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<p>Eli Roth, Ariel Levy, and Andrea Osvart struggle to survive a Chilean earthquake in 'Aftershock'</p>

Eli Roth, Ariel Levy, and Andrea Osvart struggle to survive a Chilean earthquake in 'Aftershock'

Credit: Dimension Films

Review: Nicolas Lopez puts Eli Roth through hell in earthquake gore comedy 'Aftershock'

Gory comedy is an interesting collision of style and taste

I have no doubt that when Dimension kicks into overdrive to sell you "Aftershock" sometime in 2013, you're going to see Eli Roth's name used a whole lot.  I understand it, too.  Roth has been enormously good at turning his name into a brand, something that a certain group of young filmmakers have developed as an important skill set in the 21st century.  After all, he's served as "Eli Roth presents" on several films, and he's part of the new Vegas venture, The Goretorium, which is a year-round horror-themed experience.  The last feature film that Eli directed was in 2004, though, so when you see critics and marketing that will fall over themselves to heap both the flaws and the merits of "Aftershock" at his feet, that's because the branding worked, not because he's genuinely the key architect of this particular movie.

This is very much a collaboration, though, between Eli and Nicolas Lopez, a Chilean filmmaker who has had a fascinating career of ups and downs so far.  His first film in 2004, "Promedio Rojo," is a rowdy teenage sex comedy, brash and funny and raw, and it got him some international attention.  That led to the production of "Santos," his second film, which is a big sprawling glorious mess of a film, a narrative that ran away from him, filled with all sorts of big imagination.  It was much too expensive for the sort of specialty niche film that it was, and it set him back a bit.  It consumed four full years of his life, and I think it's not the film he set out to make.  

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Charlie Hunnam, Tommy Flanagan, Ryan Hurst and Kim Coates on 'Sons of Anarchy'

Charlie Hunnam, Tommy Flanagan, Ryan Hurst and Kim Coates locked up on 'Sons of Anarchy'

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' recap: 'Laying Pipe' forces Jax to make an impossible choice

Opie, Tig, Chibs and Jax go to prison, but do they all make it out alive?

Kurt Sutter, you clever bastard.

Right when the networks are in the midst of launching and returning their big guns, "Sons of Anarchy" unleashes an episode designed to dominate TV chatter. Whether you loved, hated or were simply heartbroken by "Laying Pipe," it's not an episode you're going to forget. Or stop talking about for weeks to come.

If the amount of times someone says "Did you see 'Sons of Anarchy' last night?! Holy crap!" is one valid way to judge a showrunner's success, Sutter should be feeling pretty damn accomplished tomorrow.

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Credit: CBS

Series premiere review: 'Vegas' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new CBS drama?

I posted my review of CBS' "Vegas" this morning. Now it's your turn. For those who tuned in tonight, what did you think? Were you happy to see Dennis Quaid on the small screen? To have Michael Chiklis in pure villain mode? For those who aren't into the CBS procedural vibe, were there enough ongoing elements introduced to keep you happy as Quaid and his guys solved the case?


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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Recap: The first celeb goes home on 'Dancing with the Stars'

It takes two hours to get to the point, but Pitbull and Bieber also perform

So, in two hours one unlucky celebrity and one pro dancer will be going home, kissing the mirror ball and a weekly paycheck good-bye. But how will we ever fill up two whole hours when it only takes about a minute to announce a name? Have no fear, ABC is here! With lots and lots of filler! Plus Pitbull and Justin Bieber, so at least there will be music and possibly dancing. 

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<p>Liam Neeson in &quot;The&nbsp;Grey&quot;</p>

Liam Neeson in "The Grey"

Credit: Open Road Films

Off the Carpet: When to strike

Early-year releases and 2013 bump-ups find room to maneuver this season

For films that don't have deep pockets or any number of other elements stacked up against them in an awards season -- genre bias, early-year release, etc. -- muscling into the conversation at the end of the year can be tough. You use what's at your disposal, of course, and you seize the moment when you can. And make no mistake, there's always a moment to be seized. Because an Oscar season isn't a preordained thing. It's constantly shifting, giving slack, taking it in, ebbing, flowing.

This year, for instance, there is softness in the lead actress category to be capitalized upon. Of course, it seems like there is always a fair share of complaints to be lodged against a minimal amount of Best Actress contenders in a given season, but often enough (in my opinion), we have a strong field. And nevertheless, I think that blame lies first and foremost with a dearth of quality female roles than it does a dearth of quality female performances. So you get something like "Hitchcock" showing up with Helen Mirren in tow, or the possibility of multiple foreign nominees (which means, thankfully, they're getting a look as a result of wanting elsewhere), or you see a campaign excited about the possibilities of a Sundancer like Mary Elizabeth Winstead in "Smashed." The doors crack a bit and whoever wedges in a foot gets the shot.

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Credit: Reprise

Album Review: Green Day's "Uno!" gets the party started

First in trilogy delivers aggression with a dance beat

“Uno!,” the first in a trilogy of albums coming from Green Day over the next four months, is a thoroughly enjoyable non-stop torpedo blast of catchy melodies, guitar riffs and propulsive drum blasts.

The trio told Billboard recently that in the schematic of the three new albums, “Uno!” was the album to play as you’re getting ready to go to the party. If so, batten down the hatches because it’s going to be a long night.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Mindy Kaling in &quot;The Mindy Project.&quot;</p>

Mindy Kaling in "The Mindy Project."

Credit: FOX

Series premiere review: 'The Mindy Project' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new FOX comedy?

I posted my review of "The Mindy Projectyesterday (and I interviewed Mindy Kaling before that). Now it's your turn. How did you feel Kaling both wrote and played her character? Did you feel the supporting players (and guest stars like Bill Hader and Ed Helms) were well-used? Did you laugh? And, most importantly, will you watch again?

Have at it.

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<p>Gael Garcia Bernal in &quot;No.&quot;</p>

Gael Garcia Bernal in "No."

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Chile submits 'No'... will the Academy say yes?

Pablo Larrain's 1980s political satire was a critical sensation at Cannes

A flurry of new titles have been added to the pile of Best Foreign Language Film Oscars submissions -- which currently numbers 53 -- in the last day. Among them are films from such one-time nominees as Georgia and Vietnam, as well, hearteningly, the first ever entry from Kenya. I'm always pleased to see more African films in the mix.

Though I need to investigate the new additions further, only one of them immediately strikes me as newsworthy -- and it's a film I've been half-expecting and wholly hoping would show up here since its Cannes debut back in May. Given its combination of acclaim, awards and name appeal, you might have thought Pablo Larrain's superb political satire "No" a shoo-in to be Chile's submission, but there was always the realistic worry that the inscrutable politics of national selection would determine otherwise.

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<p>Adam Levine of &quot;The Voice&quot;</p>

Adam Levine of "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Tuesday - Blind Auditions, Part 7

Guess what tonight's episode is? More Blind Auditions!
I remember a time when “The Voice” wasn’t holding blind auditions for its third season. The skies were blue. The fields were green. Dinosaurs roamed the earth. Good times.
OK, it hasn’t been that long, but you’ll be forgiven if it seems that way. Still, you really can’t blame NBC for stretching these auditions out as long as possible. Thus far, it seems like the ratings gamble for the network has paid off, with the show siphoning off viewers from other networks and helping The Peacock win the first official night of the Fall TV season. You read that correctly: NBC won the night. Look for cats and dogs living together anytime soon now. Mass chaos, is what I’m saying.
Let’s get into tonight’s one-hour episode. There are only twelve spots still open on the four teams combined at this point, so the competition will get fierce. Chairs will spin EXTRA hard, I’m telling you. They’ll spin so hard that Christina Aguilera’s fan will fly out and cut the head of CeeLo Green’s bird clean off. Adam Levine and Blake Shelton may or may stop flirting with each other long enough to actually notice.
As always, I’ll be keeping a running diary. As always, the times below are EST. As always, if the sob stories these contestants roll out raise my eyebrows, I reserve the right to make up new ones. In honor of “The Avengers” coming out on DVD/Blu-Ray today, I’ll have The Hulk have a stab at their backstory.
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<p>Zooey Deschanel in &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Zooey Deschanel in "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

Season premiere review: 'New Girl' - 'Re-Launch' & 'Katie'

Jess's life hits some bumps in the road as season two begins

"New Girl" has begun its new season with multiple episodes, and I have thoughts on both coming up just as soon as I figure out my sex character is named Sgt. Giddyup Carruthers...

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<p>Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson are &quot;Ben and Kate.&quot;</p>

Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson are "Ben and Kate."

Credit: FOX

Series premiere review: 'Ben and Kate' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new FOX comedy?

I reviewed FOX's "Ben and Kate" yesterday. Now it's your turn. For those of you who watched tonight (or in one of its many online preview windows over the last few weeks), what did you think? Did you like the sibling chemistry between Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson? Did you find it funny? Do you also want to draw attention to your mouth? And will you watch again? 

Have at it.

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<p>Alice Lowe and Banjo... or Poppy... take a breather after a fairly emotional moment in Ben Wheatley's 'Sightseers'</p>

Alice Lowe and Banjo... or Poppy... take a breather after a fairly emotional moment in Ben Wheatley's 'Sightseers'

Credit: IFC Films/Sundance Select

Review: Ben Wheatley's 'Sightseers' gives a dark spin to romantic comedy

The first Fantastic Fest secret screening is one of the year's most charming surprises

Ben Wheatley has quietly turned into one of the most interesting voices in English film right now, a guy who seems fairly adept at bending his personal storytelling style to the material he's shooting instead of imposing one voice on everything he does.  He is sly, with a jet black sense of humor, and he seems to take great pleasure from pushing his audiences to deeply uncomfortable places.

His breakthrough film was "Down Terrace," and I remember how excited Tim League was about that film.  It's a very small-scale, well-observed film about a family scratching out a low-level criminal existence, and I liked it a lot.  His next film, the genre-bending "Kill List," absolutely flattened me when I saw it at SXSW, and I felt like it marked a real step forward by him.  With his third film, "Sightseers," he's made what could be his first cross-over hit, a film that still plays dark and that surrenders none of his personal voice, but that is universal in a way that "Kill List" was never going to be.  It is little wonder it found a place in the Fantastic Fest 2012 line-up as Tuesday night's first secret screening.

Chris (Steve Oram) and Tina (Alice Lowe) have fallen in love, and they've decided to take a trip together.  Chris has a caravan that he's decked out for the trip, and Tina's as excited as she could possibly be.  She's been living with her demanding, angry mother her whole life and she's reached a point where she can't imagine doing it any longer.  Chris isn't just a possible romance, he's an escape from a life that has become insufferable to her.  She's got the trip idealized in her head before she even leaves the house, and if Wheatley just wanted to tell a story about how real life rarely meets our expectations, that could be potent material.  He's got something much more sinister in mind, though, and we get hints of it from the early part of the film when we see hints of Chris's temper, particularly in response to what he sees as the coarse and the rude.

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