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Review: Reese Witherspoon goes for it all in 'Wild'

Review: Reese Witherspoon goes for it all in 'Wild'

Director Jean-Marc Vallée is the film's unsung hero

TELLURIDE — There is a moment near the end of "Wild" where Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) runs into a young boy and his grandmother out on a weekend hike. Strayed has walked hundreds of miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in an attempt to deal with personal, emotional pain that has plagued her most of her young adult life. After learning of Strayed's heartbreaks the young boy (Evan O'Toole) sings her the song "Red River Valley." In the hands of a lesser director this scene could have been overly saccharine and misplaced. But director Jean-Marc Vallée makes it as artful and touching as it needs to be. Clearly, we should not have doubted him.

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Report: Amazon plans to revive 'The Tick' with Patrick Warburton
Credit: Fox

Report: Amazon plans to revive 'The Tick' with Patrick Warburton

Report: Amazon plans to revive “The Tick” with Patrick Warburton
People reports that the 2001-02 Fox series based on the comic book superhero, which also co-starred a pre-“Lost” Nestor Carbonell, is being revived on the streaming service.


Garry Marshall recalls his sister discovering Robin Williams after Dom DeLuise turned down the “Mork” role
“I was looking for someone to play Mork,” he told the audience at a taping of CBS’ “The Odd Couple.” "Dom DeLuise turned down the role. So did John Byner. And Ronny told me about this funny guy, Robin, who performed on the street. People would put money in his hat.”


Miley Cyrus’ "charity consultant" said he fully vetted her VMA date
Trever Neilson, the "Charity Fixer to the Stars,” was responsible for discovering Jesse Helt at a homeless youth shelter.


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Fox rebooting 'The Greatest American Hero'
Credit: ABC

Fox rebooting 'The Greatest American Hero'

Fox rebooting “The Greatest American Hero”
The Steven J. Cannell cult classic superhero comedy/drama that ran on ABC for three seasons from 1981 to 1983 is being remade by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the writer-directors behind “The Lego Movie” and the “21 Jump Street” movies. According to Deadline, the new take on “The Greatest American Hero" "will chronicle inner-city teacher Isaac’s adventures after his discovery of a superhero suit which gives him superhuman abilities."

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Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani

Say 'yes' to Maroon 5 and Gwen Stefani's duet, 'My Heart Is Open'

M5's Adam Levine and his fellow 'The Voice' judge Gwen Stefani make beautiful music

It certainly worked out well  when Maroon 5 duetted with Adam Levine’s  fellow "The Voice"  judge Christina Aguilera on "Moves Like Jagger."  Not so much for judges Blake Shelton and Shakira on "Medicine."

Now, just in time to get us excited for the Sept. 22 Season 7 premiere with new coaches Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams comes “My Heart Is Open,” a gorgeous duet between Maroon 5 and the No Doubt singer.

Sure, it’s prefabricated and meant to get us interested in “The Voice,” but it also works on its own. In fact, it reminds us a little of Aguilera’s collaboration with A Great Big World, “Say Something.”

The song, which is featured on Maroon 5’s new album, “V,” out Sept. 2, starts with a heavy piano before going into Levine asking someone to take a chance on him. Stefani takes the second verse, picking up where Levine left off, declaring “it won’t take me long to find another lover, but I want you.”

The mid-tempo track, co-written by Sia, feels like an Adult Contemporary smash. Their harmonies work well and both Levine and Stefani tone down the drama so the focus is on the song.

What do you think?

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'The Wil Wheaton Project' canceled by Syfy
Credit: Syfy

'The Wil Wheaton Project' canceled by Syfy

“The Wil Wheaton Project” canceled by Syfy
Wil Wheaton related the story of the cancelation of his show, which debuted in May, on his blog. He got the news via a cell phone call from a Syfy exec: "Ultimately, he told me, the executives in New York just didn’t think we had enough viewers to justify more episodes. I didn’t say anything about the total lack of promotion off the network, or point out that our ratings were on par with The Soup, or that ratings are always lower in summer than the fall.”

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'The Following' is replacing the showrunner it just hired in June

“The Following” is replacing the showrunner it just hired in June
Jennifer Johnson, who took over for creator Kevin Williamson as showrunner two months ago, will be replaced by a trio of co-showrunners.

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New music from The Weeknd: Still high and getting laid and sad and weird about it

New music from The Weeknd: Still high and getting laid and sad and weird about it

'Often' and 'King of the Fall' are similarly molded to the R&B singer's previous output

The Weeknd has a brand to maintain. I get it.

For all the sex he's getting on the road, for all the drugs he's taking, and for all the times he sings about all of it, no wonder his video are always gray-hued, with washed out specters of women floating about him like he's the center of the saddest little universe.

But, damn Weeknd, can't it be any fun at all? Because lines like "She gon' give it up 'cause she know she might like it" (ugh) and "All my hoes are trained, I make all of them swallow" (TRIPLE UGH) are depressing as hell for your females, what are you dragging your sad-ass feet for?

I'm referring to "King of the Fall," a title so morose Drake's kicking himself for not thinking of it first. And the Toronto connect is a propos, as The Weeknd (aka Abel Tesfaye) takes a stroll through his hometown, with cameos from locals like Jazz Cartier. While the slow-motions between beddings and parties and the street keep the singer and producer looking cool, check out the Confederate flag up at the world's most melancholy dance fiesta. How about the rain and the pace and the longing glances when Adderall is his atmosphere? Someone should call his mom, because I'm freaked out.

All this: a shame, because "King of Pain," er, "King of the Fall" is one of the better engineered and mixed songs we've heard from The Weeknd ever. It's a slow creep (heh), with a crescendo that will have you thinking you've got a midget on your chest too.

It arrives on the heels of another new single from Weeknd, "Often," out last week, which has a similarly looping, repeating, sweet-dripping chorus that belies an equally messed up premise of one of his one-night-stands: he does it how he wants it, and is happy to hand off that pussy to one of his crew when he's done.

Hey, he's talking about groupies: we could talk about power, fame, empowerment, gender and commodification for days. There, again, though is that deficit, a melancholy that creeps into seemingly all of The Weeknds endeavors, making these ballads and especially the music videos hurt for the audience like a VD flare-up. He's not extolling his life as healthy, he hints at the "temporary-ness" of it, but then again here are a series of women as props, clothed and unclothed, "performing" for the Dr. Frownpants who need do little else in his videos except float through them, like it's all "happening" to him, almost like a victim and not a participant. (Robin Thicke has a penchant for that too.)

If only he didn't sing so beautifully? If only some of those choices on synths and beats didn't hurt so hard with him? Wishing this was in gibberish.

"Often" and "King of the Fall" arrive ahead of The Weeknd's outing with Jhene Aiko for the King Of The Fall Tour, four dates below.

09/19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
09/21 – Toronto, Canada @ Molson Ampitheatre
10/09 – Hollywood, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
10/10 – San Francisco, CA @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
 

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Review: 'As Above So Below' offers uneven but effective scares
Credit: Universal/Legendary

Review: 'As Above So Below' offers uneven but effective scares

Charming cast goes a long way towards making this work

There is a story about the Paris catacombs that I love dearly. In August of 2004, several police officers were exploring a section of the infamous maze of tunnels near the Eiffel Tower when they came across a particular doorway covered in plastic with a sign that said, "No entry."

Inside, the police were momentarily terrified by the sound of attacking guard dogs, but they realized it was a recording. Pushing further into the tunnel, they found a full working cinema, complete with lights, a projector, a bar, a dining area, and seats carved directly into the rocks.

When they went topside to report their find to their superior officers, they were pleased with what they'd found. By the time they got back, though, everything was gone, and all that was left was a note that said, "Do not look for us. Signed, The Society Of The Perforated Mexicans."

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'Marvel’s Agent Carter' brings on Chad Michael Murray
Credit: CW

'Marvel’s Agent Carter' brings on Chad Michael Murray

“Marvel’s Agent Carter” brings on Chad Michael Murray
The “One Tree Hill” alum will become a series regular on the ABC midseason show, playing the important role of Strategic Scientific Reserve Agent Jack Thompson. PLUS: “Dollhouse” alum Enver Gjokaj is also joining the cast.


“Modern Family” casts Andrea Anders as an annoying new neighbor
She and Steve Zahn will move in next to the Dunphys next season.


“CSI” books Greg Grunberg
The “Heroes” alum will guest as a man in rehab.


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<p>Eli Manning</p>

Eli Manning

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: CBS leads Thursday as NFL Preseason preemptions rule

All five networks saw their numbers impacted by football

Fast National ratings for Thursday, August 28, 2014.

While it seems likely that "Big Brother" will have led CBS to its usual Thursday wins, NFL Preseason preemptions on all five networks have rendered these numbers almost completely meaningless.

CBS offered exact details for its preemptions, which were 27 percent in the 8 p.m. hour, 23 percent in the 9 p.m. hour and 13 percent in the 10 p.m. hour, while I have a list of overall preemptions for each network that pretty much make these figures moot, top-to-bottom.

On to the entirely inaccurate numbers...

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Chelsea Clinton exits NBC News
Credit: NBC

Chelsea Clinton exits NBC News

Chelsea Clinton exits NBC News
The former first daughter had been reportedly making $600,000 for doing very little actual work.


Some “Friends” fans didn't like Jennifer Aniston’s upset reaction to Jimmy Kimmel’s reunion
They didn’t realize the whole bit was rehearsed and planned, as Kimmel pointed out last night.


Jimmy Kimmel dressed Aaron Paul’s Emmy statues like Run-DMC
Check out the “Run-DMC Emmys.” PLUS: Paul talked to Kimmel about his “Breaking Bad” Scavenger Hunt, and Kimmel dressed Ed Sheeran as Annie.


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<p>The Cosmopolitans</p>

The Cosmopolitans

Credit: Amazon

Amazon hits some bumps with its third pilot season

Less to be excited about than in the second batch of pilots

Amazon keeps accelerating the pace and output of its "pilot season" process. The original batch of Amazon pilots were presented to the public in April of last year; of those, only "Alpha House" (which got renewed for a second season) and "Betas" (which remains in limbo) got picked up. The second batch of pilots were unveiled less than a year later, and Amazon ordered almost all of them — other than "Rebels," the pro football comedy that no one seemed to like — to series. That was in February, and while none of those new shows has debuted — "Transparent," the best of the bunch, will premiere all of its episodes, Netflix-style, on September 26 — Amazon yesterday unveiled its third pilot season, even as there's already news about casting for the fourth wave of Amazon pilots. At this rate, they may be ordering some shows before a word's even been written, and traveling back in time to cancel others before the creator has even thought of the idea.

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