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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' - 'Your Face or Mine?'

Kim reveals her big secret, and tensions are brewing between Taylor and Lisa

What I love most about the housewives of Beverly Hills is that they're not shy about pumping their faces full of plastic and Botox and possibly drain cleaner in their quest to remain young and (sometimes) creepy looking. Take, for example, tonight's big event: Paul's Night of Beauty. Paul, as we know, is Adrienne's plastic surgeon husband, and he's inviting all of the housewives over for snacks and free treatments. It's like a spa day, except with numbing cream and pain! While most of the girls are lining up for Botox and fillers, Kyle is bravely taking on having her "love handles" (she thinks calling them that is cute, but I can't get the image of a fat, middle-aged man out of my head) warmed off. Or I think it's warming it off. It looks like she's being slowly roasted under a fast food heat lamp, but I'm sure it's much, much fancier than that. 

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<p>Stephen Lang and Jason O'Mara of &quot;Terra Nova&quot;</p>
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Stephen Lang and Jason O'Mara of "Terra Nova"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Terra Nova' - 'Nightfall'

Some pulpy fun, finally...but was it by design or accident?

I’ve been plenty hard on “Terra Nova” these past few months. I don’t regret it, but I’m running out of finding new ways to tell you the same reasons it doesn’t work. Because by and large, each episode is a variation on one of the systemic problems that keep this show from at least being entertaining. (I’m not sure it will ever get to “good,” but the masochist in me keeps hope alive.) No show with time travel, dinosaurs, and conspiracies that cross both centuries and realities should be this pedestrian. Yet, here we are. “Nightfall” was probably the best episode since the pilot, but saying that is damning it with faint praise.

But rather than have me tell you why it’s faint praise, I chose to follow the lead of the show and lean on my inside man to tell you what went down tonight. That’s right: it’s not only the Sixers that have a double agent in their midst. Me? I got my buddy Nyko on the scene to give you all the insider perspective. Who is Nyko? He’s a nykoraptor, of course: a fictional dinosaur made up for the show in case any remaining velociraptors might sue for defamation. (OK, fine: that’s probably not the real reason. But I like the idea of velociraptors and cavemen hanging out, both complaining about stereotypes perpetrated against them by modern pop culture.)
 
I asked Nyko to give me an up close and personal view of life in his homeland since Taylor and Company burst through the portal and set up camp. Take it away, Nyko!
 
***
 
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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' tackles instant dances with the final five

One favorite falters while another star stinks up the joint

We're down to the final five couples, and, with the exception of Ricki and J.R., this was not the line-up I expected to see. Nancy Grace? Rob Kardashian? I'm hoping that Hope Solo manages to reach her potential this week, because otherwise the final three is going to be a case of "which one of these things is not like the others?" 

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<p>Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel in &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel in "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Disaster Averted': Slap schtick

The gang survives Hurricane Irene and Barney turns to the slap bet to get out of the duckie tie bet

A review of tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as I get up and say I'm going to star in a YouTube video...

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<p>Andy Serkis as Caesar in &quot;Rise of the Planet of the Apes.&quot;</p>

Andy Serkis as Caesar in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

Credit: 20th Century-Fox

Fox campaigns for Serkis, reignites mo-cap debate

Studio CEO calls 'Apes' turn 'one of the great emotional performances ever'

It seems longer ago than August that the movie-blog fraternity was getting worked up about Andy Serkis's digitally-enabled performance in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," with many getting prematurely irate about the awards attention he would inevitably not receive.

I wrote my two cents about it then, arguing that, skilful as his work is, "much of the critical praise for Serkis’s Caesar hinges on a undeniable expressiveness that has nonetheless been enhanced beyond the actor’s own means." Whether that qualifies for acting awards or not is in the eye of the beholder.

For my part, I don't find the perfectly nifty finished performance interesting enough to merit consideration, so it's a moot point. Personally, I find Serkis's second motion-capture creation of 2011 -- the sozzled Scottish seadog Captain Haddock in "The Adventures of Tintin" -- the more rewarding turn, and I wouldn't throw statuettes at that one either. I appreciate I may be in a minority here.

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<p>I&nbsp;like the rabbit trying to sneak into the NC-17 movie, because we all know what rabbits love to do, don't we?</p>

I like the rabbit trying to sneak into the NC-17 movie, because we all know what rabbits love to do, don't we?

Credit: MPAA

Have 43 years of MPAA ratings really helped parents at all?

As Fox Searchlight prepares to test the NC-17 waters again, we look back

During my vacation, I was poking around Twitter late one night and talking to Sasha Stone, owner and operator of Awards Daily.  We were talking about Fox Searchlight's upcoming release of "Shame" and the NC-17 that the film was awarded.

She mentioned the full-frontal nudity by Carey Mulligan in an early scene in the film and how she was convinced that was one of the reasons for the most restrictive rating, and I told her I was fairly sure that was not the case.  Our conversation was blunt, with frank terminology used as a sort of shorthand, and one of my Twitter followers told me that a woman next to him on the train was actively offended by the terminology we were using.  That made me laugh because (A) the woman was reading his Twitter feed and (B) adults who get worked up over words they don't like are funny.

While it's easy to let a conversation about the functional insanity that defines what is or isn't appropriate for a sixteen-year-old versus a seventeen-year-old lapse into open silliness, it's a real conversation that is worth having.  During my vacation, the ratings system that is regulated by the MPAA had its 43rd anniversary, and it seems to me this is a good moment to reflect on whether or not it's doing the job it was created to do, what alternatives exist, and what the Internet means to ratings in general.

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<p>Jason Segal and Amy Adams with The Muppets</p>

Jason Segal and Amy Adams with The Muppets

Listen: Jason Segal, Amy Adams, Feist sing a 'Happy Song' for 'The Muppets'

Mmm, smells like Flight of the Conchords... plus Joanna Newsom

Need a pick-me-up after the new "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" soundtrack? How about a "Happy Song" with the Muppets?

"The Muppets" 2011 movie principals Jason Segal and Amy Adams help to lead "Life's a Happy Song." The title may make you urp, as may some of the lyrical content, but it may be more digestible considering who wrote it. Bret McKenzie, one half of "New Zealand's second most popular guitar-based, digi-bongo, a cappella, rap-funk-comedy folk duo" Flight of the Conchords, is serving as music supervisor on the film. Blame him for this interestingly gummy original track for the film, due in theaters on Nov. 23. Keep your ears open: Feist and Mickey Rooney also pull a cameo on the track.

There's also Joanna Newsom's nice little take on the famous puppets' theme song.

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<p>Laura Dern and Mike White of &quot;Enlightened&quot;</p>
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Laura Dern and Mike White of "Enlightened"

Credit: HBO

HitFix Interview: Mike White talks 'Enlightened' and more

'Freaks & Geeks,' 'Pasadena,' 'The Amazing Race' and the state of network TV also come up
There's a lot of Mike White that goes into HBO's "Enlightened."
 
The "School of Rock" and "Chuck & Buck" scribe co-created "Enlightened" with series star Laura Dern and he wrote all 10 first season episodes. White has also been a regular director on the series and he plays Tyler, one of the variably desperate Data Processing denizens who find themselves working with Dern's Amy Jellicoe following her breakdown and subsequent in-progress recovery. 
 
"Enlightened" hasn't been a hit for HBO, but it has attracted a passionate pocket of fans and critical supporters, though even its devotees have a wildly varied reactions to an ostensible comedy that seems to strike every viewer in a different way.
 
In a wide-ranging interview, White talks about making viewers uncomfortable, his working relationship with HBO, past TV projects like "Freaks & Geeks" and "Pasadena" and the two-time "Amazing Race" veteran also talks about why Non-Elimination Legs are better at the beginning of the Race than at the end. [Like I said, it's far-reaching.]
 
Click through...
 
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<p>Pink</p>

Pink

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Pink gets all warm and fuzzy for 'Happy Feet Two' track

Could the pop singer be in it for a Golden Globe?

Pink conjures up her inner Judd with “Bridge of Light,”  a power ballad from “Happy Feet Two.” The theme song is all about how “only love can build a bridge of light” that has the same kind of inspirational, “you’re not alone” feel of the Judds’ hit “Love Can Build A Bridge” or basically any Celine Dion song.

We don’t know where the song fits into the movie, but it’s worth remembering that Prince snagged a Golden Globe in 2007 for his tune, “Song of the Heart,” for the original “Happy Feet.” Plus, Pink covered Rufus’s “Tell Me Something Good” for that first movie.  

[More after the jump...]

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Gina Carano in a scene from "Haywire"
Gina Carano in a scene from "Haywire"
Credit: Relativity Media

Gina Carano is the art house answer to Steven Seagal in Soderbergh’s 'Haywire'

The film saw its world premiere last night at this year's AFI Fest

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm happy to introduce a new writer and a much-needed female voice to the In Contention team: Roth Cornet. And what better way to bring her into the fold than a report from last night's AFI Fest premiere of Gina Carano actioner "Haywire" from director Steven Soderbergh?

Steven Soderbergh premiered his new MMA spy-thriller “Haywire” at the AFI (not so) secret screening Sunday night at the historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The director was in attendance along with Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, and the film’s inspiration and star Gina Carano for a post-screening discussion moderated by “The Insider”’s Joel McHale.

As a filmmaker, Soderbergh is known to make idiosyncratic choices. Though many of his films contain a similar visual style and tone, he is ultimately only predictable in his unpredictability. Over the past several decades he has released art house favorites, glossy popcorn chompers, earnest awards efforts and occasionally, some combination of the three.

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' - 'Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained'

Fur flies between NeNe and Sheree in the season premiere

If you take the time to watch the season premiere of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," you may initially be lured into believing that wealth and fame has finally (and I mean finally) refined our fair ladies. Life seems to be a series of breezy, pleasant tasks, like moving into a fabulous new house or paying cash for a brand-new car. But rest assured -- these women are still crazier than bloodthirsty bedbugs and have lost none of their appetite for fighting and shrieking in public places, purses swinging back and forth as they hysterically flap their arms in indignation. Ah, some things never change!

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Review: 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1' soundtrack is heaven and hell
Credit: Atlantic/Summit/Chop Shop

Review: 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1' soundtrack is heaven and hell

Sap and strength for Bella and Edward's wedding music

The soundtrack to “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” follows a similar template from series music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas. Conscious of its audience and of the romance and melodrama of Bella Swan and her fans’ vampiric love affair, the sets have alternated between mania and depression, bliss and melancholia, or, as “Part 1” contributor Aqualung sings, “between heaven and hell.”

This 15-track collection furthers that dichotomy, even in its missteps and variance on that love-sick theme. To those who know Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s narrative propulsion in the forthcoming film, these polarizations can be easily heard in the warm ache of Christina Perri’s voice on “A Thousand Years.” There’s a half dozen songs here that’ll whet the rabid whistles of viewers eager for the wedding ceremony, and of Edward and Bella’s longed-for love-making.

And then there’s Bruno Mars And Theophilus London. The former’s screaming bawler “It Will Rain” smacks of studio or label interference, a big-name draw from the Atlantic crew among a sea of comparatively tiny ones (apologies, recent Warner Bros. convert and labelmate Iron & Wine). And while fresh Warner Bros. signee London’s urban/electronic sound is among the most lively of the bunch, it sticks out like a sore protagonist.

The upshots are tracks like Joy Formidable’s energetic rock opener “Endtapes” and Twilight actress and singer Mia Measto’s soothing “Llovera.” The Belle Brigade is still unconvincing as a scorned-woman blues outfit but it’s countered by a hard-working stomper Noisettes; as “Part 1” looks to capitalize on the other “F” word – feminine – it’s nice to have tracks like these to compliment the emotional sap of the soft middle section of the album (Cider Sky, Iron & Wine, Imperial Mammoth, Aqualung... damn, where are the Weepies?), a situationally befitting roar instead of a whimper from our constantly imperiled Bella.

There’s also the closer from score composer Carter Burwell: getting the full context on these songs, but especially this brilliant mood-making bit, will be a welcome sound to Twi-Hards.

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" is out Nov. 8. The film drops on Nov. 15.

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