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<p>John Mayer</p>

John Mayer

Listen: John Mayer takes on Lana del Rey's 'Video Games'

Lonely guitar version highlights the song's melancholy roots

John Mayer may be back on vocal rest, but his guitar is speaking just fine for him.  Listen below as he delicately weaves in and out of an instrumental version of Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games.”

It’s a gorgeous, haunting, stripped down version on an electric guitar.  As Idolator suggests, we completely agree that it sounds like something out of a Western, with the slight echo and feeling of loneliness. You can almost imagine a tumbleweed rolling by.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>The Pirate Captain gets ready to plunder in Peter Lord's &quot;The Pirates!&nbsp;A&nbsp;Band of Misfits.&quot;</p>

The Pirate Captain gets ready to plunder in Peter Lord's "The Pirates! A Band of Misfits."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Peter Lord revels in his 'absurdist' new film 'The Pirates! Band of Misfits'

Can Aardman make a stop-motion comeback?

LONDON - If you're a movie fan, its to your advantage to live overseas this spring and summer.  Not only are big summer blockbusters such as "The Avengers" and "Battleship" opening across the globe before landing in the states, but so is highly anticipated animated fare such as Aardman's "The Pirates! Band of Misfits."

The legendary company's first stop-motion feature length film since "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit", "Pirates" is also Aardman co-founder Peter Lord's first directorial effort since the worldwide smash "Chicken Run" in 2000.  Based on Gideon Defoe's "The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists" (the film's UK title actually), the 19th century tale centers on the Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) who isn't as successful plundering the Seven Seas as he'd like to believe he is. A bit too goofy and unintentionally kind hearted to dominate his profession he sadly finds himself disrespected by his peers including Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek), Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and the Pirate King (Brian Blessed) among others. In fact, our anti-hero is chronically an also-ran in the annual Pirate of the Year Award and becomes obsessed with finally winning the top award this time around.  After randomly meeting a young Charles Darwin (David Tennant - go with it), the Pirate Captain discovers his beloved Polly isn't a parrot at all, but actually a long thought extinct bird. When Darwin slips that the discovery of Polly could provide the presenter with a lucrative award, the Pirate Captain decides to venture to London to show his bird off. Of course, that means coming dangerously close to Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) whose official motto is "I Hate Pirates!" And there, ladies and gentlemen is your villain. 

In January, Lord traveled to Los Angeles and I took some time out during a busy awards season to talk with the animation legend about "Pirates."  At the time, Lord was understandably nervous about how moviegoers and critics would react to his latest passion project, but he shouldn't have been. To date, "Pirates" has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and solid 76 on Metacritic.  The film has also had a fine start at the box office with over $25 million worth of tickets sold overseas in less than two weeks.  That has to be reassuring for a project Lord has been working on for five years.  Unlike many book adaptations, "Pirates'" creator Gideon actually wrote the screenplay.  Pretty surprising considering how much Lord says the story "evolved" as a movie from its literally beginnings.

"It is really quite different from the book actually," Lord says. He then bluntly adds, "I think Gideon is brilliant at comedy and comedy writing funny situations, but the character was not his strong point, but so that’s evolved."

Lord became interested in turning the children's novel series into a movie because "It had such a funny tone and it was this very unique and eccentric world that [Gideon] had invented that was I’d never seen anything like it and that really, really appealed to me.  I mean what can you say about that world?  Like it’s very inaccurate."

Considering some of the strange plot twists and the intentional historical inaccuracies in the film (Aardman was asked to stage an exhibit around 'Pirates' at the National Maritime Museum, but felt uncomfortable about it), I asked Lord if the film was meant to be a farce.  He replied, "I don’t know.  Well, to me a farce is a very specific sort of meaning.  It’s definitely absurdist."

Lord later added, "The story has a kind of a swaggering confidence, which you go along with and only afterwards you might think, 'That didn’t make a damn big of sense,' but it doesn’t really matter because it’s not really about that you know."

Finally seeing "Pirates" in London today, the first reaction I had was to just how gorgeous the production design by Norman Garwood ("Brazil, "The Princess Bride") is. In particular, The gigantic Pirate Captain's ship set is a wonder and Lord spoke reverentially of it.

"When it came into the studio the first time it was like the tribal totem - you know because everyone knew what the film was about when that was in there" Lord says. "It was like it sat there in its green screen set and everyone just loved it.  If I was feeling depressed about something I would go and hug it you know.  The detail is amazing.  We have this amazing model making team that’s so brilliant and it’s full of detail and it’s full of comedy.  Everything was beautifully worked out."

18 months of shooting, 40 physical sets, and 8,000 removable character mouths later, Lord is so pleased with "Pirates" that he admits they've already thought about a sequel.

"We have a good idea, but I hope that the film does well enough that they want a sequel because I’d love to do it again. I’d love to," Lord confesses. "It’s just a great world to be in and if we do then that’s a good reason to keep the sets."

"The Pirates! A Band of Misfits" opens nationwide and in 3D on April 27.

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<p>Fiona Apple</p>

Fiona Apple

Credit: AP Photo

Fiona Apple sets summer tour dates in support of 'The Idler Wheel...'

Outing starts in Ithaca, N.Y.

Fiona Apple kicks off her summer headlining tour on June 19, the same date that her first album in seven years comes out, the impossibly long-winded “The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do.”

The tour starts at the State Theater in Ithaca, N.Y. on June 19 and concludes July 29 at the Hollywood Palladium.

Apple performed three songs from the album, including first single, “Every Single Night,” on her Spring tour, including during her SXSW show.


6/19     Ithaca, NY                   State Theatre                                     4/20 10 AM
6/20     Baltimore, MD            Lyric Opera House                               4/20, 10 AM
6/22     Mashantucket, CT       MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods       4/20, 10 AM
6/23     Holyoke, MA               Mountain Park                                     4/20, 10 AM
6/24     New York, NY            Randall's Island                                     on sale now
6/26     Washington, DC          Warner Theatre                                   4/13, 10 AM
6/27     Upper Darby, PA         Tower Theatre                                     4/13, 10 AM
6/29     Danbury, CT                Ives Concert Park                                4/20, 10 AM
6/30     Boston, MA                 Citi Performing Arts Center                 4/14, 10 AM
7/1       Portland, ME               State Theatre                                       4/20, 10 AM
7/3       Montreal, QC               Olympia Theatre                                 4/21, 12 PM
7/4       Toronto, ON               The Sound Academy                            4/20, 10 AM
7/6       Cleveland Hts., OH      Cain Park                                             4/21, 10 AM
7/7       Detroit, MI                  The Fillmore Detroit                           4/27, 10 AM
7/10     Chicago, IL                  Chicago Theatre                                  4/21, 10 AM
7/11     Indianapolis, IN            Murat Theatre                                     4/20, 10 AM
7/13     Nashville, TN              Ryman Auditorium                               4/21, 10 AM
7/14     St. Louis, MO               Peabody Opera House                          4/20, 10 AM
7/16     Minneapolis, MN         Orpheum Theatre                                4/14, 12 PM
7/17     Kansas City, MO          The Midland by AMC                          4/20, 10 AM
7/20     Denver, CO                  Paramount Theatre                              4/20, 10 AM
7/21     Salt Lake City, UT       Kingsbury Hall - University of Utah     4/21, 10 AM
7/24     Vancouver, BC             Orpheum                                              4/20, 10 AM
7/25     Seattle, WA                 Paramount Theatre                              4/20, 10 AM
7/26     Portland, OR                Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall              4/20, 10 AM
7/28     Oakland, CA                Fox Theater                                         4/15, 10 AM
7/29     Hollywood, CA             Hollywood Palladium                          4/27, 10 AM

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<p>A scene from 1958's &quot;A&nbsp;Night to&nbsp;Remember,&quot;&nbsp;screening a day shy of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking</p>

A scene from 1958's "A Night to Remember," screening a day shy of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking

Credit: Rank Film Distributors

TCM's third annual classic film fest is almost ready for its close-up

A grab bag of classic cinema and a wealth of restoration screenings mark the event's junior year

The third annual TCM Classic Film Festival kicks off Thursday and as I'm slowly slipping back into the saddle this month, I'll be hoping to attend this and that over the swift four-day event.

As I look over the schedule, I'm actually pretty impressed at the number of anniversary restoration screenings. The fest kicks off with one of them, in fact, a 40th anniversary showcase of Bob Fosse's "Cabaret." There's also "Two for the Road" (45th anniversary), "Grand Illusion" (75th), "The Longest Day" (50th)...

...yep, there's more: "Fall Guy" (65th), "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (75th), "Casablanca" (70th), "Dr. No" (50th), "Singin' in the Rain" (60th), "Moonstruck" (25th), "Call Her Savage" (80th) and perhaps the centerpiece of the week, a restoration of "A Night to Remember" a day short of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

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<p>Admiral Fallow</p>

Admiral Fallow

Credit: Nettwerk

EXCLUSIVE Song Of The Day Premiere: Admiral Fallow's 'The Paper Trench'

Single from Scottish band's 'Tree Bursts in Snow' will have you singing 'holy Moses'

Prepare for the revival of the phrase "holy Moses." Scottish quintet Admiral Fallow makes regular use of the exclamation in their new single "The Paper Trench," arriving ahead of their Nettwerk debut "Tree Bursts in Snow."

There's a positive charge between lead singer Louis Abbott's wordy brogue and Sarah Hayes' pure, buoyant vocals; half the song is met with a third harmony and powerful rhythmic guitars, banging in time with the fours, Abbott's narratives weaving easily like a thread meeting needle. The single is an accurate taster for "Tree Bursts," which has its darker moments too. Overall, the term "indie-folk" doesn't begin to describe the band's fullness of sound, which allows in punctuation like that of multi-instrumentalist Kevin Brolly's clarinet, or Hayes on flute. They're rounded out by a stacked rhythm section of bassist Joe Rattray and drummer Phil Hague.

It's appropriate that Admiral Fallow produced this set and their initial album "Boots Met My Face" with fellow countryman Paul Savage of the Delgados, a band whose own pop sound whirred with a similar energy and blender of folk-influenced rock sounds. "Tree Bursts in Snow" was also mixed by mastering master Greg Calbi, who's left his signature on albums from The National, Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver.

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<p>Can a trip to Ricky's Tacos help Jason Isaacs solve the big &quot;Awake&quot;&nbsp;mystery?</p>

Can a trip to Ricky's Tacos help Jason Isaacs solve the big "Awake" mystery?

Credit: NBC

HitFix First Look: On 'Awake,' Britten gets a drive-through clue

Could a taco run provide an answer to one of the show's biggest mysteries?

Last week's "Awake" was the first episode of the series that NBC hadn't sent out to critics in advance, and as a result it was the first episode I didn't get around to reviewing, because it took me several days to see it. But "That's Not My Penguin" was perhaps the show's strongest episode so far, making the shrinks vital to the series again by pointing out just how unhealthy Britten's situation is if we believe that one of the worlds isn't real. 

Thus far, Kyle Killen and Howard Gordon have put aside any doubts about the creative viability of the concept. This all may come crashing down eventually, but right now they're doing a fantastic job of juggling, and I can't wait to see what they do next. 

And if you're as engaged by the show as I am, then you don't have to wait until Thursday night at 10 for at least a taste of the next episode, titled "Ricky's Tacos," as we have a clip — exclusive to HitFix for the next few hours — from early in the episode in which a trip to the drive-through offers an unexpected clue for Detective Britten.

Enjoy, and I'll do my best to get to this one in a timelier fashion.

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<p>Christina Hendricks and Christine Estabrook in &quot;Mad Men.&quot;</p>

Christina Hendricks and Christine Estabrook in "Mad Men."

Credit: AMC

'Mad Men' - 'Mystery Date': Nightmares and dreamscapes

The night is dark and full of terrors for Don, Joan, Peggy and Sally

A review of tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I start with the whole world and eventually check my apartment...

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Phaedra Parks

Phaedra Parks, Ph.D

Credit: Quantrell Colbert/Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' - 'Happiness & Joy'

The season finale serves up a sex toy party, half naked masseuses and a certified donkologist

It's finale time in Atlanta, and first we get a quick recap of the season's highlights.

Nene freaked out on Sheree. Phaedra got cozy with dead people. Kandi developed a sex toy line. Cynthia and Peter hit some rough patches in their first year of marriage. Kim and Kroy had a baby. Sheree fought for child support. We met crazy Marlo. The ladies went to Africa.

And it's pretty much been downhill since then. The last few episodes were marked by very little drama outside of the ludicrously inflated tension between Kim, Kandi and Cynthia over those jokes made in Africa.

Will the finale turn it up a notch? Or will the ladies end their fourth season in an unusually quiet fashion?

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<p>Rachel and Brendon jump around with Masai warriors on &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Rachel and Brendon jump around with Masai warriors on "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'I Didn't Make Her Cry'

Tempers boil over and teams head to Africa to jump around
I'm visiting my family in New Hampshire for the start of Passover, but that doesn't mean I'm abdicating my recapping responsibilities while I'm away. 
Normally, since my parents and I watch very different reality TV offerings (they prefer series in which people purchase or renovate homes), I slink off to another room to watch my stories, accompanied only by the family German Shepherd, if she's feeling lonely.
On Sunday (April 8) night, though, I forced my parents to watch "The Amazing Race." As sheer serendipity would have it, Sunday's Leg found the teams getting off to Tanzania, while my parents just returned from two weeks in Tanzania.
That's what I call kismet.
[Full recap, with spoilers, after the break...]
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<p>Patrick Malahide as Balon Greyjoy in &quot;Game of Thrones.&quot;</p>

Patrick Malahide as Balon Greyjoy in "Game of Thrones."

Credit: HBO

'Game of Thrones' - 'The Night Lands': Make love, not war

Theon goes home, Tyrion makes a move and Arya makes a friend

A review of tonight's "Game of Thrones" coming up just as soon as I've got armor on...

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Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On

'Still Holding On': Wendy Wilson, Carnie Wilson, Chynna Phillips

Credit: TV Guide Network

Review: 'Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On' charts a musical comeback

Carnie Wilson's struggle with weight dominates reality series premiere

Celebrities use reality TV to their advantage in a variety of ways. The women of Wilson Phillips have chosen the advertainment route with their TV Guide Network reality show "Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On."

With a tagline promising "Three parts harmony, one part drama," the innocuous eight-episode half-hour "docu-series" tracks the singing group's latest attempt at a comeback with built-in drama courtesy of personal conflicts and Carnie Wilson's ongoing battle with her weight. It's not a bad deal: give cameras a peak into your personal life in exchange for promoting professional endeavors. And TV Guide Network gets recognizable faces to help establish their still evolving brand.

"Still Holding On" isn't groundbreaking, but it's not going to embarrass anyone involved (unless Carnie's battles with "bad gas" count as shameful). In reality TV, that's a win-win.

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<p>Mike Wallace was one of the original correspondents for CBS's &quot;60 Minutes,&quot; which debuted in 1968.</p>

Mike Wallace was one of the original correspondents for CBS's "60 Minutes," which debuted in 1968.

Credit: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Mike Wallace's great moment of pause was immortalized forever in 'The Insider'

How will he be remembered? Christopher Plummer and Eric Roth on the icon.

The news has landed that legendary "60 Minutes" newsman Mike Wallace has passed away at the age of 93. It was reported by "CBS Sunday Morning" earlier today.

Wallace was of course a titan of his industry, a familiar face on the weekly CBS news show as warm and welcome on the television every Sunday as the nightly showcases of Peter Jennings, Dan Rather and Ted Koppel in their times. The highlights of his career are milestones of the news world: the Ayatollah Khomeini, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Iran-Contra and, of course, Big Tobacco.

Which yields an unavoidable question, one Wallace the character posed in Michael Mann's 1999 film "The Insider": "I'm not talking celebrity, vanity, CBS. I'm talking about when you're nearer the end of your life than the beginning. Now, what do you think you think about then? The future? In the future I'm going to do this? Become that? What future? No. What you think is, 'How will I be regarded in the end? After I'm gone.'"

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