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<p>Charlize Theron in a scene from &quot;Young Adult&quot;</p>

Charlize Theron in a scene from "Young Adult"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

'Young Adult' pops up at the New Beverly

Jason Reitman's latest film finally lands in Los Angeles and it's a winner

LOS ANGELES - "It's nice to just show the movie and say, 'Here it is, hope you like it,'" Jason Reitman said to me at a party following a "pop-up" screening of his latest film "Young Adult" last night. And he's been doing just that, in select cities across the country -- Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Austin and a stop north of the border in Toronto -- aiming at the kinds of fans who'll line up for a secret screening without knowing what the film will be. And the experience seems to have invigorated him a bit.

Going into these cities, he and screenwriter Diablo Cody haven't done the usual press commitments. No chatting with local news stations, radio shows, newspapers and college papers like you'd expect. In and out and a "hope you like it." It's fair to say the kind of intense press rounds he exhausted on "Up in the Air" two years ago were the last thing he wanted to do this time around, but it's also been about setting a foundation that says, "This ain't 'Juno.'"

And no, "Young Adult" is not "Juno." Not that the latter is the trifle it's come to be considered since its 2007 release (it has its dark and emotional moments), but the latest Cody/Reitman collaboration is an unflinching piece of work committed to following its lead character on a downward path, eschewing a narrative of redemption and never conceding any ground.

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<p>John&nbsp;Lasseter hams it up for the camera at the ceremony for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.</p>

John Lasseter hams it up for the camera at the ceremony for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Credit: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Oscarweb Round-up: Lasseter gets his star

Also: ADG fetes 'Harry Potter' franchise and 'War Horse' pop-up screenings?

Not to follow up yesterday's round-up with yet another Pixar-themed lead story, but, alas, when it's in the news... Yesterday John Lasseter was the recipient of the 2,453rd star awarded/bought on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He apparently had some touching words for the late Steve Jobs, who passed away last month and was key to Pixar's early success. I wasn't able to attend the ceremony at the last minute, but Anne Thompson was on hand and got some nice video of the event. [Thompson on Hollywood]

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<p>Gemma (Katey Sagal)&nbsp;and Clay (Ron Perlman)&nbsp;on &quot;Sons of Anarchy.&quot;</p>

Gemma (Katey Sagal) and Clay (Ron Perlman) on "Sons of Anarchy."

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' - 'Kiss': Crazy stupid love

Various characters make foolish decisions based on love for others

My review of tonight's "Sons of Anarchy" coming up just as soon as it's a little late for Legos...

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' dumps another couple and Justin Bieber performs

It's another surprise as a celebrity hoofer gets booted

It's time for another elimination -- and Justin Bieber! Not being a tween, I can't say I'm overly excited about this, but I understand that many high-strung young girls are very, very excited about it, and having once been a high-strung young girl myself, I'm happy for them. Live the dream, kids. Live the dream. If you're lucky, Justin will grow up to be an admirable human being and not a creepy, self-absorbed junkie (I'd say that, judging from my teen idols, the ratio could be fifty-fifty, so root for admirable). And yes, maybe one of you will marry him. It happens. 

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<p>Damian McGinty and Heather Morris of &quot;Glee&quot;</p>
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Damian McGinty and Heather Morris of "Glee"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Glee' - 'Pot of Gold'

The show returns, and with it does all its bad habits

I mean, where to even begin, people? It’s been weeks since last we saw “Glee,” and its return had me wishing that the baseball playoffs had lasted another three rounds. At gunpoint, I’d still rank the “Rocky Horror”-inspired episode of this show as its worse, but Lord, did tonight’s “Pot of Luck” give that hot mess a run for its money. Even by the show’s own less-than-lofty standards, this was a mishmash of disparate elements that confused “stringing together forty minutes of material” with “actually producing an episode of television.” We saw some hopes for this show’s future before its sports-induced hiatus, but this episode pretty much washed all of those away in a flood of stupidity.

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<p>Shailene Woodley, George Clooney, Barbara L. Southern and Robert Forster in Alexander Payne's 'The Descendants.&quot;</p>

Shailene Woodley, George Clooney, Barbara L. Southern and Robert Forster in Alexander Payne's 'The Descendants."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Contender Countdown: Tag 'Descendants' you're still it

Gurus gets going again as 'Artist' and 'War Horse' also make some noise

Ah, the highs and lows of being the frontrunner.  Depending on the particular Oscar season it can either be a blessing or a curse.  Two years ago, Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air" was considered the frontrunner (by some) until "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar" dominated December and September to make it an afterthought.   In 2009, "Slumdog Millionaire" was in the lead from the Toronto Film Festival forward.  2007 arguably had no frontrunner as "The Departed" took the crown from a crowded field.  In 2006, "Brokeback Mountain" was the expected best picture winner by many from Toronto onward until "Crash" surprised the public by taking the trophy (although this pundit sadly new "Crash" was in lead before the nominations came out and predicted its win).  Still, there are too many "Up in the Air's" along the awards season trail over the past decade to allow publicists to enjoy a frontrunner label.  So, with the Gurus of Gold back in full force this week, Fox Searchlight is probably wearing half a smile with Alexander Payne's critically acclaimed dramedy taking the top spot once again. 

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<p>Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel in &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel in "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

'New Girl' - 'Naked': Don't bother to knock

Zooey Deschanel and friends return from a baseball hiatus with a shaky episode

A quick review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I do close-up magic...

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<p>Gil Cates, producer of 14 Academy Awards ceremonies between 1990 and 2008.&nbsp;</p>

Gil Cates, producer of 14 Academy Awards ceremonies between 1990 and 2008. 

Credit: AP Photo/Ric Francis

Saying goodbye to Gil Cates

Director-producer defined the latter-day Oscarcast format

I feel distinctly sad about the passing of Gil Cates, who died yesterday at the age of 77, and yet what I'm mourning isn't precisely the sum of his career parts. A proficient, professional producer-director for screens big and small, he directed at least one fine film: "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams," a brittle 1973 character study for which Joanne Woodward was Oscar-robbed. (I admit I've never seen his "I Never Sang For My Father," which earned nominations for Gene Hackman and Melvyn Douglas.)

And yet it's not these perfectly credible titles that are foregrounded in his obituaries: rather, it's the less personal but no less demanding achievement of having produced a record 14 Oscar ceremonies between 1990 and 2008. It's those dates that resonate with me: the 1990 Academy Awards ceremony was the first one I ever watched in full, and the first one hosted by Billy Crystal, arguably the most widely beloved Oscar host of my lifetime.

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<p>Roger Waters</p>

Roger Waters

Credit: AP Photo

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters puts another brick in 'The Wall' for a 2012 U.S. tour

Outing begins in May

Roger Waters will bring Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” tour back to the U.S. in a slate of new shows starting May 1. Tickets for the tour, promoted by Live Nation, go on sale Nov. 7.

The multi-media presentation features the Pink Floyd co-founder performing the masterpiece from start to finish with a full band. Over the past two years, Waters’ “The Wall” has played to more than 1.6 million fans.

Starting at Houston’s Toyota Center on May 1, the 36-date outing will wrap at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park.

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<p>The Wallflowers</p>

The Wallflowers

Wallflowers to reunite in 2012, according to Jakob Dylan

Six-year hiatus was unintentional

Jakob Dylan plans to reunite with his band The Wallflowers for their first album since 2005’s “Rebel, Sweetheart.”

Dylan, who’s currently touring behind his fine 2010 T-Bone Burnett produced set, “Women and Country,” told Rolling Stone that he and the reunited Wallflowers will start work on the new set in January and that the six-year hiatus was unintentional because, well, time goes by a lot faster when you get older.

“I never suggested we were breaking up. We all felt we were losing the plot a bit and we needed a break. And that year break becomes two years, then becomes three years and before you know it, five or six years go by pretty quickly. I can’t do what I do in the Wallflowers without them. I miss them.”

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<p>Mary J. Blige croons in the music video for &quot;The Living Proof&quot; from Disney's &quot;The Help.&quot;</p>

Mary J. Blige croons in the music video for "The Living Proof" from Disney's "The Help."

Credit: Geffen Records

Calling all original song contenders

Putting together a list of possibilities, from Mary J. Blige to Jónsi (again)

In four or five weeks we'll be closing out this year's slate of crafts category analysis via the weekly Tech Support column with my contribution to the cause: Best Original Song. I tend to wait until the end on that because it's best to hold off until a list of eligible contenders is announced and in place and, of course, to gauge how the tunes are used in the films in question.

But I haven't even gotten around to assembling a decent list of possibilities until just recently. So maybe it's time to toss that out there and maybe ask for a little help from the readership, since I'm sure plenty of you know some things about this race that I don't.

Let's start with a few things to get the discussion going, though. And animated films are always a good place to look. With that in mind, 20th Century Fox's "Rio" has a trio of contenders: "Real in Rio," "Let Me Take You to Rio" and "Hot Wings (I Wanna Party)."

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<p>Philip Seymour Hoffman in &quot;Capote,&quot; winner of the Best Actor Oscar in 2005.</p>

Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Capote," winner of the Best Actor Oscar in 2005.

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

The Lists: Top 10 Oscar-winning biopic performances

Who do this year's biopic Oscar hopefuls have to live up to?

Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher. Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover. All of them heading to our screens in the next few weeks, all of them looking to join the long list of actors to strike Oscar gold for playing real-life figures.

It’s a list that’s grown particularly rapidly in recent years: in the past decade alone, 12 of the 20 winners in the lead acting categories have triumphed for biopics. Meanwhile, you have to go all the way back to the 1997 Oscar race to find a year where all four acting winners played fictional characters. It’s a trend that often prompts complaints from hardened Oscar-watchers like myself: it’s no less difficult to create a character from scratch than it is to embody a previously existing one, but voters don’t all seem to agree.

Still, biopic bait needn’t always be bad news: for every actor who coasts to victory for doing a superficially impressive but soulless impersonation of an iconic figure, there’s at least one other who accepts the challenge to craft a fresh, inspired character from a real-life source, and succeeds. Which is what today’s list is about: I’ve rounded up the 10 Oscar-winning biopic performances that most excitingly avoid the obvious, and most insistently stick in my memory.

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