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<p>Neil Patrick Harris plays Rock Band with The Smurfs in a scene from my own personal nightmares.</p>

Neil Patrick Harris plays Rock Band with The Smurfs in a scene from my own personal nightmares.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Review: 'The Smurfs' offers harmless, self-aware family laughs

Latest example of a relatively new genre is review-proof

Yep.  There is a movie called "The Smurfs" and it exists.

Is there really nostalgia out there for these characters?  If you grew up in the '80s watching the cartoon on Saturday mornings, are you really hoping to see a new film with the little blue creatures?  Somehow, I doubt it.  This has struck me as one of the strangest miscalculations of this era of nothing but pre-existing properties since it was first announced, and now, finally, the film will be in theaters this Friday and we'll see what kind of appetite people actually have for the Smurfs.

One thing is clear, though, having taken both of my children to see the movie last night:  this is not a movie that is aimed at grown-ups.  It was written young, it plays young, and for a six year old and a three year old, it seemed to play just fine.  I'll give it credit for making the two of them belly laugh every time Hank Azaria, chewing scenery with aplomb as Gargamel, evil wizard foe to the Smurfs, got hurt in some dramatic fashion.  Listening to them laugh like that is exactly why I took them, and it worked well enough on that level.

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<p>Amy Winehouse</p>

Amy Winehouse

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Mark Ronson pays tribute to Amy Winehouse, so does Ronnie Spector

Winehouse's producer leads singalong, while Spector covers 'Back To Black'

Amy Winehouse’s producer, Mark Ronson, paid tribute to the late singer last night by playing “Valerie” onstage at London’s Royal Naval College.

Ronson was joined on stage by Zutons lead singer Dave McCabe, who wrote the track. Winehouse and Ronson covered the tune on Ronson’s “Version” album.

Later, Ronson brought members of Winehouse’s backing band on stage, as well as singer Charlie Waller, for a cover of “Back To Black,” according to NME and BBC Newsbeat.

Ronson told the audience, “It's really lovely getting to play some music here for you tonight. That's what makes everything better. I went to her service yesterday and there was a rabbi that spoke and he said that somebody's life is measured in deeds and not years and that’s the best thing I heard yesterday.” He also told the audience, “She is my sister, wherever she is.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&quot;Doctor Who&quot; star Matt Smith was among the show's panelists at press tour.</p>

"Doctor Who" star Matt Smith was among the show's panelists at press tour.

Credit: BBC

Press tour: 'Doctor Who' panel live-blog

Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Steven Moffat meet the TCA

I live-blogged the "Doctor Who" panel at Comic-Con, so why not go for a two-fer with today's press tour session? I suspect the critics will ask different questions from the fans - though most of us are arguably both - and if nothing else, we'll have showrunner Steven Moffat on the stage (along with Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and producers Piers Wenger and Beth Willis), who may be able to say more than staff writer Toby Whithouse could in San Diego. 

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<p>LMFAO</p>

LMFAO

LMFAO laughs its way to four weeks atop the Hot 100

Will Katy Perry make it to the top for a record-setting fifth time?

LMFAO stays at No.1 for a fourth week as “Party Rock Anthem” featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock makes its mark as one of the top songs of the summer.

Will Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) end LMFAO’s reign?  Her tune moves 3-2 in its hopeful march to No. 1. If the song reaches the summit, her album “Teenage Dream” will be only the second album in the history of the Hot 100 to include five chart toppers, matching Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” according to Billboard.

Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” slides 2-3. Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” climbs 5-4, trading places with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”

Lil Wayne’s “How To Love” stays at No. 6, while newcomers Hot Chelle Rae see their first Top 10 hit, “Tonight, Tonight” rises 9-7. Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory” dips 7-8. Also slipping down one slot is OneRepublic’s “Good Life” from 8-9.

The only new entry into the top 10 belongs to Bad Meets Evil, whose “Lighters” soars 17-10. The track, which features Bruno Mars,  also wins Greatest Gainer/Digital honors as it makes gains in both airplay and sales.
 

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Erik Estrada

Erik Estrada

Credit: AP

Erik Estrada talks hip action, Ponch, Chris Hansen and child predators

The 70s heart throb talks with HitFix about why he's dancing with the stars

Remember "CHiPs," that TV show about sexy motorcycle cops back in the '70s? Well, even if you don't, one of the iconic stars of the show, Erik Estrada, is going to be shaking his groove thing on Univision's version of "Dancing with the Stars," "Mira Quien Baila (Look Who's Dancing!)" I talked to Estrada about his mom, shaking his hips and Internet sexual predators. No, really.

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<p>Wayne Coyne</p>

Wayne Coyne

Listen: Flaming Lips and Lightning Bolt combine together for EP

Check out all four, long tracks; inspiration apparently stemming from NASA, drugs

It's hard to keep up with the Flaming Lips these days -- what, with their jaunting around cemeteries and releasing records inside of gummy skulls/fetuses and mobile phone sound experiments whatnot.

The latest surprise is their combination with noise outfit Lightning Bolt for the cleverly titled EP "The Flaming Lips With Lightning Bolt." And bless Warner Bros.' heart, they're the ones putting it out. Exclamation-prone Flaming Lips frontman and Immaculate Noise interviewee Wayne Coyne has been Tweeting pics of the vinyl and some art, but no word yet when physical copies will become available on large-scale.

In the meantime, all four tracks has snorted their way onto YouTube, for your pleasure below; NASA and dropping acid seem to be the recurring theme. Like Lightning Bolt songs, brevity is not their strong suit. And like Flaming Lips songs, the tracks bubble over like movements or acts, rather than behave like one, strong tune.

And like both bands, the result can be simply weird and merciless. Exhibit A: the video to "I Want to Get High But I Don't Want Brain Damage." YOU'RE WELCOME

[Jump...]

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<p>Lukas Haas plays witness to a rock star's breakdown in 'The Perfect Age of Rock'n'Roll'</p>

Lukas Haas plays witness to a rock star's breakdown in 'The Perfect Age of Rock'n'Roll'

Credit: Red Hawk Films

Watch: Lukas Haas on the curse of 27 in exclusive clip from 'The Perfect Age Of Rock'n'Roll'

Unfortunate timing underscores the sadness behind a rock'n'roll superstition

When I was approached about publishing an exclusive clip from the new film "The Perfect Age Of Rock'n'Roll" here on the blog, I was interested because of the cast.  But then the events of the last week, as we were looking for a place to schedule the clip, made it a little bit more interesting and, frankly, difficult, and we had some conversations about how to handle it before we agreed to premiering it this morning.

I suspect you'll understand why once you read the following synopsis for the film:

According to rock ‘n’ roll lore, age 27 is a fateful milestone.  From Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison to Kurt Cobain, all stars we lost at this very age.

World famous rock star Spyder (Kevin Zegers – Transamerica, Frozen) has achieved fame and fortune with a smash hit debut album. This blinding success however, is built on the Faustian pact that capitalized on the genius of his long lost childhood best friend and band mate, Eric Genson (Jason Ritter – NBC’s The Event, Good Dick). Now Spyder retreats to his small hometown after his sophomore effort flops. Reconnecting with Eric after a seven year estrangement, the two recall their youthful ambitions and reexamine the choices they’ve made. Accompanied by the band’s ambitious, fiery manager (Taryn Manning – ABC’s Hawaii 5-0, Hustle & Flow, 8 Mile), the legendary music impresario August West (Peter Fonda – Easy Rider, 3:10 to Yuma) and a raucous crew of musicians, they set off on a cathartic journey along historic Route 66 that brings them closer to each other, their history and their destiny. Fueled by a stellar rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack that includes songs by Nirvana, Bob Dylan, Iggy & The Stooges, Alice in Chains, Muddy Waters, The Violent Femmes, Howlin’ Wolf, Jane’s Addiction, and many more, The Perfect Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll fully captures the energy, rebellion, and thrills of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.

Last week, Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27, and as soon as that number got reported, I braced myself for it to trend on Twitter. And it did, as did Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain.  It is a sad and unfortunate coincidence, but as with any artistic field, there are superstitions and folklore that build up, and for this film to make that a jumping-off point is one of those strange synchronicities of timing that happens occasionally.

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<p>Daniel Craig, avoiding a stampede</p>

Daniel Craig, avoiding a stampede

Watch: Daniel Craig talks dirt and horses for 'Cowboys and Aliens'

The 'James Bond' actor threw himself into the process of shooting a western

Daniel Craig was gracious enough to sit down with me in a field in Montana a few weeks back to talk westerns, sci-fi and the latest combo of the two, "Cowboys and Aliens."

The man is no stranger to physically demanding roles. His James Bond has been by far the most bare knuckled, down and dirty, body slamming Bond we've seen on screen. He's built like a pit bull, and has a steely gaze that can stop a truck, and/or blue eyes that melt your heart.

This made him perfect to play Jake Lonergan, the  cowboy who wakes up in the middle of the desert with no memory and a piece of mysterious alien technology strapped to his arm in "Cowboys and Aliens."

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<p>Even Detective Linden looks a little dismayed at how &quot;The Killing&quot;&nbsp;season finale played out.</p>

Even Detective Linden looks a little dismayed at how "The Killing" season finale played out.

Credit: AMC

Press tour: AMC executive on 'The Killing' controversy & more

Were people just angry about 'The Killing' finale? Or well before it?

Since the debut of "Mad Men,"(*) AMC's appearances at press tour have been unequivocal lovefests. Even when the channel has put on a show that hasn't quite worked creatively ("The Prisoner" remake) or failed commercially ("Rubicon"), there's been a sense that at least AMC was trying, and the twin debuts of "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" earned them a lot of rope.

(*) Production on season 5 begins on August 8, and Jon Hamm is directing the season premiere. We still don't have a more specific premiere date beyond early 2012.

Thursday morning at the summer 2011 tour, however, featured not one but two thorny subjects to discuss, and the first really obvious tension between the critics and AMC in this era.

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<p>&quot;Fringe&quot;&nbsp;star Joshua Jackson at Comic-Con.</p>

"Fringe" star Joshua Jackson at Comic-Con.

Watch: 'Fringe' star Joshua Jackson at Comic-Con

How does he feel about his character ceasing to exist?

Now that all my "Chuck" video interviews from Comic-Con have been edited and posted, it's time to move on to the batch I did with the cast of "Fringe." As with the "Chuck" interviews, these are all quick hits(*) - and in some cases especially tricky, since no one in the cast can obviously say much about how the show will work now that Peter has been erased from existence.

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<p>Alma (Molly Parker)&nbsp;ponders a move on &quot;Deadwood.&quot;</p>

Alma (Molly Parker) ponders a move on "Deadwood."

Credit: HBO

'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 1, episode 8: 'Suffer the Little Children' (Veterans edition)

The women's concerns come to the forefront

After a week off, it's time to resume our trip back through the first season of David Milch's epic revisionist Western "Deadwood," and we're continuing to do it with two separate but largely identical posts: one for people who watched the whole series and want to be able to discuss it from beginning to end, and one for people who are just starting out and don't want to be spoiled with discussion that goes past the current episode. This is the former; click here for the newbie-safe version.

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<p>Alma (Molly Parker)&nbsp;ponders a move on &quot;Deadwood.&quot;</p>

Alma (Molly Parker) ponders a move on "Deadwood."

Credit: HBO

'Deadwood' Rewind: Season 1, episode 8: 'Suffer the Little Children' (Newbies edition)

The women's concerns come to the forefront

After a week off, it's time to resume our trip back through the first season of David Milch's epic revisionist Western "Deadwood," and we're continuing to do it with two separate but largely identical posts: one for people who watched the whole series and want to be able to discuss it from beginning to end, and one for people who are just starting out and don't want to be spoiled with discussion that goes past the current episode. This is the latter; click here for the veteran-friendly version.

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