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<p>Ren&eacute; Echevarria and Brannon Braga of FOX's &quot;Terra Nova&quot;</p>
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René Echevarria and Brannon Braga of FOX's "Terra Nova"

Watch: Producers René Echevarria and Brannon Braga talk 'Terra Nova'

Getting the real story on FOX's new dino-drama
Monday's (September 26) two-hour of "Terra Nova" isn't your typical network premiere, what with the year-plus of discussion, buzz and speculation surrounding the Steven Spielberg-produced back-in-time epic.
 
It's an ambitious premiere, a premiere that I've now watched in three different cuts, which meant that I had quite a bit to talk about with producers René Echevarria and Brannon Braga.
 
This video is a bit longer than most of the video interviews I've posted over the past week, but I think it gives a lot of insight into the shaping, production and promotion of one of the fall's most talked about pilots.
 
There aren't many spoilers, so you can certainly watch the interview before Monday's airing, but certain things may make more sense after watching the pilot.
 
Either way, check it out...
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<p>Michael&nbsp;Fassbender gives one of the year's best performances in &quot;Shame,&quot;&nbsp;but the film could be too challenging for voters</p>

Michael Fassbender gives one of the year's best performances in "Shame," but the film could be too challenging for voters

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Off the Carpet: Clooney and Pitt lead Best Actor talk, but the real action is elsewhere

So many outside-the-box contenders deserve a fair shake this year

This year's Best Actor race is an odd bird indeed. There are so many wonderful performances out there, but so few seem to fit into the (unfortunate) Oscar paradigm. Hopefully that will mean studios will recognize some opportunity and/or Academy members will venture outside of their comfort zones. But in many ways, the race seems decided.

Four performances have been seen already and are considered formidable. Let's start there.

It all started with Jean Dujardin's award in Cannes for Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist" (which was inserted into the competition line-up at the last second). As the film has continued to play the festival circuit, it has consistently charmed audiences and few can find reason to argue that Dujardin won't find room in the lead actor race. But it'll take a little extra effort as he isn't a known commodity in Hollywood and often has to charm via translator. But he's looking good for now.

Popping up at Telluride was Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" and the undeniable work from George Clooney. Some consider his performance in the film to be a career best (I think I might agree with them). The added exposure of his directorial effort (in which he has a small but significant role), "The Ides of March," is merely added fuel. Chalk him up.

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Albert Brooks (left) and Don Cheadle in Steven Soderbergh's "Out of Sight"
Albert Brooks (left) and Don Cheadle in Steven Soderbergh's "Out of Sight"
Credit: Universal Pictures

Albert Brooks on Steven Soderbergh and 'retirement' as a dirty word

The 'Out of Sight' star reacts to the claim that has stirred the net

We're continuing the daily build to our big Albert Brooks interview on Wednesday. Friday we touched on Pixar and the actor's work on "Finding Nemo." Today it's all about Steven Soderbergh and that sudden prospect of retirement that was put out into the ether a number of months back.

In case you're unaware, Matt Damon dropped a bomb on the film world back in January when he told the Los Angeles Times that Soderbergh -- who has been talking about retirement for a number of years -- really was planning to hang it up after completing a handful of projects in the pipeline. The story took on a life of its own for the next six months until Soderbergh, while promoting his film "Haywire" at Comic-Con in July, claimed Damon was "about as discreet as a 14-year-old girl."

So things have been in a bit of a retreating state since then, with Soderbergh saying it's more like he needs to "recalibrate" and telling Reuters to "call it whatever you want," suggesting a sabbatical. "It's been non-stop since 'Out of Sight.' That's a lot of work," he said at the time.

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Woody Harrelson stars as a troubled, crooked LAPD cop in Moverman's police drama
Woody Harrelson stars as a troubled, crooked LAPD cop in Moverman's police drama
Credit: Millennium Films

'Rampart' finds domestic distribution, so it's time to roll out the carpet for Woody Harrelson

He gives perhaps his finest performance to date in the Oren Moverman cop drama

Sales at the Toronto Film Festival have become a complex card game over the years as production companies and talent hit the fest with films they want to see in that year's Oscar race. The goal for many is to land, make a big splash, come out of there with a deal and initiate a campaign to capture the lightning. And often, if the plan isn't to release that year, well, no deal.

The problem is, films can get lost at Toronto. They can get suffocated. And sometimes, films don't put their best foot forward by, say, holding for Sundance and stretching things out, rather than attempting to mobilize something as intensive as an awards campaign in three measly months.

Oren Moverman's "Rampart" is a film I think should have waited for Park City, much like the director's last effort, "The Messenger." It's very much a Sundance film and it could have milked things throughout the year after kicking up steam there in January. But as it stands, it was looking for a Toronto deal and a 2011 release. And now, it has one.

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<p>Alicia (Julianna Margulies)&nbsp;had a new 'do and attitude on &quot;The Good Wife&quot;&nbsp;season premiere.</p>

Alicia (Julianna Margulies) had a new 'do and attitude on "The Good Wife" season premiere.

Credit: CBS

'The Good Wife' - 'A New Day': You broke it, you bought it

Lots of "new" talk, but mostly the same old (excellent) legal drama

"The Good Wife" is back for a new season, and I have a quick review of the premiere coming up just as soon as I stick with retail rules...

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<p>Chris Pratt stars as catcher-turned-first baseman Scott Hatteberg in&nbsp;&quot;Moneyball.&quot;</p>

Chris Pratt stars as catcher-turned-first baseman Scott Hatteberg in "Moneyball."

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Oscarweb Round-up: Questioning the accuracy of 'Moneyball'

Also: Gold Derby kicks off its pundit poll and Roger Ebert's memoir gets some Gray Lady ink

Any time an Oscar contender comes along that dabbles in real-life situations and circumstances, you can see the take-down measures coming from a mile away: accuracy gripes. It's a story as old as time. Films like "The Hurricane," "A Beautiful Mind," "The Hurt Locker" and, just last year, "The Social Network" have come under fire during the Oscar race for liberties taken with the narrative, and it's always just such a tiresome, tedious argument. So you can bet baseball fan Steve Pond's recent piece, linked in today's round-up, which addresses the gripes from the sports world, will be the king of logic used by a smear campaign if one is even deemed necessary by "Moneyball" competition this year. Let me be clear that Steve is fair in his piece, but it simply reminded me of how touchy true stories can be for many, and how limp the ammunition of "but it didn't happen that way" can truly be. It rarely passes the smell test because, the fact remains, if people like a movie, they like a movie. Whether it "happened that way" or not. Now, let's see what's going on in the Oscarweb today...

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<p>Jason O'Mara, left, centers the &quot;Terra Nova&quot;&nbsp;family.</p>

Jason O'Mara, left, centers the "Terra Nova" family.

Credit: FOX

Review: FOX's 'Terra Nova' has impressive spectacle, but family drama lacking

The extensive retooling has only made the show's core worse, not better

The production travails of FOX's "Terra Nova" have been chronicled so publicly and for so long that it's starting to feel like the show has been in development since the dinosaurs walked the earth. At one point, the series was going to debut at mid-season last year, then with a special two-night airing of the pilot episode in May, before finally being pushed to tonight at 8. There were issues with the weather on location in Australia, and the special effects process to create the show's prehistoric setting took longer than anticipated.

Along that long, complicated path, I've seen multiple versions of the "Terra Nova" pilot. Each time, the effects have gotten better, and the version of the dinosaurs you see tonight should look pretty darned spiffy.

But "Terra Nova" isn't just a time travel show where people are chased by dinosaurs; it's also a family drama. And as one of the show's many executive producers, Jon Cassar, put it to critics last month, "If you don’t tune in and love this family after the first hour, it doesn’t matter how good the dinosaurs look."

And the family remains much less interesting so far than the dinos - and, in fact, has gotten progressively less interesting with the tweaking.

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<p>Victoria Abril.&nbsp; Bats.&nbsp; 3D.&nbsp; What more do you need?&nbsp; 'Comin' At Ya' really is one of the highlights of Fantastic Fest 2011</p>

Victoria Abril.  Bats.  3D.  What more do you need?  'Comin' At Ya' really is one of the highlights of Fantastic Fest 2011

Credit: Filmways Pictures

Review: 'Comin' At Ya 3D' is a hilarious flashback with a new coat of paint

I've waited 30 years to see this film... but why?

When I was 11 years old, I conned my mom into taking me to see "Comin' At Ya" in the theater.  I knew it was rated R, but I neglected to mention that in the pitch I gave when I asked her to take me to see it.  I knew the game back then, and i knew how I had to play it.  I had to convince one of my two parents that they NEEDED to see whatever movie it was that I wanted to see.  If not them, then someone else who resembled a responsible adult enough to take me to see the film.  Uncles, aunts, older brothers of friends… anyone was fair game in the "I want to see that R-rated movie" sweepstakes.

In this particular case, all I cared about was "3D" and "Western."  I was determined to get into the film, and I forget how I managed to convince my mother that it was something she wanted to see as well.  What I do remember, quite clearly, was being yanked out of the theater by my arm, my mother positively livid as she yelled at an usher about the content of the film, and I remember that we ended up seeing the Dudley Moore comedy "Arthur" instead.  Because there's nothing more appropriate for an eleven-year-old than non-stop hilarious intoxication.

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<p>B&eacute;r&eacute;nice Bejo in &quot;The Artist&quot;</p>

Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'The Artist' takes Audience Award at San Sebastian fest

'A Separation,' 'Albert Nobbs,' 'Where Do We Go Now?' among other prizewinners

Well, many of us expected Michel Hazanavicius's silent-cinema homage "The Artist" to take the Audience Award at Toronto last week. That didn't come to pass, but it has just taken the equivalent prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival -- a less high-profile honor, certainly, but one that further proves the film's crowd-pleasing chops.

What's perhaps most notable about the award is the number of high-profile films it beat to get it: also in the running, in a selection of 2011's finest the festival dubs the Zabaltegi Pearls section, were "Le Havre," "The Tree of Life," "Drive," "A Separation," "Pina," "Martha Marcy May Marlene," "Shame" and others.

It's interesting, given the strength of the competition, that surprise Toronto champ "Where Do We Go Now?" placed second in the audience balloting by only a handful of votes; for a film that stirred very little buzz on its Cannes debut, the Lebanese Oscar hopeful sure is making its presence felt now.

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<p>Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) on &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) on "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

'Breaking Bad' - 'Crawl Space': Better off Ted

Walt and Jesse's circumstances change dramatically once again

A review of tonight's "Breaking Bad" coming up just as soon as I feel sorry for your tastebuds...

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Margot Robbie and Kelli Garner in "Pan Am."
Margot Robbie and Kelli Garner in "Pan Am."
Credit: ABC

'Pan Am' - 'Pilot': The spy who served me

What did everybody think of the new ABC period drama?

I already posted my review of ABC's "Pan Am." Now it's your turn. Whether you're a fan of "Mad Men," watched "The Playboy Club" or not, what did you think of the new drama from Jack Orman, Tommy Schlamme and company? Were you surprised by the minimal amount of Christina Ricci? Did you like all the flashbacks, or would you rather the show stay in the passenger cabin? And will you be watching again?

Have at it.

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<p>Tommy and Andy of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Tommy and Andy of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' Season 19 Premiere - 'Kindness of Strangers'

Would Twitter be a positive or negative force for one team?
[Just as my "Survivor" recaps used to be in Monkeys as Critics but migrated over here, my "Amazing Race" recaps are going to be in my blog from now on.]
 
Welcome back to "The Amazing Race," which kicked off its 19th installment on Sunday (September 25) with an episode that's probably most accurately described as "Amazing Race"-esque.
 
That is to say that it combined a slew of the things that most annoy me about "The Amazing Race" all in one poorly designed leg and yet still found a way to deliver enough entertainment to keep me hooked until the very end, when it devolved into what, as always, frustrates me most.
 
So yes, Sunday's episode was 'Amazing Race"-esque.
 
Click through for my recap of Sunday's leg, which will end with a bit of a team-by-team breakdown, as is my premiere tradition...
 
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