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<p>Lana Del Rey</p>

Lana Del Rey

Watch Lana Del Rey as a stripper-poet-saint in 'Tropico'

It's not as crazy as it sounds
At last night's premiere of "Tropico," Lana Del Rey announced that the short film is the final project for her 2012 breakthrough album "Born To Die" and that she'll release follow-up record "Ultraviolence" sometime next year. The new album title comes the book-turned-film "A Clockwork Orange," one of few references missing from the symbolism overload of "Tropico." Watch it here or below.
"Tropico" opens in the Garden of Eden with Del Rey as Eve and model Shaun Ross as Adam, plus Jesus, John Wayne, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and a unicorn. It quickly turns into a music video for "Body Electric," which fits the original sin theme pretty well. Once Del Rey bites into the apple though, all hell breaks loose and we fast-forward to a dystopian Los Angeles where she's working as a stripper and Ross is a convenient store clerk. 
Before "Gods and Monsters" begins, Del Rey rips off some great poets -- including Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg -- and whispers their words (and a few of her own) as scenes reveal that she's a lousy pole dancer, Ross is a criminal and they're hanging in the Latino gang crowd. That's about as much of a narrative as we get. 
Redemption arrives in the final scene as Del Rey and Ross cruise into a golden field in a sea green Bel Air, with John Wayne reciting a speech about America. Naturally, the song "Bel Air" kicks in and we watch as the couple becomes transformed from black-clothed sinners to white-wearing saints. Wayne serenades them into heaven with the classic "Always on My Mind."
Director Anthony Mandler's work is really the star of the film -- especially in the shots of L.A. and the finale -- so if you don't like Del Rey's music, at least watch it on mute.
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Walmart ads will sing 'Sound of Music' songs during tonight's live musical

Walmart ads will sing "Sound of Music" songs during tonight's live musical
The ads will feature a family of 12 children doing activities while singing songs from the musical.

"Breaking Bad" and Netflix score big in Writers Guild Award nominations
Netflix's decision to submit "Orange is the New Black" as a comedy paid off as the video company earned five nominations between "Orange" and "House of Cards."

Pam Grier eyes an action TV series
Entertainment One is working with Grier on a domestic terrorism drama project.

"Sex Sent Me to the ER" coming to Discovery Fit & Health
The four-part January special will have physicians and patients recounting "jaw-dropping" stories of sexual injuries.

President Obama jokes he'd like to host "SportsCenter" when he retires
"At least I know what I want to do when I retire … host ESPN 'SportsCenter's' Top 10 list," the president quipped to Disney CEO Robert Iger, who oversees ESPN.

Esquire Network orders "Friday Night Tykes"
The reality show will document 8- and 9-year-old football players in San Antonio.

Amy Robach will work on "GMA" while she undergoes chemotherapy

This morning, she said, "now I'm feeling really good. Physically, I'm doing remarkably well, but mentally, it's another challenge."

Check out HBO's black and white stylized "True Detective" poster
"Touch Darkness and Darkness Touches You Back."

Ryan Murphy talks Kathy Bates' stunning "American Horror Story" scene
The follow-up to last night's episode, he says, is "one of my favorite things we've ever done."

"Downton Abbey's" Carson plays a dark Santa for a Greenpeace ad
Watch Jim Carter's interpretation of Santa Claus.

"Orphan Black" Season 2: What to expect

Here's the first image from the new season.

Gordon Ramsay takes on the Swedish Chef
Watch an all-new "Muppisode" featuring the "Hell's Kitchen star, along with Beaker and Sweetums.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the trailer for his new "HitRECord on TV" show
The half-hour Pivot variety show premieres on Jan. 18.

Keri Russell separates from her husband

"The Americans" star, who was burglarized yesterday, is making news again with her separation. Russell has two children with her husband of nearly seven years, Shane Deary.

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<p>It's a good time to be Benedict Cumberbatch.</p>

It's a good time to be Benedict Cumberbatch.

Credit: HitFix

Benedict Cumberbatch on bringing Smaug to life for the latest installment of 'The Hobbit'

The way he learned he got the part is pretty great

Benedict Cumberbatch is having one of those moments that actors dream of, where they are suddenly not only acclaimed for their work, but given opportunity to play a wide range of roles in material that they genuinely love. "Sherlock" may have been the thing that finally made him wildly in-demand, but he's been building towards this moment for a little while now, and he seems to be cherishing it now that it's arrived.

I don't remember him from "Fortysomething" or "Nathan Barley," but I must have seen him in them. Same with "Starter For 10" or "Amazing Grace." It was "Atonement" when I finally remember seeing him and taking note of his work. Then came "Sherlock," and he was suddenly launched into the awareness of filmmakers and audiences alike. I remember reading how Stephen Moffat was casting both "Doctor Who" and "Sherlock" at the same time, and he really debated what to do with Matt Smith and Cumberbatch and the two roles because he could see merit in both versions of the casting.

Can you imagine what would have happened if he'd just had them switch when it was time to regenerate the Doctor? Smith takes over as Sherlock, Cumberbatch takes over as the Doctor, and the Internet breaks. Right?

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<p>Laura Prepon and Taylor Schilling in &quot;Orange Is the New Black,&quot;&nbsp;which got 3 WGA&nbsp;nominations.</p>

Laura Prepon and Taylor Schilling in "Orange Is the New Black," which got 3 WGA nominations.

Credit: Netflix

'Breaking Bad,' Netflix hit it big with WGA nominations

By submitting 'Orange Is the New Black' as a comedy, Netflix got 5 nominations

This was, as I've written about several times — and will be writing a lot more in the coming weeks as we publish various Best of 2013 lists — an insanely good, and deep, year for scripted television. "Breaking Bad" went out with an amazing final season. Netflix entered the original scripted series game. So did Sundance, and History, and others. There's so much good TV right now that any kind of Top 10 list, or set of awards nominations — like today's announcement of the Writers Guild of America TV nominees for 2013 — will inevitably omit an awful lot of great material, and will lean on the specific preferences of the individuals or groups making the picks. I'm going to be curious to see the results for our second annual HitFix TV Critics Poll (here's last year's), which will be published later this month, and I'm also interested to see how the Golden Globes and the various Hollywood guilds like the WGA (all of whom attach their TV awards to their movie ones) pick and choose among all the possibilities.

I've got the full WGA list at the bottom of this post, but let's start with some specific observations:

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<p>Detail of &quot;Tim's Vermeer&quot;&nbsp;poster</p>

Detail of "Tim's Vermeer" poster

Credit: Sony Classics

Exclusive: 'Tim's Vermeer' poster finds genius between the brushstrokes

Penn & Teller's film opens in limited release this Friday

When I idly caught Teller's documentary "Tim's Vermeer" at Telluride back in August, it was an instant sensation. I adored its vision of art as ingenuity and the profound places it went. The film's subject, Tim Jenison, received one of the most enthusiastic standing ovations I've ever seen at Telluride, and the film, thankfully, made the cut with the Academy's list of documentary feature finalists earlier this week.

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"Orphan Black"

 "Orphan Black"

Credit: BBC America

'Orphan Black' creators hint at what's to come in April

It's 'safe to assume' new clones will be joining the show

Fans of "Orphan Black" still have to wait until April 19 for season two, but show creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson are releasing some tantalizing hints of what's to come just to torture us a little. 

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E! orders 'Botched,' a bad plastic surgery reality show

E! orders "Botched," a bad plastic surgery reality show
"Botched" aims to correct bad plastic surgery, from, as E! puts it, "frightening facelifts, shockingly bad boob and hideous nose jobs, to devastating tummy tucks and lopsided butt lifts."

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The Flash helps boost 'Arrow's' Ratings

The Flash helps boost "Arrow's" Ratings

The introduction of Barry Allen was the season's most-watched episode. PLUS: "Modern Family" hits a season low.

Benedict Cumberbatch gives a dramatic reading of R. Kelly lyrics
Cumberbatch tackled "Genius" for Jimmy Kimmel. PLUS: Cumberbatch is "The Cumberbatchelor."

Kristin Chenoweth added to "Glee's" 100th episode
Ryan Murphy tweeted that April Rhodes will return.

Houston "Scandal" fans are upset they have to wait till 12:45 AM to watch tonight's episode
Tonight's NFL Network game between the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars
is being simulcast on Houston's ABC affiliate, per NFL rules requiring cable games to air on local TV.

Chris Elliott will guest on "Community"
He'll play Greendale Community College's disgraced founder.

Conan auditions for TV commercials
He wants in on the "lucrative IHOP spokesman racket."

"The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!" star dies
Danny Wells, 72, played Luigi in the live-action 1989 series.

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<p>Jewel performs on &quot;Christmas in Rockefeller Center&quot;</p>

Jewel performs on "Christmas in Rockefeller Center"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: 'Survivor,' 'SNL Christmas' lead Wednesday, while 'Arrow' gets a boost

ABC comedies hit season and series lows
Fast National ratings for Wednesday, December 4, 2013.
A heavily promoted episode of "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" drew a season-high audience for CBS and led the network to an overall win on Wednesday, but a pair of holiday-themed specials, including "Saturday Night Live Christmas" gave NBC a win among young viewers.
Like "Survivor," "The X Factor" aired last week to pre-Thanksgiving lows and bounced back a tiny bit, albeit not to the same level.
The CW drew a large audience and good demos for the introduction of the proto-Flash on "Arrow" and also got a little bump for "The Tomorrow People."
Finally, it was a low night for ABC's comedies, but "Nashville" was steady.
On to the numbers...
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<p>Spider-Man's feeling the heat in the first trailer for 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'</p>

Spider-Man's feeling the heat in the first trailer for 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

Credit: Sony Pictures

First trailer for 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' is shockingly full of bad guys

And it looks like they're sticking with the mystery of why his parents died

Peter Parker's back, and it appears that positively everyone would like him dead.

The first trailer for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" covers a fair amount of ground, and it looks like the way they're making a story work with a multitude of bad guys running around is somehow tying all of them together. When Marc Webb cut back the stuff about some mystery behind the death of Peter's mother and father, I was hoping that was the end of that story thread. Instead, it looks like it is a major part of this film as well.

There's a lot to take in during this 2:41. I love the opening shot of him falling towards the city from above. One of the kicks of the best of the Spider-Man games is that feeling of falling as far as possible before snapping out a web to swing on. It looks like Peter and Gwen Stacy have picked up despite her father's dying wish. It also looks like Harry Osborne is absolutely the Green Goblin, with Norman stuck upstairs in bed.

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<p>Joaquin Phoenix in &quot;Her.&quot;</p>

Joaquin Phoenix in "Her."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Roundup: The fashion-forward futurism of 'Her'

Also: On the early critics' award blitz, and a bit of Sundance fakery

Among the many things I liked about yesterday's NBR champ "Her" is the sleek, subtle futurism of its design elements -- Casey Storm's costumes, in particular, are among my favorites of the year, and while I wouldn't expect the Academy to spring for them, I really hope the Guild takes notice of Storm's cleverly evolved silhouettes and punchy color palette. After all, it's the only film this year to inspire a range from a high-end fashion house: with Spike Jonze's collaboration, Opening Ceremony is introducing the technology-minded line this month. Says Storm of his designs: “The idea was to create a world that looks a lot like the world we live in, but just different enough to tell you that you are not 100 percent in the present.” [New York Times]

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<p>If Baloo doesn't sing, then I'm not interested.</p>

If Baloo doesn't sing, then I'm not interested.

Credit: Walt Disney Feature Animation

Why are Disney and Warner gearing up to go to war over 'The Jungle Book'?

Is this really the best way for anyone to be making movies?

So now we're down to watching studios fight over public domain properties that have been filmed repeatedly already?


I'm not sure I see the appeal of one new film version of "The Jungle Book," much less two, but at least I understand why Disney is making theirs. It's part of their new "You Already Love This, But Now It Has Real People!" franchise along with "Maleficent" and the still-shooting "Cinderella," and it keeps Jon Favreau in the Disney family, which is something that seems to be important to them. I'm happy for Justin Marks, who has been writing some big projects for the last few years and now seems to finally be seeing one of them come to fruition. I'm sure it'll be a big slick Disney movie, and I certainly hope it's good. They've already got a release date selected, with the film set to hit theaters October 9, 2015.

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