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<p>Why did one of these Oscar winners come out looking better than the other when all was said and done?</p>

Why did one of these Oscar winners come out looking better than the other when all was said and done?

Credit: AP Photo

Eight lessons learned from the 2012-2013 Awards Season

Let's keep Washington politics out of Oscar, shall we?

An unlikely awards season ended where it started.I had the pleasure of attending the first public screening of "Argo" at the Telluride Film Festival in September. Five months later, "Argo" pulled off a historical comeback to win the Best Picture prize many of us predicted it would take that sunny Labor day weekend. In the half a year between those moments, Hollywood managed to release six $100 million-plus-grossing best picture nominees (unthinkable at the beginning of the season) and make past controversies such as Melissa Leo's infamous for your consideration ads seem as inconsequential as a playground fight between two 5-year-olds. This season was serious and a battle of mammoth egos that won't long be forgotten. Thankfully, however, there are always lessons for pundits, studio executives, their likely still-stressed-out consultants and, most importantly, the powers at be at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Open up your books to page one, students, and let's review...

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"The Real Housewives of Orange County"

 "The Real Housewives of Orange County"

Credit: Bravo

Do we really need an 8th season of 'The Real Housewives of Orange County'?

More importantly, can one new wife save the show?

So, we all know that "The Real Housewives of Orange County" will be returning for an 8th season on April 1 (insert for April Fool's Day joke here). The question is, how many of us care? And is plunking just one new housewife into the mix enough to keep this branch of the franches alive?

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'Jack the Giant Slayer' director Bryan Singer talks 3D, family films and 'X Men: Days of Future Past'

'Jack the Giant Slayer' director Bryan Singer talks 3D, family films and 'X Men: Days of Future Past'

Which aspects of 'Jack and the Beanstalk' were sacred?
RICHMOND, ENGLAND - I rushed in to interview with "Jack the Giant Slayer" director fresh off of shooting my musical stand-up (Check It Out Below) in front of Hampton Court Palace. 
I apologized for my cold hands, but Singer knows a thing or two about shooting in the frigid temperatures in Henry VIII's former residence. Much of "Jack the Giant Slayer" is shot on elaborate soundstages and using digital trickery, but several key outdoor and crowd scenes were shot in the  open spaces and courtyards around the palace, which justified the location of the film's recent junket and has added some historically confusing footnotes to the guided tours.
We chatted in a room decorated with a painting that Singer told me was one of the Queen's favorites, but it was unclear which Elizabeth was playing favorites with the Hampton art. 
You may have already seen Singer's interview-closing discussion of his approach to "X-Men: Days of Future Past," but we also talked about "Jack the Giant Slayer," including his approach to the classic fairy tale/legend,  the target age range for the new film and his learning curve with 3D technology.
Check out the full interview above and my interview with "Jack the Giant Slayer" stars Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson.
"Jack the Giant Slayer" opens on Friday, March 1.
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<p>Theo James, Kevin Alejandro and Chi McBride in &quot;Golden Boy.&quot;</p>

Theo James, Kevin Alejandro and Chi McBride in "Golden Boy."

Credit: CBS

Series premiere: 'Golden Boy' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new CBS cop drama?

I posted my review of CBS' "Golden Boyearlier today. Now it's your turn. For those of you who tuned in, what did you think? Does the flash-forward structure intrigue you, or did it just feel like window dressing on the latest CBS cop drama? Did you buy British actor Theo James as a New York cop, or will he always be Pamuk to you? (And does anyone else agree with Fienberg that he's just channeling Peter Gallagher's voice?) Did you like James together with Chi McBride? Did the Kevin Alejandro character seem like an interesting foil or a two-dimensional villain? Did you find the mystery interesting? And will you watch again?

Have at it.

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<p>Raylan (Timothy Olyphant)&nbsp;and Shelby (Jim Beaver)&nbsp;in &quot;Justified.&quot;</p>

Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Shelby (Jim Beaver) in "Justified."

Credit: FX

Review: 'Justified' - 'Outlaw'

Arlo runs into trouble, and Boyd moves against his rivals

A review of tonight's "Justified" just as soon as I plan to make it rain at the Lobster Box...

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Review: Atoms For Peace, 'AMOK'

Review: Atoms For Peace, 'AMOK'

Thom Yorke's supercrew of sticksmen makes for a complex listening experience

Atoms For Peace is the project name for Thom Yorke’s full band when he’s gone solo, and structurally the album “AMOK” shows he’s still its leader. For it, the Radiohead frontman assembled a mighty drum circle.

Nigel Godrich, Flea, Joey Waronker, Mauro Refosco and Yorke beat, tap, hum and stir their way through a mere nine songs for the album, which feels further abbreviated by it’s ultra-tidy sound. Every tapestry of rhythm churns at a similar clip, with small and short programmed drum sounds rarely stepping in the way of Yorke's falsetto and protracted vowels.
“Judge, Jury, Executioner,” one of the first songs farmed out from “AMOK,” still remains one of its highlights, in its odd time signature and recognizable, daunting chorus. Textural “Dropped” is a jaw-dropping array of punctuated rhythms and counter-rhythms, making it a dream for headphone listening; “Reverse Running” is similar, like a case-study in the use of panning and intricacies in stereo.
As expertly as the album’s played, there’s still the curse of over-thinking, when the attention to detail overpowers the longing for a lush, completed song. “Stuck Together Pieces” is one example of this, in that even its name implies useable segments merely glued together. Every time I hear “Unless,” I’ve forgotten I’ve even heard it before, and I then forget again.
Still, for fans of “Erase,” this will satisfy in layers, through first listens and repeated. These complex, highly detailed tracks may be skeletal at times, but intoxicating nonetheless.
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<p>Marcus Mumford and Justin Timberlake</p>

Marcus Mumford and Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake and Marcus Mumford duet for new Coen Brothers movie

Pair wrote track for 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

Justin Timberlake is keeping it in the family. He appears in a small role as Carey Mulligan’s husband in the new Coen Brothers’ movie, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and now he and Mulligan’s real-life husband, Marcus Mumford, have recorded a song for the film’s soundtrack.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&nbsp;Adele performs at the Oscars.</p>

 Adele performs at the Oscars.

Credit: AP Photo

Adele, Shirley Bassey, and Barbra Streisand see post-Oscar sales bumps

'Les Miz,' 'Chicago' and 'Dreamgirls' also see boosts

Adele is taking more than an Oscar home from Feb. 24’s Academy Awards ceremony.  The winner for best original song for “Skyfall” will also see a big sales increase on Billboard’s digital download chart.

Billboard predicts that the James Bond theme could soar 45% in sales over last week, when it sold 36,000 copies.

Adele isn’t the only Bond girl to see a nice bounce:  Shirley Bassey, who deservedly earned a standing ovation from the audience for her performance of “Goldfinger,” will also see a huge increase in sales, with as much as a 275% increase in downloads for a tally up to 2000 copies.

Though never a singer of a Bond theme song (how did that happen?), Barbra Streisand’s theme from another classic movie, “The Way We Were,” will also see a rise, perhaps as high as 175%, following her performance of the tune during the In Memoriam segment of the evening. She sang in honor of the song’s co-writer and her close friend, Marvin Hamlisch, who died on Aug. 6.

Also seeing increases are the soundtracks from “Les Miserables,” “Chicago” and “Dreamgirls,” all of whom had featured songs performed during the show.

While some of the increases will be immediately apparent on the charts released tomorrow (Feb. 26), given that the charts close on Sunday night, some of the titles could see even bigger bumps the following week.


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<p>Seth MacFarlane on the Oscars.</p>

Seth MacFarlane on the Oscars.

Credit: AP Photo

Oscars' Seth MacFarlane says 'No Way' to the idea of hosting again

'Family Guy' and 'Ted' creator has a full plate

Seth MacFarlane brought some new blood to the Academy Awards this year, to mixed reviews. Although ratings were strong, there doesn't seem to be much hope that the "Family Guy" and "Ted" creator will be seen emceeing the show again next year.

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<p>Iron &amp; Wine's Sam Beam</p>

Iron & Wine's Sam Beam

Credit: Nonesuch

Listen: Iron & Wine releases 'Graceful' new song from 'Ghost on Ghost'

'Grace for Saints and Ramblers' rambles as 'Lovers' Revolution' slinks

Iron & Wine has now unleashed two new songs from forthcoming album "Ghost on Ghost," due April 16 via Nonesuch.

Today's "Grace for Saints and Ramblers" is one of Sam Beam's wordy-word tracks, chugging along an easy snare beat and sunnily beaming on its Tom Waitsian cousin "Lovers' Revolution." That track is an obvious example of how Iron & Wine's collaboration with Calexico has rubbed off, in a slinky, dreamer-lidded rumble of horns and bass-centric sound.

Both are part of the style evolution of Iron & Wine, which has become increasingly visible among the AAA crowd since moving over to a major two years ago for "Kiss Each Other Clean." It's no coincidence that set became I&W's best-selling and highest charting effort, peaking at No. 2 on the 200.

Judging from these two tracks and from Beam's trajectory, do you think "Ghost on Ghost" can go higher?

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<p>I know I'd buy a ticket, but is the world really ready for a 'Justice League Dark' movie?</p>

I know I'd buy a ticket, but is the world really ready for a 'Justice League Dark' movie?

Credit: DC Comics

Guillermo Del Toro's ready to pitch his 'Heaven Sent' project to Warner Bros brass

Soon we'll have headlines when someone has an idea in the tub

Here we are with the newest frontier in entertainment reporting.  Now we are reporting at the moment that someone is ready to walk into the room to pitch a project.  There was the story last week about the pitch for a remake of "The Stooge" starring Roger Rabbit and Mickey Mouse at Disney, and I think there's more to say about that this week, but that's all it was… a pitch.  The studio hadn't made a decision yet, and in the case of Guillermo Del Toro's proposed "dark DC" movie, currently titled "Heaven Sent," it's also true that no decisions have been made yet.

Instead, today's story is that Del Toro is now ready to present his version of the story to the studio to see if this is something they want to to continue to develop or if it's too esoteric.  Right now, Warner Bros is taking a ton of heat over the way they're making decisions about the superhero properties they own, but I'll give them credit for at least taking occasional chances in development.  I am a huge fan of "Galaxy Quest," and the script by Robert Gordon is one of the best comedy scripts of the last 20 years.  Gordon has not had the huge career I expected when I first read "Galaxy Quest," but he has written a few unproduced gems, the best of which was "Bizarro," which is exactly what it sounds like.  He told a Superman story in which Superman only appeared for about three pages, and the entire rest of the film was about Bizarro's time on Earth doing his best to be Superman, mangling the task in every possible way.  It is a hell of a read, and I would have loved to have seen it.  I get why they didn't make it, but it would have been glorious to see trailers for a "Bizarro" movie and then listen to the general public's collective "WTF?!" every time it played.  They've also developed several different versions of a possible "Lobo" movie, and while I'm not a huge "Lobo" fan, I think it's cool that they were willing to even consider doing the character as a movie.

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

The new cast of celebs for 'Dancing with the Stars' is revealed

Lisa Vanderpump, Andy Dick and others will hoof it for charity

As promised, the names of the new cast of "Dancing with the Stars" were revealed on ABC's "Good Morning America" today, and they are... okay, I guess. As usual, we have some athletes, some Olympic gold medal winners, and at least one potential train wreck/inspiration (Andy Dick), though no name suggests inherent drama (and more than a few are head scratchers). We'll just have to see if the show can find the ratings gold that has, of late, been illusive. The new season starts Mon. March 18 at 8:00 p.m. Here's the list of 11 celebrities and their professional partners. 

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