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<p>Hans Zimmer's score for &quot;Rango&quot; will not be competing for the Oscar.&nbsp;</p>

Hans Zimmer's score for "Rango" will not be competing for the Oscar. 

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Hans Zimmer bows out of this year's Oscar race

'Rango' will not be eligible in the original score category

Here's some news to create a bit of breathing room in an already stacked Oscar race for Best Original Score: whatever happens, nine-time nominee Hans Zimmer will not be in it. The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the German-born composer, nominated the last two years running for "Sherlock Holmes" and "Inception," has opted to sit out this year's derby by refusing to personally enter any of his 2011 scores for consideration -- as Academy rules require hopefuls in the category to do.

That'll come as a surprise to the many pundits who were predicting a nomination for his playful, genre-referencing work on surefire Best Animated Feature nominee "Rango." It also rules out the chance of further recognition for his jangly, gypsy-influenced sounds for the "Sherlock Holmes" franchise. (Ditto "Kung Fu Panda 2," "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" and "The Dilemma," but I don't think the Oscar race is drastically altered for their absence.)

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<p>Benny Parrish in Alma Har'el's documentary &quot;Bombay Beach.&quot;</p>

Benny Parrish in Alma Har'el's documentary "Bombay Beach."

Credit: Focus World/Alma Har'el

Review: The beautiful losers of 'Bombay Beach'

The Salton Sea is the eerie backdrop for 2011's best doc

“Haunting” is one of those go-to critical terms – handily covering all manner of atmospheric tangibles in one poster-friendly epithet – that I nonetheless avoid using whenever possible, particularly when reviewing films I’ve just seen. How can a film be declared “haunting” before it’s had time to haunt a person? To immediately provoke or upset is one thing; to haunt is to play a far longer game.

Which is to say that it’s not without due consideration that I describe Israeli-American video artist Alma Har’el debut feature “Bombay Beach,” a gloriously freeform documentary following a scattering of defiantly damaged souls around California’s Salton Sea, as, well, haunting.

It’s been over four months since I first saw Har’el’s bracing, taffeta-textured film, currently on release in New York and Los Angeles, and still I find isolated sounds and images from its rich scrapbook straying, of their own accord, into my memory: two teenagers staring impassively into the middle distance in dime-store carnival masks, a crew-cut tyke in a leotard rowing a beached boat to nowhere, the rosy-bleak shadows of the sunset on this none-more-desolate settlement.

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Watch: Nat Faxon and French Stewart discuss FOX's 'Allen Gregory'

Get to know Allen Gregory's two dads
Due to the World Series, the premiere of FOX's new animated comedy "Allen Gregory" is still a week away, with the Jonah Hill creation finally hitting the small screen on Sunday, October 30.
In "Allen Gregory," series co-creator Hill voices the title character, who could be most simply described as the world's most pretentious, over-enabled seven-year-old boy. When Allen, long home schooled, finds himself forced to face the indignities of public schooling, hilarity ensues.
I did a slew of video interviews with many of the "Allen Gregory" voices and I'll be posting them over the next week, starting with my conversation with Nat Faxon and French Stewart, who play the main character's two dads. 
You already know Stewart from "3rd Rock From The Sun" and animated work including "God, the Devil and Bob," while Faxon's FOX credits include the live-action "Happy Hour" and vocal turns on "American Dad" and "The Cleveland Show."
Check out the interview. 
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<p>Tom Cullen (left) and Chris New in &quot;Weekend&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Tom Cullen (left) and Chris New in "Weekend" 

Credit: Sundance Selects

Cinejabber: The 2011 gems under your nose

Open thread. The floor is yours.

Once again, welcome to Cinejabber, your weekend soapbox space to discuss whatever's on your mind, cinematically speaking, at the moment. I can't say there's much on mine: I took in my 40th film of the London Film Festival this morning (in addition to the 30-odd titles in the LFF programme I've seen elsewhere), and the cumulative effect is rather hazy. Say, are there any good plays on at the moment?

As you've may have noticed, the festival routine has caused me to fall way behind on my reviewing duties, so expect more reports (and an interview or two) even after the fest draws its curtains on Thursday. Among other festival treats, I enjoyed Alexander Payne's witty, wide-ranging Screen Talk last night (even if I'm not that crazy about his latest -- more on that another time), while tomorrow's Surprise Film gets harder to pin down the closer I get to it. Possibilities vary in size and scale from "Hugo" to "Le Havre," with "Tintin," "My Week With Marilyn" and "Damsels in Distress" all seemingly in play; having just scored a ticket today, I'll be happy with something I haven't seen. (Selfish, I know.)   

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<p>Pearl Jam in a publicity still for &quot;Pearl Jam Twenty.&quot;</p>

Pearl Jam in a publicity still for "Pearl Jam Twenty."

Credit: PBS

'Pearl Jam Twenty': Long players

What did everybody think of Cameron Crowe's rock documentary?

One of the highlights of the summer press tour for me was an unplanned one. I was coming back from a party, and Fienberg told me that PBS was doing a late-night screening of "Pearl Jam Twenty," the Cameron Crowe-directed documentary about the band's tumultuous two decades that debuted last night as part of the "American Masters" series.(*) I had writing to do, and/or sleep to catch up on, but I figured I'd go for a half hour, get a sense of what questions to ask at the press conference the next morning, and then call it a night.

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<p>Elyse of &quot;Survivor&quot;</p>
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Elyse of "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Elyse Umemoto of 'Survivor: South Pacific'

Latest castoff talks pork, pageants and her Ozzy mistake
Elyse Umemoto came closer to winning Miss America than she did to taking home the million dollar prize on "Survivor: South Pacific."
The former Miss Washington and Miss American second runner-up became the fourth person to head home on this latest "Survivor" season after dropping a shuffleboard Redemption Island Duel to the oddly unstoppable Christine on Wednesday's (Oct. 19) 
Elyse didn't really do anything wrong on "Survivor." She wasn't a physical liability and she situated herself in a strong alliance from the very beginning. Unfortunately, she aligned herself most closely with two-time "Survivor" loser Ozzy Lusth, which could have been an advantage, but became a mistake.
With their tribe unable or unwilling to vote Ozzy out -- he provides fish and coconuts, after all -- a reasonable alternative was to unexpectedly excise his best chum from the game. Farewell, Elyse.
To her credit, Elyse understands what motivated Jim and Cochran and Dawn to orchestrate her elimination. In fact, she probably has the best perspective on the game of any of this season's early bootees, a perspective that seems particularly impressive given that she claims not to be watching this season.
Click through for my full exit interview with Elyse...
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<p>The cover of the new Casting Crowns album</p>
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The cover of the new Casting Crowns album

Adele and Casting Crowns duke it out for Billboard 200 throne

Can Casting Crowns land the first Christian album to top the chart in 14 years?

Christian rockers Casting Crowns are vying for their first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week with “Come to the Well.” Should the band succeed, it will mark the first time that an album has topped both the Billboard 200 and the Christian albums chart since LeAnn Rimes’ “You Light Up My Life” in 1997, according to

With Nielsen SoundScan's tally still a few days away from its Sunday close, it’s too soon to tell it Casting Crowns will triumph or if Adele’s “21” will land at the top as both are on target to sell between 100,000-110,000 units, according to Hits Daily Double.

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<p>Ben Affleck took the stand earlier this year to speak out about problems in the Congo, and now he may take on 'The Stand' as a writer/director</p>

Ben Affleck took the stand earlier this year to speak out about problems in the Congo, and now he may take on 'The Stand' as a writer/director

Credit: AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Will Ben Affleck end up writing and directing 'The Stand'?

What happened to the 'Harry Potter' creative team?

There's nothing I love more than coming home from a night out with the kids to find angry half-literate e-mails from people calling me names over something they don't understand.  So you can imagine this has been a gorgeous Friday night.

After all, we were the ones who told you that David Yates and Steve Kloves were going to be the creative team in charge of Warner's big-screen treatment of the Stephen King epic novel.  And when we reported it, offers had been made and deals were in motion.  It was accurate at that moment.

Then things went radio silent.  And while I'm not in a position to tell you what went on behind the scenes, I can tell you that following the success of the last four "Harry Potter" films, both Yates and Kloves are expensive, particularly when working together, and one of the keys to getting any giant tentpole film off the ground right now is finding creative ways to bring costs down.  When your writer and director together are worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 - $20 million before you make any other deals on the film, that is not an inexpensive place to begin.

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<p>Mayor Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer)&nbsp;gives a speech on &quot;Boss.&quot;</p>

Mayor Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) gives a speech on "Boss."

Credit: Lions Gate

'Boss' - 'Listen': Ears to you

What did everybody think of Kelsey Grammer's new Starz drama?

I posted my review of Starz's "Bossyesterday. (And Fienberg published his earlier this evening.) Now it's your turn. How did you feel about Kelsey Grammer's performance, Gus Van Sant's very stylized direction, the glimpses we saw of (fictionalized) Chicago politics, the supporting characters, the disease and all the rest? Too many speeches? Not enough speeches? How are you feeling about eyeballs right about now? And ears, for that matter?

Under more optimal circumstances, I would be doing full-length reviews of each "Boss" episode, but I think I'm at critical mass in that area right now (especially with "Chuck" returning on Fridays starting next week). So for the time being, the plan is to set up quick talkback posts like this one, perhaps touching on a specific part of the episode I'm curious about reaction on, but mainly a place where those who are watching can discuss it. The three episodes I've seen are very much of a piece, but if it turns out there's one coming that feels notably better or worse than the others, I might got a bit longer with that one.

Anyway, have at it, and we'll see how this goes over the coming weeks. What did everybody else think?

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<p>Kelsey Grammer of &quot;Boss&quot;</p>
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Kelsey Grammer of "Boss"

Credit: Starz

TV Review: Starz' 'Boss'

Kelsey Grammer is the hook, but the new Starz drama may have more to offer
Episodes of the new Starz drama "Boss" open with Robert Plant's version of the traditional gospel standard "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down."
In all of its incarnations (I'm partial to the Uncle Tupelo cover), "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down" is a pretty simple song and the core lyrics boil down to basically what you see in the title. 
I'm suspecting that it's no coincidence that whenever I hear "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down," my mind immediately goes to Tom Waits' "Way Down in the Hole," which has a similar message about the allure and power of Beelzebub and the saving capacity of [Christian] faith.
The magnetic power of our baser instincts and the way those baser instincts run through the broader institutions of the American City were central to David Simon's exquisitely woven "Wire" tapestry and they're not far removed from what Farhad Safinia is tackling in "Boss."
In "The Wire," The Devil was in the institutions, the forces the prevented even the best of individual instincts and aspirations from breaking through the complacency of the system. While Simon had pockets of hope -- sometimes wide swathes of hope -- he was ultimately profoundly pessimistic. Good cops. Good teachers. Good union organizers. Good politicians. Good journalists. They all fought to keep The Devil way down in the hole, but Old Scratch kept getting out a wreaking havoc. "The Wire" was about the way an American city functions, but doesn't work.
Having seen two episodes of "Boss," I can't instantly tell you Safinia's world-view. I know he's nowhere near as overtly political as Simon and, in turn, I also suspect he's nowhere near as pessimistic as Simon. The series may be about the fall of a Great Man, but I don't know if Safinia wants us to view Kelsey Grammer's Tom Kane, longtime mayor of Chicago, as the symbolic "Satan" referred to in the opening song. It's entirely plausible that the political system in Chicago, long entrenched and long variably corrupt, is meant as Satan. But through two episodes, I don't know if Safinia is wanting viewers to root for Kane and/or the system to collapse, or if he's showing a landscape in which the evil that men do is capable of leading to a collective good for the community.
I sense that the opening songs are meant to tie "Boss" and "The Wire" together in some sort of collective meditation on the evil inherent in the urban space. Although I don't feel like "Boss" is anywhere near that "Wire" level of discourse -- literally nothing else in the history of the small screen is -- I admire its willingness to dive into the sort of terrain that TV ought to be well-suited to explore, but so rarely does. I can't even say that "Boss" is on the same level as Shawn Ryan's "The Chicago Code," which used the police as a pivot for delving into all aspects of the Windy City, but "Boss" is what's on TV right now and if it lives up to even some of its ample potential, it could become a series of some substance. That's a rare thing and one worthy of investing in.
More after the break...
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<p>&quot;Once Upon a Time&quot;</p>
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"Once Upon a Time"

Credit: ABC

Are we too grown up for grown-up fairy tales like 'Once Upon A Time' and 'Grimm'?

It's rich territory to mine, but it's rarely done right

I have to admit that when Is saw that the latest mini-trend for this fall's television season was modern takes on fairy tales, I rolled my eyes (check out Alan Sepinwall's review here). Of course, it's a move that makes perfect sense from a writing (and studio) perspective. Audiences gravitate toward the familiar (just look at the number of retreads at your local movie theater), and this is some a whole mess of familiar sitting fat and happy in the public domain. Storylines are populated with easy-to-grasp heroes and villains, stakes are life-and-death and usually we get a happy ending (or at least we did once Disney had their way with the Brothers Grimm). What could be better?

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<p>Alexandre Desplat won the Golden&nbsp;Globe in 2006 for his work on &quot;The Painted Veil.&quot;</p>
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Alexandre Desplat won the Golden Globe in 2006 for his work on "The Painted Veil."

Credit: AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian

Alexandre Desplat tapped for 'Extremely Loud'

The prolific composer could be in contention for a number of scores this year

Film music composers are so often the most expendable element of a given project, it seems. They come, they go, and typically, someone is brought on very late in the game when we thought another composer was on the case.

That seems to be what's up with Stephen Daldry's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," which has until now been noted as another collaboration with composer Nico Muhly ("The Reader") for Daldry. As it turns out, Alexandre Desplat - perhaps the most prolific composer in the game -- has been quietly working on the project. And his intrepid publicist just sent out a release reminding the media of this.

And it's most certainly noteworthy. Earlier in the year Desplat put out quality work in Chris Weitz's "A Better Life," a score I really think deserves some attention. Meanwhile, I've been expecting him to get a much-deserved nomination for his work in George Clooney's "The Ides of March," one of the best scores of the year.

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