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'The Following' is replacing the showrunner it just hired in June

“The Following” is replacing the showrunner it just hired in June
Jennifer Johnson, who took over for creator Kevin Williamson as showrunner two months ago, will be replaced by a trio of co-showrunners.

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New music from The Weeknd: Still high and getting laid and sad and weird about it

New music from The Weeknd: Still high and getting laid and sad and weird about it

'Often' and 'King of the Fall' are similarly molded to the R&B singer's previous output

The Weeknd has a brand to maintain. I get it.

For all the sex he's getting on the road, for all the drugs he's taking, and for all the times he sings about all of it, no wonder his video are always gray-hued, with washed out specters of women floating about him like he's the center of the saddest little universe.

But, damn Weeknd, can't it be any fun at all? Because lines like "She gon' give it up 'cause she know she might like it" (ugh) and "All my hoes are trained, I make all of them swallow" (TRIPLE UGH) are depressing as hell for your females, what are you dragging your sad-ass feet for?

I'm referring to "King of the Fall," a title so morose Drake's kicking himself for not thinking of it first. And the Toronto connect is a propos, as The Weeknd (aka Abel Tesfaye) takes a stroll through his hometown, with cameos from locals like Jazz Cartier. While the slow-motions between beddings and parties and the street keep the singer and producer looking cool, check out the Confederate flag up at the world's most melancholy dance fiesta. How about the rain and the pace and the longing glances when Adderall is his atmosphere? Someone should call his mom, because I'm freaked out.

All this: a shame, because "King of Pain," er, "King of the Fall" is one of the better engineered and mixed songs we've heard from The Weeknd ever. It's a slow creep (heh), with a crescendo that will have you thinking you've got a midget on your chest too.

It arrives on the heels of another new single from Weeknd, "Often," out last week, which has a similarly looping, repeating, sweet-dripping chorus that belies an equally messed up premise of one of his one-night-stands: he does it how he wants it, and is happy to hand off that pussy to one of his crew when he's done.

Hey, he's talking about groupies: we could talk about power, fame, empowerment, gender and commodification for days. There, again, though is that deficit, a melancholy that creeps into seemingly all of The Weeknds endeavors, making these ballads and especially the music videos hurt for the audience like a VD flare-up. He's not extolling his life as healthy, he hints at the "temporary-ness" of it, but then again here are a series of women as props, clothed and unclothed, "performing" for the Dr. Frownpants who need do little else in his videos except float through them, like it's all "happening" to him, almost like a victim and not a participant. (Robin Thicke has a penchant for that too.)

If only he didn't sing so beautifully? If only some of those choices on synths and beats didn't hurt so hard with him? Wishing this was in gibberish.

"Often" and "King of the Fall" arrive ahead of The Weeknd's outing with Jhene Aiko for the King Of The Fall Tour, four dates below.

09/19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
09/21 – Toronto, Canada @ Molson Ampitheatre
10/09 – Hollywood, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
10/10 – San Francisco, CA @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
 

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Review: 'As Above So Below' offers uneven but effective scares
Credit: Universal/Legendary

Review: 'As Above So Below' offers uneven but effective scares

Charming cast goes a long way towards making this work

There is a story about the Paris catacombs that I love dearly. In August of 2004, several police officers were exploring a section of the infamous maze of tunnels near the Eiffel Tower when they came across a particular doorway covered in plastic with a sign that said, "No entry."

Inside, the police were momentarily terrified by the sound of attacking guard dogs, but they realized it was a recording. Pushing further into the tunnel, they found a full working cinema, complete with lights, a projector, a bar, a dining area, and seats carved directly into the rocks.

When they went topside to report their find to their superior officers, they were pleased with what they'd found. By the time they got back, though, everything was gone, and all that was left was a note that said, "Do not look for us. Signed, The Society Of The Perforated Mexicans."

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'Marvel’s Agent Carter' brings on Chad Michael Murray
Credit: CW

'Marvel’s Agent Carter' brings on Chad Michael Murray

“Marvel’s Agent Carter” brings on Chad Michael Murray
The “One Tree Hill” alum will become a series regular on the ABC midseason show, playing the important role of Strategic Scientific Reserve Agent Jack Thompson. PLUS: “Dollhouse” alum Enver Gjokaj is also joining the cast.


“Modern Family” casts Andrea Anders as an annoying new neighbor
She and Steve Zahn will move in next to the Dunphys next season.


“CSI” books Greg Grunberg
The “Heroes” alum will guest as a man in rehab.


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<p>Eli Manning</p>

Eli Manning

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: CBS leads Thursday as NFL Preseason preemptions rule

All five networks saw their numbers impacted by football

Fast National ratings for Thursday, August 28, 2014.

While it seems likely that "Big Brother" will have led CBS to its usual Thursday wins, NFL Preseason preemptions on all five networks have rendered these numbers almost completely meaningless.

CBS offered exact details for its preemptions, which were 27 percent in the 8 p.m. hour, 23 percent in the 9 p.m. hour and 13 percent in the 10 p.m. hour, while I have a list of overall preemptions for each network that pretty much make these figures moot, top-to-bottom.

On to the entirely inaccurate numbers...

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Chelsea Clinton exits NBC News
Credit: NBC

Chelsea Clinton exits NBC News

Chelsea Clinton exits NBC News
The former first daughter had been reportedly making $600,000 for doing very little actual work.


Some “Friends” fans didn't like Jennifer Aniston’s upset reaction to Jimmy Kimmel’s reunion
They didn’t realize the whole bit was rehearsed and planned, as Kimmel pointed out last night.


Jimmy Kimmel dressed Aaron Paul’s Emmy statues like Run-DMC
Check out the “Run-DMC Emmys.” PLUS: Paul talked to Kimmel about his “Breaking Bad” Scavenger Hunt, and Kimmel dressed Ed Sheeran as Annie.


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<p>The Cosmopolitans</p>

The Cosmopolitans

Credit: Amazon

Amazon hits some bumps with its third pilot season

Less to be excited about than in the second batch of pilots

Amazon keeps accelerating the pace and output of its "pilot season" process. The original batch of Amazon pilots were presented to the public in April of last year; of those, only "Alpha House" (which got renewed for a second season) and "Betas" (which remains in limbo) got picked up. The second batch of pilots were unveiled less than a year later, and Amazon ordered almost all of them — other than "Rebels," the pro football comedy that no one seemed to like — to series. That was in February, and while none of those new shows has debuted — "Transparent," the best of the bunch, will premiere all of its episodes, Netflix-style, on September 26 — Amazon yesterday unveiled its third pilot season, even as there's already news about casting for the fourth wave of Amazon pilots. At this rate, they may be ordering some shows before a word's even been written, and traveling back in time to cancel others before the creator has even thought of the idea.

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<p>&quot;Leviathan&quot;</p>

"Leviathan"

Exclusive: International 'Leviathan' trailer sets the stage for Russian social critique

Will Russia balk on submitting it for foreign Oscar consideration?

When last we left Andrey Zvyagientsev's "Leviathan," it was causing a stir at the end of Cannes and looking like a sure-fire Palme d'Or winner. In the end, the Russian drama — which is a spin on the Biblical Book of Job — settled for a screenplay award at the fest, but now it's set to spur discussion again as it's set for a North American premiere at the Telluride Film Festival Friday night.

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Exclusive: My Brightest Diamond song premiere 'This Is My Hand'
Credit: Bernd Preimi

Exclusive: My Brightest Diamond song premiere 'This Is My Hand'

Fans invited to submit photos for use in the music video: Read our interview with Shara Worden

Shara Worden, aka My Brightest Diamond, wants you to put your hands up -- on social media.

The artist is preparing a Sept. 16 release of her next album, "This Is My Hand," and today HitFix exclusively premieres the title track from the set.

Like the full-length, "This Is My Hand" is lush and intense, sensual but confrontational, arranged with detail and imploringly original. All songs feed into an effort that Worden says "tortured" her, at least when it came to crafting lyrics.

But it's exactly those hard-fought lyrics that My Brightest Diamond wants fans to riff on: launching today, the songwriter invites listeners to ThisIsMyHand.com, to take a picture that matches the lyrics and use Instagram tags to send her way, to help compile a crowdsourced music video entirely from those images.

Head to the website to read all the lyrics and get started.

Below, I interview Worden on "This Is My Hand" and her recent EP "None More Than You" and writing about her whole self. Tracklists, tour dates and more are beyond that.

"This Is My Hand" arrives next month via Asthmatic Kitty, and was recorded in Berlin, New York, Los Angeles and Detroit with producer Zac Rae. It is her fourth album, coming on the heels of 2011's "All Things Will Unwind." You can pre-order "This Is My Hand" here.

(Listen to previously released My Brightest song "Pressure" here.)

HitFix: You're releasing your album only a couple of months after you dropped your EP. How has your opinion changed over they years on the value of an "album" -- versus the compiling and releasing of EPs, singles, music videos, et cetera?

Shara Worden: I love making records. I love the history of the form. This is our fourth record since 2006, so we have seen a lot of changes in the industry to be sure. When I first started thinking about making another album, I did feel pretty bleak about the value of recorded music, but then I did a lot of reading and thinking and inputting, and then became really excited about the process again. I made a big pile of recordings this time around, writing at least 20 songs and then we chose the material that made the most sense as a unit, and the other songs we are releasing as EPs.  

"This Is My Hand," lyrically, is already so illustrative -- and very inspirational. What do you hope to achieve by opening up the music video to fan submissions of visuals?

I was writing this album thinking about an imaginary tribe of people, gathering around a fire, making music together, telling stories, hearing from the shaman, and so of course I also imagined everyone dancing, but then when I went to make "dance music" I realized how I have spent so much of my life disassociating from the body. I was brought up in a conservative Christian culture that in essence said the body was "evil" and then also as a female musician, from early on I felt that I wasn't going to be taken seriously as a musician if I was also dancing, so I just shut off my connection and focused on my mind. 

This song is really about self acceptance and re-integrating the WHOLE self and there is so much happening right now across the globe, with body image, our sexuality, slavery, racism, that I just feel like this song belongs to "the larger tribe" and I want to open up this video format so that more people can have a "ritual" of sorts, accepting themselves and the tribe shows itself to be beautiful and varied as possible.

There are lines in this song and others on the album that reference female-ness, and play with sex and gender. Can you talk about any evolution or approach you've had to incorporating these themes in your compositions?

As I began making this music, uncharacteristically starting from the beats first, I was really forced to deal with my questions about my body, my sensuality, my sexuality, and even the violence and love that I am capable of, and embracing all aspects of who I am as a human being.  It still feels like I'm in a process on the subject that is going to continue for a long time.  

Describe the most challenging day, instrumentally, you had in the studio for this album.

All of the instrumental aspects of this record felt super easy, actually. All the musicians are such incredible artists, but strangely enough it was the lyrics for this album that really tortured me. Normally lyrics have been my foundation, but this time around I ended up changing almost half the songs, some of which had existed for at least two years at the last minute. I knew that I had to be more vulnerable and more honest, so there were a lot of desperate moments where it felt like I was pushing on this wall that I had to crumble and it was really quite scary and then on the other side, it feels quite liberating.

 

Here is the "This Is My Hand" tracklist:

1. Pressure
2. Before The Words
3. This Is My Hand
4. Lover Killer
5. I am Not the Bad Guy
6. Looking At The Sun
7. Shape
8. So Easy
9. Resonance
10. Apparition

Here is the "None More Than You" EP tracklist:

1. Dreaming Awake
2. Whoever You Are
3. Dreams Don't Look Like
4. Dreaming Awake
5. That Point When

Here are My Brightest Diamond's tour dates:

September 19 /// Detroit, MI /// Music Box
September 20 /// Toronto, ON /// Drake
September 22 /// Boston, MA /// The Sinclair
September 23 /// Philadelphia, PA /// World Café Live
September 25 /// New York, NY /// Bowery Ballroom
September 27 /// Washington, DC /// Rock & Roll Hotel
September 28 /// Pittsburgh, PA /// Altar Bar
September 30 /// Charlotte, NC /// Visulite Theater
October 1 /// Atlanta, GA /// The Earl
October 3 /// Austin, TX /// Austin City Limits Music Festival
October 12 /// Dallas, TX /// The Kessler
October 10 /// Austin, TX /// Austin City Limits Music Festival
October 17 /// Stockholm, Sweden /// Scandic Grand Central
October 18 /// Gothenburg, Sweden /// Folkteatern Foajebaren
October 19 /// Copenhagen, Denmark /// Loppen
October 21 /// Hamburg, Germany /// Knust
October 22 /// Berlin, Germany /// Postbahnhof
October 24 /// Brussels, Belgium /// Botanique Rotonde
October 25 /// Amsterdam, Netherlands /// Paradiso Noord-Tolhuistuin
October 26 /// Paris, France /// Bababoum
October 28 /// London, UK /// Village Underground
October 29 /// Leeds, UK /// Brundenell Social Club
October 30 /// Glasgow, UK /// Oran Mor
October 31 /// Dublin, Ireland /// Workman’s Club
November 12 /// Grand Rapids, MI /// Wealthy Theater
November 13 /// Chicago, IL /// Lincoln Hall
November 14 /// Madison, WI /// High Noon
November 15 /// Milwaukee, WI /// Vogel Hall
November 16 /// Iowa City, IA /// The Mill
November 17 /// Minneapolis, MN /// Cedar Cultural Center
November 19 /// St. Louis, MO /// Old Rock House
November 20 /// Indianapolis, IN /// White Rabbit Cabaret
December 2 /// Denver, CO /// Larimer Lounge
December 3 /// Salt Lake City, UT /// Urban Lounge
December 5 /// Portland, OR /// Doug Fir Lounge
December 6 /// Seattle, WA /// The Crocodile Café
December 7 /// Vancouver, BC /// Electric Owl
December 10 /// San Francisco, CA /// Great American Music Hall
December 12 /// Los Angeles, CA /// The Roxy
December 13 /// San Diego, CA /// The Casbah

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Review: The First Lady of Iranian Cinema returns with dialogue-heavy 'Tales'

Review: The First Lady of Iranian Cinema returns with dialogue-heavy 'Tales'

A multi-stranded portrait of everyday lives

VENICE — Known as the "First Lady of Iranian Cinema", Iran's premier female director Rakhshan Bani-E'temad is a formidable chronicler of the day-to-day existence of Iranian people. Not a million miles removed from the outlook of the Dardennes brothers in Belgium or Ken Loach in the UK, she is concerned largely with so-called ordinary lives. "Tales (Ghesseha)" is a multistranded take on a dozen or so people's stories intersecting across a single city. Some characters are encountered once, never to return, others recur throughout, but it's not a film with a protagonist or supporting characters in the traditional sense; it's much more a slice of life/lives.

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Summer Box Office Winners and Losers: 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' 'Lucy,' 'Sin City 2'

Summer Box Office Winners and Losers: 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' 'Lucy,' 'Sin City 2'

Michael Bay is a winner people

In case you hadn't heard, Hollywood would like everyone to forget the summer of 2014 ever happened. Sure, there were some notable exceptions such as "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Lucy," "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and "22 Jump Street," but for the most part it was a summer of disappointment.

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Review: Garfield and Shannon spark in broad brush moral crisis drama '99 Homes'

Review: Garfield and Shannon spark in broad brush moral crisis drama '99 Homes'

This one sticks it to the man

VENICE — The title treatment for Ramin Bahrani's Venice Competition entry consists of blood red letters on black. Filling the entire screen with blocky all-caps letters and numbers dozens of feet high, we read: 99 HOMES. It looks more like the title treatment for a horror than a drama digging into a moral morass of foreclosure, subsistence level employment, and better paid but more spiritually costly work. As it turns out, it is also a horror movie of sorts. The first shot of the film itself is even a post-mortem scene, as Michael Shannon's predatory realtor Rick Carver -- and how's that for a horror movie name? -- gazes almost impassively at blood dribbling down tacky pink bathroom tiles.

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