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<p>The Women take Hollywood!</p>

The Women take Hollywood!

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 12 Live-Blog - Hollywood Round, Part 3

Finally the 'Idol' Women do Hollywood

I'll repeat this again for "American Idol" producers: I appreciate the need for occasional formula innovation, so you didn't do anything wrong by splitting Hollywood Week up into separate segments for Men and Women. 

Just don't do it again, OK? Consider this a failure, but don't be bothered or disturbed. Dust yourself off and figure out an another twist for next year. 

Because... I'm done with Hollywood. I did it last week. There were solos. There was Group Night and people whined and cried. And then there were more solos and the judges made their decisions. I took that journey. It wasn't entirely satisfying, because the men don't seem all that great this year and there were no women, but I went through that arc. Now I'm ready for what comes next. I'm not especially interested in deja vu sans man-parts. 

But... Here we go!

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<p>The Weeknd</p>

The Weeknd

Watch The Weeknd's NSFW music video to 'Twenty Eight'

Happy Valentine's Day to all you broken-hearted, here's some self-loathing

The music video for the Weeknd's "Twenty Eight" is the next in a long series of clips that feature women dancing for the R&B singer, under the auspices that romances are apparitions that just happen to the Weeknd, and not relationships in which he plays an active part.

And again, the passivity of being either behind or in front of the camera: either way, he's not a participant. Truly, to be a sexual partner of the Weeknd, one must keep it on the "down low" as he suggests (though, do not mistake "secret" for "subtlety." This clip is all but subtle.). Lesson being that he's not exactly Loverman of the Year, but boy can he sing, right?

Fashion week in New York can transpire now. The hottest accessory of the season is topless, melancholy women.

"Twenty Eight" is part of "Trilogy," the re-released collection of mixtapes dropped late last year. The Weeknd said on Twitter that he's already hard at work for a new album in 2013.

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<p>Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, and Sebastian Koch co-star in the limp 'A Good Day To Die Hard'</p>

Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, and Sebastian Koch co-star in the limp 'A Good Day To Die Hard'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: Bruce Willis may save Russia, but there's no saving the 'Die Hard' series after this

A huge misstep in a franchise that was already wearing thin is the last straw

I'll keep this brief.

Even taken at face value as a stand-alone film, unconnected to a franchise, "A Good Day To Die Hard" just plain doesn't work.  Reverse-engineered to try to duplicate some of the key pleasures of the original film, now 25 years old, the film breaks the cardinal rule of action movies: it's boring. Worse than boring. It's one of those films where every time they explain more exposition, I found myself more and more disconnected. The basic idea here is that John McClane has to get closer to his estranged son, and he flies to Russia to help him when he learns that John Jr. (Jai Courtney) is in prison.  Mayhem happens, and male bonding follows in its wake.  Those bare bones could work, but first, I'd have to care about John Jr. as a character, and since the script never seems to figure out who this guy is, there's nothing to him onscreen. Courtney seems to carry himself well enough, but there's almost nothing here for him to actually play.

Bruce Willis isn't on autopilot here.  I think he's genuinely still interested in playing McClane and making him human-scale and playing the ridiculousness of the situation with a wry observational wit, and all of that is fine.  But what made the first "Die Hard" great, and what's been missing in almost all of the sequels, was the sense that there was a game being played here that McClane doesn't fully grasp at first.  The really wonderful thing about the first film wasn't just the "trapped in an office building" conceit, but the way the film slowly unpacked its surprises.  Every supporting character had a purpose, played some part, fit into the larger overall picture.

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<p>Macklemore &amp; Ryan Lewis</p>

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' 'Thrift Shop' tops Billboard Hot 100 for fourth week

Static chart sees little movement in the top half

It’s a mighty static week on the Billboard Hot 100 with the top six titles remaining in place, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some action bubbling under.

To recap: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” featuring Wanz holds at No. 1 for the fourth week.
The next five places also stay the same: former No. 1 “Locked Out Of Heaven,” from Bruno Mars is No. 2, Will.I.Am and Britney Spears’ “Scream & Shout” is No. 3, the Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” is No. 4, Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” is No. 5 and Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” featuring John Martin is No. 6.

Maroon 5’s “Daylight” shines through galloping 14-7, following the band’s performance of the song (with Alicia Keys) on the Feb. 10 Grammy Awards to mark the group’s seventh No. 10 hit.

Similarly Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” featuring Jay-Z also sees a nice post-Grammy bounce, rising 13-8. The song debuted at No. 84, then soared to No. 4, then dropped to No. 13 for the past two weeks.

Although he didn’t perform the song on the Grammys, Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” leaps 22-9, giving Mars two songs in the top 10. Think radio doesn’t love him? He’s the first male artist to have top songs in the top 10 as a lead act since, well, himself, when he did so with “Grenade” and “Just The Way You Are” in December 2010, according to Billboard.

The Grammy-absent Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj fall 7-10 with “Beauty and a Beat.”

Though the Grammy bounce has already registered for a number of songs, next week is when the chart will reflect the full impact of the Grammy Awards.

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<p>The Strokes</p>

The Strokes

Listen: The Strokes release new radio single 'All the Time'

From 'Comedown Machine,' due in March

If the new Strokes song "One Way Trigger" didn't remind you much of the garage-snarl of the band's past, then the much safer, rock-friendly single "All the Time" may scratch that itch.

The track was farmed to radio today, and will be a free download on Feb. 19 to those who pre-order The Strokes' new album "Comedown Machine," which will be out on March 26.

Not sure how much traction they'll get with this, since it doesn't seem to have much bite, even compared to 2011's "Angles" single "Under Cover of Darkness." And while I love Albert Hammond, Jr.'s hand at a solo, this one made me forget I was listening to a song; I went and made a sandwich.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 169

Dan and Alan talk 'Zero Hour,' 'Cult,' 'Scandal' and more


Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls!
I was out of the country on Monday and traveling back yesterday, so it's time for a delayed mid-week installment of The Firewall & Iceberg podcast. 
[As Sepinwall warns, there won't be a podcast next week. I'll probably remind y'all. But... yeah.]
By pushing a tiny bit of material from next week into this podcast, we got to discuss both of midseason's craziest [awful] new shows in "Zero Hour" and "Cult." We also discussed HBO's weekend Beyonce doc and answered a few questions, including one that let us talk for a long time about the current season of "Scandal." Oh and after taking a while off, we reinstated a favorite podcast segment: Why NBC Sucks Now.
Here's today's breakdown...
"Zero Hour" (00:01:10 - 00:13:40)
"Cult" (00:13:40 - 00:28:30)
"Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream" (00:28:30 - 00:36:25)
NBC's return to suckage (00:36:25 - 00:53:50)
Listener Mail - The Rise of "Scandal" (00:55:05 - 01:11:30)
Listener Mail - Who gets to end shows? (01:11:30 - 01:18:20)
Listener Mail - post-Super Bowl "Elementary" (01:18:25 - 01:24:30)

the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 


And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>There is no way I'm not going to feel like a monster when I sit in a theater to see this.</p>

There is no way I'm not going to feel like a monster when I sit in a theater to see this.

Credit: A24 Distribution

'The East' gets set for closing night in last round of SXSW 2013 announcements

Plus Danny Boyle, Joss Whedon, Harmony Korine and more sign up for Q&As

I don't know how they do it.

I am impressed each year by each of the festivals I attend because of the sheer scale of the enterprise.  Sundance is this crazy sprint in the snow where way too many people descend on a fairly tiny little ski town to mainline movies.  Cannes is this decadent sun-soaked beach party.  Toronto is very no-nonsense and stripped down, films and films and more films.  And Fantastic Fest is… god, how can you describe Fantastic Fest?  It's like a time machine full of midget humanoid rabbits that enter a battle of the bands against a six-headed mutant that shoots saw blades out of its lady parts.  But with a lot of booze and barbecue.

SXSW, though, has to be one of the most complex assemblages of moving parts that I have ever witnessed.  In addition to the crazy crazy crazy of the film festival, there's the crazy crazy crazy of the music festival, and the Interactive side of things has blown up and now the comedy side of things also appears to be blowing up, and it's so much energy and so many interests all jammed into one big elaborate thing now.  The last batch of titles and the full schedule were released today, and it's looking like it's going to be a sensation year for them.

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 169: 'Zero Hour,' 'Cult,' 'Scandal' & more

Dan and Alan also review Beyonce's HBO documentary, discuss the dire state of NBC and ask: who gets to end a show?


Travel has impacted the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast schedule of late. Dan was in London earlier this week, so you get a Wednesday show, and I'll be on vacation next week, which means no show at all. But in this one, we discuss "Zero Hour," "Cult," Beyonce, "Scandal," Super Bowl showcases and more. The lineup: 

"Zero Hour" (00:01:10 - 00:13:40)
"Cult" (00:13:40 - 00:28:30)
"Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream" (00:28:30 - 00:36:25)
NBC's return to suckage (00:36:25 - 00:53:50)
Listener Mail - The Rise of "Scandal" (00:55:05 - 01:11:30)
Listener Mail - Who gets to end shows? (01:11:30 - 01:18:20)
Listener Mail - post-Super Bowl "Elementary" (01:18:25 - 01:24:30)
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>Yeah Yeah Yeahs</p>

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Paramore, Flaming Lips added to SXSW lineup

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis also on tap

It's a big day for South By Southwest music announcements, as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Flaming Lips, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Paramore have signed on to the Austin-based fest.

YYYs will be joining Nick Cave & The Bads Seeds on the NPR stage on March 13, making that date and performance marquee yet again one of the strongest in the conference. The New York band also dropped another new album trailer, this one with a snippet of their new song "Always" from "Mosquito," out on April 16. It's their first album since 2009.

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<p>Don Cheadle's suiting up in 'Iron Man 3,' and you certainly can't call their design choices anything less than bold this time.</p>

Don Cheadle's suiting up in 'Iron Man 3,' and you certainly can't call their design choices anything less than bold this time.

Credit: Marvel Studios

First Iron Patriot got his own suit, and now he gets his own 'Iron Man 3' poster

Don Cheadle is going to wallpaper his whole house in these

We're going to see all sorts of people wearing Iron Man suits in the upcoming "Iron Man 3," and we've already had a quick glimpse of Don Cheadle in the suit as Iron Patriot.  Today, though, we've got a great new one-sheet that gives us an even better look at him in what may be the most outrageous costume in any of the Marvel Studios movies.

A few weeks back, I had an opportunity to see a chunk of the movie and talk to several of the key players in bringing this latest sequel to the screen.  That full conversation is still embargoed, but I can tell you that unlike "Iron Man 2," which sacrificed a fair amount of running time to helping lay groundwork towards "The Avengers," this is a Tony Stark movie first and foremost.  This allows the filmmakers to refocus on Tony and his great supporting cast of characters.  Jon Favreau, for example, has perhaps his biggest and most significant turn yet as Happy Hogan, and Gwenyth Patrow is front and center again as Pepper Potts.

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<p>Alan&nbsp;Arkin in&nbsp;&quot;Argo&quot;</p>

Alan Arkin in "Argo"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones and Christoph Waltz square off

(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)

For the first time in Oscar history, we have an acting category composed entirely of past winners. Seth MacFarlane noted this is a “breath of fresh air.” He has a tendency to use sarcasm. Not only are the nominees all past winners, the race for the nominations was terribly predictable, notwithstanding occasional precursor support for Javier Bardem (“Skyfall”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Django Unchained”) and Matthew McConaughey (“Magic Mike”).

And like Best Supporting Actress, I found this year's supporting actor nominees largely underwhelming. In my view, two of the nominees are giving slightly different takes on the characters that already won them an Oscar. Two veterans are very good but fall short of greatness in my opinion. And the one truly great performance in the lot is a leading role masquerading as supporting. This is, nevertheless, by far the most exciting acting category when it comes to the race for the win. Indeed, plausible cases can be made for every contender.

The nominees are…

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<p>The Civil Wars</p>

The Civil Wars

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: New Civil Wars song, 'Long Time Gone'

Tune is part of 14-song documentary soundtrack with T Bone Burnett

The Civil Wars and T Bone Burnett have collaborated on a new film, following their Grammy-winning “Hunger Games” collaboration, “Safe & Sound” (with Taylor Swift), which snagged the award for best song written for visual media at Sunday night’s awards.

[More after the jump...]

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