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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'The Ultimate Chef Test'

The season premiere is chock full of seemingly simple challenges

It's season 10 of "Top Chef," and we're off to Seattle! Wait, we're not off to Seattle yet. This season we have a twist. Instead of the epic Alamo cook-off of last season, this time the chefs are broken up into groups and sent to work as slave labor at one of the restaurants owned by either Emeril LaGasse, Hugh Acheson, Tom Colicchio or our new judge, Wolfgang Puck. The celebrity chefs will then decide who goes through to compete on the show, and who doesn't. I like this change, as it gives each judge a chance to put at least some of the potential competitors to a test they deem most important, even if that means some people get to just skate by making a damn salad.

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<p>Jonathan Penner of &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Jonathan Penner of "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Philippines' - 'Dead Man Walking'

A straight-forward episode goes pear-shaped, leading to a wacky Tribal Council
Pre-credit sequence. Hell hath no fury like a Penner scorned. Jonathan is perplexed and frustrated with Jeff Kent and Man-Dana. Penner doesn't like secrets and he doesn't like betrayal. Denise is at least straight-forward and honest with Penner about writing his name, while Jeff Kent talks in widening circles without saying anything. Jeff Kent remains determined to target Penner in the future, though he also knows he's given up some power and authority. Skupin tells Penner not to quit and that there are cracks in the main alliance and urges his fellow returning player to wait for those cracks to grow. "I have no alliances. I have no allegiances. I don't care. Everybody's equal. They are all ready to die," Penner announces. Damn. If Penner were a '90s rapper, he'd be talking about his glock and making lewd statements about the sex he had with all of their significant others. He's gangsta!
 
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"Nashville"

 "Nashville"

Credit: ABC

'Nashville' recap: 'Move It on Over'

Rayna and Deacon are truly going solo, but Scarlett is still stuck
I’m hoping that after last week, “Nashville” might lower the suds quotient and delve into some much needed character development. While Juliette showed promise of becoming more than a caricature, everyone else was busily backsliding like Juliette’s mom on a bender. Rayna seemed stuck in perpetually offended mode, while Teddy emerged as an all-too-predictable cad. The love triangle between Scarlett, Gunnar and Avery was enticing in a CW network show way, but when a relatively light B plot is the most compelling part of a show, that doesn't bode well.
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"American Horror Story"

 "American Horror Story"

Credit: FX

'American Horror Story' recap: 'I Am Anne Frank Pt. 1'

A literary icon turns up at the asylum, all grown up and ready for revenge

Well, the fun keeps on rolling at the non-stop carnival that is Briarcliff Asylum, and I'm thinking everyone on this particular ride desperately wants to get off of it. As we all know, bad things are about to happen. The only question, really, is who will be the unlucky one on this episode. Or, I should say, unlucky ones. 

The first potential victim is a new character -- Anne friggin' Frank. Seriously. The show takes a turn into "Once Upon A Time" territory by (possibly) tossing in an iconic literary character; given that we already have Dr. Frankenstein in the form of Dr. Arden, I'm expecting cameos from Snow White and Captain Hook any minute. As much as I enjoy the tossing-spaghetti-at-the-wall madness of this campfest, at times it can feel random, less like homage than writers opening up Wikipedia, closing their eyes, and typing wildly into the search box. This would be one of those times.

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<p>Nicholas David performs on Wednesday's &quot;The Voice&quot;</p>

Nicholas David performs on Wednesday's "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Wednesday - The Live Playoffs, Part 2

Thanks to the election and the desire to crush 'X Factor,' 'The Voice' hits Wednesday
Once more unto the Live Playoffs breach, fans of the “The Voice”. Monday’s two-hour show featured singers from Team Adam and Team Blake, so it’s time for the remaining ten contestants to perform an awkward group number then show their stuff on the solo front. Tomorrow, a live one-hour results show will narrow the field down from 20 to 12.
Let’s see what Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, and Blake Shelton have to say about tonight’s participants. Also, let’s see what Green is wearing. It can’t be any weirder than what he wore on Monday.
 
Onto the recap!
 
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<p>Marion Cotillard in &quot;Rust and Bone.&quot;</p>

Marion Cotillard in "Rust and Bone."

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

The Long Shot: Independent women

The Best Actress race is only as weak as voters choose to make it

Earlier this week, I saw “Amour” for the second time, far removed from the hustle and fatigue of Cannes. My thoughts on the film settled on a return visit (and they'll be gathered soon in an overdue review), but this was one of them: if Emmanuelle Riva doesn't get a Best Actress nomination for her work here, the Academy's entire acting branch may as well turn in their cards. 

It's not just that her performance as a refined, intelligent music teacher descending rapidly into undignified, inarticulate dementia after a sudden stroke is a marvel of thespian technique as well as emotional intuition. It's that it's the kind of showcase performance, with its self-evident degree of difficulty and devastating audience connection, that most Academy voters wouldn't hesitate to recognize if it came from within their ranks: if “Amour” were an equivalently acclaimed US indie and a revered veteran like, say, Gena Rowlands were in Riva's place, I'd wager the Best Actress race might already be over. 

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<p>Alex Proyas, seen here with Will Smith on the set of his film 'I Robot,' is in talks now to adapt Daniel Wilson's 'Amped'</p>

Alex Proyas, seen here with Will Smith on the set of his film 'I Robot,' is in talks now to adapt Daniel Wilson's 'Amped'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Alex Proyas and Working Title set to bring Daniel Wilson's 'Amped' to theaters

Could Wilson be the Michael Crichton of the 21st Century?

Daniel Wilson could be on the verge of a long and prosperous career as the new Michael Crichton.

After all, one of Spielberg's biggest hits was the higher-than-high concept "Jurassic Park," and next up for the director is the film adaptation of "Robopocalypse," which I wrote about a few months ago.  Like Crichton, his books posit big ideas, and the exploration of that concept is perhaps more important than character or dialogue.  That's not to say he's a bad writer… he's not.  But world-building and the big idea seem to be his strengths, and that's the sort of thing that Hollywood frequently responds to.  Wilson's got their attention, and it looks like he's got another film gearing up already.

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<p>It's Lyric 145!</p>

It's Lyric 145!

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Performances - Top 12... Or More?

Would it be another week of raves for Emblem 3 or would somebody else steal the spotlight?

When last we dropped in on "The X Factor," we were saying farewell to Willie Jones, Sister C, David Correy and Diamond White. We'll see if we miss those four.

We were also saying farewell to whatever awful name "The X Factor" gave to The Lylas after their original name didn't clear. There was a promise that an online contest would determine the new moniker. We'll see how that went.

Click through for the full live-blog/recap of Wednesday's (November 7) performances from the "X Factor" Top 12...

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<p>Denzel Washington in Robert Zemeckis' &quot;Flight.&quot;</p>

Denzel Washington in Robert Zemeckis' "Flight."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Contender Countdown: 'Flight' goes from pretender to legit contender

One day or one weekend and you're in

As Heidi Klum is fond of saying on "Project Runway," "One day you're in, the next day you're out."  That pretty much sums up the pros and cons of a potential awards player set on debuting at a public festival.  Unlike a traditional release which usually has the early reviews staggered, a festival provides instant reaction thanks to the internet age.  So far, a number of films have played the festival game smoothly this season.  "Argo" and "Silver Linings Playbook" got big boosts from the Telluride/Toronto game.  "Lincoln" and "Flight" found fans at the New York Film Festival.  Last week, "Hitchcock" opened AFI Film Fest in LA with Oscar buzz for stars Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren, but not so much for the film itself.

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<p>Jeff Bridges, seen here with Julianne Moore and John Goodman at a recent anniversary celebration for 'The Big Lebowski,' may play the title character in a film version of Lois Lowry's 'The Giver'</p>

Jeff Bridges, seen here with Julianne Moore and John Goodman at a recent anniversary celebration for 'The Big Lebowski,' may play the title character in a film version of Lois Lowry's 'The Giver'

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Philip Noyce may direct 'The Giver' starring Jeff Bridges

Will this finally be the attempt that brings this popular young adult novel to the big screen?

It was only a matter of time until Hollywood finally got around to "The Giver."

After all, published in 1993, it is a major influence on the genre known now as "young adult literature," and fans of "The Hunger Games" probably owe no small debt to the existence of Lois Lowry's novel about a boy named Jonas and the way he alters the dystopian world in which he lives.  I would also bet that M. Night Shyamalan was at least familiar with the book when he came up with "The Village."  It is a lovely piece of writing, a Newberry Award winner, and it has sold millions and millions of copies.  Like I said, it was inevitable that Hollywood would get to it at some point, and with Lowry finally publishing "Son," the final novel in the "Giver Quartet," this year, it seems like the book is back on people's radar again.

Earlier this year, there were reports that Jeff Bridges would star in the film for director David Yates, who has been reportedly attached to something like thirty-seven million different movies now that his work on the "Harry Potter" series is finished.  Yates would certainly bring a very specific young adult-friendly weight to the table as a directorial choice, but now it appears he's circling "Tarzan" for Warner Bros.

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<p>Ken Burns</p>

Ken Burns

Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

Interview: Ken Burns on 'The Central Park Five' and the thriving state of documentary filmmaking

The proud father got to collaborate with his daughter on her biggest passion

Legendary documentarian Ken Burns wants to make sure the spotlight isn't too focused on him this time around. The fact is, the story of Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana Jr. and Kharey Wise -- the "Central Park Five," as they have come to be known -- had galvanized his daughter, Sarah, while she was in college. It was her passion, through school studies and a published book that spawned the film in the first place. The two serve as co-directors on the new film "The Central Park Five" along with Sarah's husband, David McMahon.

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<p>Maroon 5</p>

Maroon 5

Maroon 5's 'One More Night' spends its eighth week atop the Billboard Hot 100

Psy's 'Gangnam Style' horses around at No. 2 again

Maroon 5’s “One More Night” makes it eight weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, once again locking Psy’s “Gangnam Style” out of the top spot.

The group is on a roll as “One More Night” now spends twice as many weeks at No. 1 as Maroon 5’s 2011’s hit, “Moves Like Jagger” featuring Christina Aguilera, which was No. 1 for four weeks.

As far as Psy’s “Style,” it falls in radio listenership, digital sales, and streaming (although it remains No. 1 on both the sales and streaming charts), so the likelihood of it bouncing up to the top of the Billboard 200 are looking rather slim.

There’s only slight movement in the rest of the Top 10: Fun.’s “Some Nights” holds at No. 3, while Rihanna’s “Diamonds” sparkles its way to No. 4 from No. 5. Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is at No. 5 and Ke$ha’s “Die Young” falls two spots to No. 6.

Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” stays at No. 7, Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” featuring Big Sean falls from No. 6 to No. 8, while Alex Clare’s “Too Close” and Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself”) each slide down one spot to No. 9 and 10, respectively.

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