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Review: Keanu Reeves shoots all the faces in the preposterous pulpy 'John Wick'
Credit: Lionsgate

Review: Keanu Reeves shoots all the faces in the preposterous pulpy 'John Wick'

A smartly written world helps flesh out a standard revenge picture

AUSTIN - When the lights went down in the theater for the Fantastic Fest debut of "John Wick," I had no expectations at all for the film. It never occurred to me that it would end up being one of the most enjoyable things I saw there and a genuinely exciting announcement for a pair of pulp action filmmakers.

Chad Stahelski was the stuntman who doubled for Keanu Reeves on "The Matrix," and since then, he's done "The Replacements," both "Matrix" sequels, "Thumbsucker," "Constantine," and "Man Of Tai Chi" with Reeves, and they've developed a strong collaborative relationship. David Leitch, who co-directed the film with Stahelski, has worked on dozens of movies with him in the stunt department. They've both worked as second-unit actual unit directors on films like "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," "Escape Plan," "Safe," "The Wolverine," Parker," "Ninja Assassin," and the upcoming "Jurassic World."

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<p>Zombies! From &quot;The Walking Dead&quot; Season 5.</p>

Zombies! From "The Walking Dead" Season 5.

Credit: AMC

'Walking Dead' Season 5 premiere sets AMC records

Zombie favorite returns above last fall's premiere

America's appetite for brains, or at least our appetite for watching the living dead and their appetite for brains, remains unabated.

AMC's "The Walking Dead" returned on Sunday (October 12) night and set new highs for both the series and, by logical extension, for the network.

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As Marvel searches for 'Doctor Strange,' we suggest they look to 'John Wick' to find their lead
Credit: Lionsgate

As Marvel searches for 'Doctor Strange,' we suggest they look to 'John Wick' to find their lead

Keanu Reeves is ready for his Marvel moment

This past week, I got another heavily-embargoed peek behind the curtain of what Marvel's up to in the near-future, and once again, I feel like they've got a real handle on what they're doing. They have a very specific plan, and the focus it takes to pull that off is sort of remarkable.

Obviously, one of the priorities at the studio right now is "Doctor Strange." Scott Derrickson is onboard to direct, and they are working right now to find the right person to play the Sorcerer Supreme. Recent reports had Joaquin Phoenix circling the project, a rumor that started as far back as the week before Comic-Con. It has now been reported that those negotiations stalled, and that is probably a good thing. I think Phoenix is enormously talented, but he may be the same sort of artist as Edgar Wright, who probably fits better doing his own thing than working within the structure of the big-picture puzzle that Marvel's putting together. Phoenix seems like the sort of person who is going to follow what excites him or challenges him, and a six or nine picture contract is going to impose a structure on his work that he may not be prepared for.

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<p>Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in &quot;Birdman&quot;</p>

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in "Birdman"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Birdman' star Edward Norton wonders why people think franchise films are taking over

Plus: 'Fight Club's' place in a landmark movie year

After big festival bows at the Venice, Telluride and New York film festivals, Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman" finally opens in limited release this week. Michael Keaton is well on his way into the awards spectrum this year, but his co-stars deserve some looks, too, and none more so than Edward Norton, whose mercurial method actor Mike Shiner lights up the screen every time he's on it, and might be the best thing he's done since "Fight Club" and "American History X."

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<p>&quot;The Gambler&quot;</p>

"The Gambler"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

'The Gambler' with Mark Wahlberg to premiere at 2014 AFI Fest

Can the film crack a tough Best Actor category?

We've been pretty much telling you for some time that Rupert Wyatt's remake of "The Gambler" would be one of the few premieres at this year's AFI Fest (along with J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year"). Well, now it's official.

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<p>Russell Crowe in &quot;Noah&quot;</p>

Russell Crowe in "Noah"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Off the Carpet: Can Paramount rekindle Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah' for Oscar voters?

A below-the-line campaign is afoot as the March release looks to swing back

It's always difficult to bring a spring release back around for the Oscar season, no matter the film's size or impact. But in a year like 2014 — which seems rather atypical as subversive comedy, American auteurs and blockbuster craftsmen all duke it out for room alongside the traditional, baitier offerings — anything can slip on through. That's what Paramount is surely hoping for with Darren Aronofsky's "Noah."

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'American Horror Story' renewed for Season 5 after record-setting 'Freak Show' ratings
Credit: FX

'American Horror Story' renewed for Season 5 after record-setting 'Freak Show' ratings

'Gotham' gets a full-season pickup

“American Horror Story” renewed for Season 5 after record-setting “Freak Show” ratings
The 5th installment will premiere one year from now.

“Gotham” gets a full-season pickup
Fox has ordered six additional episodes of the Batman prequel, bringing the freshman season’s total to 22.

Shooting “The Walking Dead’s” Season 5 premiere was “really tough”
Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd says last night’s premiere took nine days to shoot, up from the usual eight. “Watching it on the monitors, you had to look away,” she says. “It felt so real. Even though we’d read the scripts and we knew what was about to happen, we kept thinking ‘How are our guys gonna get out of this?” It’s incredibly visceral. You really feel that our characters are in a situation where they will not escape.”

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Credit: FOX

FOX extends 'Gotham' Season 1 to a full 22 episodes

Originally slated for 16 episodes, Batman prequel gets six more episodes

Last year, FOX ordered 13 episodes of "Sleepy Hollow" and decided to order a second season rather than giving the freshman hit drama a back-nine, which resulted in a nine-month absence between seasons, which may or may have resulted in the show's current Season 2 ratings drop. 

This year, FOX has learned its lesson about not necessarily sticking to its guns when it comes to a successful first-year show.

Kevin Reilly told reporters repeatedly last spring that "Gotham" would only do 16 episodes in its first season.

When I spoke to "Gotham" star Ben McKenzie in August, he expressed relief at not needing to do more than 16 episodes.

And on Monday (October 13), FOX announced that "Gotham" has received a back-six pickup, bringing its first season to 22 episodes.

Fair enough! I guess this means we're getting a Rooney episode after all.

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Stacy Martin
Credit: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

'Nymphomaniac' star joins Robert Pattinson in 'The Childhood of a Leader'

Film marks the directorial debut of actor Brady Corbet.

The fresh-faced Stacy Martin bent over backwards (among other positions) to humanize "Young Joe," a companion to Charlotte Gainsbourg's character, in Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac." While this year's only two-part sex parable isn't earning much love in the way of awards buzz, the model-turned-actress made enough of an impression to catch filmmakers' eyes. Her latest projection pairs her with a leading man that will inevitably catapult her to the mainstream. That's the magic of Robert Pattinson.

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Louis CK goes off on ISIS in Twitter rant
Credit: FX

Louis CK goes off on ISIS in Twitter rant

McDonald’s to Billy Eichner: 'Can’t wait to see you!'

Louis CK goes off on ISIS in Twitter rant
"Oh, f*ck you, ISIS,” the comedian said in the first in a series of tweets. "Sincerely please f*ck each other in the mouth with forks. You're 7 year old boys. You're stupid. You suck.”

McDonald’s to Billy Eichner: “Can’t wait to see you!”
“Oh, and bring Elena!” the McDonald’s Twitter account tweeted to Eichner amid his rant accusing Burger King of ripping him off. PLUS: Seth Rogen and other celebs side with Eichner against Burger King.

“Mulaney” sees a slight rise in Week 2, while ABC’s dramas slip
“The Simpsons” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” also saw big football-related gains in viewership last night.

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<p>The Eagles manhandled the Giants on Sunday</p>

The Eagles manhandled the Giants on Sunday

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Giants-Eagles rout leads Sunday, while 'Once Upon a Time' tumbles

How big a bite did "Walking Dead" take out of the networks on Sunday?

Fast National ratings for Sunday, October 12, 2014.

A one-sided Sunday Night Football rivalry game between the Giants and Eagles dominated Sunday primetime in all measures, with NBC's only competition coming from FOX, which was boosted by NFL overrun.

FOX's football overrun definitely played a big role in the week-to-week growth for "The Simpsons" and the ripple continued with "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and even "Mulaney" rising in Fast Nationals.

Most of the night's other network returns were on the low side, with "Once Upon a Time," Resurrection" and "Revenge" all slipping for ABC and "Madam Secretary" and "The Good Wife" probably dropping for CBS, though football makes those CBS numbers a bit murky.

And yes, it's fairly certain that Sunday's top program was actually AMC's "The Walking Dead" premiere, but those numbers won't be available until later.

On to the network primetime figures...

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Miley Cyrus covers the Beatles' 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' with the Flaming Lips

Miley Cyrus covers the Beatles' 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' with the Flaming Lips

Moby guests, too, on this track from the Lips' 'Sgt. Pepper' covers album

The Flaming Lips and some "fwends" have taken on the songs of The Beatles' "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band," and first up is an iconic little song with Miley Cyrus and Moby.

Click here to listen to Miley Cyrus, Moby and Flaming Lips cover "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

Cyrus obviously bends her voice to fit the psychedelic trip on this one; but a trained singer singing purposely flat hurts my widdle hawt. It's nice to hear her step outside her wheelhouse, and, judging from the little blips of in-studio banter inserted at the beginning and end, she had at least a little fun.

As you'll see the song is conveniently located on the pre-order page for the set, officially dubbed "With a Little Help From My Fwends," a title you will be embarrassed to say aloud, guaranteed. The Oklahoma-founded group has gone the way of PledgeMusic for this release, with lots of extra goodies up as part of the support, though the album has an official release via Warner Bros. The push for extra scratch may have to do with the non-profit angle of the release: "Proceeds from sales of 'With a Little Help From My Fwends' will go to the Bella Foundation, an organization in the band’s Oklahoma City hometown that helps low income, elderly, or terminally ill pet owners with the cost of veterinary care."

Miley Cyrus shows back up on another cover from the set, "A Day in the Life"; she and Wayne Coyne & Co. performed this song earlier this summer for the Billboard Music Awards. Cyrus has been a vocal proponent of the band and shot a very strange video with them -- and, again, Moby -- for "Blonde SuperFreak Steals the Magic Brain."

My Morning Jacket, J Mascis, Grace Potter, Tegan & Sara, Phantogram, Tool's Maynard James Keenan and many more guests aligned for this album, due Oct. 28.

This is a "Fwends" continuation: The Flaming Lips recorded a different guest-heavy set, "The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends," for release on Record Store Day in 2012, with contributions from Bon Iver, Nick Cave, Jim James of MMJ (again), Tame Impala and more. The group also previously completed their version of a totally different emblematic rock set (with fwends), "The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon."

Here is the tracklist for "With A Little Help From My Fwends":

1 “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (Feat. My Morning Jacket, Fever the Ghost & J Mascis)
2 “With A Little Help From My Friends” (Feat. Black Pus & Autumn Defense)
3 “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” (Feat. Miley Cyrus & Moby)
4 “Getting Better” (Feat. Dr. Dog, Chuck Inglish & Morgan Delt)
5 “Fixing A Hole
6 “She’s Leaving Home” (Feat. Phantogram, Julianna Barwick & Spaceface)
7 “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!” (Feat. Maynard James Keenan, Puscifer & Sunbears!)
8 “Within You Without You” (Feat. Birdflower & Morgan Delt)
9 “When I’m Sixty-Four” (Feat. Def Rain & Pitchwafuzz)
10 “Lovely Rita” (Feat. Tegan and Sara & Stardeath and White Dwarfs)
11 “Good Morning Good Morning” (Feat. Zorch, Grace Potter & Treasure Mammal)
12 “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” (Feat. Foxygen & Ben Goldwasser)
13 “A Day In The Life” (Feat. Miley Cyrus & New Fumes)

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