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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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<p>Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson in &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson in "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

Review: 'New Girl' - 'Pepperwood'

Nick goes undercover in Jess's class, while Winston and Cece have an awkward morning encounter

A quick review of last night's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I have a deaf grocer...

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<p>Justin Timberlake</p>

Justin Timberlake

Credit: AP Photo

Justin Timberlake returns to stage for Super Bowl concert

Private show is his first in five years

Justin Timberlake will return to the stage for his first concert in five years when he performs at DIRECTV’s Super Saturday night in New Orleans on Feb. 2, the evening before the Super Bowl.

The private party, co-hosed by Mark Cuban’s AXS TV, will benefit the Shriners Hospital for Children, a cause with which Timberlake has long donated his time and money.

The performance follows the release of Timberlake’s new single, “Suit & Tie” from his forthcoming album, “The 20/20 Experience.”

While the concert isn’t open to the public, maybe Cuban’s AXS TV is recording for potential future broadcast.

Can a full tour be on the horizon? Maybe he'll join Beyonce for the big half-time show? 
 

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Concert Review: Lady Gaga storms Staples Center in Los Angeles

What's the latest on new album, 'Artpop?'

Stepping into Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball, which stopped at Los Angeles’ Staples Center Jan. 20-21, feels like stepping into some utopian ideal.

Everyone is equal, everyone is welcome, and everyone is loved in Momma Monster’s world and she’s going to remind you of that until you believe it.  Oh, and she plays some songs too.

The Jan. 21 show started with the unveiling of an impressive three-story castle from which Gaga emerges. The band members were in various portals, separated from each other for most of the show.  For the next 2 hours and 15 minutes,  Lady Gaga repeatedly stormed the moveable castle, turning it into her own gothic Barbie Dreamhouse as it opened up to reveal interior rooms. The Born This Way Ball is a true spectacular, the likes of which few artists even attempt to accomplish these days.

From the moment she appears in a black corset with black metal contraption on her head, roaring into “Government Hooker,” Lady Gaga was in complete control of the stage and the sold-out, adoring audience.

With her hair/wig swept up in some pink Bridezilla beehive, she stomped and danced her way through “Born This Way, “ “Bloody Mary” “Bad Romance,” and more in the first 30 minutes.

Each song morphed fairly indistinguishably into the next, the beats and singing blending together, punctuated by costume changes, crazy headgear, a dozen dancers in various states of undress, and Lady Gaga preaching and exalting us to jump and respond. “Raise your hands in the air! This is not a f**king funeral,” she screamed as she segued from “Judas” into “Fashion of His Love.” The show started full throttle and never cried uncle. It was a full-on assault, with very little pacing and sense of an arc, just continuous movement forward. If that sounds like a criticism, it’s only a slight one given that it seems downright churlish to complain about a performance that never lets up or dips in its aggressiveness. 

The fast-paced show operated on the conceit that Lady Gaga is an alien who has arrived on earth to learn everything she can about us. As the Manifesto of Mother Monster goes (the manifesto was introduced in the “Born This Way” video), she is from G.O.A.T., a government-owned alien territory.  By the time she is finished with her journey,  she will have earned the right to be our pop star.  “In the meantime I will suck the life out of many of you tonight,” she declared. From time to time, a projected image of a talking face in a suspended cage brought us up to speed on her journey.  She should drop the whole idea. She’s weird enough without the idea that she’s an alien.

When she wasn’t singing —and make no mistake about it, she was singing live, though sometimes her voice was heavily accompanied by enhanced vocal tracks and effects—she was delivering sermonette after sermonette. She talked about her days as a stripper (“there’s no shame in taking off your clothes for money,” she declares) and her rise to fame, and genuinely and profusely thanked the audience for spending their money to see her.

As she lets her freak flag continuously fly, she relentlessly reminded the audience to believe in themselves and not to care what others think.  Every misfit toy—and who hasn’t felt like one at some time or another?—is beautiful in her world and her message was so touchingly delivered and repeated that only the coldest heart of a homecoming queen could fail to be  melted. “Can you be brave enough not to care?,” she screamed at one point, pacing on the outer rim of a catwalk that extended into the arena and surrounded the Monster Pit. “When you stop caring about what other people think, you fly so f**king free.”  Her dedication to embracing and lifting up her fellow outsiders was the most endearing part of the evening.

Not every set piece worked. The meat medley —she comes out hanging like a side of beef for “Americano,” then performs “Poker Face” upended in a meat grinder (huh?) and segues into “Alejandro” while lying on a sofa made of raw sirloin — seemed a bit of a stretch.

But the false moments are few and the gargantuan effort Lady Gaga put in to every one of the 25 numbers was staggering in her commitment and intensity.  One of the most affecting segments was when she finally slowed down long enough to sit at the piano and sing “The Queen,” telling the audience, “I don’t want to be your queen. I want to be your friend. I don’t want you to worship me. I want you to worship you.”  It’s an unassailable message, even if she is delivering it from a multi-million dollar set while slavishly-devoted fans hang on her every word. She continued at the piano for a full-throated rendition of “You & I,” one of the evening’s highlights.

She ended the night with an encore featuring “The Edge of Glory” and a slowed-down “Marry The Night.” For the latter, she gathered up “monsters” from the pit, most of them in some form of costume, and hugged and sang with them. It was the direct opposite of a big finish, but after more than two hours of bombast, it was finally time to slow it down.

The North American leg of the Born This Way Ball, which started in Vancouver on Jan. 11, concludes March 20 in Tulsa, Okla.

In other Lady Gaga news, she continues to work on “ARTPOP” with EDM artist/producer Zedd. He told MTV News  that they have a ways to go before completing the album, her first since “Born This Way” was released in May 2011. 

“It’s hard to find time to work on something together,” he says. “So we’ve been working on it for over a year now. There’s still a lot of work left, so we’re definitely gonna work on this project for the next month.”

He added that while they toured together in Asia, he worked up 10 songs and finished them up until the point where she would add the piano, but he didn’t know if any of those would make the final cut.

 

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