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<p>That is a car exploding out of the front end of an airplane. Is it any wonder the 'Fast &amp; Furious' franchise just keeps on growing?</p>

That is a car exploding out of the front end of an airplane. Is it any wonder the 'Fast & Furious' franchise just keeps on growing?

Credit: Universal Pictures

'Fast & Furious 7' stakes out a 2014 release date

A new director and no Dwayne Johnson doesn't slow the studio down at all

Universal is not fooling around.

I understand. They've been looking for their ATM, their cash machine that reliably spits out money every time they release a new film in the series, and it's been a struggle at times. They sort of backed into this one. I guarantee there was no one at the studio at the time that "The Fast and The Furious" was made who had a vision of the franchise that exists now.

Justin Lin deserves a lot of credit for turning this into what can legitimately be called a mega-franchise now. At this point, it's such a big series, and the scale of the mayhem in each film seems to be swelling. Now that Lin is leaving, it would be easy to imagine that the studio would be worried. If you drop the ball even once with a series like this, you risk burning it down, and that's the last thing Universal wants.

Now that James Wan is onboard to direct the seventh film in the series, Universal wants to make it clear that they are moving full speed ahead with a new movie, and today, as part of their CinemaCon presentation, they announced that July 11, 2014 is going belong to them.

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<p>Emma Stone is one of the stars of Alejandro Gonz&aacute;lez I&ntilde;&aacute;rritu&rsquo;s &quot;Birdman.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Emma Stone is one of the stars of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s "Birdman." 

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Iñárritu's 'Birdman' starts shooting with Keaton, Watts, Stone, Galifianakis and more

The film will be the Oscar-nominated director's first comedy

Add up the belly laughs in Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s first four features -- "Amores Perros," "21 Grams," "Babel" and "Biutiful" -- and, well, you'll find you have a lot of fingers going spare. Accomplished and sometimes exhilarating as his films (all of which have found favor with the Academy to some degree) have been, a change of pace wouldn't hurt him at this point.

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<p>Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is going to be humbled by the events of 'Star Trek Into Darkness'</p>

Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is going to be humbled by the events of 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Final 'Star Trek Into Darkness' trailer test Captain Kirk and the Enterprise

And even now, they're still keeping their secrets close

The moment I was hooked by the trailers for the 2009 "Star Trek" reboot was when Pike (Bruce Greenwood) challenged Jim Kirk (Chris Pine) to try to live up to the legacy of his father. The score, Greenwood's delivery, and the weight of what he was saying… all of that combined hit me dead center, and from that point on, they sort of had me on the hook.

I feel like it's a very smart choice, then, to bring this final trailer in the ad campaign for this summer's "Star Trek Into Darkness" back around to the two of them, Pike and Kirk, once again sitting together, once again discussing Kirk's potential as a leader. Pike is such a particular figure in "Trek" history, and perhaps the most significant refiguring in this new rebooted version of the "Trek" universe is the way he and Kirk deal with one another. You can't do much better in terms of mentor figures than Greenwood's Pike, and Kirk needs that voice in his ear, someone willing to push him and dare him to be a better person.

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Watch Steve Buscemi's extremely awkward Vampire Weekend promo video

Watch Steve Buscemi's extremely awkward Vampire Weekend promo video

... In advance of Amex Unstaged

Steve Buscemi wants to be in a band. Specifically Vampire Weekend only to, y'know, help them reach a broader audience.

The actor/director will be helming Vampire Weekend's Amex Unstaged concert, webcast live on April 28 at 9 p.m. EST. In a promo clip for the show, it is revealed that Buscemi and VW's Chris Baio are distantly related, and it's a riff on that: how would a weird act and behave toward somebody that they're supposedly blood-relative to?

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<p>Danny McBride's dancing as the world ends, and he couldn't be happier.</p>

Danny McBride's dancing as the world ends, and he couldn't be happier.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Set Visit: Danny McBride says 'This Is The End' is full of terrible things happening to famous people

We head to New Orleans for the end of the world in the first part of our set visit

NEW ORLEANS - If you're looking for a place to stage the end of the world, it seems to me that New Orleans is a pretty good choice.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are a formidable creative partnership. Standing on a soundstage for the first film they're co-directing, I was struck by just how laser focused their vision for their career has been and how well they've managed to build a space for them to make the films that genuinely make them laugh. When I first met Seth, it was at the premiere for "Anchorman." If you don't remember his role in the film, I wouldn't blame you. He plays a news cameraman, and in a film that seemed to be a showcase for one incredible character bit after another, Seth was one of the few people who didn't really have a giant moment.

The party after the premiere was at the Roosevelt, and it was a particularly rowdy celebration. That was a film that almost didn't happen several times along the way during development, and it seemed like everyone assembled understood just how much of a miracle it was that it even existed. At one point during the evening, I saw Seth Rogen sitting by himself at a table, and I walked over to say hello.

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<p>Would Tom Cruise really be willing to go up against another alien invasion so soon after the back to back experience of 'Oblivion' (seen here)&nbsp;and 'All You Need Is Kill'</p>

Would Tom Cruise really be willing to go up against another alien invasion so soon after the back to back experience of 'Oblivion' (seen here) and 'All You Need Is Kill'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Tom Cruise may go 'Top Gun' against alien forces in 'Yukikaze'

Will the actor really sign on for a fourth alien invasion film?

If I didn't know better, I'd say Tom Cruise is a nerd.

Sure, sure, he's been Captain Awesome since I was a young teenager, and he somehow looks better at his age than I've looked in my single best day ever, and he continues to somehow elude the same sort of career pitfalls that have sidelined even the most talented of his peers. So calling him a "nerd" may not be the traditional application of the word, but it seems to apply when you look at his taste in projects over the last few years.

It's one thing to do a couple of science-fiction movies in a row because Steven Spielberg calls, and "War Of The Worlds" and "Minority Report" are very different approaches to the same genre. With "Oblivion," "All You Need Is Kill," and the just-announced "Yukizake," Cruise seems to be almost single-handedly helping keep original science-fiction alive on the bigscreen. And, yes, I know he's not the filmmaker in each of these cases, but it's incredibly hard to get these films made, and when Cruise signs on, he can be the deciding factor for the financiers behind the films.

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<p>An Italian fantasy with Marshall (Jason Segel)&nbsp;on &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

An Italian fantasy with Marshall (Jason Segel) on "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Romeward Bound'

Lily gets a job offer she tries to refuse, while Ted and Barney fixate on a woman in a big coat

A quick review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as my life turns into an angsty, existential Italian black-and-white movie...

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"The Real Housewives of Orange County"

 "The Real Housewives of Orange County"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Orange County': What do you think of Lydia?

A new housewife joins the cast, but doesn't make much of an impression

On last night's episode of "The Real Housewives of Orange County," many significant things occurred. Tamra and Vicki made up (that was quick, right?), we learned Heather has a problem child (which totally messes with her perfect facade), and we met the new Housewife. On paper, Lydia McLaughlin appears to be a perfect fit for "The Real Housewives" franchise. Her family came from money, she describes herself as a princess, and her husband takes her out for date night on their private boat. Sounds just right, doesn't she?

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars': Were 4 dancers on the floor 2 too many?

The gimmick of adding two pros to each dance made for a crowded night

I think we can all agree that tonight was an unfortunate night for "Dancing with the Stars" to test drive a new gimmick. By plopping a second pair of dancers -- polished professionals -- into each routine, the floor seemed crowded at a time when most people were likely distracted by thoughts of what had happened in Boston, of what they'd seen on the news moments earlier. Sorting out which couple was the one to watch and which couple was simply good was a little more effort than maybe some of us wanted to dedicate to reality TV tonight.

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<p>Warren Kole of &quot;The Following&quot;</p>

Warren Kole of "The Following"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The Following' - 'Havenport'

Roderick has to play both sides, while Ryan gets closer or whatever
Well, I'd like to start off this discussion of "Havenport" by discussing what I think has been haunting me since the very first episode of "The Following" -- What was James Purefoy thinking, signing up for this show?
 
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<p>Elisabeth Moss in &quot;Top of the Lake.&quot;</p>

Elisabeth Moss in "Top of the Lake."

Credit: Sundance

Series finale review: 'Top of the Lake'

In the mystery's conclusion, Robin gets answers but also more questions

Sundance just concluded its airing of "Top of the Lake," which I reviewed back in March. Now that it's all over, I have some spoiler-iffic thoughts on how everything resolved, coming up just as soon as there is no match for the tremendous intelligence of the body...

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Watch: Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding steam up 'I Need Your Love' video
Credit: Polydor Records

Watch: Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding steam up 'I Need Your Love' video

Sweet, sexy video fits perfectly with upbeat tune

First she was dating Skrillex for real, now Ellie Goulding is romantically paired with another DJ, Calvin Harris, for pretend in the video for “I Need Your Love.”

[More after the jump...]

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