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<p>Michaela Paige of &quot;The Voice&quot;</p>

Michaela Paige of "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Monday - The Live Playoffs, Part 1

The three-day Election Week run of 'The Voice' begins
Our long, national, pre-taped nightmare is over, America. “The Voice” has finally moved onto the live episodes, which they are dubbing “Playoffs” for reasons that probably made sense at once point in a marketing meeting. Each team now has 5 contestants, with only 12 of the current 20 making it through this week. I assume that means each team will be reduced to three participants through a combination of coaches’ picks, audience votes, iTunes downloads, and some calculations Nate Silver dreamed up the other night after listening to some Maroon 5. 
 
With the Knockout Rounds over, I’m returning to a running diary for the three (yes, three) episodes this week. Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, and Blake Shelton will no longer have the power of post-production editing at their disposal to come off sane in their analysis tonight. Then again, in some cases, not even careful film splicing could help their decisions make any sense at all. But the thing that concerns me the most? The overblown production values that usually start creeping in around this time of the season. The show is called “The Voice”, and not “Lots of Cirque du Soleil Dudes Running Around In Dry Ice”, for a reason.
 
Onto the recap!
 
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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars' recap: It's mutant hybrid dancing, people!

A dance marathon also gives the couples another chance to score

So, because there will be no results show tomorrow night (there's this thing called an election you may have heard about -- and if you were going to vote for anything, it probably shouldn't be "Dancing with the Stars"), Tom Bergeron has to inform us that this will be a VERY IMPORTANT EPISODE nevertheless. "Once dance's DNA will get torn apart and fused with that of another!" he says in an ominous tone, which makes me feel as if there's actually going to be some screaming and surgical procedures and it's going to feel more like "American Horror Story" than "Dancing with the Stars." But the good news is that this Frankendance thing looks a lot better than Tom leads us to expect, at least when it's done by the show dance troupe. Maybe it will be more terrifying when celebrities attempt it. 

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<p>The cover of Aerosmith's new album</p>

The cover of Aerosmith's new album

Album Review: Aerosmith time travels on 'Music From Another Dimension'

First set of new material in 11 years is solid slab of rock

Few bands that are still standing have as twisted and troubled a history as Aerosmith  It’s nothing short of a miracle that the five principals are still alive, no less still together, making music.

It’s been 11 years since Aerosmith released an album of new material (the last studio album was blues cover set, 2004’s “Honkin’ On Bobo”). “Music From Another Dimension,” out Nov. 6, is a welcome return that sonically spans that band’s full history, usually for the better than for the worse.

Given the title, it should come as no surprise that the album opens with a “Twilight Zone”-like voice over that heralds, “you’re about to enter a great adventure...from which you may never return.”

Then the band is out of the chute with “Luv XXX,” a Beatlesque track that also incorporates elements of “Love In and Elevator” without the sharp sparkle. Still, it’s a strong opener: a cohesive, inviting track that shows off Steven Tyler’s still healthy rasp.

From there, the band leaps into “Oh Yeah,” a track that crosses The Stones with Blur. It’s one of the album’s catchiest tunes and should be a single contender, even if it doesn’t have a strongly memorable chorus.

The members of Aerosmith can do mid-tempo rockers like “Tell Me” in their sleep, but the acoustic-leaning “Tell Me,” still has its appeal, with Joey Kramer’s hypnotic drumming and the band’s background vocals hitting all the right beats.  A similarly heard- this-before vibe penetrates the loose-limbed “Out Go The Lights,” a rock slab that includes the classic Tyler lyric, “Liquor in the front/poker in the back” (if you don’t get it from reading it, read it outloud...Tyler’s harmonica ending is a welcome coda. First single, the rollicking “Legendary Child,” which details the band’s history, should have done better at radio,  given Joe Perry’s  blazing guitar and the steady, welcoming rock thump.

Ever since the band landed its first No. 1 with “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,”  syrupy sweet love ballads have become part of their legacy. It’s already looking like the band will have an AC hit with “What Could Have Been Love.” The song sounds straight out of the Diane Warren playbook, even though it was written by Tyler, Marti Frederiksen and the album's co-producer Jack Douglas (who also produced "Rocks").  However, Warren does make an appearance with the keep-the-faith, inspirational ballad, “We All Fall Down.” It screams for a major movie placement (just as “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” appeared in  1998‘s “Armageddon").

Carrie Underwood, who previously duetted with Tyler various television shows, returns for a second helping on the mid-tempo, heavy track, “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You.”  They are both belters, but they do a good job of not working together instead of out-shrieking each other. Still, unless there’s some major remix, you won’t be hearing this alongside Underwood’s other tunes on country radio.

There’s something comforting in the fact that after 40 years together, Aerosmith remains  composed of the same bad boys making the same blues-based rock after all these years. To be sure, the musicianship feels strong, but more economical, these days and Tyler’s voice has yielded a small bit of its rubbery flexibility to time, but the band is still vitally and nicely intact. Furthermore, despite all the break-ups, the rough and tumble years, and times of personal enmity, they still sound like a band, very capable of leaving whatever issues still haunt them outside the studio door.  Just listen to “Freedom Fighter,” a song featuring Perry on lead vocals, and the groovy pocket the band slides into towards the end. That’s something only time and triumphing over tribulations brings.

For older fans, “Sweet Jesus” provides the money shot. With its rumbling freight train vibe and long, propulsive outro, it would have sounded right in place on an early Aerosmith album from the mid-'70s.

The album closes with the gorgeous, dreamy “Another Last Goodbye” co-written with Desmond Child, who helped pen some of the band’s biggest hits during its ‘90s resurgence. A more restrained vocal by Tyler may have made it more radio friendly and help match his delivery with  the lovely piano and strings, but his alley cat screeches sound authentic. To be able to say that after everything Aerosmith has been through feels like some kind of major victory.

This is the band's last album on their contract with Columbia. Should it be a swan song-- and hopefully it's not-- it represents Aerosmith and its legacy well.

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<p>John C. Reilly is front and center in the charming new Disney animated feature, 'Wreck-It Ralph'</p>

John C. Reilly is front and center in the charming new Disney animated feature, 'Wreck-It Ralph'

Credit: HitFix

John C. Reilly gets animated about 'Wreck-It Ralph'

We talk to the star of this weekend's biggest movie

The first time I remember seeing John C. Reilly was in Brian De Palma's film "Casualties Of War," and right away, he seemed fully defined. That's a movie full of big performances, with Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox going head to head, and even so, Reilly stood out as Hatch, a giant man-child who seemed to follow whoever was the biggest alpha male regardless of the direction of his own moral compass.  It was a great introduction to the particular skill set of this actor, and in the years since, he has re-confirmed his gifts over and over again.

One of my favorite moments in his career was when he suddenly revealed, after breaking hearts for so many years, that he is also hilarious.  I should have known that innately, though.  You look at his work in "Boogie Nights," which is as crushingly sad a film as I can name, and it's tempered with some great comedy, especially between him and Mark Walhberg.

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'Skyfall' star Judi Dench enjoyed going to 'the ammunition shed' for the new James Bond adventure

'Skyfall' star Judi Dench enjoyed going to 'the ammunition shed' for the new James Bond adventure

Oscar-winning Dame discusses reuniting with Sam Mendes
NEW YORK CITY - For yours, Dame Judi Dench has been a piece of ornate detailing on the sports car that is the James Bond franchise.
 
In her first six stints as 007's boss M, Dench typically appeared exactly enough to remind you that the series was employing one of the world's great  actors, but rarely enough to entirely justify the participation of the Oscar-winning icon. She's been decoration with Shakespearean training.
 
That's not the case in "Skyfall."
 
In the newest James Bond adventure, Dench's M is front-and-center, particularly in the film's second half, which almost becomes a Bond & M buddy caper. Because M has ties with Javier Bardem's Silva, "Skyfall" offers perhaps our first real examination of the powerful woman's past and lets her be part of the action in the present.
 
A couple weeks ago, I sat down with Dench in New York City to discuss her enhanced "Skyfall" profile, as well as the opportunity to reunite with Sam Mendes. The Dame also offers a tantalizing tease on her favorite part of playing this version of M. 
 
It's been raking in money overseas for weeks, but "Skyfall" finally opens in domestic theaters on Friday, November 9. [And check out my interview with "Skyfall" star Daniel Craig.]
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<p>Thom Yorke</p>

Thom Yorke

Credit: AP Photo

Thom Yorke's supergroup Atoms For Peace set debut album release date

Listen to a cut: Radiohead frontman talks how everything is... screwed

Growing out of live band performances of Thom Yorke's solo album, the members of electro experiment group Atoms For Peace have finished a nine-song album "AMOK" (XL) and will release it at long-last on Jan. 28.

Songs have been trickled out all this fall, of remixes and teaser bits, with excellent "Default" leading the way. You can hear it below. Yorke is joined by longtime Radiohead cohort Nigel Godrich, drummer Joey Waronker and Red Hot Chili Peppers players Flea and Mauro Refosco on the solo-project-ish thing, which was recorded out of New York's Electric Lady Studios.

According to a tidy interview with Rolling Stones' David Fricke, Yorke essentially wanted to make a dance record with the crew, but knew he needed to throw his vocals on top for it to get any traction.

"But you also have to give people something that moves," Godrich said. "This is the eternal battle with Thom. He's like 'I really want to make a dance record. But I have to sing on it, or nobody's going to f*cking care."

"[T]he best tunes I dance to always have at least one good vocal idea." Yorke continued. "There's no such thing, to me, as a good tune with no vocals."

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<p>Bruce Greenwood was about as relaxed as you can be while still technically being considered awake during the press day for 'Flight'</p>

Bruce Greenwood was about as relaxed as you can be while still technically being considered awake during the press day for 'Flight'

Credit: HitFix

Bruce Greenwood on helping Denzel in 'Flight' and returning to 'Star Trek'

A quick conversation with the veteran character actor reveals nothing new about next year's sequel

I'm not sure he can bluff at poker, but when it comes to diplomatically not answering a direct question, Bruce Greenwood can hang with the best of them.

I've interviewed him before, I've watched him work on sets, and I've had the opportunity a few times to just chat with him informally.  He strikes me as really down-to-earth, a decent guy who projects a certain kind of charisma.  There's a reason he got tapped to play JFK in "Seven Days," and there's a reason JJ Abrams cast him as Commander Pike, who had such a great couple of scenes with Chris Pine as Kirk in "Star Trek."

I wanted to find a more graceful segue into "Star Trek Into Darkness," next year's sequel, than you'll see in this interview.  It's because everything at the "Flight" press day was running off-schedule, and midway through this interview, the count went from "three minutes left" to "wrap it up" in what felt like about 45 seconds.  When we wrapped, I wasn't satisfied with the answer I got from him on-camera, so I tried another tactic.

"So, listen… I talked to JJ Abrams, and he told me to tell you that it's okay to tell me everything."

He smiled.  "I doubt that."

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<p>This is not a deleted scene from 'Adaptation,' oddly enough.</p>

This is not a deleted scene from 'Adaptation,' oddly enough.

Credit: AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Sylvester Stallone says Nicolas Cage is officially 'Expendable'

Who else will join the party for the third film in the series?

I think it's time we face the inevitable.

They will be making "Expendables" movies for the next 20 years.  At least.  It's one of those things where now that it exists, I can't imagine it took this long for it to exist.  It's a pretty much effortless franchise.  There's no formal reason why any actor who is part of the series now has to stay part of the series forever.  I have a feeling Chuck Norris was in for just the second one, and we'll never see him again.

Today's big news gives the third "Expendables" movie a huge boost, since Nicolas Cage is joining the movie.  Or at least, Sylvester Stallone says he's joining it.  Stallone has certainly reached out to the fans before, most notably through the various Ain't It Cool articles he participated in, and he likes that interaction.  He likes reaching out to the fanbase and hearing directly from them about what they like and what they don't.

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<p>Brandy in &quot;Wildest Dreams&quot;</p>

Brandy in "Wildest Dreams"

Watch: Brandy's boots are made for walking in 'Wildest Dreams' video

R&B singer continues on comeback trail with new single

Brandy brings it old school with the new video for “Wildest Dreams,” the current video from her comeback album, “Two Eleven.”

[More after the jump...]

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' recap: 'Got Sexy Back'

One new cast member brings the crazy right from the jump

So, as we all know, Sheree is off "The Real Housewives of Altanta," and with one battle-tastic housewife out of the mix you might expect a more peaceful, Zen-like season this year. But wait! When old crazy walks out the door, new crazy opens a window, and to that end we have Kenya. Kenya Moore is a new housewife (Porsha Stewart, who isn't in this episode, will also be joining the cast), a former Miss USA, a movie producer and a card carrying lunatic, if the season premiere is anything to go by. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Our previous cast of crazies and put-upon eye-rollers is still in play, so let's review what's happened since last season's catfighting hijinks.

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<p>Idris Elba in &quot;Lover of the Light&quot;</p>

Idris Elba in "Lover of the Light"

Credit: Glassnote

Watch: Mumford & Sons' 'Lover of the Light' video with Idris Elba

'The Wire' star runs blindly; more tour dates announced

One can be blind and still be a "Lover of the Light": that seems to be the moral to the story in the Mumford & Sons' video of the same name, which features the directing and acting talents of "The Wire" star Idris Elba.

Co-directed with Dan Cadan, "Lover" sends a man who cannot see into the stunning landscapes of Pembrokeshire, Wales without his dog or cane. I'm moved by the details and pauses inside the man's house, as he converses with himself, and selects a tie to wear as he takes himself on a date to the forests, cliffs and the beach. 

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<p>Roger Deakins (right)&nbsp;and camera assistant Andy&nbsp;Harris on location in Glencoe,&nbsp;Scotland.</p>

Roger Deakins (right) and camera assistant Andy Harris on location in Glencoe, Scotland.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Tech Support Interview: Roger Deakins on 'Skyfall,' going digital and not looking back

Could he break that 0-9 streak at the Oscars with some of his best work yet?

For a producer of such lush and exquisite work, cinematographer Roger Deakins is often a man of select words. Thoughtful, yes, but never of a mind to over-think it.

Responsible for some of the most stunning images on film in our age -- "Kundun," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," to barely scratch the surface -- he shook the landscape of his field a bit two years ago when he went digital for Andrew Niccol's "In Time." And this year he's back in the form with "Skyfall," the first James Bond installment to eschew celluloid for the progression of digital filmmaking.

"Right now I don’t see a reason to go back and shoot film," Deakins says. "And probably if I leave it much longer then I won’t have the opportunity, because it just won’t exist anyway."

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