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<p>Kacey Mott Klein and Lea Seydoux in &quot;Sister.&quot;</p>

Kacey Mott Klein and Lea Seydoux in "Sister."

Credit: Adopt Films

Denmark's 'A Royal Affair,' Switzerland's 'Sister,' Israel's 'Fill the Void' among the latest foreign Oscar entries

With the deadline looming on October 1, the competition is already tight

With a little over a week to go before the official deadline -- though there are always a couple of stragglers and switches afterwards -- submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar are now flooding in faster than I can write about them. The last two days, in particular, have brought in a bounty of high-profile new entries, many of them laden with festival awards and acclaim.

Perhaps it's simply because I've seen more of the submissions -- 15 at present, with the upcoming London Film Festival set to bulk up that number a bit -- than is usual for me at this early point in the game, but even with another 20 or so entries still to be announced, this is looking like an unusually high-class crop of contenders. Not only are a great many strong films in the running, but many of those are, to some degree at least, Academy-accessible. The shortlisting process is going to be ugly; the race for nominations competitive. And while most pundits agree that "Amour" (with some heat from "The Intouchables") is leading the race for the win, that's not to say there aren't equally (or even more) deserving films in the mix.

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<p>Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis in &quot;Vegas.&quot;</p>

Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis in "Vegas."

Credit: CBS

'Vegas' star Michael Chiklis on playing a '60s wiseguy

'The Shield' alum is playing another villain on the new CBS period drama
CBS' upcoming drama "Vegas" (it debuts Tuesday at 10 p.m.) is notable for a few reasons. One, it's the first regular TV job for Dennis Quaid, who plays legendary real-life Las Vegas sheriff Ralph Lamb. Two, it's a period piece, starting off in 1960 as the city begins its transformation from frontier town to the Vegas we know today. And three, it co-stars Michael Chiklis as Lamb's opposite number, mobster Vincent Savino. After trying out a more heroic persona with the short-lived "No Ordinary Family," this is Chiklis in a part much closer to his iconic role from "The Shield" as dirty cop Vic Mackey, and he's excellent.
 
I spoke with Chiklis about how CBS president Nina Tassler helped make the job more appealing, about working with Quaid and producers Nicholas Pileggi and Greg Walker, and about what he thinks Vic is up to these days.
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<p>A scene from &quot;The&nbsp;Perks of Being a Wallflower&quot;</p>

A scene from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Tell us what you thought of 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'

Stephen Chbosky's self-adaptation opens this weekend

I was very impressed with the level of confidence exuded in Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." We've spoken to the writer/director about the film, praised Logan Lerman's leading performance to the heavens and spoken about it in the podcast. But now the film makes it to theaters after a Toronto bow and you'll all get a look for yourselves. So assuming you make it out to see it, head on back here with your thoughts. And as always, feel free to rate the film via the tool above.

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<p>Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams in "Trouble with the Curve"</p>

Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams in "Trouble with the Curve"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Trouble with the Curve'

The Clint Eastwood/Amy Adams drama hits theaters this weekend

A handful of releases this week so we'll start with Robert Lorenz's "Trouble with the Curve." I'm quite the fan, and as you heard in Friday's Oscar Talk podcast, Anne is, too. I still wonder how the Academy will respond but I'm also interested in what you guys have to say. So if/when you get around to it, head on back here with your thoughts. Also, feel free to rate it via the tool above.

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<p>Jeff Probst snuffs Zane's torch on &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Jeff Probst snuffs Zane's torch on "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Zane Knight talks 'Survivor: Philippines'

Why does this season's first bootee compare himself to DeLorean?
Zane Knight was the first contestant voted out on "Survivor: Philippines," but the 28-year-old Virginia compares himself to a DeLorean.
 
"You can make a bunch of cars and nobody'll know who you are, or you can make that one and they'll always remember you," Zane told me on Thursday morning following a "Survivor" elimination that was both swift and memorable.
 
Zane initially drew attention in the season premiere by making alliances with every member of his Matsing tribe and then by having those alliances outed behind his back. But it wasn't double (or quintuple) dealing that did Zane in. 
 
No. Matsing lost the season-opening Immunity Challenge and Zane, whose physical liabilities were at least partially responsible, immediately announced to his tribe that he was prepared to go. There was sufficient warmth for Zane that members of his tribe soon came to him and practically introduced the idea of voting out returning player Russell. Zane subtly pushed that idea with the added conspiratorial element of the suggestion that Russell might have an Immunity Idol. The plan, which would have been one of the most peculiar strategic reversals of fortune in "Survivor" history, very nearly worked before Matsing decided to give Russell a reprieve at Tribal Council.
 
Was the move brilliant? Well, no. It didn't work. Was it audacious? Absolutely and it contributed to a mighty entertaining season-opener.
 
In his exit interview, Zane discusses what went wrong with his strategy, why returning players mess with the pure "Survivor" game and why this is still his season.
 
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<p>Pink</p>

Pink

Credit: AP Photo/Starpix, Kristina Bumphrey

Pink is poised to land her first No. 1 on the Billboard 200

Can she come out on top of Kanye West's 'Cruel Summer?'

The debuts just keep coming on the Billboard 200. After seven new titles bowed this week, it looks like six albums will premiere in the top 10 next week.

Pink will land her first No. 1 with “The Truth About Love,” which will likely sell up to 245,000 albums, outpacing Kanye West/ G.O.O.D. Music’s “Cruel Summer” by as much as 50,000 copies, according to Hits Daily Double.

The Killers “Battle Born” will be the third title of the week to surpass 100,000 units, coming in at No. 3 with sales of up to 120,000 copies.

This week’s No. 1 album, Dave Matthews Band’s “Away From The World,” will drop to No. 4, while the No. 2 album, Little Big Town’s “Tornado” will fall to No. 5. 

Grizzly Bear’s “Shields” is looking good to bow at No. 6, and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Kiss” at No. 7.

Bob Dylan’s “Tempest” drops five places to No. 8, and country singer Easton Corbin’s “All Over The Road” debuts at No. 9. Adele’s “21” comes back into the Top 10 after landing at No. 12 this week .

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<p>How to Destroy Angels</p>

How to Destroy Angels

Trent Reznor's How To Destroy Angels releasing new EP

Collaboration with wife has a label home at Columbia

Happy holidays! How about some honey-voiced industrial music?

Trent Reznor's How to Destroy Angels -- his group with wife and vocalist Mariqueen Maandig, longtime collaborator Atticus Ross and art director Rob Sheridan -- is preparing another EP release, titled "An Omen." It will be the first drop through their new label home on Columbia.

Wait, Columbia?

Trent Reznor's name has been among the closest-associated with "new indie" or "digital economy" or the good old-fashioned "DIY." Since his snipey break with Interscope during his Nine Inch Nails days, Reznor's been a vocal proponent of operating outside of the traditional major label system. He's sold his recordings -- including his Academy Award-winning compositions for "The Social Network" -- through his own social networks and partnerships and got to keep the royalties in-house (his own house).

Nipping it in the bud, he offered this short response via Facebook:

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<p>Logan Lerman and Emma Watson in &quot;The Perks of Being a Wallflower&quot;</p>

Logan Lerman and Emma Watson in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ soundtrack: Good taste as love letter

Stephen Chbosky's own screen adaptation moves beyond teen romance

 

Youth commands that all must endure a Smiths phase. If it was not you yourself who, at one point, attended the church of Morrissey, then at least a family member or someone close to you did. Stephen Chbosky, author of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” recognizes this post-1982 rite and fully integrated in to his own screen adaptation, with the story’s principals fledgling through high school and exchanging mixtapes in the meanwhile.
 
Starring Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller and Emma Watson as an island on the island of “misfit toys” in the early ‘90s, “Wallflower” is an achingly real peer back into the awkward and frequently painful growth of those years.  Lerman’s mentally troubled lead Charlie’s most poignant moments revolved around the passage of holidays (every school kid looks forward to the breaks), and by his major musical moments. His first standout is “Asleep,” by the Smiths. It’s fitting, as the viewer gets to know Charlie. It’s also a bummer.
 
Other standouts are Charlie’s first feeling of “infinite,” during David Bowie’s “Heroes.” He hits the dance floor for the first time when the two-person clique of Watson’s Sam and her misanthropic stepbrother Patrick (Miller) peel themselves from the wall: “Finally, they’re playing good music,” Patrick says over the start of “Come on Eileen.” Charlie makes his first cassette for Sam, which includes Nick Drake. It’s first spin at a party is then rejected by Sam’s lame love interest Craig (“I don’t write poetry… poetry writes me”) in favor of hit “Bust a Move” by Young MC, which appropriately sports the line “A chick walks by you wish you could sex her / But you're standing on the wall like you was Poindexter.”
 
Behind the songlist of “Perks” is Alexandra Patsavas, who – aside from tracking all your favorite DVR’ed dramas – is no stranger to soundtracking teenaged drama: that is, the “Twilight Saga.” All of it. The screen material aside, she’s succeeded in commissioning new tracks from bands that have since busted wide open.
 
Here, on “Perks,” Patsavas revisits an era with which she’s deeply familiar, and spins it as a teen would see it. There’s the tensions between The Ultimate Slow Dance (Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”) and the jagged grunge of all-female L7’s “Pretend That We’re Dead.” Sam has a personal epiphany describing the moment she heard a Cocteau Twins song while Charlie slips into a 900 ft. Jesus track as he’s stoned off his gourd.
 
Essential to plot, too, is the prominence of “Rocky Horror Picture Show LIVE,” the a little circus of loving, tight-knit freaks that grew loud and strong in the post-Reagan years. Charlie’s debut in the show itself was reminiscent of the “Under Pressure” scene from “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” another movie with a spin on teen mental illness.
 
What struck me most about the music from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is that it presents good taste as a love letter. In those tough teenaged years of self-discovery, the formation of refined and personal tastes is almost essential to survival. Just as John Cusack’s Rob in “High Fidelity” exposed girls he liked to his Top 5s, so does each distinct  misfit toy in “Wallflower.” Mae Whitman’s character Mary Elizabeth wants to highten Charlie’s knowledge base with “Billie Holiday and foreign films.” Charlie’s teacher (Paul Rudd) is his fount of indispensible literature. Despite its perceived un-coolness, Charlie rocks a fitted suit to class. And to express love to one another, Charlie and Sam exchange mixtapes, in the hope of turning each other onto something new or simply to endear.
 
It’s smart that during one of Charlie’s mental “breaks,” there’s only silence. For theater-goers, it will be just as jolting, as we spend our days filling up with Top 5s, instant queues, Smiths songs and other love letters.

 

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<p>Team 'Frankenweenie' takes a moment together before the premiere of the film at Fantastic Fest 2012</p>

Team 'Frankenweenie' takes a moment together before the premiere of the film at Fantastic Fest 2012

Credit: Jack Plunkett/Fantastic Fest

Fantastic Fest Day One: 'Frankenweenie' Q&A and champagne for 'The Devil'

We take a look at the wild ride of the first day of the 2012 festival

Saigon.  Shit.  I'm still only in Saigon.

I kid.  I am thrilled to be heading into my second full film festival this month, something I'm not always going to be able to say.  These are work, and I have suffered a bit of a physical ding on my way out the door to this one.  I'm hobbled, as it were, with a torn Achilles tendon, which makes walking and sitting equally painful, but it very different ways.  A real pleasure, that.  So I did wake up this morning feeling a little bit like Martin Sheen in that Saigon hotel room, groggy and unsure about much.

And even so, I'm looking forward to eight full days of mayhem here, starting with last night's screening of "Frankenweenie 3D," which I just reviewed for you.  I also managed to catch a midnight show, because just like in Toronto, many of Fantastic Fest's most potent pleasures will be hidden at that late hour, and "Here Comes The Devil" was certainly a dark ride to take at the witching hour.

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<p>Matt Damon in &quot;Promised&nbsp;Land&quot;</p>

Matt Damon in "Promised Land"

Credit: Focus Features

Matt Damon fights for the soul of America in the trailer for 'Promised Land'

Gus Van Sant's latest was recently added to the season

Not to be outdone the day after Fox Searchlight dropped "Hitchcock" on the season, Focus Features would like to remind everyone of its own last-minute addition: Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land." The film, starring and written by Matt Damon and John Krasinski, has launched its first trailer and it's clear it's dealing in shades of shifting American values. That could be very powerful this season.

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<p>Victor Frankenstein watches as he runs an experiment to try to bring his dead dog Sparky back to life in Tim Burton's new stop-motion animated film, 'Frankenweenie'</p>

Victor Frankenstein watches as he runs an experiment to try to bring his dead dog Sparky back to life in Tim Burton's new stop-motion animated film, 'Frankenweenie'

Credit: Walt Disney Company

Review: 'Frankenweenie' may be one of Tim Burton's most personal films

Anything you'd ever need to know about the filmmaker is hidden in this film

Sometimes, decoding a director's work comes down to one movie in their career, and the case could be made that with "Frankenweenie," Tim Burton has finally created the Rosetta Stone that perfectly encapsulates his preoccupations, his inspirations, and his own peculiar world view.  There is biography contained in many of his films, bits and details and a perspective on certain things like suburbia and childhood, and "Frankenweenie" could well turn out to be one of his most essential films in any discussion of who he is as an artist.

John August wrote the script for this new version of the film, but this project sprang from Burton's head and heart.  The original version, the live-action short film he made during his first tenure at Disney in the early '80s, was released briefly to theaters attached to the front of "The Black Cauldron," the studio's flawed-but-fascinating foray into fantasy.  Along with his other short film, "Vincent," they felt less like auditions for commercial filmmaking and more like art therapy on Disney's dime.  The feature version seems to merely expand on the ideas that were already present in the short, but in ways that flesh things out nicely.

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<p>Can any comedy beat &quot;Modern Family&quot; at the Emmys?</p>

Can any comedy beat "Modern Family" at the Emmys?

Credit: ABC

Emmys 2012 Predictions: Outstanding Comedy Series

Is 'Modern Family' a lock to threepeat?

Dan and I are almost done with our picks for who should and will win the major Emmy categories on Sunday night. In our next-to-last post, it's time to look at the contenders for Outstanding Comedy Series.

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