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"Wild Tales"
"Wild Tales"
Credit: Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Check 2014: Damian Szifron's 'Wild Tales'

Continuing our preview of the festival lineup with a wild card from Argentina

Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, perhaps the most unexpected selection of the lot: Damián Szifrón's "Wild Tales."

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<p>Bill Paxton of &quot;Marvel&#39;s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.&quot;</p>

Bill Paxton of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Credit: ABC

Interview: 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' co-star Bill Paxton on the finale and feeling The Universe

What did the 'Big Love' veteran now about John Garrett and when did he know it?

I wasn't exactly surprised when "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." sprung the big reveal last month that Bill Paxton's John Garrett turned out to be evil.

I mean... He's Bill Paxton. It's not that Bill Paxton is constantly playing evil characters or anything, but if you bring in an actor with Paxton's pedigree -- Four Golden Globe nominations, an Emmy nod and the credibility that comes from "Aliens," "Near Dark," etc -- you're not bringing him in to play the boring straight-arrow authority figure. So it was almost a relief when Garrett turned sneering villain and then it was genuinely interesting when, in last week's episode, the frequently rushed "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." took the time to do a flashback-heavy episode explained both Garrett's Hydra-loving origins and the conditions that might also have turned Brett Dalton's Ward.

When last we saw Garrett, we had discovered his Deathlok-y past -- so many reveals for one character -- and he was being injected with the potentially miraculous GH-325. The serum led to him announcing he'd seen The Universe. 

But what the heck does that mean?

Presumably we're going to find out in this week's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." finale.

Last week, I got on the phone with Paxton and we discussed what it means for an actor to play "seeing The Universe" and the pleasures of getting to play a secret-keeping character and then go full-baddie. 

Wait. Sorry. As with nearly every actor who plays a nefarious character, Paxton doesn't think Garrett is a villain.

Will the season finale back him up? 

Click through for the Q&A and watch the finale on Tuesday night on ABC.

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<p>Louis C.K. and Sarah Baker in &quot;Louie.&quot;</p>

Louis C.K. and Sarah Baker in "Louie."

Credit: FX

Review: 'Louie' - 'So Did the Fat Lady/Elevator Part 1'

A waitress pursues Louie, Jane has a bad dream, and Louie helps a neighbor

A review of tonight's two "Louie" episodes coming up just as soon as we choose between Mexican/Italian or Sushi/Pizza...

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Donald Sterling melts down in Anderson Cooper interview

Donald Sterling melts down in Anderson Cooper interview
The CNN host’s "went worst that you thought it could" interview with the embattled L.A. Clippers owner will be studied in crisis public-relations classes for years to come. PLUS: How Cooper landed the interview.

Judging Fox’s fall trailers: “Gracepoint” may have fall TV’s best new cast
Also, is “Mulaney” desperately trying to be the next “Seinfeld”?

“Sharknado” is headed to theaters with a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” twist
Audiences in 650 theaters this July will get to hear live commentary from “MST3K” vets Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett.

NBC expects original “Heroes” characters to “drop in” on “Heroes Reborn”
"Some familiar faces from the show are bound to drop in,” NBC Entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt said at the NBC Upfronts.

Blair Waldorf’s “Gossip Girl” penthouse is for sale for $30 million
Only the exterior of the penthouse has appeared on the CW series.

Meet “Bachelorette” Andi Dorfman’s suitors
They include a “pantsapreneur” and an opera singer. PLUS: Juan Pablo “Bachelor” alum Cassandra Ferguson gets engaged to her son’s dad.

“Hawaii Five-0’s” Daniel Dae Kim to address University of Hawaii graduates
The former “Lost” star will be among several commencement speakers for this year’s class.

"Game of Thrones’” Reek on his "heartbreaking and heart-wrenching” circumstance
"In terms of physically being Reek, it's quite exhausting,” says actor Alfie Allen.

“Futurama” fans create a Zoidberg costume
Watch the creation of a real-life version of the lobster-esque alien.

Michelle Fairley talks about her “challenging part” on “24: Live Another Day"
The “Game of Thrones” alum says: "She's a passionate woman, and she's driven not only by her belief, but also by revenge. And I did a lot of research about people who are not born into a certain belief, but take it on. The love, passion, commitment, and just sheer bloody-mindedness, when it comes to achieving your goals.”

Chris Colfer says of the negative “Glee” media gossip: “It’s really sad”
"I've seen some of my closest friends on ‘Glee' go through where these horrible things are written about them and none of it is true,” he says, "but some reporter wants to get a hit, they say so-and-so is a raging bitch.”

Kevin Bacon’s brother starring in Oscar Meyer Turkey Bacon ads
Michael Bacon is the other less famous Bacon.

Is Noah Wyle responsible for making “Noah” the most popular baby name in America?
Are there still that many diehard “ER” fans?

Count down the Top 50 sci-fi shows
From “Land of the Lost” to “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century."

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<p>Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in &quot;24: Live Another Day.&quot;</p>

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in "24: Live Another Day."

Credit: FOX

Review: '24: Live Another Day' - '1:00 PM - 2:00 PM'

Jack and Chloe have a moment, Kate breaks some rules, and we get to know our villains

A review of tonight's "24: Live Another Day" coming up just as soon as I mention your rather rude habit of asking for favors at the end of a gun...

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Credit: FOX

5 Things that might be okay about 'Gracepoint' even if you loved 'Broadchurch'

Loyalists to the Brit original may still want to watch

"Broadchurch" was one of those fantastic British crime dramas (broadcast here on BBC America, there on ITV) that make you roll your eyes at tired formula stuff like "Law & Order: SVU" before the grab the remote. With David Tennant ("Dr. Who") at the helm, it was sharp, heartbreaking and both emotional (without sappiness) and a legitimate whodunnit. So, of course, the U.S. had to remake it almost immediately.

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"Wayward Pines"

"Wayward Pines"

Credit: FOX

5 Things 'Wayward Pines' looks a lot like in the first trailer

Homage? Rip-off? You be the judge

Watching the new trailer for "Wayward Pines," the new FOX 10-episode thriller from M. Night Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense"), I couldn't shake a feeling of deja vu. No, not visions of dead people, but elements that seemed to be ripped from (oh, wait, an homage to) other sources. On the one hand, this could be seen as a salute to a short-lived by deeply influential 1990 cultural touchstone ("Twin Peaks") or a beloved scifi series ("The X-Files") or a serious take on a hit comedy ("The Truman Show"). Or, if you're not a fan of Shyamalan, you could see this as a desperate grab for the good ideas of other people. You be the judge!

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Credit: Le Pacte

Cannes Check 2014: Abderrahmane Sissako's 'Timbuktu'

Continuing our festival preview with the only African film in Competition

Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, the Competition's only African entry: Abderrahmane Sissako's "Timbuktu."

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Watch Fox’s new show trailers

Watch Fox’s new show trailers
Fox has officially released the trailers for “Gotham,” “Empire,” Rainn Wilson in “Backstrom,” reality show “Utopia,” “Waywad Pines,” “Hieroglyph,” “Mulaney” and check out David Tennant's American accent on “Gracepoint."

“Penny Dreadful” debuts to 1.4 million
The Showtime series’ premiere topped the launches of “Masters of Sex” and “Homeland.”

Fox boss: “We're eventizing our entertainment slate”
With “American Idol” falling, Fox’s new goal is to give viewers an “urgency to view.” PLUS: Fox’s Upfronts promotes “Sober Companion,” even though the Justin Long comedy has yet to be picked up.

Jon Stewart’s movie will premiere in the U.S. this fall
"Rosewater,” the film Stewart took a leave of absence for last summer, has landed a U.S. distribution deal.

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Clay Aiken’s Democratic Congressional primary opponent dies

Clay Aiken’s Democratic Congressional primary opponent dies
It looks like the former “Idol” has won the Democratic primary for a North Carolina Congressional seat after his opponent, 71-year-old Keith Crisco, died in a fall this afternoon. Aiken's race vs. Crisco had been too close to call, with Aiken leading by 369 votes.

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'Once Upon a Time' boss: 'We’re dealing with the world of ‘Frozen’'

“Once Upon a Time” boss: “We’re dealing with the world of ‘Frozen’”
“That was Elsa,” exec producer Adam Horowitz says, adding: "We are honored to be allowed to do it. We loved the movie. We fell in love with it when it came out last year like everyone did, and we want to do our best to do it justice.” PLUS: Producers were surprised the big reveal was a surprise.

NBC banking on “The Blacklist” and its late-night dominance
At this morning’s upfronts, NBC said it is counting on the James Spader drama to help rebuild its Thursday lineup. PLUS: Rating NBC’s new show trailers.

“Mad Men” could be taken down by history
SC&P doesn’t look so good, based on historical events. PLUS: What that nipple crisis really means, and Megan is now the most compelling character on “Mad Men."

Michael J. Fox: "If you want to hide from the FBI, go on NBC on Thursday nights”
Fox made the crack about his failed NBC sitcom this morning on “The View.”

Jimmy Fallon tonight presents late-night’s 1st vinyl-pressing
Fallon tweets: "Making history tonight - Neil Young is going to perform and press a vinyl with the help of Jack White live on the show. One take. Fun.”

“Orange is the New Black” releases posters of its characters in action
Check out moving images of Nicky and Sophia.

Tonight’s David Boreanaz-directed “Bones” season finale is “literally explosive,” like “24"
So says John Francis Daley: “The way David directed it was with a focus on people being very intense because we’re dealing with some heavy stuff. So it was fun to play it as the stakes were higher than ever. It was almost like filming an episode of 24 in that sense. Every scene is high-stakes.”

Megan Boone promises “a very epic finale” for “The Blacklist”
"You will get a lot of answers,” she says. "It’s a very, very involved episode. We reach a lot of conclusions, and just as we’ve been doing throughout the series, we open new questions."

Putting last night’s “Game of Thrones” in context
The books give more details on Tyrion’s trial. PLUS: Tywin is terrible with money, and “GoT’ is really a game of reputation management.

Are music shows dying?
“American Idol” is “now your grandmother’s ‘Idol’” as music competition shows, with the exception of “The Voice,” are beginning to fade.

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The Black Keys

Album Review: The Black Keys' 'Turn Blue' turns back time

The duo's eighth set is steeped in the '70s

The Black KeysDan Auerbach told Rolling Stone that the goal with the duo’s eighth album, “Turn Blue,” out tomorrow (13), was to make a “headphone record.”

Well, they have certainly done that.

In fact, listening to the album through speakers feels like you’re doing it a disservice and missing lovingly crafted details.  “Turn Blue” is an album that is meant to be heard in its entirety with your full attention as the music pans from left to right and flows from your ears into your brain. It is not background music. In fact, we’d suggest to get the full effect, sink into a bean bag chair and a lava lamp.

The album gets off to a trippy start with the nearly seven-minute fuzzy opus,“Weight Of Love.” But that only hints at what’s to come. On “Turn Blue,” a punchy guitar line morphs into a sonic wave that threatens to blow your mind via headphones, and if “Weight of Love” recalls Pink Floyd, wait until you get to “Bullet in the Brain.” It practically demands to be listened to alongside “Comfortably Numb.”

First single, “Fever,” is one of the most straight ahead rock tracks on the album, but even it has the Black Keys’ usual little tics that make it sound unlike anything else on the radio. Plus, it includes the most delightful use of a farfisa organ since ? Mark & The Mysterians’ “96 Tears,” before it seemingly shifts into a different song.

Lyrically, the album deals primarily with romantic disillusionment and betrayal, such as on “Bullet In The Brain,” when Auerbach sings “I let you use my gifts to back those lying lips.”

Auerbach has turned into such an accomplished producer —in the last two years alone, he’s worked with Ray LaMontagne, Lana Del Rey, Dr. John,  and Michael Kiwanuka —but here the band gets an able assist from Danger Mouse, who ups the psychedelic factor.

Part of The Black Keys appeal has always been Carney’s drumming, which is more upfront in the mix than many other drummers, but never overwhelms the song. On the hypnotic “It’s Up To You Now,” percussion takes the lead, setting the tone as the song shifts tempos from frenetic to druggy, but never veers from the ‘70s rock that influenced it.

In fact, the album seldom leaves the ‘70s thematically, even if it does change styles.  On “Waiting On Words,” even though the song is produced like a rock track, Auerbach delivers a soulful vocal that recalls Smokey Robinson filtered through a tremolo guitar.

The Black Keys haven’t abandoned the funk that got them so far on their last album, 2011’s “El Camino,” but it gets slightly muted here on songs like the swaying “10 Lovers.”

Auerbach and Carney deserve credit for staying so true to the ‘70s premise, but it doesn’t necessarily wear well. By the time track 10, “In Our Prime,” rolls around and Auerbach goes into a wonky guitar solo, it’s the tiniest bit tedious, but then the band comes back and closes with “Gotta Get Away,” a straight-ahead rocker that is so poppy it practically pops out of the speakers and starts dancing on the floor by itself. It doesn’t have the usual heft of a Black Keys’ tune but that’s part of its appeal. It’s lightweight and frothy and utterly delectable. Maybe that could be the starting point for album number nine.

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