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Album review: Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines': Let's talk about sex

Album review: Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines': Let's talk about sex

Singer gets his groove on and on

If Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” left you longing for short, punchy R&B-based tunes instead of the extended jams, then Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” out today, is the album for you.
While there’s nothing on here that’s likely to challenge insanely catchy  "Blurred Lines'" run atop the Hot 100 (a 2013 record-setting seven weeks and counting), there’s a lot here to like. At times, the album feels more like it belongs to the producers and their beats more than to Thicke, such as on “Take It Easy On Me, “ which sounds almost as if he’s an extra in his own song. But then a tune like “Ooh La La” or “Ain’t No Hat 4 That” comes along, so steeped in ‘70s R&B, with his creamy vocals soaring over the retro rhythms, that you’ll be looking for a disco ball to drop from the ceiling. “Get In My Way” is a modern-day “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now.”

Thicke has talked in interviews about his decision to ditch the ballads and stick to the uptempo tracks on “Lines.” It’s a formula that works very satisfactorily here. There’s a lightness to the tunes here that is uniformly appealing, greatly aided by such capable hands (and ears) as Timbaland, Pharrell,,  Dr. Luke, and Projay. It’s one of those albums that you will throw on at a party and not feel the need to change the music until all 11 tracks have gone by.

While Thicke seems to have a fascination with sex, the better tracks here discard the explicit horndoggery vibe. Ones that don’t often suffer for stressing it so singlemindedly.  For example,  “Give It 2 U,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, has a great hook and feel (thanks to Dr. Luke and Cirkut’s programming). but the relentless focus on male body parts makes the song monotonous.

Thicke’s falsetto is put to good use, though it’s easy to wish there were more tunes where he got to sing more instead of compete with the beats or sing in short bursts. The Prince-like “4 The Rest Of My Life,” the closest the album comes to a ballad, is one of the few tunes where Thicke gets to do his thing throughout, both in falsetto and in his lower range. Same with closing track, “The Good Life,” the most traditional verse-chorus song on the album. It’s in striking contrast to much of the rest of the set, yet somehow manages to still fit right in, perhaps because of the upbeat tone.

There are no deep thoughts here. “Blurred Lines” doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a sexy party album meant to get you in a good mood or keep you there for a bit longer. And by that measure, there’s nothing  blurred about its message, whatsoever.

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CW boss says Wonder Woman prequel on hold, 'Nikita' won't go out with three 2-hour movies

CW boss says Wonder Woman prequel on hold, "Nikita" won't go out with three 2-hour movies
"Amazon," the Wonder Woman prequel, is "on pause right now. The script isn’t where we want it," said CW boss Mark Pedowitz.

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Watch Justin Timberlake's 'Take Back The Night' music video

Watch Justin Timberlake's 'Take Back The Night' music video

Michael Jackson, Chinatown and stepping back from nudey ladies

Justin Timberlake's "Take Back the Night" music has the singer keeping to his black and whites but also copping a little MJ for your pleasure -- remember his "Black or White" video? How he took to dancing in the streets all over the world? Well, Timberlake only tries world domination in Chinatown -- and only in order to get bizzay -- but some themes are still there...

The white tennies I'm feeling. The black bib shirt I am not feeling. Ugly concert footage intersperses the night footage of romping through the nabe. And there are very few Chinese people living in New York's Chinatown, apparently. I'm learning a lot.

Still, it's good-natured enough, a far cry from his NSFW "Tunnel Vision" booby-ladies-dancing video and a casual evening (positively slumming) after the dressing-up for "Suit & Tie."

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<p>The last time the Flash was a live-action TV&nbsp;character, he looked like John Wesley Shipp.</p>

The last time the Flash was a live-action TV character, he looked like John Wesley Shipp.

Credit: CBS

Press Tour: The Flash to be introduced on 'Arrow,' while CW puts 'Amazon' on hold

No conflicts between DC's movie and TV plans for Barry Allen, the fastest man alive

The Flash is one of the few DC Comics heroes outside of the big 3 of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman to have gotten the live-action TV treatment. In the 1990-91 season, John Wesley Shipp played Barry Allen, the fastest man alive, in a drama for CBS.

More than two decades later, Barry may be returning to the small screen in live-action form in an upcoming episode of the CW's "Arrow."

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<p>A behind the scenes moment from the new video</p>

A behind the scenes moment from the new video

Credit: Syco Music

Go behind the scenes with One Direction for the 'Best Song Ever' video: Watch

Why they needed to cover Zayn Malik's tattoos and more

If finding out how Zayn Malik transforms from a One Direction band member to a saucy office vixen (minus the tattoos), then this behind-the-scenes feature from the video shoot for One Direction’s “Best Song Ever” is for you. 

The video, directed by Ben Winston, features each of the five lads in character. In addition to Malik, Harry Styles is the office nerdy twit, Liam Payne is a platinum blond, clueless chereographer, Niall Horan is a film executive (his part took four hours in prep for prosthetics and make-up and then another seven hot hours taping), and Louis Tomlinson spoofs Tom Cruise’s Les Grossman character from “Tropic Thunder.”

[More after the jump...]


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CW interested in a 'Flash' series from the makers of 'Arrow'

CW interested in a "Flash" series from the makers of "Arrow"
Will another DC Comics male superhero join CW?

Lisa Kudrow becomes the first "Friends" star to turn 50
Happy 50th birthday, Lisa Kudrow!

Diane Sawyer breaks Brian Williams' 243-week winning streak
Last week, Sawyer's "ABC Word News" barely beat Williams' "NBC Nightly News" in the key 25-54 demo. PLUS: Williams raps "Good Vibrations."

Report: "The Voice" rejected Jennifer Lopez

J.Lo wanted to appear on the season finale, according to Page Six.

Teresa and Joe Giudice released on $500,000 bond each

The "Real Housewives" couple appeared before a federal judge this morning following their 39-count indictment.

Oprah Winfrey Network turns a profit for the first time
OWN was profitable in the 2nd quarter, six months ahead of schedule.

Check out the official "Dexter" ice cream sandwiches
The Showtime series is teaming with Coolhaus ice cream for "killer" ice cream sandwiches.

Walter White recites Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ozymandias"

Watch the newest "Breaking Bad" promo.

"NCIS" boss was "very, very surprised" by Cote de Pablo's exit

"I think it was you that I told at some point, that I was 'very confident' that this was going to work out," says showrunner Gary Glasberg. "And I was very confident. This is not what I was planning on." PLUS: "Big Bang's" Margo Harshman to guest on "NCIS."

"The Bachelorette" hits a season high
Part 1 of the season finale was up 22% over last week.

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<p>Mark Pedowitz</p>

Mark Pedowitz

Credit: The CW

Press Tour Live-Blog: Mark Pedowitz on the State of The CW

Network president explains how The C-Dub stays in business

Mark Pedowitz has been The CW's president for a couple years now. He's done multiple Television Critics Association press tour panels, so we're pretty accustomed to his relatively brief answers and to the ongoing proof that he's watching all of his network's shows.

He's also got a new drama hit in "Arrow" and a surprising new comedy hit in "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

Click through for The State of the CW courtesy of Mark Pedowitz's TCA press tour executive session...

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<p>Sure, this might look like a still from Eli Roth's 'The Green Inferno,' but it's actually just the line to get tickets for the 25th anniversary screenings of TIFF's Midnight Madness.</p>

Sure, this might look like a still from Eli Roth's 'The Green Inferno,' but it's actually just the line to get tickets for the 25th anniversary screenings of TIFF's Midnight Madness.

Credit: Worldview Entertainment

Eli Roth, Sion Sono and Lucky McKee all part of 25th anniversary Toronto Midnight Madness line-up

Looks like it's going to be a wild ride at midnight once again

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Toronto's Midnight Madness section of the annual film event that has become one of my very favorite parts of every year.

The first year I went up for the festival, I didn't have a badge. HitFix wasn't even a year old yet, and I was still working to get set up at each of the festivals. I wasn't sure it would be possible for me to do a good job covering it without a badge, but I ended up walking away feeling like I'd done as well as could be expected, thanks in no small part to Colin Geddes, who programs the Midnight Madness line-up and who is also involved in many other decisions made each year.

He went out of his way to make sure I had tickets for things, and to be honest, I barely knew him at the time. He did it because that's the kind of guy he is. I've gotten to know Colin much better over the years since then, and I think there are very few festival programmers who eat, breathe, and love this stuff the way he does. He travels constantly, he sees movies around the world, and when the actual festival begins, Colin puts on an amazing show. He considers those ten nights to be a sacred trust, and he works his ass off to make sure that year in and year out, people who sit in that Ryerson theater every night at midnight have experiences. Good, bad, that's almost beside the point. What is most important is that you have a genuine reaction, and that you can't just shrug these movies off.

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Julianna Margulies on the Anthony Weiner scandal: "It is the gift that just keeps on giving"

Julianna Margulies on the Anthony Weiner scandal: "It is the gift that just keeps on giving"
Says "The Good Wife" star: "It is shocking that in our fifth season, this show is more relevant than ever. It's amazing that my character is a character that women are looking to for answer as to how she feels about it." PLUS: America Ferrera and Gary Cole are returning.

"Homeland" bosses offer a spoiler about Damian Lewis' character

What will Brody be doing when Season 3 kicks off? PLUS: Claire Danes never watched Anne Hathaway's "SNL" spoof.

"Supernatural" spinoff details revealed
It will be set in Chicago, exploring the monster cultures of the Windy City.

Why would NBC make a Hillary Clinton miniseries?
The Peacock will get a lot of attention, but it can't win, whether the film is favorable to Clinton or evenhanded. PLUS: Who should play Bill Clinton?

"Mom" brings on Justin Long and Octavia Spencer
Long will play a love interest for Anna Faris, while Spencer will play a woman with bigger problems than Faris'. PLUS: Why is Chuck Lorre so into "recovering-women comedies"?

Study: Netflix fans watch just as much regular TV as everybody else
Research from TiVo suggests that Netflix isn't making a difference in changing viewing habits.

Chuck Lorre hopes Angus T. Jones returns, but "Two and a Half Men" will have less testosterone this season
"I think it would be great have that voice on the show from a different perspective," he told critics. "The show has had enough testosterone to last a lifetime."

Peter Sarsgaard talks about his "Killing" moment

"There comes a point when your body knows better than your mind does," he says.

Julianna Margulies and George Clooney have talked about doing an "ER" movie
Clooney recently reminded her that the 20th anniversary is coming up, and he suggested doing a big-screen "ER" film.

Watch the trailer for "Ghost Shark"

Syfy hopes "Ghost Shark" can ride the "Sharknado" wave.

Arsenio Hall's strategy: "I'm going to try to find those (viewers) who don't have a show"
Comparing his old show to his new one, Hall said, "It's hard to get anyone to watch you. The challenges are gigantic now."

Sundance Channel goes inside "The Writers Room" with "Breaking Bad"
The new series is hosted by "Community's" Jim Rash.

Tim Daly bound for "Hawaii Five-0"
He'll play a Texas Ranger in a potentially recurring role.

How CW survives with very low-rated shows

As Les Moonves explained, the CW shows do make money even if the network is in the red.

USA giving "Summer Camp" a "WWE Raw" boost

The reality show is moving to 11 pm on Mondays.

Ruthie from "7th Heaven" poses for Maxim
The 7-year-old child star is now 23.

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"The Bachelorette"

 "The Bachelorette"

Credit: ABC

'The Bachelorette': Is Brooks just not that into Des?

Drew and Chris are all in, but it may not matter

So, Drew loves Des blah blah blah. Chris loves Des blah blah blah. The show, in some respects, hits all the familiar benchmarks this week. "I love her more than I ever expected! I have no doubt that she's the woman I'm going to marry!" Then, from Des, a slightly edited echo: "I can see a future with him! He's so hot!" If you've seen one season of "The Bachelorette," you can rest assured they're working from the same script (which may or may not be literal) and it hardly needs repeating here. Basically, it's all snuggling and romance in Antigua, at least until we have to deal with Brooks, aka Grumpy. 

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<p>Claire Danes and Damian Lewis came to press tour to talk &quot;Homeland&quot;&nbsp;season 3.</p>

Claire Danes and Damian Lewis came to press tour to talk "Homeland" season 3.

Credit: Showtime

Press tour: 'Homeland' producers on dark season 3

Some spoilers and some not as the producers, Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Rupert Friend faced the press

Often, press tour sessions for returning shows tend to be a cagey cat-and-mouse game between reporters who want information about upcoming storylines and producers who want everything to remain a secret.

Today's "Homeland" session, though, was different. Not only had the critics seen the season's first two episodes (which, before anyone asks, I mostly liked a lot, particularly in how they deal with the aftermath of season 2), but producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon were fairly forthcoming about what happens in them, to the point where one critic actually paused to ask whether they felt an answer that had just been given should be treated as a spoiler.

Suffice it to say, Gansa is not Matt Weiner, and told us we should feel free to write about that and other things. But I know that many of you want to know little or nothing about upcoming episodes of your favorite shows, so let me put a big fat "HOMELAND" SEASON 3 SPOILER WARNING right here. After the jump I'm going to deal with the stuff that's not spoiler-y at all, and then after that, I'm going to put a second big warning before I get to a couple of the questions that dealt with things you may not want to know.

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<p>Ben Stiller in &quot;The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Ben Stiller in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." 

Credit: 20th Century Fox

New images from Ben Stiller's 'Walter Mitty' remake keep the spectacle secret

The Christmas Day release might be a lurking awards player

Ben Stiller's upcoming remake of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is a project I've been dimly aware of without ever really stopping to think about it -- and certainly not in an awards-season context. I take Stiller's directorial output more seriously than most, and can quote hefty chunks of "Zoolander" dialogue on command, but somehow imagined he was taking the popular 1947 Danny Kaye vehicle in a sketchier direction than that suggested by this breathless Empire preview of the fantasy, in which Stiller stars as a magazine employee escaping his mundane existence (and pursuing love) via lavish daydreams.

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