programming again this year.

See you in the Mirror.

Chosen By Greg Dulli:

The Afghan Whigs
Louis C.K.
The Roots
Jose Gonzalez
Mark Lanegan Band
Dirty Three
The Antlers
The Dirtbombs performing "Ultraglide In Black"
Sharon Van Etten
Quintron And Miss Pussycat
Charles Bradley And The Extraordinaires
Dj Questlove
Reigning Sound
+ More To Be Confirmed

Chosen By ATP:

The Make-Up (Reforming for I'll Be Your Mirror)
Hot Snakes
The Magic Band
Thee Oh Sees
Factory Floor
Death Grips
I Break Horses
+ More To Be Confirmed

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Nicki Minaj comes out guns blazing on new song, 'Roman Reloaded'

Title tune references Grammys and features an X-rated Lil Wayne rap

Nicki Minaj may have announced that the title of her new album would be “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded”  months ago, but it’s clear that the title track was just recorded.

Want to know just how fresh the tune is? The full-on rap song (forget about any of the pop/electro featured on the yummy “Starships”) references her Feb. 12 performance on the Grammys:  “You mad cause I’m at the Grammys with the Vatican” she says about about 50 seconds in.  The production is hard-core with a  militant beat throughout the mid-tempo track and a fuzzy hum in the background to heighten the anxiety.

She’s taking “reloaded” quite seriously as we hear the spinning of a gun barrel several times as threatens to “Columbine these hos.” That’s an unfortunate use of turning the tragic event into a verb, first off, and as a reference point.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Steven Soderbergh at the 2001 Oscars</p>

Steven Soderbergh at the 2001 Oscars

Credit: AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian

My favorite Oscar win: Steven Soderbergh for 'Traffic'

On final approach, we look back at some of Oscar’s finer moments

Roth’s column three days ago, recognizing the Academy’s genius in awarding Kevin Kline’s performance in “A Fish Called Wanda” made me reflect on many of the great Oscar surprises since then.

Unfortunately, this process also made me realize that I’m usually not pleased when the Academy throws us a curveball. Indeed, since Kline’s extraordinary victory in 1988, there have been surprisingly few Oscar upsets I’ve found satisfying.

This is not to say there are not exceptions to this. Tilda Swinton becoming an Oscar winner for her utter intensity in “Michael Clayton,” for instance, will always remain a highlight of the 2007 show for me. The Academy’s recognizing the future classic status of “The Usual Suspects” by rewarding Kevin Spacey and Christopher McQuarrie is another finer moment. Three 6 Mafia’s joyous reaction to deservedly winning for “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” will be something I’ll never forget.

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<p>Demi&aacute;n Bichir in &quot;A&nbsp;Better Life&quot;</p>

Demián Bichir in "A Better Life"

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Oscar Guide 2011: Best Actor

Demián Bichir, George Clooney, Jean Dujardin, Gary Oldman and Brad Pitt square off

(The Oscar Guide will be your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 26, with the Best Picture finale on Saturday, February 25.)

On Sunday, five of our leading men will don their tuxes and walk down the red carpet at the top of their profession. Earlier this awards season, it seemed as though this would be a battle between two A-list movie stars. Since then, however, a silent Frenchman has proven himself very adept at charming everyone in sight, and will be difficult to beat.

After predictable nominations for leading turns in three Best Picture nominees, the Academy threw us some curveballs in this category. It ignored another movie star with an Oscary-role in a maligned film directed by a legend, and an up-and-coming British actor who topped off an incredible year with a tremendously acclaimed, if controversial, performance. Instead, we find in the final five a Mexican actor, who has rarely acted in English, in a small message film, and a British stalwart whose nomination-less status had become infamous.

The nominees are…

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Listen: Justin Bieber joins Far East Movement's new 'Live My Life'

Listen: Justin Bieber joins Far East Movement's new 'Live My Life'

With all the subtelty of a G6

I warned you yesterday about the imminent arrival of two Justin Bieber singles. This is one of them.

The 17-year-old singer is all over the hook on Far East Movement's new "Live My Life," produced by RedOne It sounds like one long radio station bumper.

"Live My Life" will be available to digital retail starting Feb. 28, with a "Party Rock" remix by LMFAO's Redfoo on the way.

Far East Movement, who made their mark with "Like a G6," have a new album on the way: "Dirty Bass." It will feature "Live My Life" plus "Jello," which made its bow earlier this month. Producers like Bangladesh, Dallas Austin, the Stereotypes and Cherry Cherry Boom Boom will feature.

A music video for this single will be shot in the coming weeks. I'm sure it will be... arty.

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 83 -- Final Oscar predictions in all categories!

Oscar Talk: Ep. 83 -- Final Oscar predictions in all categories!

Which four fields cause dissent?

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

It's all come down to this. Pencils down, the music has stopped, find a chair, etc. The Academy Awards are a mere two days away and we're entering Oscar weekend. Before you know it, it'll all be a memory. So let's see what's on the docket today…

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<p>Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams are composing the music for Sunday's Oscar ceremony.</p>

Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams are composing the music for Sunday's Oscar ceremony.

Credit: LA Times/Rick Loomis

Round-up: Zimmer and Pharrell on scoring the Oscars

Also: Ways to fix the Oscars, and the art of the tux

For whatever reason, I didn't know that Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams were teaming up to write and arrange the musical accompaniment to Sunday's Oscar ceremony. (Is that partly why Zimmer withdrew himself from consideration for "Rango?") If this had happened in last year's "we're young and hip -- honest!" ceremony, you know we'd have been reminded of the N.E.R.D. beatsmith's involvement ad nauseum. As it stands, it comes as a pleasant surprise: while I somehow doubt these musical interludes will be as memorable as the pair suggest in this interview ("We're going crazy!" Zimmer boasts, showing off the synths and drum machines that will sit amid the traditional Oscar orchestra), it's a pleasingly inventive step for telecast -- and with the nixing of the Best Original Song performances, the only aural fix we'll get all evening. [LA Times]

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<p>Rainn Wilson, Catherine Tate and Dave Koechner in &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

Rainn Wilson, Catherine Tate and Dave Koechner in "The Office."

Credit: NBC

The Morning Round-Up: '30 Rock' & 'The Office'

Liz celebrates Leap Day, while Jim tries to escape a seduction

Reviews of last night's "30 Rock" and "The Office" coming up just as soon as I write lyrics to the song the cantina band plays in "Star Wars"...

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<p>&quot;The Descendants,&quot; Michael Shannon and Michelle Williams are frontrunners for 2012 Independent Spirit Awards.</p>

"The Descendants," Michael Shannon and Michelle Williams are frontrunners for 2012 Independent Spirit Awards.

2012 Independent Spirit Awards Predictions: 'The Descendants,' Michael Shannon and ?

Can 'Drive' pull off a win?

Hollywood's alternative to the Academy Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, used to be the edgy, unexpected, fly by the seat of your pants awards show.  Over 25 years later, the Spirits have become much more established (shh, don't tell anyone) even if the show still takes place in a large tent on a parking lot right next to the beach in Santa Monica, CA. As the meaning and distribution of independent film has changed over the past 15 years or so the show's nominees have become more and more familiar to mainstream moviegoers. This past two year's best feature nominees, for instance, all were wide release films at some point in their theatrical lives.

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<p>Someone told me 'Wanderlust' was a comedy, but based on this, it appears to be a documentary about trying to balance modern schedules and a home life.</p>

Someone told me 'Wanderlust' was a comedy, but based on this, it appears to be a documentary about trying to balance modern schedules and a home life.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: Rudd and Aniston in 'Wanderlust' features big laughs but a very thin plot

David Wain's latest lands a lot of jokes but doesn't stick

There are very few TV shows from the '90s that have had as big an impact on film comedy today as "The State," which is kind of amazing considering how much of a cult item that was when it was still on the air.  Almost everyone from that show has gone on to have a healthy career playing parts in comedies, both mainstream studio fare and edgier indie material.  David Wain has been able to carve out a career for himself starting with the well-liked "Wet Hot American Summer," and his last film, "Role Models," was a charming low-key gem.

One of the things that bugs me most in a comedy is that moment that occurs when the laughs stop and the plot kicks in, and "Wanderlust" is guilty of that in a big way.  It's a shame, too, because there's a lot of the film that is genuinely funny.  The film tells the story of George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston), a married couple who are just taking the big step of buying their first apartment in New York City, and they manage to do so just as the bottom drops out of things.  When George loses his job and Linda can't sell her documentary, they begin to suspect they've got to come up with a plan B, and unfortunately, that involves George's psychotically competitive brother Rick (Ken Marino) in Atlanta.  As they're driving down to move in with him, they have to stop for the night, and that's how they find Elysium, a commune that's a holdover from the '60s.

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"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime Television

Recap: 'Project Runway' - 'O! Say, Can You Sew?'

The designers are inspired by flags - but most of the results are unpatriotic

After many weeks of so-so designs, Kara got the boot last week -- not that everyone agreed with that decision. Austin declares to Kenley that Kara had more reason to be on the show than either Mila or Jerell. Though I suspect that Austin feels that way largely because he liked Kara, I can't really say I disagree. With a few notable exceptions, both Jerell and Mila have pumped out some pretty awful stuff. With only six designers left, it's a little shocking to realize more than a few of these All Stars are taste challenged. Sleep deprived and cranky, fine, but taste challenged? For shame! Then again, they can't all be Mondo, I suppose.  

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