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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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<p>Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes seemed to be right at home during their first Sundance Film Festival in support of 'John Dies At The End'</p>

Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes seemed to be right at home during their first Sundance Film Festival in support of 'John Dies At The End'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Meet the young stars of surreal horror-comedy 'John Dies At The End'

Two new actors caught in the midst of their first Sundance

I'll be curious to see what happens with "John Dies At The End" as the year progresses. 

It's got to find a distributor… it's just too singular an audience experience.  I understand that the William S. Burroughs version of "Ghostbusters" is a hard audience sell, but I also think there's real value in it for the right distributor.  Someone's going to have to give it some TLC if they plan to open it, but with the right campaign, the film's weirdness could be an asset, not something to run from.

While we were at Sundance, I published a conversation I had with Don Coscarelli, the director of the iconic "Phantasm" films, about adapting and directing the book by David Wong as a film.  He was joined by his co-producer Paul Giamatti, who helped produce the film.  I had a blast with those two, and of all the formal interviews we did at Sundance, that's the one that I could have sat there continuing all day.   Their enthusiasm for the film they made was infectious.

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Scott Speedman of "The Vow"

 Scott Speedman of "The Vow"

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Scott Speedman talks 'The Vow' and his ideas for a 'Felicity' reunion

The star has his own dark ideas about what Ben would be like

In "The Vow," Scott Speedman plays the unlucky Jeremy, whom Paige (Rachel McAdams) was engaged to before finding a new life with Leo (Channing Tatum). But when a car accident wipes out her memory of the last five years, Jeremy has another shot at love -- and gets into his share of trouble when Leo is unwilling to let go. I talked to Speedman about playing the other man, getting socked by Tatum in a key scene, and, of course, whether or not he'd do a "Felicity" reunion. It turns out he's not only thought about it, but has his own ideas of where Ben Covington would be twenty years after senior year. 

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<p>The Fray</p>

The Fray

Credit: AP Photo

Hitfix Interview: The Fray's Isaac Slade on what he learned from U2's Bono

Why new album, 'Scars & Stories,' almost never was

As The Fray came together to work on what would become its third Epic album, “Scars & Stories,” the quartet had a collective dark night of the soul; one that could have spelled the end for the multi-platinum piano rock act best known for radio smashes such as “How To Save A Life” and “Over My Head (Cable Car).”

They were in the studio working up songs for “S&S,” out today, and “all four of us were coming of age,” says co-founder/lead singer Isaac Slade. “I was turning 30. We were trying to figure out who we are, what we want to do, how long we want to be in a band. We were partly excited that we get another chance, but partly afraid we were going to be irrelevant. It was a bad, bad week.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Lars Ulrich during Metallica's LiveStream</p>

Lars Ulrich during Metallica's LiveStream

Metallica launching their own weekend-long Orion Music + More festival

Veteran metal trouple playing the Black Album in its entirety; Avenged Sevenfold, Modest Mouse on the bill

For years, Metallica has brought their music directly to the fans with endless tours. Now, with the launch of the metal act's own festival Orion Music + More, the fans can come to them.

Today, the quartet took to LiveStream to announce their weekend-long event, to take place in Atlantic City, N.J., on June 23-24. The band will close out both nights, and have tapped other bands like Arctic Monkeys, Avenged Sevenfold and Modest Mouse to play throughout. The band has also promised to play "Ride the Lightning" and the eponymous "Black album" in their entirety -- that marks the first time they've done the latter on U.S. soil.

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<p>A nice distillation of the micro/macro theme running through &quot;The Tree of Life&quot;</p>

A nice distillation of the micro/macro theme running through "The Tree of Life"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Why it should be 'Tree of Life'

For the first time in ages, a true landmark is in the running for Best Picture

When the nominations for this year's Academy Awards were announced two weeks ago, there was one Best Picture nominee that yielded a great sigh of relief from me. It was less that I felt it was deserving (it unquestionably is, but to quote "Unforgiven," deserve's got nothing to do with it when it comes to the Oscars) than the fact that I was actually going to have something to passionately champion.

The line-up that was settling into place until that time, I have to say, was lackluster. I mean, I think "Midnight in Paris" is delightful. I'm incredibly happy for Martin Scorsese and his personal ode in "Hugo." "The Help" really did affect me emotionally when I saw it in August. "The Artist" is charming. But none of it is really enough for me. Elsewhere, "War Horse," well, I don't really have any strong feelings on it. And "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" fit like a square peg in a round hole for me. "Moneyball" was really the closest I could have come to having a rally cry, but it still wasn't on the proper echelon for me.

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