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<p>John Madden, director of the new film 'The Debt,' sat down to discuss the movie at a recent press day</p>

John Madden, director of the new film 'The Debt,' sat down to discuss the movie at a recent press day

Credit: HitFix

Watch: John Madden discusses shooting action for new thriller 'The Debt'

The director of 'Shakespeare In Love' shakes it up with his tough new film

I can't believe I made it through five whole minutes with John Madden without asking him a single football question.

Madden's biggest hit and highest pop-culture profile came in 1998 with "Shakespeare In Love," and it seems like some film nerds have never forgiven him for beating Spielberg's big movie that year.  I think the hard part about having a hit like that is the way it sets up expectation that you'll match that success every time out, and Madden isn't a guy whose career suggests that he'll be in the Oscar hunt every time out.  He had something like fifteen years of film and television work under his belt before he made "Shakespeare,'" and for the most part, he's always been drawn to small-scale intimate material.  He's got a sense of dramatic restraint that comes through clearly in films like "Golden Gate," "Mrs. Brown," and even his TV work like "Theseus & The Minotaur," one of the episodes of Jim Henson's groundbreaking "The Storyteller."

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<p>Tyler Labine and Jason Sudeikis propose 'A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy' to their friends in the new comedy opening this weekend</p>

Tyler Labine and Jason Sudeikis propose 'A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy' to their friends in the new comedy opening this weekend

Credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Review: 'A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy' with Sudeikis, Kroll, and Bell sweeter than it sounds

Ensemble comedy offers oddly poignant look at friendship and aging

Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck wrote one of my very favorite episodes of one of my very favorite TV shows, "The Larry Sanders Show," and if the only thing they ever produced would be the script for "Putting The 'Gay' Back In Litigation," then I would consider that a more than triumphant filmography.

After several different TV gigs, the guys have made the jump to features with their new ensemble comedy "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy," and while I think the film's a mixed bag, there's enough of it that works that I would recommend it.  More than anything, it suggests that Gregory and Huyck want to do something with some weight, that they aren't content to just go for the joke.  While "Orgy" is a comedy first and foremost, it does offer some genuine insight into the way relationships and friendships change over time, and it's got a big ensemble cast that has great easy chemistry, making it easy to watch even when it doesn't quite work.

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<p>Sergio Vega at Lollapalooza in August</p>

Sergio Vega at Lollapalooza in August

Credit: Katie Hasty

Interview: Deftones shine off 'Diamond Eyes' tour, sites set on next album

Bassist Sergio Vega and his band of multi-taskers, no signs of hiatus

Diamonds are forever but the Deftones have largely shined off their support of their latest “Diamond Eyes.” This weekend, the band finishes their worldwide tour overseas, and now those eyes have turned toward their next recording project.

But first there were the other projects. Frontman Chino Moreno combined with Scott Chuck and Far guitarist Shaun Lopez under the moniker Crosses (†††), and released a self-titled EP early last month. Guitarist Stephen Carpenter had Kush and now Sol Invicto, which both featured members of Cypress Hill. Turntablist and keyboardist Frank Delgado is in a DJ troupe called Decibel Devils.  Bassist Sergio Vega, who has also DJed for years now, released a remix of tourmates Dillinger Escape Plan’s “Black Bubblegum” in the first week of August. If the opportunity comes up with other groups, he hopes to remix more.
“Everybody is very creative,” Vega qualified. I spoke to the Deftones performer in early August, after the hard rock band had finished a slew of American concerts this summer. “Deftones are Deftones, it does what it does. We have a lot of friends and we all have projects we want to do with them. It doesn’t… imply anything other than that, and it doesn’t come at the expense of the Deftones’ schedule.”
Vega thinks that the number of side projects that his band members are involved in is actually a strength. “It just helps us to get excited whenever we get back together. It helps build the energy for the next body of work that the Deftones do.”
As for what or when that might be, Vega insinuated that the band would finish the tour and head straightaway into working on another set. While “Diamond Eyes” is the only set he’s personally worked on, the former Quicksand member said he’d love to work with that album’s producer Nick Raskulineczagain for whatever’s next.
He also wouldn’t mind the same recording schedule and pace. Vega said “Diamond Eyes” came together in two months, seamlessly and quickly, with a tight cluster of “hours and hours” of recording and then a scheduled day off. Then repeat.
“There was an efficiency of time and building a nice schedule that allowed people to have a day outside of it. We’re used to an organic process, sort of jamming, and that work mode made the most of that,” he said. “And we released it quickly, too.”
Side projects won’t be putting a dent on that schedule, Vega continued. Deftones takes precendence.
“We like doing this. Everyone goes back a long ways. Everyone is friends, everyone is invested in each other’s lives.”


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<p>&nbsp;You may ask yourself: 'My God, what have I done?'</p>

 You may ask yourself: 'My God, what have I done?'

Watch: Nostalgia in the photo booth for 'American Reunion' teaser

The original gang is back over ten years later

You have to hand it to the team behind this first teaser for "American Reunion," the latest sequel to 1999's "American Pie," it's perfect.

In a so-simple-it's-genius concept, it evokes nostalgia for the original film, as well as the original films era, and piques the interest for the next movie.

It's a series of photo-booth style pictures of the original gang including Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Sean William Scott, and even Dad Eugene Levy, accompanied by Matt Nathanson's soulful cover of the song "Laid," originally performed by the band James (making it even more nostalgic for those who know the original version from the early 90's.)

Seeing the the original cast, all now well into adulthood, presented in such a way evokes our memories of the characters instead of the actual characters. Most likely we remember them fondly, as we do anything over ten years ago. So by letting the audience wax nostalgic, they've hooked them without showing anything from the film whatsoever.

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"Bad Girls Club"

 "Bad Girls Club"

Credit: Oxygen

Watch: Exclusive clip of the delightful young ladies of 'Bad Girls Club' getting into it. Again.

The season seven divas get in one another's faces

Oh, those bad girls! The stars of season seven of "Bad Girls Club" (Oxygen, Mondays at 9 p.m.) have settled into lovely New Orleans, and at first it seemed the laid back Louisiana setting might have had a soothing effect on our delicate flowers. But that's just crazy, because you don't call 'em bad girls for nothing. In this exclusive clip, watch the girls scream, curse, threaten, shoulder shove and get all up in one another's faces following a visit to a night club. Enjoy your Southern belles!

After the club, a fight ensues in the house between both groups and Shelly accuses Angie of lying. The fight escalates when Angie calls Shelly Sasquatch, which she doesn't consider an appropriate nickname for some reason.  

A Fight Ensues Between Shelly and Angie by thatsfunny

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<p>Maroon 5's Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera</p>

Maroon 5's Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera

Credit: AP Photo

Maroon 5, Christina Aguilera dance their way to top the Billboard Hot 100

Check out who sees huge chart bounces following MTV's VMAs

Maroon 5 scores the second No. 1 of its career as “Moves Like Jagger” featuring Christina Aguilera dances its ways 4-1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week.

The song is Maroon 5’s first chart topper since 2007’s “Makes Me Wonder.” For Aguilera, the pinnacle ends a much longer drought as her last No. 1 was also a collaboration: her remake of “Lady Marmalade” with Lil’ Kim, Maya and Pink in 2001. It is her fifth No. 1 overall.

It’s a good week for Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine as he is also in the top 10, at No. 10, as the featured artist on Gym Class Heroes’ “Stereo Hearts.”  

“Jagger’s” ascension means Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” falls to No. 5;  LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock stays at No. 2, Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” kicks its way 7-3, jumping over Bad Meets Evil’s “Lighters” featuring Bruno Mars, which moves into the Top 5 as it scoots 6-4.

Nicki Minaj’s MTV Video Music Award-winning “Super Bass” falls 5-6,  Lil Wayne’s “How To Love” inches up one space to No. 7, as does OneRepublic’s “Good Life” to No. 8. Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer climbs back into the Top 10, possibly because of his performance on the VMAs, moving 11-9.

Two other songs, both performed on the VMAs, also soar following Aug. 28’s award show, the highest rated in MTV’s 30-year history:  Lady Gaga’s “You And I” leaps 35-16, while Adele’s “Someone Like You” glides 34-19.

The highest debut on the Hot 100 belongs to Pistol Annies, the trio led by Miranda Lambert. The album’s title cut, “Hell on Heels,” bows at No. 55.

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<p>George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in Alexander Payne's &quot;The Descendants&quot; which will screen at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival.</p>

George Clooney and Shailene Woodley in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" which will screen at the 2011 Telluride Film Festival.

Credit: Fox Searchlight

'The Descendants' and 'Albert Nobbs' set for 2011 Telluride Film Festival

'A Dangerous Method,' 'The Artist' and 'Shame' are also set

Nestled inbetween the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, Telluride has a reputation as a movielovers smorgasbord, but it's also become a prominent fixture on the awards season festival circuit.  The major films set to screen at the 2011 edition of the Labor Day Weekend event were announced today and some heavy hitters are on their way to the small Colorado township.

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

Do you have to be crazy to be a reality TV star?

It's not that simple, but experts say it doesn't hurt
The suicide of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" husband Russell Armstrong has spurred a lot of talk about the nature of reality television, with one L.A. Times journalist suggesting "at this point, the willingness to appear on a situational reality show should be classified as a symptom of emotional instability, if not a mental illness in itself." While television critic Mary McNamara might have been engaging in hyperbole for humor's sake, it's hard to deny she has a point.
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<p>Bel (Romola Garai)&nbsp;and Freddie (Ben Whishaw)&nbsp;on &quot;The Hour.&quot;</p>

Bel (Romola Garai) and Freddie (Ben Whishaw) on "The Hour."

Credit: BBC

'The Hour' - 'Episode 3': The man who knows

Bel and Freddie get a taste of country life, while Mr. Kish lurks

I'm on vacation this week, but I did promise to put up a post for people to discuss the latest episode of "The Hour," which features various personal revelations at the large country estate, Freddie advancing on the mysterious Mr. Kish, and various other bits of mid-'50s British goodness. What did everybody else think of it?

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<p>Porsche of 'Big Brother'</p>
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Porsche of 'Big Brother'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Wednesday - Pandora's Box Blowback

Porsche's Head of Household reign becomes increasingly problematic

When is $5,000 more than $500,000? When you’re Porsche and you’re Head of Household in the home stretch of “Big Brother,” that’s when. Had anyone but Porsche been HoH, I’m not sure the game would have slipped Pandora’s Box into the room. Because who else would be silly enough to open it at this stage in the game? Doing so netted her a cool 5K, but also opened the door for Rachel and Jordan to stave off elimination, as the Duo Twist is back in effect now for one week. It’s Rachel/Jordan vs. Kalia/Porsche vs. Shelly/Adam. Just as we all predicted when this started a few months ago. Cough.

Onto tonight’s recap!

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<p>For a New York street cop, John McClane sure does find himself in some weird situations, and now it looks like he's heading to Russia for 'Die Hard 5'</p>

For a New York street cop, John McClane sure does find himself in some weird situations, and now it looks like he's heading to Russia for 'Die Hard 5'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Max Payne' director John Moore set for Russian-located 'Die Hard 5'

If Bruce Willis approved this choice, imagine who he turned down

John Moore is entirely competent.

Having said that, I am not sure why 20th Century Fox loves him the way they do.  They've given him more chances to fail than I can comprehend, and he has risen to the occasion over and over.  "The Omen" and "Flight Of The Phoenix" are both remakes that make the originals look brilliant by comparison, but they are masterworks compared to his strange and nearly incoherent "Max Payne."

All told, he's made four films for the studio so far, and to me, he seems a great example of what happens when you take a commercial director and throw him into feature films without him having to prove he has real narrative skills first.  Yes, film is a visual art.  Yes, the ability to make a pretty image is important, and in advertising, there is no skill more highly regarded.  But in feature filmmaking, when you're supposed to be telling stories, there has to be more than just a pretty picture.  Moore went right from directing Dreamcast commercials to making "Behind Enemy Lines," and it feels like each of his films gets worse, not better.

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<p>Helen Mirren, elegant as always, during the recent press day for her new film 'The&nbsp;Debt'</p>

Helen Mirren, elegant as always, during the recent press day for her new film 'The Debt'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Helen Mirren discusses 'The Debt' and Jessica Chastain

We hear from the first of two Rachel Singers about sharing the role

I think it's safe to say that Helen Mirren is revered these days.

She's become one of the most reliably classy actors in the business, which is sort of mind-blowing if you look back at her early work in movies like "Age Of Consent."  She has earned her place in pop culture gradually, and she's such a towering figure at this point that we're now seeing other actors grapple with her legacy, like Maria Bello on the NBC reboot of "Prime Suspect" this year.

I've enjoyed every single chat I've had with her over the years.  I remember one visit to the set of "Inkheart" in particular.  It was the morning after she got her Oscar nomination for "The Queen," and Devin Faraci and I asked her how she had celebrated the nomination with the cast and crew.  "Oh, it was lovely," she said. "They rigged these bags so they would shower us with gold coins from the rafters, and we drank champagne…" 

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