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<p>Mastodon's &quot;The Hunter&quot;</p>

Mastodon's "The Hunter"

Watch: Mastodon premiere 'Black Tongue' from new album 'The Hunter'

Check out how their bizarre cover art and muse was crafted

When Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor told me earlier this year that the band was juggling who they wanted to produce their fifth full-length, I'll admit that I never thought they'd land on Mike Elizondo. It's not so much that I thought Elizondo incapable -- he's shocked with his propensity for variety, working with Eminem to Avenged Sevenfold to Fiona Apple. I thought of Dillinger collaborator Steve Evetts, or someone purely from the Hydra Head camp.

Elizondo's been a good fit so far, if new track "Black Tongue" is any testament.

The track is the first to arrive in full from "The Hunter," newly announced to arrive on Sept. 27. The tracklist to the set hasn't been finalized, but the first single has been confirmed, "Curl of the Burl," and fans who pre-order the fancy deluxe version of "The Hunter" will soon have first dibs on a digital download of it.

But "Black Tongue" is a also a pretty good gimme.

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Credit: AP Photo

U2 and Pearl Jam docs will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival

Watch 'PJ20' trailer; U2's 'From The Sky Down' opens the fest on Sept. 8

Both U2 and Pearl Jam will have a strong presence at the Toronto International Film Festival this fall.
Davis Guggenheim’s “From The Sky Down,” which revisits the creation of U2’s 1991 seminal album, “Achtung Baby,” will open the festival on Sept. 8, according to the New York Times. The film will include both archival footage and fresh interviews as it examines the album’s legacy.

Cameron Crowe’s two-hour documentary spanning Pearl Jam’s career, “Pearl Jam Twenty,” will premiere at TIFF two days later on Sept. 10. The Oscar-winning director and journalist has followed the band since its inception; he draws upon more than 1,200 hours of old footage from before the band’s formation, as well as new interviews, to weave together Pearl Jam’s journey from obscurity to superstardom.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm in &quot;Friends with Kids&quot;&nbsp;which is debuting at Toronto this year.</p>

Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm in "Friends with Kids" which is debuting at Toronto this year.

'Moneyball,' 'Albert Nobbs,' 'The Descendants' among Toronto Film Festival 2011 debuts

Films featuring Channing Tatum, Megan Fox and U2 also make the cut

The Toronto Film Festival announced its initial program for its 2011 edition and the annual awards season staple again features some intriguing debuts. 

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<p>Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood</p>

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood

Watch: Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley rekindle love in 'Remind Me' video

Can the desert heat up their romance?

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood are buddies. They have a fun, playful banter as co-hosts of the Country Music Assn. Awards, which they’ll co-host together again this fall.

What they do not have, despite being in the desert in the video for their new duet, “Remind Me,” is anything approximating heat. Maybe that’s the point since the song is about a couple whose once red-hot passion has cooled and they feel miles apart (hence the literal interpretation that has them walking, walking, walking, walking toward each other across a great expanse).

But miracles happen every day so maybe there’s hope for these crazy kids. There are two in the video as a matter of fact: Paisley’s electric guitar, which is the sole possession he brought with him to the desert (and, wisely, his hat for sun protection), magically amplifies itself. Equally wondrous, Underwood is able to walk in stilettos in the desert (and she’s got the one-foot-crossed-in-front-of-the-other model’s walk down pat, even if no real human walks that way).

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: Bjork, Michel Gondry land on the moon in 'Crystalline' video

Animated clip is out of this world

It's no new news that Bjork is kinda out-there, and now this mere fact is cast on the music video for "Crystalline," directed by frequent collaborator Michel Gondry.

The Icelandic singer's face is cast on the earth, as she overlooks the surface of the moon, which dances with stopmotion and drawn animations from the famed director. Actual crystals emerge from the crust and the dust and rock eminate vibrations like speaker heads.

Eventually, Bjork climbs down from our planet to bounce around in bubbles and the trip-hop breakdown and meteors shatter all the bio-glass.

It's exactly a premise appropriate from the singer/songwriter.

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"Chuck" co-star Mark Christopher Lawrence.
"Chuck" co-star Mark Christopher Lawrence.

Watch: 'Chuck' co-star Mark Christopher Lawrence at Comic-Con

When will Subway come calling with an endorsement deal?

Time for yet another of my "ChuckComic-Con video interviews, this time with Big Mike himself, Mark Christopher Lawrence.

It's occurred to me many a time that Lawrence is as responsible for saving "Chuck" after season 2 as any fan, critic, etc., since it was Big Mike's love of Subway sandwiches that inspired the whole campaign. And since Lawrence has such a gift for describing sandwich ingredients, the show's various Subway plugs just feel like part of the fun rather than an intrusion.

So we talked about subs, where the Buy More employees fit in with the show's more spy-friendly castmembers, and what he'll miss most about working on this show. (Tease: Lawrence drops a "Designing Women" reference that reminded me of stories I read back in the day about what went on backstage at that show.)

Back a little later with Chris Fedak and Ryan McPartlin.

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<p>Michael Jackson</p>

Michael Jackson

Jackson family plans Michael Jackson tribute in Wales, Oct. 8

Will it meet a similar fate as the 2009 proposed tribute in Vienna?

Are they trying this again? Members of the Jackson family (as in Michael Jackson) held a press conference Monday in Beverly Hills to announce a tribute concert for their fallen brother and son.

The event, dubbed “Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert,” will take place Oct 8 at the 75,000-seat Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. An organization called Global Live Events will produce the event, according to Billboard.

No artists have been announced but tickets go on sale on Aug. 4. Jackson’s siblings, Marlon, Jackie, Tito and LaToya, as well as his mother, Katherine, made the announcement.

Is any of this ringing a bell? In 2009, shortly after Jackson’s June 25 death, a group called World Media Awards announced that a giant tribute to Jackson would be held in Vienna. It then got switched to London and then it was cancelled for good after acts like Mary J. Blige and Chris Brown distanced themselves from the end. We don’t need a crystal ball to suggest this event may suffer a similar fate.

UPDATE: Following yesterday's press conference, Jackson's brothers Jermaine and Randy released statements saying they did not support the event because it occurs while Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, will be on trial. Additionally, the executors of Jackson's estate (which is not his family) said they have not authorized the use of The King of Pop's name for the tribute show. 

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"Chuck" co-star Yvonne Strahovski.
"Chuck" co-star Yvonne Strahovski.

Watch: 'Chuck' co-star Yvonne Strahovski at Comic-Con

What will she miss most about playing Sarah Walker?

After the final "Chuckpanel at Comic-Con, I conducted a series of brief video interviews with most of the cast. Last night, I posted my conversation with Zachary Levi and Josh Gomez, and now it's Yvonne Strahovski's turn.

We took a quick trip down memory lane, including talk of her favorite Sarah fight scene(*) and her most memorable outfit.

(*) FWIW on that, when talking to Chris Fedak at a Comic-Con party that night, I and a few other critics made clear how happy fans of the show would be to see some kind of sequel to "Chuck vs. Phase Three," and he said they were thinking on the best way to have the Giant Blonde Shemale of Thailand make a reappearance.

Big Mike himself, Mark Christopher Lawrence, is coming up in a bit.

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<p>Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz in Roman Polanski's cinematic adaptation of &quot;Carnage.&quot;</p>

Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz in Roman Polanski's cinematic adaptation of "Carnage."

Credit: Sony Classics

Are 'Contagion,' 'Carnage,' 'Tinker, Tailor' and Madonna's 'W.E' debuting in Venice?

Italian fest may steal some of Toronto and Telluride's thunder

Of all the major film festivals, the Venice Film Festival has been the most inconsistent in the quality of the films that make its program.  Last year, for instance, was considered a very weak year with Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere" surprisingly surpassing Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" for the festival's top prize, the Golden Lion.  The official selections for 2011 won't be announced until Thursday, but according to a report in Variety, this year will be a marked improvement.

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<p>Daniel Craig's ready for trouble in an early scene from 'Cowboys and Aliens'</p>

Daniel Craig's ready for trouble in an early scene from 'Cowboys and Aliens'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: 'Cowboys and Aliens' has star power, can't connect dots

Genre mash-up never quite gels as a film despite excellent work from many

SAN DIEGO - Handsomely produced, packed with a cast that all do expert work, directed well and polished to a high gloss, "Cowboys and Aliens" largely left me cold.  It's a troubling misfire because it feels like all the elements were in place for something special and fun, and instead, it is an exercise with no result, window dressing in search of a film.

"Cowboys and Aliens" is not a bad film.  It's not unpleasant.  It's not offensive.  I'm frustrated by my own reaction to it precisely because I acknowledge a certain sort of efficiency to the way it's built.  Jon Favreau called his shot on this one when I visited him in the editing room of the film, talking about how important it was to make this a genuine Western first, and then to simply introduce one fantastic element.  I saw the first half-hour of the film on that visit, and then again in December at Butt-Numb-A-Thon when Favreau came down to visit and make the same presentation.  I liked what I saw then, and tonight, when I saw the finished version of that first act, I really admired the construction of that stretch of film.  It opens well.  The problem is, it opens so well that it sets up expectations that it utterly fails to meet.

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"The Bachelorette"

"The Bachelorette"

Credit: ABC

Recap: A bachelor rejects Ashley on "The Bachelorette"

It's a roller coaster week as one bachelor leaves and a second returns


We’re almost done with Ashley’s Husband Hunt and I can’t say I’m sorry to see the end in sight, if only because Ashley seems to say the same things about each and every guy each and every week. He makes me feel safe and protected! I could see myself spending the rest of my life with him! He’s so handsome! At the beginning of the show, sure, rubber stamp superlatives made sense, as she probably had a hard enough time just keeping names straight with so many guys floating around. But now that she’s had (theoretically) some time to get to just a few, I’d hope she’d have something more nuanced to say. Like, I dig guys with Geico caveman hair, or jealous rages makes me hot. But oh well!
The final three bachelors and Ashley are in Savusavu, Fiji, which looks beautiful and tropical and, at least where they’re staying, expensive. Ashley’s always dreamt of coming to Fiji! Now she knows what she wants in a husband. Let me guess – handsome and protective.  
Next, she explains what she likes about each guy. In a nutshell: Ben has grown since she met him. Constantine is real. J.P. is hot.
But wait! A rejected bachelor returns! And it’s… Ryan P.! He feels that things were left unsaid. And undiscovered. They had something! What if she’s regretting sending him home? He needs to find out if she feels at all like he does. He doesn’t want regrets! He’s putting everything on the line. I can’t decide if Ryan is being earnest and adorable or he’s acting a little obsessive and scary. It’s a fine line, I suppose.
Ashley is flipped out when Ryan P. knocks on her door, but I think it’s a good flip out. Hard to tell. Ryan launches into a long and rambling speech. He’s 31! He can’t sweep things under the rug! He needs to see things through! I really don’t think he’s saying what he needs to say here, because it sounds more like he needed to prove something to himself than anything else. And yes, he wants love, but the way he’s talking it seems like he doesn’t really care who he gets it from – he’s not telling her why he came back for her beyond the fact he likes her – flatter her, Ryan P.! Give her specifics! We know Ashley’s a neurotic, insecure basket case, so don’t wait for her to fill in the blanks. He’s talking and talking and she’s just staring at him. He gives her his hotel information and tells her she can get in touch if she wants to. I hope Ryan gets to see a bit of Fiji or can keep the frequent flyer miles, because otherwise this looks like a really long trip for nothing.
He is open and determined and willing to fight for love. Now he waits. Oh, Ryan P. You seem to have crossed the line from optimistic and fun and upbeat into slightly stalkery with a hint of bitter.
But Ashley can’t worry about Ryan P. right now. She has a hot date with Ben. They’ll take a yacht out into the middle of the ocean to snorkel. She feels safe with him! She feels protected by him! She could see herself spending the rest of her life with him! Please, please stop Ashley. They flirt. She has him cover her with sunscreen, then returns the favor. This does not look sexy, but they seem to enjoy it.
After they snorkel, Ben is hysterically beaming! His words, not mine. He’s going to tell her he loves her. They both loved cuddling on the way home.
Over dinner, we wait for Ben to drop the love bomb. And wait. And wait. And finally, he sort of mumbles something about I love you but it’s used in a sentence and it’s not a declaration. So close! Don’t be chicken, Ben! Do it!

Still, they opt for the luxury suite. They swim in their private pool, then Ben carries her inside for hot sex, or at least we can presume.
Ashley’s next date is with Constantine. He says he really needs a haircut. Does he ever! Anyway, they go for his first helicopter ride, and Ashley is very excited about being his first… helicopter ride buddy.  She feels like she’s sitting next to a Greek god. Who needs a haircut.
The helicopter lands at Bouma Falls on Taveuni Island. Ashley wants to see if Constantine is ready to dive into their relationship by getting him to jump off a ledge near a waterfall. You know, not everything’s a metaphor, “Bachelorette” producers.
Over lunch, Ashley tells Constantine that she learned from his family that he saw 108 houses before he bought one. Constantine isn’t pleased that she’s drawing a line between him being choosy about homes and being pokey when it comes to commitment. Just wait, Constantine, she’s only just begun to nag you!
Ashley is so frustrated with Constantine. He’s so hard to read! He can’t jump into a relationship head first! He needs more time and we don’t have it! Um, Ashley, isn’t that kind of normal? Don’t most people need more than two months to propose?
Over dinner, Ashley continues to push. Is he ready? She’s just not sure he’s ready. Is it because they’re on a reality TV show? What does he need? Constantine gets tired of Ashley basically hinting around that she’s not feeling it and he says it’s the end of the road for him. She’s glad that he’s honest. They hug, he leaves. She’s shocked that he didn’t want to give it the time to see if anything was there. Really? Because Ashley, you basically said it wasn’t there and it was pretty clear you were giving him the boot. He just didn’t wait around to not get a rose.
Still, Constantine’s decision to leave freaks out Ashley. What if I end up all alone? You’re not 104, Ashley. Just because you don’t find someone on a TV show doesn’t mean you’re going to die in a mobile home surrounded by cats that will eat your flesh once they run out of cat food and no one will think to look for you until the neighbors notice a terrible smell.
Time to visit Ryan! Ryan P. makes her feel special. She has so much clarity and knows what she needs to do. She and Ryan meet. He looks nervous and sweaty. She starts off with good things. Saying goodbye to him was the hardest goodbye. She was distraught! It was premature. It reassured her that he is the guy she knew he was because he came to Fiji. BUT she doesn’t feel the passion she needs in a relationship. And she’s found it with two people. Okay, Ashley, way to get his hopes up and then dig in the knife. “I don’t feel passion for you – but hey, these other two guys? We’re doing it crazy-like in luxury suites, ha!”
Poor Ryan P. He envisioned an amazing ending to their story. He’s sad. He needs real love. He wants someone to hold hands with. His heart is open to the right person. And then you can actually see a tiny little flame of cynicism and resentment light up as he mutters, “It’ll happen. It’ll happen. It’ll happen. Huh. It’ll happen.” Oh, this is so sad. It’s like watching Tigger decide to join a gang or something.
Ashley’s already moving on to another sex date. J.P. is her rock. That’s one word for it. They get in a little plane and head to Namenalala Island. J.P. is ready for the end. He’s ready to be her one and only. J.P. would seem a lot more perfect except for that pouty, angry moment he had on the group date a while back that made him seem less romantic and more nutso possessive. They frolic on the beach. They eat dinner in the jungle.
J.P. is scared to give his heart and get crushed. So Ashley tells him she said goodbye to two bachelors this week. You can tell J.P. is practically wetting his pants thinking he’s the last guy standing. Then, Ashley clarifies – a guy came back. J.P. wisely holds his tongue, but later admits he thought Bentley came back. Now, that would have been fun, as Ashley would still be chasing him around the island with a machete.
Ashley tells J.P. he can’t hold back any of his feelings if he wants to be the last man standing. He’s afraid of getting hurt, but he’s on his way to overcoming that fear, yada yada yada. What a bunch of girls! Just say I love you, it’s not that big a deal!
Anyway, they opt for the luxury suite. If there was any doubt that she’s getting it on with J.P., she changes into something more comfortable (a big shirt, get your mind out of the gutter) and they start rolling around on the bed. I always think this episode is a weird one. Exactly when does the camera crew leave? And I guess (hope, really) that they ask the happy couple to stop getting it on for a moment to remove their sound packs.
Time for the rose ceremony. Ashley talks to Chris Harrison. She’s most compatible with Ben. Things progress with J.P. when they’re on beaches. Um, that’s not necessarily going to translate into the real world, but okay. Still, she thinks he can make her happy. It was harder to say goodbye to Ryan than Constantine, because Ryan gave a crap.
Ashley insists on the rose ceremony, because she wants to make sure Ben and J.P. aren’t going to book at the last minute. Guess what? They aren’t. Not exactly the best rose ceremony ever.
So, we’re coming right up on the finale! I’m thinking Ben. But J.P. is cute. But whoever she picks, they’ll make her feel safe. And protected. And she can envision a future with them. Sigh.
Which guy do you think Ashley will pick? Were you surprised Ryan P. came back? And are you going to watch “Bachelor Pad”?  


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<p>Taylor Lautner talks about his upcoming role in &quot;Abduction&quot; in San Diego.</p>

Taylor Lautner talks about his upcoming role in "Abduction" in San Diego.

Exclusive: Taylor Lautner ready to break free with 'Abduction'

Could comedy be in the former 'SNL' host's future?

SAN DIEGO - Taylor Lautner is in a giddy mood and you can't blame him.  The  19-year-old teen heartthrob has finished yet another packed panel in Comic-Con's Hall H for the "Twilight" franchise.  This time, he was promoting the second to last installment in the series, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1."  Having to be "on" in front of 6,000 fans - not to mention the hundreds of thousands following the event on twitter, facebook or live blogs - wouldn't be easy for anyone.  Especially when your every comment will be dissected by fans and non-fans alike for weeks.  So, when I met Lautner at nearby PetCo Park to discuss his other movie this year, "Abduction," he was almost bouncing out of the stadium with relief that it had all gone so well.

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