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<p>Would you believe that's the good guy in the new French thriller 'Sleepless Night'?</p>

Would you believe that's the good guy in the new French thriller 'Sleepless Night'?

Credit: Bac Films

Warner Bros and Roy Lee hatch a caper to remake French thriller 'Sleepless Night'

Race for remake rights as relentless as the film itself

At 5:00 PM this afternoon, I was onstage at the Alamo Drafthouse introducing Fantastic Fest's first screening of Frederic Jardin's relentlessly entertaining new action thriller "Sleepless Night," and I made the joke as part of the introduction, "I'm glad you guys get to see it before Hollywood buys it and screws it up."

Cut to the news breaking while that same screening is still playing that Roy Lee and Warner Bros have joined forces to remake Frederic Jardin's relentlessly entertaining new action thriller "Sleepless Night."

I think it's safe to say I'm not surprised.

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<p>Rachael Taylor and Minka Kelly come to blows in the &quot;Charlie's Angels&quot;&nbsp;pilot.</p>

Rachael Taylor and Minka Kelly come to blows in the "Charlie's Angels" pilot.

Credit: ABC

'Charlie's Angels' - 'Pilot': Heaven vs. Hell

What did everybody think of ABC's remake?

I posted my review of "Charlie's Angelsthis morning. Now it's your turn. Did you sense a pulse from any of Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh? Any chemistry between them? Did you like Young Hunky Bosley? Were you appreciative of Minka re-enacting the torture scene from "Lethal Weapon"? Are you excited by the dark backstories, and/or the casting of Victor Garber as Charlie? And will any of you watch this ever again?

Have at it.

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<p>Ben (Adam Scott)&nbsp;and Leslie (Amy Poehler)&nbsp;on &quot;Parks and Recreation.&quot;</p>

Ben (Adam Scott) and Leslie (Amy Poehler) on "Parks and Recreation."

Credit: NBC

Interview: 'Parks and Recreation co-creator Mike Schur on the season 4 premiere

Some thoughts on Leslie's professional and personal decisions

"Parks and Recreation" just aired its fourth season premiere, and you can read my review of that here. I had initially planned to accompany that review with a pair of pieces about the creative process behind the making of this episode - one a fly-on-the-wall piece from an afternoon I spent in the show's writers room back in June, the other an interview I did a couple of weeks ago with co-creator  Mike Schur - but I'm going to put those off until next week and break out one long section of the Schur interview, in which we discuss what the premiere had to say about the Leslie and Ben relationship - and about the more general challenges of writing long-term relationship arcs on comedies. Spoilers and analysis coming up just as soon as we discuss my stance on Egyptian debt relief...

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<p>Leslie (Amy Poehler)&nbsp;makes an announcement on the &quot;Parks and Recreation&quot;&nbsp;premiere.</p>

Leslie (Amy Poehler) makes an announcement on the "Parks and Recreation" premiere.

Credit: NBC

'Parks and Recreation' - 'I'm Leslie Knope': Running or running away?

Leslie has a tough decision to make in the sweet season 4 premiere

"Parks and Recreation" is back for its fourth season. I interviewed co-creator Mike Schur about one of the major developments of the premiere, and I have a review of the episode coming up just as soon as I have the toes I have...

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<p>Joel McHale in the &quot;Community&quot;&nbsp;season 3 premiere.</p>

Joel McHale in the "Community" season 3 premiere.

Credit: NBC

'Community' - 'Biology 101': Table setting

Michael Kenneth Williams and John Goodman join the Greendale faculty

"Community" is back for a third season, and I have a review of the premiere coming up just as soon as I install a banana buffet...

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<p>&quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>
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"The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' - 'Auditions #2' Live-Blog

Will Cheryl Cole make another appearance, or are we stuck with Nicole?

We're back again for another night of "The X Factor" live-blogging. I don't anticipate that I'll live-blog next week's show -- Rosh Hashanah, among other things -- but last night went OK, so I'm fine with making live-blogging a fun premiere week game.

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<p>&quot;Charlie's Angels&quot;</p>
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"Charlie's Angels"

Credit: ABC

TV Review: ABC's 'Charlie's Angels'

Here's a flawless blueprint on how not to reboot a franchise
The "Charlie's Angels" brand has some value, but ABC has a few problems with that brand.
First: There certainly are people with warmth for the original TV series, which was a fairly earnest piece of Aaron Spelling cheese, elevated to glorious action eye candy by Farrah Fawcett (and, to possibly a lesser extent, by Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd).
The problem: If you watched "Charlie's Angels" when it premiered in 1976, even if you have fond memories of it, there's at least a possibility that you may be outside of the demographic ABC truly cares about. Also, you probably won't think that the beloved tone of the jigglefest has been well captured in this mannequins-on-parade interpretation.
Second: The 2000 "Charlie's Angels" film with Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu was a pretty big hit and although it wasn't exactly an Oscar movie, as tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top sexy action-comedies go, it was pretty superb.
The problem there: [We'll leave aside that 2003's "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" was a less big hit and far less well received.] Repeatedly mentioning Drew Barrymore's name in promotion and even bringing her out at the Emmys isn't going to obscure that no matter what the "Charlie's Angels" movie was aiming for, tone-wise, that's not what ABC's reboot is aiming for in any way and no matter what kind of trailer ABC cuts together, there's actually no way to make it look like there are similarities.
So, really, whether you loved "Charlie's Angels" in the '70s or you loved "Charlie's Angels" in the '00s, you aren't going to see your version of "Charlie's Angels" celebrated on ABC on Thursday (September 22) night. There are many ways to honor or respect "Charlie's Angels" and this version achieves none of them and, in the process, it doesn't honor or respect viewers who come in without a vested interest of any kind.
I thought "Charlie's Angels" was bad when I watched the original cut back in May, but watching it a second time in what was a barely tweaked revised pilot was utterly excruciating. "Charlie's Angels" is entitled to be interpreted so many different ways, but hitting this level of tedium is almost astounding.
Full review after the break...
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<p>Michael and Wolfgang take a walk, and there's not enough bleach in the world for how dirty this film made me feel</p>

Michael and Wolfgang take a walk, and there's not enough bleach in the world for how dirty this film made me feel

Credit: Strand Releasing

Review: 'Michael' kicks off Fantastic Fest with disturbing character study

Is looking into the face of evil enough to justify the journey?

There are certain films that challenge viewers simply by existing.  They are these dares, issued by the filmmaker, that linger out there, and it's up to each viewer to decide if they want to take that dare and see whatever it is, whatever taboo has been broken.  It's an entire school of cinema that many people avoid as viewers, and I don't blame them.  So much of our culture is designed to make us feel good or to placate us or to reinforce the things we already believe that it's incongruous when we encounter something that seems genuinely determined to hurt us.

"Michael" is the debut film from writer/director Markus Schleinzer, and it's a nasty bit of business, a character portrait played dry, a dark joke told with a straight face, starring Michael Fuith as an insurance worker at an anonymous company who spends his days playing a sort of hide-in-plain-sight game of "look how normal I am" with his co-workers before going to his small and forgettable house where he keeps a young boy named Wolfgang (David Rauchenberger) locked in his disturbingly cozy basement.  There is nothing coy or ambiguous about Michael's intent, either.  Wolfgang is his prisoner, his toy, his sex object, his punching bag, his thing.  He has completely cut this boy off from the world and broken him, and for much of the running time, the film simply observes the details of their daily existence.  What happens if the boy wants to go outside and do something?  What happens if he gets sick?  Can Michael take him to the doctor without being exposed?  What if something happens to Michael?  Would anyone ever know?

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<p>Steve Jones</p>
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Steve Jones

Watch: 'X Factor' host Steve Jones introduces himself to HitFix

Why is the Welsh host determined to protect contestants against Simon?
I'll admit it: My first reaction to meeting "X Factor" host Steve Jones was "Compared to Ryan Seacrest, this guy is James Bond."
The 34-year-old former model from Wales made his debut as "X Factor" host on Wednesday (September 21) night, a gig he'll now take on solo after his original co-host, Nicole Scherzinger, was elevated to judge early in the audition process. 
Jones was only seen fleetingly in Wednesday's premiere, so he's still a bit of an unknown to American audiences, while British fans know him from hosting duties on shows like "Drop Zone," "As Seen on TV" and "Guinness World Records Smashed."
Check out my interview with Jones, in which he discussed his relationship with the judges, his relationship with contestants and why he actually doesn't want audiences to know too much about it.
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Credit: Columbia

And the Grammy goes to... Who will get an Album of the Year nod?

Eligibility period ends next week

Sure, we all know Adele’s “21” is a shoo-in for a Grammy nomination for album of the year, but after the British thrush’s second effort, who will likely land a nod among the top five slots?

We know the Grammy Awards aren’t until Feb. 12, 2012, but next Friday, Sept. 30, marks the last release day of eligibility for an album to be considered. Any album put out between Oct. 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2011 falls within the qualifying period.

That means that a number of sets still to come in 2011 will have to wait until the 2013 ceremony for their chance to snare the golden gramophone, including new titles from Coldplay, Kelly Clarkson, Drake, Tom Waits, Miranda Lambert and Lou Reed/Metallica.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Whitney Cummings and Chris D'Elia of &quot;Whitney&quot;</p>
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Whitney Cummings and Chris D'Elia of "Whitney"

Credit: NBC

TV Review: NBC's 'Whitney'

It's not that we dislike multi-cam comedies, it's that we dislike bad comedies
If "Whitney" is bad -- and it is, at least in pilot form, bad -- you have to give the new NBC sitcom credit for coming off the blocks as belligerently bad.
Check out this interview with series executive producer Betsy Thomas, in which she blasts the "comedy snobbery" regarding NBC's Thursday comedy lineup, saying, "Somehow it became cool to stop trying to be funny." In the article, Thomas raises the perfectly valid point that as much as I/we/smart-people love NBC's Thursday single-cam comedies, with the exception of "The Office," they're not hits. They'd all basically be considered failures if they were on ABC or CBS. [So maybe audiences don't love single camera comedies. Except audiences love "Modern Family."]
Or catch the opening to "Whitney" itself, in which Whitney Cummings tauntingly declares, "'Whitney' is taped in front of a live studio audience... You heard me." Dontcha be confusing "Whitney" with a single-camera comedy and dontcha be accusing "Whitney" of using a laff-track, y'all.
Yup, "Whitney" is defiant and the pre-premiere party line appears to be simple: Critics who don't like "Whitney" don't like "Whitney" because it's not "cool" to like multi-cam comedies anymore, but that human beings (i.e. non-critics) love multi-cam comedies so, without using exactly these words, we can all suck it. 
I don't have an immediate defense to that, since I can't look at the network comedies that I liked this year or last year or any time in the recent past and say, "Ha! There's the multi-cam comedy that I love, so you're wrong," though "The Big Bang Theory" is a regular part of my viewing rotation and "Mike & Molly" also isn't a series I ever go out of my way to mock.
But regarding "Whitney," there's only one truly important rejoinder and it goes a little like this: Disliking "Whitney" isn't reflective of a dislike for multi-cam comedies, it's reflective of a dislike for unfunny comedies and complaining that "Whitney" doesn't mesh with NBC's other Thursday comedies isn't a coded way for criticizing it as multi-cam, but rather a coded way for saying it isn't good. 
And if it's snobbery to say, "I prefer good comedies to bad comedies," I guess I'll just have to cop to that. [As if I've somehow ever disputed charges of snobbery in the past.]
More on "Whitney" after the break...
There's a tendency to shy away from the word "sitcom," which has become as much of a bad word or an antiquated word as "multi-cam," but if "Whitney" is going to take pride in being filmed in front of a live studio audience, it should also feel pride in being a sitcom of the most retro type imaginable.
Whitney Cummings plays Whitney Cummings, but not the Whitney Cummings who's a successful stand-up comic, but a slightly different Whitney Cummings who's a photographer. [Why was this the professional choice they made? I don't know.] This Whitney Cummings is in a long-term relationship with Alex (Chris D'Elia), who made a lot of money selling an Internet something of some sort. [Neither main character's professional background actually has anything to do with anything in the pilot.] Whitney and Alex have been together for a long time (five years in the original pilot, but three years now, because somebody must have told somebody this would sound less dire, or maybe just make them seem younger), but they aren't married and they aren't engaged, in part because Whitney's mom (Jane Kaczmarek) has left her terrified by the entire institution.
They've got some wacky sitcom friends, too. Lily (Zoe Lister-Jones) and Neal (Maulik Pancholy) are dating and although the NBC press description has lots of details about each character, in the pilot at least, she's a harpy and he's whipped. There's also bitter, cynical Roxanne (Rhea Seehorn) who's mostly there to lament about dating and the state of contemporary masculinity. And finally there's sexist cop Mark (Dan O'Brien) who says obnoxious and chauvinistic things and waits for the audience to pretend that it's 1984 and them laugh.
A lot of "Whitney" is actually about pretending that it's 1984. Or maybe 1993. And the weird part is that I can't tell if it's intentional. The original pilot had a couple vintage 2009 punchlines about Vajazzling and a character asking not to be CC-ed on something conversational, but they were trimmed. The current "Whitney" pilot is stripped of most pop culture references and even a "Dr. Quinn" reference has to be followed by the question "Medicine woman?" as if the joke needed additional clarification to be funny.
But there's a fine line between being intentionally retro and evergreen and coming across as dated and "Whitney" is mostly in the latter category. Cummings' comedy -- I don't claim to be an expert, but I've seen my share of Roasts, YouTube clips and late-night appearances -- doesn't tend to be reference driven and, I'll confess, I've always felt like she tends a bit too much towards obvious "women are different from men" punchlines, so I can see how this would be a logically network de-raunchified version of what she does. But as predictable as I usually find Cummings' stand-up, I can also respect that her writing is somewhat sharp and her delivery usually hits well.
In "Whitney," however, the writing isn't sharp and the delivery doesn't tend to hit well. For a sitcom with a love for traditional sitcom conventions, "Whitney" doesn't have a very good grasp on ideal sitcom pacing and scene tend to drag in ways that are inexcusable in the high-punchline-per-minute-ratio world of the multi-cam sitcom. The wedding sequence that makes up most of the pilot's first half seems to go on forever and very few of the punchlines either hit or flow organically into the marriage-based-insecurity that fuels the rest of the episode. Too many punchlines are just jokes repeating themselves, rather than the kind of escalated humor this branch of the genre thrives on. If "Whitney" ever decides to let D'Elia be funny, that would help, since too many scenes are Whitney saying ostensibly funny things loudly and then waiting for D'Elia and the audience to laugh and then gracelessly hammering home another ostensible punchline. For now, there's no back and forth and Cummings' is trying way too hard, which is a bad match for D'Elia's low-key, bemused charm.
I'll say this again: Exactly one scene in "Whitney" worked for me, but at least it worked for me well. Worried that their sex life is on the rocks, Whitney decides to role-play as a naughty nurse. This sequence, mostly spoiled already by NBC promos, works because it's the one time in the pilot that suggests or proves that Whitney and the creative team are aware of the way a good multi-cam scene should start from character, escalate, escalate and close strong (though this scene also includes the gratuitously repeated "Dr. Quinn" joke, so it's far from perfect). I'm not saying that "Whitney" should be composed entirely of scenes featuring Cummings in a naughty nurse outfit, just to note that it seems counterproductive and wrong to claim that every scene in "Whitney' is a total dud.
And I could generously agree that Jane Kaczmarek is an improvement over Beverly D'Angelo as Whitney's mom, but in terms of actual resemblance and ability to be intentionally funny on cue.
And, heck, I'll even agree that the revised ending to the new pilot is markedly less bad than the original ending and that several of those cut punchlines were cut for viable reasons, meaning that the producers are not unaware of some things not being funny.
I don't know why I'm inclined to such generosity toward a pilot which is, naughty nurse scene aside, completely without mirth. It could be that I don't think NBC and CBS are necessarily wrong in feeling like Cummings is a star of sorts. I just feel like this is a pilot which, despite Emmy winner Andy Ackerman directing and the punchy Betsy Thomas (also an Emmy winner) producing, exhibits a weird discomfort with the form it's so proud to be trying to reinvigorate. That's why, like I said in my original Take Me To The Pilots post, NBC should have let them scrap the pilot entirely and try again, rather than just tinkering with a few random scenes and pretending that was a solution. It wasn't a solution and this is a bad pilot and that's what my grade reflects, but I can somehow imagine it getting better. By next week, I may have discarded that hope as well.
"Whitney" premieres on Thursday (September 22) night on NBC at 9:30 p.m. ET.
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Watch: Wavves crash in violent clip for 'Bug'

What? Didn't they just declare their love for Dave Grohl?

You know what’s a buzz kill at a party? A dude who crashes your  perfectly civilized game night who is wanted by the police.

Then, when the pills that you’ve been popping all night kick in, a drag queen (or at least we think it’s a guy) dressed as a mermaid toting a machine gun pops up through the coffee table, and takes out the cops with said gun and splatters their blood all over a perfectly fine poster of Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl. What? It seems like it was only last month the band was declaring its love for for Grohl in “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl.”

[More after the jump...]

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