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<p>Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in &quot;Behind the Candelabra.&quot;</p>

Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in "Behind the Candelabra."

Credit: HBO

Cannes Review: Brilliant 'Behind the Candelabra' deserves biggest screen possible

Michael Douglas and Matt Damon excel in Soderbergh's witty Liberace biopic

CANNES - A late, not-entirely-incidental scene in “Behind the Candelabra” finds Swarovski-encrusted pianist Liberace holding forth on the 1981 Academy Awards. The showbiz legend is due to make his long-desired debut appearance as performer and presenter, and you may or may not be surprised to learn that he’s backing “On Golden Pond,” that maudlin, Vaseline-lit ode to comfortable expiration, to take the gold. “I’m so glad Jane Fonda’s dropped all those awful causes and made a nice film with her father,” he coos primly. “Our job is to entertain the world and sell lots of drinks and souvenirs.” 

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<p>Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Stu (Ed Helms) and Phil (Bradley&nbsp;Cooper) are forced to work with Chow (Ken&nbsp;Jeong)&nbsp;if they ever want their friend Doug (Justin Bartha)&nbsp;back in one piece.</p>

Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Stu (Ed Helms) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) are forced to work with Chow (Ken Jeong) if they ever want their friend Doug (Justin Bartha) back in one piece.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Review: 'The Hangover Part III' breaks new ground as it says good-bye

The final film in the trilogy changes the way we look at the series

When this movie begins in the middle of an over-the-top prison riot in Bangkok that leads to a crazy "Shawshank Redemption" joke, it's the first sign that "The Hangover Part III" is not just business as usual.

The first film, written by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore, featured a very clever hook, and when Craig Mazin, Scot Armstrong & Todd Phillips wrote the script for the second movie, they mirrored the structure of the first film closely. When I spoke with Phillips recently, it was obvious that he loved the reaction of people who were bothered by that, and at first, he and Mazin evidently flirted with the idea of making the third film yet another riff on the same structure. Thankfully, they tried something different this time, and while it may not recapture the exact same giddy thrill as the first film, this film manages to clarify what the overall story of the trilogy is in a way that I found satisfying and quite fitting.

The film opens with Alan (Zach Galafianakis) at his manic worst, driving along a freeway towing a trailer that holds a full-sized giraffe. His joyous song of "I love my life!" had me laughing right up to the moment he does something terrible, leading to a "Final Destination"-like incident that leads to a scene with his father Sid (Jeffrey Tambor) dropping dead in a moment that's played for both laughs and real sorrow, which seems to be something that interests Phillips this time around.

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<p>Poor Emma.</p>

Poor Emma.

Credit: A&E

A&E's 'Bates Motel' finale closes Season 1 - Are you psycho for it yet?

Something seems to be wrong with Norman Bates
Oh, "Bates Motel."
You came so close to me being really excited with how strongly you concluded your first season on Monday (May 20) night.
Yes, I've had reservations about "Bates Motel" from the very beginning. 
After four episodes, I was convinced I didn't like the show very much at all. I was fatigued by the human trafficking and the vast pot farms and the not-quite-"Twin Peaks" "This Is A Town With SECRETS" clumsiness and the "If this isn't leading up to 'Psycho' why are you ripping off 'Psycho'?" iconoclasm. 
But as the weeks progressed, I found myself more easily able to concentrate on the elements that were working effectively and either the show started de-emphasizing the things I wasn't liking, or maybe I just started de-emphasizing them in my mind. 
The finale, titled "Midnight," was full of things to recommend it, so I was feeling generous. 
And then, "Bates Motel" built what I was completely certain was going to be the season's last shot. I smiled and typed, "Excellent," as things faded to black.
And then the show had to go and spoil my happiness by tacking on a stupid bonus that left me concentrating on how frequently the storytellers have struggled to get out of their own way this season, gilding the lily of a great character study with superfluous details and filler plotlines. 
So close!
More thoughts on the "Bates Motel" finale after the break. Spoilers, obviously.
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<p>James Franco in &quot;As I Lay Dying.&quot;</p>

James Franco in "As I Lay Dying."

Credit: RabbitBandini Productions

Cannes Review: James Franco's 'As I Lay Dying' is a hopeless task, if not a hopeless film

The actor-director gets all the best close-ups in his Faulkner adaptation

CANNES - Adding the title of "film critic" to his well-strung bow of professional achievements, actor-writer-director-artist-musician-academic-activist-probable-ceramicist James Franco recently spoke up for this year's Cannes opener, Baz Luhrmann's flash-and-sizzle adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," against the predictable armada of critics dismissing it. "These people make their living doing readings and critiques of texts in order to generate theories of varying levels of competency," he wrote for VICE magazine. "Luhrmann’s film is his reading and adaptation of a text – his critique, if you will."

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It's official: Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio join 'The X Factor'

It's official: Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio join "The X Factor"

Simon Cowell said in a statement: "It's taken more than a decade but I'm delighted to finally be on a panel with three girls (I think!)."

"Sing Your Face Off" taps John Barrowman as host, Darrell Hammond and Debbie Gibson as judges

The ABC singing competition will feature contestants like Jon Lovitz, Sebastian Bach and Lisa Rinna.

"Alias" alum Mía  Maestro join FX's "The Strain"

She'll play a brilliant biochemist in the drama series from Carlton Cuse.

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<p>In the &quot;Rectify&quot;&nbsp;finale, Daniel (Aden Young) stops by the local diner.</p>

In the "Rectify" finale, Daniel (Aden Young) stops by the local diner.

Credit: Sundance

Season finale review: 'Rectify' - 'Jacob's Ladder'

Daniel ponders a trip out of town as the terrific first season comes to a close

Some thoughts on the finale of "Rectify," and this entire first season, coming up just as soon as it's time we got into yarn...

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

A dark horse emerges as the one to beat on 'Dancing with the Stars'

Zendaya knocks it out of the park, but another dancer makes judges cry

Tonight was the performance finale of "Dancing with the Stars" (the results show is Tues. at 9:00 p.m.), and I'll admit I didn't see much reason to watch, at least not closely. Though Zendaya dropped the ball with last week's routine, she's been the one to beat since week one. Long limbed and naturally gifted, she was certain to get to the finale and a lock to win. 

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<p>The National's &quot;Trouble Will Find Me&quot;</p>

The National's "Trouble Will Find Me"

Credit: 4AD

Review: The National's new album 'Trouble Will Find Me'

Brooklyn five-piece have done it again, with a melancholy (and lively) set of winners


Some songs about age and regret will be predictably glum. The National makes them into an art, too, on “Trouble Will Find Me,” the Brooklyn-based band’s sixth full-length album. From the suffering upright piano and solemn bass on “Pink Rabbits” to climactic heart-rush of “Sea of Love,” there’s always a current of unflinching melancholy, with the National’s enduring, intelligent rhythm section.
“I wish I could rise above it / but I stay down with my demons,” singer Matt Berninger sings in “Demons,” directly after unusually peppy opener “I Should Live in Salt.” Even between these two songs, there’s a fun mix of time signatures; in “Don’t Swallow the Cap” there’s a horn resembling a sigh and a female voice whimsically filling out the gray. And if the lyrics in “I Need My Girl” don’t stab at your emotions, then allow for the National’s most soothing guitar line ever fill that Feelings void.
See, even with Berninger’s low bellow and intimate despair, the five-piece always succeeds in giving dimension and life to their rock dynamic. Hoary, they’re still spirited. Berninger will sing a dirge “Oh but your love is such a swamp,” (“This Is The Last Time”) like a friend, where you’re like, “Matt. Jesus, buddy…” But then the pile-on of murmuring synths and keys, a snappy drum jump from certifiable motherf*cker Bryan Devendorf and a girl-choir brings it back up.
“Trouble Will Find me” is a clinging, claustrophobic meeting of bad feelings in a really beautiful, exotic room. It’s situated to be powerful, but rather than with a shout like on better-known “Mr. November” (2005), it’s with a convicted chant like on “Graceless.”  “I’m gone through the glass again / just come and find me,” Berninger sings. “God loves everybody / don’t remind me.”


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<p>If he makes a new 'Fast and Furious' movie every few years, Paul Walker's going to make a lot of people very very happy.</p>

If he makes a new 'Fast and Furious' movie every few years, Paul Walker's going to make a lot of people very very happy.

Credit: HitFix

Paul Walker talks about growing up with the 'Fast and the Furious' franchise

Plus he describes how he's like his character in the films

One of the pleasures of seeing where the "Fast and the Furious" series has arrived is looking back at where it started and measuring just how far everyone's come.

Paul Walker is never going to be one of those guys who people talk about in the pantheon of great transformative performers, people whose acting transcends, like Daniel Day Lewis or Meryl Streep. Walker is a fairly limited onscreen persona, but if you cast him correctly and surround him with the right sort of actors, he is capable of a certain charm and charisma.

The great mystery of this series is the chemistry that holds it together. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker would have never been my pick for the core duo in a major action franchise, but something about Walker's slightly wooden earnestness set next to Vin Diesel's "What planet is he from?" machismo works, and the franchise has slowly but surely added more and more players to the mix, and every time, it seems to actually make it all stronger.

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<p>Ray Manzarek, seen here at a Sunset Strip Music Festival a few years ago, has passed away at the age of 74.</p>

Ray Manzarek, seen here at a Sunset Strip Music Festival a few years ago, has passed away at the age of 74.

Credit: AP Photo

Ray Manzarek remembered with an epic recount of a New York adventure

One of the strangest moments of my online career involved the legendary musician

Like many people, I had a Doors phase.

In particular, I had a Jim Morrison phase that was kicked off when I read Danny Sugarman's "No One Here Gets Out Alive". Morrison's story is about as archetypical a rock and roll story as there is, and Sugarman was a true believer. Over the years, my feelings about them evolved, and now I find that I love what the Doors meant to me more than I actually love The Doors. They had such a brief moment, and at such a key moment in the overall story of rock'n'roll, that it's hard to even apply a critical opinion to them at this point. They are simply The Doors, part of the foundation. My feelings about them now are far less ardent than even when I wrote this piece 11 years ago, but I meant every word at the time.

When I was at Ain't It Cool, one of the strangest overall things that ever fell into my lap was courtesy of Tim Sullivan, who called me one day to ask if I'd like to go visit a rehearsal space in LA where the Doors were warming up for a reunion tour. Because it's a nightmare finding anything on the AICN archives, and I'm not entirely sure the piece is even still online at this point, I thought I'd reprint some of the piece that came out of that encounter.

I'd just like to frame the story by saying that I wrote a piece of criticism near the end of my time dealing with Ray that seemed to offend him greatly, and we never spoke again. That's a shame. No matter what, though, meeting him and getting to know him even a little bit was a genuine honor, and he was a wry, funny, larger than life persona, everything I would have hoped as a young fan.

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<p>Scott Foley, TJ&nbsp;Miller and Becki Newton in &quot;The Goodwin Games.&quot;</p>

Scott Foley, TJ Miller and Becki Newton in "The Goodwin Games."

Credit: FOX

Review: FOX's 'The Goodwin Games' has potential it won't get to realize

Some interesting pieces in a new sitcom from the 'HIMYM' guys, but it's a dead show walking

I hear it a lot: I don't want to waste time watching a new show that might be canceled; if it's a success, I'll try it. On the one hand, I get it: I've been frustrated (and, in some cases, sad) when a show I invested my time and energy into got canceled in the early stages, and in some cases might have preferred not to have seen it. On the other, I'm grateful for even the one season I got of "Freaks and Geeks" and "Terriers," and I know plenty of Bryan Fuller fans who revere "Wonderfalls" even though FOX pulled it after only four episodes.

That said, "Freaks and Geeks" is a classic, and was very clearly one from the first episode. The harder call is making an investment in a show that has potential it hasn't realized yet, and that might not be on the air long enough to figure itself out — or, in the case of a show like FOX's "The Goodwin Games," that will never have that chance.

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<p>Ray Manzarek</p>

Ray Manzarek

Listen: Five essential musical moments from The Doors' Ray Manzarek

Keyboardist died today of cancer

Ray Manzarek, founding member of The Doors has died. We have posted the AP obit, but it's giving Manzarek short shrift to not get to hear his contributions.  The keyboardist was instrumental in crafting the Doors’ sound (especially in his innovation of playing bass parts on the keyboards). After the Doors ended, he went on to produce some incredible work for other artists, including Echo & The Bunnymen and X.

While he is probably best known for his transcendent, instantly recognizable keyboard work on “Light My Fire,” he had several other wonderful moments.

[More after the jump...]


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