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"RuPaul's Drag U"
Logo's "RuPaul's Drag U."
Credit: Logo/Gabe Ayala

TV Smackdown: 'RuPaul's Drag U' and 'Toddlers & Tiaras'

They're more (and less) similar than you'd think

Okay, these shows don’t have a lot of overlap, right? Well, on one show tiny children are dressed in too much make-up, fake tans and ridiculous outfits to look like drag queens and win a contest, and on the other frumpy women dress themselves in too much make-up, fake tans and ridiculous outfits to look like drag queens and win a contest. Sounds pretty similar to me. Really, the number of actual drag queens on TV are starting to be outnumbered by female drag queen wannabes, if that makes any sense. Anyway, here’s a look at two non-cross dressing shows (what should we call this, anyway? Vertical dressing?) that are all about the glitz.

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<p>Michael Bay was all smiles the day after his new film, 'Transformers:&nbsp;Dark Of The Moon,' had its world premiere in Moscow.</p>

Michael Bay was all smiles the day after his new film, 'Transformers: Dark Of The Moon,' had its world premiere in Moscow.

Credit: HitFix

Interview: Michael Bay on adapting to 3D for 'Transformers 3'

We talk action with one of the biggest directors in the genre

Michael Bay and I have a long and strange history together.

I've been a hard critic of his work over the years, but there are films of his I like, and films I don't.  I think we've gradually reached a place where he knows that I walk into each of his movies open to the experience, and that in the end, I want to enjoy what I watch.  I do not dismiss or dislike movies lightly.  And, along those same lines, I do not just hand out knee-jerk praise. 

As you'll see at the start of this interview, we both appreciate the other one's position on this, and I find it a pleasure to sit down with Bay even when I'm not a fan of his current film.  When I did enjoy the film as much as I enjoyed "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon," it just makes the conversation work even more.  I saw Bay earlier this year at a preview event for "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" that was thrown specifically to show us some of the action and some of the early finished 3D shots, and he seemed genuinely curious about people's reaction to the first stuff we saw.  The same was true in Moscow.  He was excited to get the feedback and start talking about it.

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<p>Laura Linney in &quot;The Big C.&quot;</p>

Laura Linney in "The Big C."

Credit: Showtime

'The Big C' - 'Losing Patients': The truth wins out

Season 2 gets off to a better start thanks to the end of Cathy's secret-keeping

"The Big C" returned to Showtime tonight, and I have a few thoughts on where the show finds itself at the start of season 2, coming up just as soon as I pose as a pharmaceutical rep...

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<p>The 'Bachelorette' is in Hong Kong</p>
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The 'Bachelorette' is in Hong Kong

Credit: ABC

Recap: Ashley reconnects with Bentley on 'The Bachelorette'

One bachelor stomps off the show after Ashley's too honest

It's the dot-dot-dot episode! I'm hoping that upon seeing Dirtbag Bentley face to face again, Ashley will decide to kick him to the curb, but I doubt it. Yeah, she says she wants a clean break, closure, whatever, but we know she just wants to run off into the Hong Kong sunset with the guy who thinks she’s, at best, a second string 2 a.m. booty call. This can’t end well.  

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Watch: Gavin DeGraw gets the hot chick in video for 'Not Over You'

Watch: Gavin DeGraw gets the hot chick in video for 'Not Over You'

How long does it take them to reconcile?

In the new video for “Not Over You,” Gavin DeGraw models a lot of different hats, while his ex-girlfriend, a Fiona Apple look-alike, who appears to be about 16, pouts in all manner of short shorts, tight jeans, and sweaters with her ass cheeks hanging out, until they reconcile with a long, passionate kiss. And that, my friends, is why boys make music. To get to make out with the actresses in their videos...and sometimes marry them (See Rob Thomas and his wife Marisol and Josh Kelley and Katherine Heigl).

We especially like the line where he sings “Still, you’re magnificent,” as the camera lingers on her butt in a pair of Daisy Dukes as she looks longingly out over the East River--or it could be the Hudson. I’d totally lost interest by that point.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>A costume from Bjork's Manchester International Festival residency, courtesy <a href="http://www.nme.com/news/bjork/57600">NME</a>.com</p>
Credit: Carsten Windhorst/Press

Listen: Bjork previews new album with inaugural 'Crystalline' song

Are the lyrics a bit too 'nebulous?'

Bjork has begun her crusade to unveil her new iPad-album-interactive-media-thing "Biophelia," and the first song from the set has arrived.

"Crystalline" features all the jittery, time-challenging beats that her previous "Volta" reigned upon, her breathy Icelandic-accented and carefully-chose words floating above. And, as per usual, she plucks out the natural language and imagery, of crystal structures spreading out like fingers, under the rocks. And it sounds like a stoner anthem. Perhaps Bjork's been chasing the dragon?

The five-minute, wide-eyed love-in thrives in its minimal and, um, "nebulous" language, narrative-free, as the druggy rhythm takes over with the help of a toy piano and then climaxes in a sparkling trip-hop summit. It reminded me vaguely of "Hyper-Ballad," though that song crested back when the songwriter seemed still interested in penning A Big Chorus.

This track seems to be an introduction of her celebrations, of these weird "bio"-fueled anomalies in nature and in humans (and in "human nature," perhaps).

And it appears there are many a'remixer who may get their greedy little hands on the tracks. Best Mustache contender Omar Souleyman is giving "Crystalline" a crack apparently, video below. Reduxes like these may just put some meat on the bones of this skeleton.

Each of "Biophelia's" 10 songs/compositions will have "coordinated apps," but no word what the feature will hold for "Crystalline." The track will be available for purchase starting on June 30. Bjork will be performing new music from "Biophelia" -- defined by the singer as “love of life or living systems" -- during her three-week residency at art-centric Manchester International Festival starting Thursday (June 27) to July 16. Click here for all dates.

 

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<p>Lady Antebellum</p>

Lady Antebellum

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Lady Antebellum's 'Just A Kiss' video takes you on a trip

Can't afford a summer vacation? Lady A's got you covered

Lady Antebellum’s saccharine-y sweet “Just a Kiss,” the first single from its Sept. 13 album, “Own the Night,” gets a similarly sugary video.

The clip for the  ballad, which is already top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, follows two young backpackers who meet in Europe. The video starts as they’ve already parted and the girl is revisiting their trip (on an iPad) including gorgeous stops in London and Paris. 

They are clearly meant for each other and quickly fall in love, but decide to take it slow as the members of Lady Antebellum slowly look on, like the angels in “City of Angels” (although I don’t think they’re dead).

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Mary-Louise Parker of 'Weeds'</p>
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Mary-Louise Parker of 'Weeds'

Credit: Showtime

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 81

Dan and Alan talk 'Weeds,' 'The Big C,' 'Necessary Roughness' and more...

The

Happy Monday, Boys and Girls. It's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
We did two installments last week. This week it's only one but, once again, it's a long one. [That's what she said.]
 
We're covering the returns of Showtime's "Weeds" and "The Big C," doing reviews of "State of Georgia" and "Necessary Roughness," answering a wee bit of Listener Mail and, of course, chattering about "Twin Peaks."
 
As a warning: Next Monday is July 4th. Next Tuesday is The Day After July 4th. We won't be podcasting either of those days. We will, however, return on either Wednesday the 6th or Thursday the 7th.
 
Here's the breakdown:
 
"Weeds" -- 01:00 - 10:25
"The Big C" -- 10:30 - 21:00
"The Voice" -- 21:00 - 28:10
"State of Georgia" -- 28:20 - 34:00
"Necessary Roughness" -- 34:00 - 44:20
Listener Mail: Peter Falk -- 44:30 - 50:40
Listener Mail: TV Directors -- 50:45 - 56:40 
"Twin Peaks" -- 56:45 - 01:11:10

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.]

 

 
And here's the podcast...

 

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 81: 'Weeds,' 'The Big C,' 'Necessary Roughness' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 81: 'Weeds,' 'The Big C,' 'Necessary Roughness' & more

Dan and Alan also review 'State of Georgia' and the next 'Twin Peaks'

The

We began recording this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast with me outdoors. Then a plane flew overhead, so I moved indoors, to what turned out to be a noisy day at the office. In other words, no matter where we go and what we do, there is background noise. But in the foreground, lots to talk about, with a bunch of new and returning shows premiering this week, the next "Twin Peaks" episode, plus our first dip into the mailbag in a couple of weeks. The run-down:

"Weeds" -- 01:00 - 10:25
"The Big C" -- 10:30 - 21:00
"The Voice" -- 21:00 - 28:10
"State of Georgia" -- 28:20 - 34:00
"Necessary Roughness" -- 34:00 - 44:20
Listener Mail: Peter Falk -- 44:30 - 50:40
Listener Mail: TV Directors -- 50:45 - 56:40 
"Twin Peaks" -- 56:45 - 01:11:10
 
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
 
And as always, feel free to e-mail us at sepinwall@hitfix.com and/or dan@hitfix.com if you have questions you want answered on the show. Please put the word "podcast" in your subject line to make it easy to track them down amid the hundreds of random press releases we get every day.
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Review: Beyonce's new album '4'

Review: Beyonce's new album '4'

Can a deeply personal album resonate with the masses?

One day, history will look back at Beyonce’s “4,” out June 28, and view it in much more favorable light than it’s going to get now.  In some ways, like Lady Gaga with “Born This Way,” Bey’s made her least accessible album.

Unlike Lady Gaga, however, who tends to take big anthems and make them even bigger through her dramatics and persona, Beyonce is focused primarily on the smaller, deeply personal romantic relationships that mark our lives. They’re the ones the first unite us and then later blow our hearts apart. The girl who was blithely, giddily “Crazy in Love” has now found that love can drive you insane.

Beyonce signals that she is not traveling down her usual sassy, beat-laden, catchy musical path by opening the album with “1 (Plus) 1.” It’s an intimate Alicia Keys-type ballad, despite the rock guitar solo, but with a weird vocal up-hollar at the end of several of the lines that are slightly jarring. The first track of an album is usually an invitation to come on a journey, to ride shotgun with the artist through the next 10 songs or so. Instead, we get a deep album track about realizing the depth of her romantic bond (I’m guessing to Jay-Z) that sounds like it would normally be in the later half of a set.

Rhythmically, she gets back on a pop track, somewhat, with “I Care.” It’s a wide-open, straight from the ‘80s, production with big, echo-y drums and reverberating synth keys. She’s still clinging to a relationship, though her partner has turned his back...so much so that he revels in her pain. By the third song, “I Miss You,” ; they’ve parted, but she still can’t let go and her needs are vexing her.

It feels like Beyonce wrote a mission statement for this album with three goals that she passed out to her raft of producers and co-writers:  1) Show she is grown up and is dealing with the complexities of love and life and is much more than  a one-dimensional dancing doll  2) Prove that she really can sing by overloading the album with repeated emotional wallops that allow for full-on belting  and 3) Make an highly percussive album that sonically combines rhythms and synths from the ‘70s and ‘80s with modern technology.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Eminem</p>

Eminem

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Eminem's 'Space Bound' features suicide, porn star Sasha Grey

Graphic, ambiguous clip features Slim Shady suffering girl problems

In a weeks that may feature Jill Scott overtaking Eminem and Royce 5'9"'s Bad Meets Evil set on The Billboard 200, Slim Shady is back with a brand new music video from him "Recovery" album released last year.

"Space Bound" was one of the more pop-leaning tracks from "Recovery" I thought should be turned into a single, and here it is, almost exactly a year after the album release. For the clip, Eminem returns to his rain/fog motif, as he emotes about a break-up and a break from reality. The dream-like scene has him riding shotgun with his love on a quiet dark road, stopping off at a diner, and some sad suspicions derived from evidence on her cellphone. She leaves her table and disappears into a house, he follows her and can't find her.

At points, all along the "road," Em's split personalities stop, seemingly unable to handle it. And whether he calls it quits in the car, in the diner, in the house, the conclusion is the same: his love (or "lust") is too much. He offs himself in a graphic manner.

It probably doesn't help that his "supernova" is porn star Sasha Grey, who gives a, erm, minimal performance.

[Jump...]

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Sean Young, long before her stint on "Celebrity Rehab"

Sean Young, long before her stint on "Celebrity Rehab"

Credit: VH1

Quick Look: Meeting (most of) the new cast of 'Celebrity Rehab'

The return of one so-called alum suggets rough sailing ahead

On Sunday night we got a chance to meet some of the “Celebrity Rehab 5” cast (we can guess Dwight Gooden and “Survivor” survivor Jessica Kiper were too loaded/nervous to show up on time). After four seasons, it’s not surprising that the show and its revolving cast of addicts are starting to feel a little familiar. Whether that’s just the reality of rehab, addiction or reality

 
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