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Antoine Olivier Pilon in "Mommy."
Antoine Olivier Pilon in "Mommy."
Credit: Cannes Film Festival

Review: Flashes of brilliance overcome Xavier Dolan's 'Mommy' issues

The 25-year-old prodigy's fifth feature is a messy, moving mother-son drama

CANNES - Let's hear it for Xavier Dolan: not many auteurs have built up such a body of work by the age of 25 that the first and least arguable adjective that can be applied to his latest is "characteristic." The Québécois multi-hyphenate does not appear on screen in "Mommy," a restless interior epic of unconditional love between mother and son, but his presence in it could hardly be stronger or more idiosyncratic. Dolan's passions, neuroses and eccentricities fill every frame of "Mommy" -- even the frames themselves have his name written all over them, given the director's unorthodox decision to shoot 90% of the film in a distinctive, disorienting 1:1 ratio. "I'm still big, it's the pictures that got small," protested Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard"; think of Dolan's aesthetic here as a uniquely literal interpretation of that boast.

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Hilary Swank in "The Homesman."
Hilary Swank in "The Homesman."
Credit: Saban Films

Tommy Lee Jones' 'The Homesman' settles down with Saban Films

The brand-new distributor has taken US rights to the Cannes contender

When Greg and I recently discussed the Oscar-season potential of the films we've seen thus far at the Cannes Film Festival, we were muted on the prospects for Tommy Lee Jones' western "The Homesman." It's not that the film is beneath consideration. It's heartfelt stuff, beautifully mounted and well acted (particularly by two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank), and has received generally respectable reviews (if few outright raves) from the Croisette critical collective. Any prizes from Jane Campion's jury on Saturday would be a surprise, but that rarely means much either way for the awards season ahead.

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'Survivor' is going to Nicaragua for a 'Blood vs. Water' season of brand-new contestants

“Survivor” is going to Nicaragua for a “Blood vs. Water” season of brand-new contestants
“We really listened to people saying, ‘Oh my gosh, we love new players again,” says Jeff Probst. "This is so fresh and it feels so good,’” says the host. “And we went down the road with a couple of different ways to do Blood vs. Water, and we started casting it, and started finding really good people, and then more good people, and then it became a very easy decision to go with a completely new cast."

Stephen Colbert lands an interview with reclusive author Philip Roth
The 81-year-old Roth will sit down for an “extended interview” with Colbert in July for “cOlbert Book Club."

Jimmy Kimmel gets Julia Roberts, Matthew McConaughey, Emma Stone to read mean tweets
Watch the 7th installment of "Celebrities Read Mean Tweets."

Jerry Seinfeld wanted Chris Rock to replace Letterman -- Aziz Ansari, Jon Stewart, Sarah Jessica Parker booked for “Comedians in Cars”
“I was trying to convince him to take it. He says, ‘Absolutely no possible way,’” Seinfeld tells GQ of trying to get his good friend Chris Rock to audition for “The Late Show.” Seinfeld also revealed that Ansari, Stewart and Parker, he will get coffee next season with Robert Klein and George Wallace.

“The Americans” didn’t want the audience to be ahead of Phillip and Elizabeth
Addressing the season finale twist, creator Joe Weisberg says: "It's a story we really believed in because it made emotional sense to us on every level and that's why we did it. It's funny, the whole season we were waiting and watching to see if anybody is going to get onto it. When you know it, you're worried that maybe it's visible and people are going to figure it out. We were nervous because we didn't want the surprise spoiled.” PLUS: How producers tackled the wig problem, who will be back next season?, it’s special when a great TV season has a great finale, the finale’s big moment felt like an exposition-dump, this was the Season of Paige, what a brilliant stroke, is Elizabeth a bad mother?, Noah Emmerich was shocked by the finale, and this was the best season of TV this year — better than “True Detective."

Conan O’Brien helps Norm Macdonald audition for “The Late Late Show”
Watch Macdonald bomb in his attempt to fill in for Conan.

“Modern Family’s” shouldn’t aired “The Wedding” as 1 complete episode
The two-part season finale would’ve worked better as a one-hour episode. But felt disjointed as a two-parter. PLUS: Jesse Tyler Ferguson & Eric Stonestreet film an “Important Message” for Jimmy Kimmel.

“Pretty Little Liars” star: “OF COURSE WE WERE” photoshopped for GQ
The ABC Family stars posed in bikinis, and looked a little too perfect. Troian Bellesario took to Instagram to address the controversy: "that’s a very specific type of photo shoot. And looking very blown out and perfected was obviously what they were looking for. Great. Cool. As long as we acknowledge how it was achieved so we know it's not real," she declared.”

“Chicago P.D.” has a satisfying season finale
Last night’s episode revealed Lindsay’s past.

Caleb Johnson wins “American Idol”
The Season 13 winner divided some fans.

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence on &quot;Late Night with Seth Meyers&quot;</p>

Jennifer Lawrence on "Late Night with Seth Meyers"

Credit: NBC

Jennifer Lawrence talks about puking in front of Miley Cyrus on Oscar night

The 'Days of Future Past' star recounted the story on 'Late Night with Seth Meyers'

Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence has been making the press rounds promoting "X-Men: Days of Future Past," and that included an appearance "Late Night with Seth Meyers" Wednesday night. The occasion brought with it a delightful anecdote of that time the "American Hustle" star blew chunks at a fancy Oscar party.

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<p>&quot;Gang Related&quot;</p>

"Gang Related"

Credit: FOX

Interview: 'Gang Related' showrunner Scott Rosenbaum on antiheroes, 'Shield' comparisons and more

How is the drama more 'Godfather II' than 'The Departed'?

I didn't have time to write a review, but if you've watched this week's Firewall & Iceberg video show, you know I like FOX's "Gang Related."

"Gang Related" comes on strong with a confidence that you don't expect to see from a show premiering a week after the network upfront season. The pilot, written by Chris Morgan and directed by Allen Hughes, is brash, explosive and features a strong cast ably chewing scenery. It is, in short, like a summer movie only on TV.

As often happens with the transition from pilots to series, subsequent episodes maybe don't have quite the same scale, but they still offer tight pacing, terrific use of LA locations and an interestingly twisty narrative focusing on Ryan Lopez (Ramon Rodriguez), a cop torn between his gang task force and the gang family (fronted by Cliff Curtis' Javier Acosta) that raised him. 

With most of Morgan's credits coming from the big screen, FOX brought in Scott Rosenbaum as showrunner for "Gang Related." While Rosenbaum's more recent credits include "Chuck" and ABC's "V" reboot, when he comes on-board an LA-set cop drama, it's immediately going to raise questions about one thing and one thing only: A little FX drama called "The Shield." The Shawn Ryan-created Emmy winner is one of the genre's pinnacles and Rosenbaum was there from the beginning, rising to the rank of EP and standing with Ryan, Glenn Mazzara, Kurt Sutter and Scott Brazil in the show's creative core.

I got on the phone last week for a lengthy conversation with Rosenbaum about his work on "Gang Related" and, naturally, "The Shield" was where I started and it comes up a lot. But "Gang Related" isn't "The Shield" and it doesn't do much good to compare the two shows, so Rosenbaum discusses many of the other things he tried to explore in his new gig. We discussed the challenges of making a good anti-hero in a post-Vic Mackey/Walter White world, the difficulties of making a network show without any chance for feedback and the advice he got from Kurt Sutter about reading reviews. He also explains FOX's expectations for "Gang Related" given that a 2014-2015 schedule was already announced without "Gang Related" being mentioned.

Click through for the full Q&A. And check out "Gang Related" on Thursday night...

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<p>The &quot;Survivor: Cagayan&quot; Top 4</p>

The "Survivor: Cagayan" Top 4

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Cagayan' Finale - 'It's Do Or Die'

Spencer, Tony, Woo and Kass go head to head and somebody won

Pre-credit warning. I'm going to ignore these live segments, if you don't mind. This recap is already going to be horribly long if I cover the two-hour episode. At least I get to fast-forward through the lengthy season-long recap.

Also, this recap is so darned long that I had to paginate it. I won't be insulted if you just skip to Page 3 for the results and my Bottom Lines...

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'The Americans' producers on the sex, murder and wigs of season 2
Credit: FX

'The Americans' producers on the sex, murder and wigs of season 2

What made this season even stronger than the first?

FX’s period spy drama “The Americans” went to a new level this season, going from a very good show to one of the very best on television by delving deeper into the emotional, moral and even sexual implications of two KGB spies pretending to be American spouses for decades and raising kids all the way. The season finale was devastating in the way it paid off the arcs about family, about whether FBI Agent Stan Beeman would betray his country to save Nina, and more. I reviewed the finale here, and I interviewed producers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields about the season, coming up just as soon as you tell me where your corkscrew is…

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<p>the americans</p>

the americans

Credit: FX

Season finale review: 'The Americans' - 'Echo'

Philip and Elizabeth find out who killed Jared's family, while Stan makes a decision about Nina

"The Americans" just concluded its second season in spectacular fashion. I interviewed producers Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields about season 2, and I have a review of the finale coming up just as soon as I want to punch you in the face if you say one more thing about nonviolent resistance...

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Why is 'Game of Thrones' heading to Spain?

Why is “Game of Thrones” heading to Spain?
The HBO series is scouting the Andalucia region of Spain, which would become its 7th country to be used for filming. PLUS: The 10 most shocking characters that could be killed off, the science of “GoT,” what “GoT” would look like as a Disney movie, and the “GoT” creators were “two American Jews in Dublin” when they first met in 1995.

ABC’s newly picked-up “Forever” drama accused of stealing
Warner Bros TV received a letter claiming that the supernatural series “sounds rather similar” to “Forever,” a 2004 supernatural novel by Pete Hamill.

Could “The Americans” let the Russians win?
Noted historian Edward Jay Epstein weighs in on whether an alternate-universe scenario of the Russians winning could actually work on the FX series. PLUS: “The Americans” composer is influenced by scores from the late ’70s and early ‘80s, the Russian-speaking cast members speak Russian when cameras aren’t rolling, and Margo Martindale on juggling “The Millers” and “The Americans."

Allison Tolman was binging on “Breaking Bad” while filming “Fargo”
While watching “Breaking Bad,” Tolman said to herself, “Man, this is great, we have really good timing. There’ll be a lot of people sad that this show is gone and we’re gonna be able to fill that void.” PLUS: Watch Key & Peele on “Fargo."

Charlie Sheen to serve as a guest analyst on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight”
Sheen, a lifelong Reds fan, be part of the broadcast booth for “Sunday Night Countdown” between the Reds and Cardinals.

Pat Sajak: It was a parody!
Responding to the outrage over his equating “global warming alarmists” to “unpatriotic racists,” the “Wheel of Fortune” host tweeted this afternoon: "As most of you know, original Tweet was intended to parody the name-calling directed at climate skeptics. Hyperbole.”

Claire Danes recalls filming a “Homeland” sex scene while 7 1/2 months pregnant
"At the very end, I was a month and a half shy of popping, and I was doing a romantic scene,” Danes says as part of The Hollywood Reporter’s drama actress roundtable.

Julianna Margulies felt like “sloppy thirds” when she was approached after Ashley Judd rejected “The Good Wife”
In a Hollywood Reporter Emmy roundtable of drama actresses, Margulies said she wanted to hate “The Good Wife” script, "because, you know, f— you, you didn’t want me to begin with. And I’m like your sloppy thirds.” PLUS: Why “The Good Wife” was so great this season.

“Parks and Rec” boss addresses the final season, jokes about a spinoff of “The Sappersteins"
Exec producer Michael Schur also says he’s mulling an Andy and April baby.

Zeljko Ivanek promoted at “Madam Secretary”
The “Damages” alum will be a series regular as chief of staff to the president of the United States.

Jon Hamm tanks in his 1st leading movie role
“Million Dollar Arm” only brought in $10.5 million in its first weekend.

Will Letterman and Leno get Emmy nominated?
David Letterman’s impending retirement and Jay Leno’s exit could shake up the Emmy race this year. PLUS: Leno is enjoying retirement.

18-year-old high school girl receives gobs of media attention for being attractive on TV during the NBA Draft
Mallory Edens, the daughter of the Milwaukee Bucks owner, was so attractive she merited stories in the Washington Post and L.A. Times.

Has Louis CK become the male comic version of Oprah?
His pontificating on various issues has made him seem like "a kind of self-help guru, peddling pat life advice vaguely dressed up as jokes,” says Soraya Roberts.

Female Charlie Day fans can’t explain their attraction
Why are women attracted to the “It’s Always Sunny” star (and commencement speaker extraordinaire)? "Day is intensely charismatic, funny and cute,” as Madeleine Davies explains. Plus, "He has what seems to be a very sweet relationship with his wife Mary Elizabeth Ellis … and he's incredibly gifted musically.”

“Orange is the New Black” writer: I realized I was gay while working on the show
Five months after marrying a man, Lauren Morelli writes, "I flew to New York to start production on my first episode of ‘Orange,' and from that moment on my life fell into a parallel rhythm with Piper's story in a way that went from interesting to terrifying in a matter of months."

How “Catfish” works: Everybody meets with a therapist at the end
The production process begins with casting the liars first.

Letterman accused of being transphobic
“Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s” John Cameron Mitchell says "David wouldn’t shake my hand” when he performed as a woman on “The Late Show” a while back.

“Modern Family” co-creator: Even anti-gay marriage people give Mitch & Cam “a pass to a certain extent”
Christopher Lloyd says criticism of this week’s wedding has mostly been muted. PLUS: Everybody was emotional during filming of the wedding, and Ty Burrell wrote a love letter to Salt Lake City.

“The Voice” champ Josh Kaufman psyched to perform with The Roots on “The Tonight Show”
"I'm getting to sing with the Roots, so that's a pretty big deal,” he says.

“Major Crimes” recruits “Review’s” Andy Daly and “Alphas’” Azita Ghanizada
They’ll guest in Season 3.

Why “Gang Related” isn't "Gang-Related" (with a hyphen)
Producers “just forgot" to add a hyphen in the title.

How to watch the “Girl Meets World” premiere now
The “Boy Meets World” spinoff debuts on June 27, but you can watch it now if you have the right cable provider. PLUS: Here's the first review.

Watch Aimee Mann and Ted Leo cover TV theme songs
They recently rocked through everything from “Community” to “WKRP in Cincinnati” to “Orange is the New Black."

“Broadchurch” Season 2 casts Charlotte Rampling, plus “Torchwood” and “Without a Trace” stars
The UK series is returning with Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Eve Myles and James D’arcy.

Mike Myers says he was “very proud” to be standing next to Kanye West 9 years ago
Myers if finally commenting on that Hurricane Katrina fundraiser from 2005, in which Kanye said: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

For sale: "Twin Peaks”-themed shower curtains
For $68, you can get Laura Palmer or Dale Cooper shower curtains.

“Pretty Little Liars” creator to tackle "The Merciless”
The upcoming horror novel from Danielle Vega is being adapted by I. Marlene King.

Headless Horseman will be back on “Sleepy Hollow”
Neil Jackson has been promoted to series regular next season.

Nikki Reed files for divorce from ex-“Idol” Paul McDonald
The “Twilight” star cites irreconcilable differences in their marriage, which began in October 2011.

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Review: 'Snow In Paradise' demolishes the myth of the glamorous UK gangster lifestyle
Credit: 8 Media Global

Review: 'Snow In Paradise' demolishes the myth of the glamorous UK gangster lifestyle

And Frederick Schmidt is a name you should remember

CANNES -- Andrew Hulme is not a name that many film fans know, but you've more than likely seen his work. As an editor, he's worked on "The American," "Red Riding: 1974," 'Control," "Gangster No. 1," and "Lucky Number Slevin," among others, and he's also served as a second unit director on a few films.

His directorial debut, "Snow In Paradise," made its appearance at Cannes today in the same timeslot that Ryan Gosling's "Lost River" played yesterday. It bummed me out to see that there were maybe a third as many people waiting to get into this one, and that was before I saw the movie. Afterwards, I'm doubly sorry, because it's a self-assured and sincere piece of work.

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Salma Hayek premieres the first footage from her ambitious animated film 'The Prophet'
Credit: AP Photo/Alastair Grant

Salma Hayek premieres the first footage from her ambitious animated film 'The Prophet'

It may not be done, but it's already impressive

CANNES -- One of the more unexpected events at this year's Cannes Film Festival for me happened on Saturday night. I went to what I thought was going to be a screening, but which turned out instead to be a presentation hosted by Salma Hayek for the work-in-progress version of an animated anthology film based on "The Prophet," the internationally acclaimed book of poetry by Kahlil Gibran. Ultimately, we ended up seeing less than half of the film, but Hayek's enthusiasm and the finished footage that we did get to see made a strong case for not only how much this film means to her personally, but also what a beautifully crafted experience the end result promises to be.

If you're an animation fan, this is going to be a fascinating collection of voices and techniques from around the world, all in service of this beautiful, profound piece of work that has been punching holes in readers for fifty years now.

After being introduced, Hayek spoke about how she has made many films that have honored her Mexican heritage, but she's spent her entire career looking for the right project to honor her equally-important Lebanese heritage. Finding a film that spoke to her as an Arabic woman was no simple prospect. Consider how hard it is to find a good script for a woman of any background, and then magnify that difficulty exponentially. When she finally made the connection and saw the potential in "The Prophet," she set out to make what she considers a love letter to that side of who she is.

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<p>Jena Irene and Caleb Johnson of &quot;American Idol.&quot;</p>

Jena Irene and Caleb Johnson of "American Idol."

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 13 - Finale - The Winner Is...

Did American choose Caleb Johnson or Jena Irene? Find out in two hours...

Ratings suggest that most of America skipped Tuesday's performance finale for "American Idol."

If you're just tuning in for Wednesday's two hours of guest appearances and very limited results, here's what you missed on Tuesday.

Bottom Line: Caleb Johnson versus Jena Irene? It's gonna be a close one. 


Click through and follow along for two hours of live-blogging!

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