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<p>Adam Scott of &quot;A.C.O.D.&quot;</p>

Adam Scott of "A.C.O.D."

Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: 'A.C.O.D.' has a silly title, but Adam Scott yields some laughs

Richard Jenkins and Catherine O'Hara shine in divorce comedy
As a critic, I've been known to call certain films "sitcom-y" and probably nine times out of 10, I mean it as a pejorative. 
 
I'm not sure why that is. There are good sitcoms out there. Lots of good sitcoms. In fact, for my money, there are more good TV sitcoms than there are good motion picture comedies and that's by a wide margin. 
 
"Sitcom-y" usually refers to a certain broadness that many TV comedies have, but it could just as easily refer to the rhythm and structure that TV comedies have to develop in order to work in a 22-minute window.
 
I'm not saying that I'd ever call a comedy that I out-and-out loved "sitcom-y." Judd Apatow has definitely made movies that owe everything to a style he developed working on TV, though I'm not sure I'd always call his movies "sitcom-y," but sometimes they are. "In the Loop" is basically "The Thick of It" in feature form, but I probably wouldn't call Armando Ianucci's film "sitcom-y."
 
So it's a matter of situation.
 
Stu Zicherman's dreadfully titled "A.C.O.D." premiered on Wednesday (January 23) night at the Sundance Film Festival and... it's sitcom-y. But it isn't sitcom-y in a way that I consider necessarily negative. Zicherman is making his feature directing debut, but most of his recent writing credits have been on the small screen, including FX's very fine "Lights Out." He wrote the script with "The Daily Show" veteran Ben Karlin. His "A.C.O.D." cast includes the stars of "Parks and Recreation," plus actors currently appearing on "30 Rock" and "The Office."
 
So, in this instance, when I say that "A.C.O.D." is sitcom-y, it means that it's a neatly arced comedy with a steady stream of jokes, delivered by a professional troupe of performers who know how to efficiently hit every punchline. "A.C.O.D." is very rarely surprising and Zicherman's directing M.O. is mostly to get out of the way of his cast, but that's just smart business.
 
And speaking of business, while I don't consider it my business to speculate on future commercial fortunes, even at film market like Sundance, "A.C.O.D." is an ultra-accessible, easy-to-laugh-at comedy with some brains, so it may end up looking even better outside of Park City.
 
[Full review after the break...]
 
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<p>&quot;It Felt Like Love&quot;</p>

"It Felt Like Love"

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

My Sundance 2013 wrap: 'Big Sur,' 'We Steal Secrets,' 'Prince Avalanche' and more

Closing the curtain on my 35th annual

PARK CITY - The Sundance Film Festival will push on through the weekend but for me it concluded today. It was a longer stretch than last year for me but I still don't put in half the time some of the other folks do. I mean, 40 films in 10 days just isn't my cup of tea. The 13 I managed in seven days is more my speed, thanks. And it was a good cross-section of early looks. My first post of capsule thoughts on this and that is here, in addition to the single write-ups I did on personal favorites "Mud," "Before Midnight," "Fruitvale" and "Running from Crazy." And here are some closing considerations on more...

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Watch: Andrew Bird details children's TV show project 'Professor Socks'
Credit: HitFix

Watch: Andrew Bird details children's TV show project 'Professor Socks'

'Norman' film composer continues to think of albums as films

PARK CITY, UTAH -- Even as he started making albums in his late teens, Andrew Bird wanted to be a film composer. His earliest efforts with Bowl of Fire were organized and released as a film, his stage sets are arranged like a 35 mm frame. He made his first complete score with "Norman" in 2011, but is still in search of fresh filmmakers with whom he can collaborate.

"People I would love to work with already have their 'guy.' Like, David Lynch or Werner Herzog or Jim Jarmusch. I'm looking for a young version of those. Like Carter Burwell with the Coen Brothers -- he was just part of their world, just another creative mind in their group and he just happened to fill their minds with music. He was there from the start," Bird said during our interview at Sundance.

For 2013, Bird is proactively filling the shoes of a composer by making his own A/V project -- though it's not a movie (yet). The Chicago-bred musician is lining up an outlet and funding for a live-action children's television program, called "Professor Socks' TV Show." It was only a couple of days ago at Largo in L.A. that Bird bowed its theme song; for a father of a 2-year-old, the timing was right, to make kid-friendly music and to star in his own project.

Bird said he's been watching a lot of Sesame Street and has been inspired by Jim Henson's shows. He looked at "Professor Socks" as a "good excuse to play the old jug band stuff, the old hot jazz stuff" -- think Emmett Otter. Bird, coincidentally, contributed a track to 2011's "The Muppets"  "I'm thinking of all the friends I can bring into the process... trying to sneak in to the kids' thing through adults. It might be more of a cult, weird kind of musical."

The idea is also prompted, in part, by socks. The violinist, guitarist, singer and pro-whistler performs most of his shows without shoes on, thus Bird has always boasted an immaculate array of socks. "I haven't had to buy my own socks for a long time," he said.

Bird will play a "confused professor who's out to lunch on most scientific facts. He's very confused," he said. He's helped in part by assistants like a librarian and a foxy companion... rather, an animatronic fox (rhymes with socks, got it?). There's a magic dresser with magic socks and sliding across the floor in said socks transports him to other "vocational" worlds, "from as mundane as how they make bubble gum to the ballet."

Check out part one of two of my interview with Bird above, for more details on his film scoring and socks.

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Amy Poehler will direct another 'Parks and Recreation' episode this spring

Amy Poehler will direct another 'Parks and Recreation' episode this spring

Star earned raves for last season's 'The Debate' episode
PARK CITY, UTAH - Amy Poehler's new big screen comedy "A.C.O.D." premiered on Wednesday (January 23) night at the Sundance Film Festival.
 
HitFix was on the red carpet for the dysfunctional family comedy, which also features Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara and Jessica Alba.
 
At the end of the interview, I asked Poehler if her work on last season's acclaimed "Parks and Recreation" episode "The Debate" had changed her perspective on all manner of work going forward. The episode, which Poehler wrote and directed, was one of the show's most acclaimed episodes.
 
In her answer, Poehler said that she would be directing on "Parks and Recreation" again this season. That got my ears tingling, because while Poehler has said repeatedly that she *wanted* to direct again -- and why wouldn't she, given how well that first episode turned out -- this was the first time I'd heard her say that she was locked in to return behind the camera.
 
Sources close to the show confirm that Poehler is, indeed, formally set to direct the season's 19th episode. Story details are still pending. I'm pretty sure nobody else has this info, but I'm hesitant to call it an "exclusive," even if it is.
 
Stick around for the full interview, in which Poehler talks about "A.C.O.D." and her Golden Globes experience in the next couple days.
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<p>That's Brad Bird at the International Spy Museum in Washington talking to Hiestand Mendez, former head of the CIA's department of disguise and clandestine photography. BECAUSE&nbsp;THAT&nbsp;IS&nbsp;AWESOME.</p>

That's Brad Bird at the International Spy Museum in Washington talking to Hiestand Mendez, former head of the CIA's department of disguise and clandestine photography. BECAUSE THAT IS AWESOME.

Credit: Kevin Wolf/AP Images

Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof give us a sneak peek inside their sci-fi project '1952'

A single Twitter photo, but so many clues

The teasing has begun.

There are not nearly enough Brad Bird films in the world.  I just went and counted, and it's still way less than 1000, a situation I find completely unacceptable.  As long as I've been writing about movies online, I've been writing about Brad Bird movies.  I would still call the coverage I did on "The Iron Giant" some of the best stuff I've ever published, and it's been a real pleasure catching up with him on "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille," and "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol."  In addition to have a remarkable story sense and a great knack for comic timing, Bird just plain loves movies, and that love informs pretty much every scene of everything he's ever made as a director.

Knowing there is a new Brad Bird film in development has me anxious enough.  I want to know everything, but I don't want to know anything.  I would love to see the whole thing right this second, but I'm terrified that I'll ruin it for myself as I cover it between now and whenever it finally comes out.  For the most part, Bird's been playing mum, and even as people have been clamoring for him as one of the best possible director choices Disney could make regarding the new "Star Wars" movies, he's been hard at work on "1952," a film that Damon Lindelof and Jeff Jensen are currently writing for Bird to direct.

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"Top Chef: Seattle"

 "Top Chef: Seattle"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'Wolfgang Clucks'

It's a fried chicken challenge that has some of the chefs squawking

Waah-waah. I'm still so disappointed that Kristen nobly fell on her sword, and I think a few of the chefs who have souls and aren't Sheldon (who is, rightfully, pretty happy) are feeling a little sad about her exit. Stefan say that he would have thrown Josie under the bus like it's no tomorrow, but he thinks she'll be back via "Last Chance Kitchen." I think he's right. 

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"American Horror Story"

 "American Horror Story"

Credit: FX

'American Horror Story' finale recap: 'Madness Ends'

The second season wraps up with both some bitter and some sweet
So, season two of "American Horror Story" wraps up tonight in all its gory, erratic glory. As we learned last week, Johnny (whom I like to think of as Bloody Face 2: Electric Boogaloo) is ready to face off with dear old Mom, and I am not counting out Lana to pull off a last minute save. Not that I don't think Johnny can pull the trigger; I just think Lana has proven, though surviving Briarcliff and Johnny's dad, she can handle almost anything anyone, her kid included, dishes out.
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"American Idol"

 "American Idol"

Credit: Fox

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 12 Live-Blog - Charlotte Auditions

Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj really get into it in North Carolina - sort of

So the promos (and the beginning of the show) promise that things are going to get ugly on this episode of "American Idol" as the tensions between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj reach the boiling point. I'm sure Dan Fienberg would much rather be recapping this than watching movies at Sundance (and he'll be back next week, don't worry), but we can still have fun, right? 

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<p>Dakota Johnson and Nat Faxon in &quot;Ben and Kate.&quot;</p>

Dakota Johnson and Nat Faxon in "Ben and Kate."

Credit: FOX

FOX pulls 'Ben and Kate,' scraps four-sitcom Tuesday bloc in favor of 'Hell's Kitchen'

'Raising Hope' will pull double duty until March

As recently as two weeks ago, FOX president Kevin Reilly said there was nothing that could be done in-season to fix the flagging fortunes of his Tuesday comedy lineup, and that "we've just gotta play through" from then until May.

But several more weeks of ratings data for the night in general changed that opinion, as today FOX announced that "Ben and Kate" is being pulled from the schedule immediately, and that the four-sitcom bloc will be going away by March, with "Hell's Kitchen" leading into survivors "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project."

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<p>Alice Englert in &quot;In Fear.&quot;</p>

Alice Englert in "In Fear."

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Review: Alice Englert gets driven to distraction in nifty British horror pic ‘In Fear’

The rising young star is an asset to this scrappy genre treat

When it comes to Australian actress Alice Englert, it feels a bit like we’re watching a star being born in fast-forward, and not necessarily in the right order. The 18-year-old daughter of Jane Campion – though she’ll make it on her own name and merits, thank you very much – came to critics’ attention at Toronto last year, with her cool turn as a precocious seductress in Sally Potter’s “Ginger and Rosa.” The performance nabbed her a British Independent Film Award, though despite an Oscar-qualifying run, US audiences will only see it in mid-March. By that time, she’ll have already made her mainstream mark as the heroine of Warner’s all-star adaptation of teen-lit phenomenon “Beautiful Creatures.”

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<p>Macklemore and Ryan Lewis</p>

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's 'Thrift Shop' tops the Billboard Hot 100

How high does Justin Timberlake's 'Suit & Tie' jump?

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis bargain hunt their way to No. 1 as “Thrift Shop” featuring Wanz tops the Billboard Hot 100.

But that’s not the only big story on the chart this week: Justin Timberlake’s first new single in six years, “Suit & Tie,” somersaults 84-4. It’s his 12th Hot 100 Top 10 as a solo or featured artist and his first since her appeared on Ciara’a “Love Sex Magic” in 2009, according to Billboard.

“Thrift Shop,” which ends Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” six-week run at No. 1,”  attains its pole position through strong digital sales (it solds 431,000 downloads last week compared with “Suit & Tie’s” 315,000), as well as heavy streaming.  In fact, the song set a streaming record, garnering 1.68 million streams last week, topping the previous record-holder Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.”  Airplay is still building for “Thrift,” which rises to No. 14 on Billboard’s Radio Songs chart.

Mars’ “Locked” slips to No. 3, while The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” holds at No. 3. Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” falls 4-5, despite gaining airplay. The song is No. 1 on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart this week.

Will.i.am and Britney Spears’ “Scream & Shout” remains at No. 6, while Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” featuring John Martin stays at No. 7.

Rihanna’s “Diamonds”  slips 5-8, Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and a Beat” featuring Nicki Minaj slides 8-9 and Phillip Phillips’ “Home” dips 9-10.

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<p>Could this be two captains of the <em>Enterprise</em> in the same shot?</p>

Could this be two captains of the Enterprise in the same shot?

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Did the new 'Star Trek' comic confirm our theory about the bad guy in 'Into Darkness'?

Remember when we half-jokingly mentioned Robert April? Well, we're not laughing now.

When I was at the "Star Trek Into Darkness" press day at the end of last year, I noticed something that I mentioned in the article, a passing reference to "April" on some of the production design artwork.

Keep in mind this was the same day we first learned the official name of Benedict Cumberbatch's character in the film, "John Harrison."  This seemed to confuse people who have been reading every single word about the sequel that has been printed online.  After all, Bob Orci said at one point that the villain in the new movie is a character who appears in canon, which is one reason why many people made the jump to assuming that it was Khan or maybe Gary Mitchell.

Mitchell had to be ruled out early, though, because he made an appearance in the IDW comic tie-in to the Abrams film, and Orci and Kurtman have both said that the comic series is meant to be taken as part of the continuity of the film series.  If that's true, then maybe the half-baked theory I posted after seeing that mention of April isn't that half-baked after all.

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