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<p>Beyonce</p>

Beyonce

Credit: AP Photo

What's your dream Beyonce Super Bowl halftime look like? Here's ours

Who will join her on Feb. 3?

Now that Beyonce is confirmed for the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, we’ve had a few hours to think about our dream program. When Madonna was announced last year, we already knew that she was working with Cirque du Soleil. Plus, since there were rumors she was recording with Nicki Minaj, people speculated that she might join her on the field. This time, all we have is the confirmation that Bey will be at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Feb. 3.

Here’s how we’d like to see her 12-minute show play out. We already know the production and costumes will be bright and sparking, so we’re focusing on the music. There’s not room to do all these song in totality, to we’re suggesting snippets and medleys.

1. Open with “Countdown” with a marching band. Or since she is in New Orleans, pay homage to the Crescent City by including a great brass band and a colorful Second line.

2. Even women who aren’t interested in the game usually want to tune into the Super Bowl half time so go into the arc of a relationship: Start with “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” and do something fun with the dance, such as  bring on NFL players to do it or Justin Timberlake (to recreate the “Saturday Night Live” sketch)

3. Segue into “Irreplaceable” as the relationship goes into turmoil. Have dancers or a marching band on the field all going “to the left, to the left.”

4. Finish the segment with a happy ending and reconciliation with a high-energy “Crazy In Love” and bring out hubby, Jay-Z, for the rap. Plus, flash a few shots of Blue Ivy. Or here’s an idea!  You’ve got four months! Go ahead and conceive Blue Ivy’s sibling so you’ll be showing ever so slightly at the Super Bowl and you can rub your tummy sweetly to announce your pregnancy like you did at the Grammys a few years ago.

5. Speaking of reconciliation, everyone is hoping for a Destiny’s Child reunion. With hundreds of millions watching, here’s the time. Bring out Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Can you imagine how crazy the crowd will go if you jump into “Bootylicious.” They are definitely ready for this jelly.

6. End on an emotional high note. After a tremendously fast-paced, up-tempo fun show, finish with “I Was Here” and bring on a children’s choir.


PLAN B: If the Destiny’s Child reunion doesn’t work, do a fun salute to New Orleans with “Iko Iko” or bring on Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans, and sing a sassy “(You Can Have My Husband But) Don’t Mess With My Man” or slow it down a bit with “It’s Raining.”

What do you want Beyonce to perform?

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<p>Eddie Redmayne in &quot;Les Mis&eacute;rables.&quot;</p>

Eddie Redmayne in "Les Misérables."

Credit: Universal Pictures

The Long Shot: Are the British coming?

In a weak year for UK film, 'Les Mis' carries the Limeys' Oscar hopes

"I'm not going to be narrow enough to claim these fellows can't act,” wrote acidic industry columnist Hedda Hopper in 1964. “They've had plenty of practice. The weather's so foul on that tiny isle that, to get in out of the rain, they gather themselves in theaters and practice 'Hamlet' on each other.”

“These fellows” were, of course, the British – who, much to the chagrin of Hollywood loyalists like Hopper, enjoyed a golden streak at the Academy Awards consistent with the all-purpose ‘British Invasion’ of the mid-60s. When she wrote this, the UK had claimed back-to-back Best Picture wins with “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Tom Jones,” while victories for such British stars as Julie Christie, Julie Andrews, Rex Harrison and Paul Scofield lay ahead.

It’s a love affair the Academy has maintained over the decades, in some periods more passionately than in others: Colin Welland’s cry of “The British are coming!” as underdog “Chariots of Fire” claimed the 1981 Best Picture Oscar signalled another mini-surge. More recently, after a lengthy stretch of American domination, triumphs for “Slumdog Millionaire” in the 2008 race, and “The King’s Speech” two years later, suggested another invasion might be afoot.

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<p>Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper in &quot;Silver Linings Playbook.&quot;</p>

Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

De Niro's awards trail kicks off with Santa Barbara tribute

Veteran actor is seeking his seventh Oscar nod for 'Silver Linings Playbook'

Though he's still revered as one of his generation's finest, it's been an awfully long time since Robert De Niro's name came up in any kind of awards conversation. Over 20 years have passed since the actor's last Oscar nomination -- his sixth -- for "Cape Fear," and give or take some Golden Globe comedy attention, awards voters have shared in the general consensus that the great man has gone off the boil in his later years.

That dry spell, of course, looks to end this year, with probable Best Picture contender "Silver Linings Playbook" a likely bet to land De Niro his seventh nod -- and his first in supporting since he entered the Oscar fray nearly forty years ago in "The Godfather Part II." With the Weinsteins set to campaign hard for the Toronto fest favorite, De Niro's campaign is already picking up steam: he's getting the Supporting Actor honor at the Hollywood Film Awards (for whatever that's worth, but it's still a publicity opp), and is now set to receive the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

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<p>Jessica Lange as a nun on &quot;American Horror Story:&nbsp;Asylum.&quot;</p>

Jessica Lange as a nun on "American Horror Story: Asylum."

Credit: FX

Review: FX's 'American Horror Story' is very different and the same

New 'Asylum' set-up brings back Jessica Lange and friends in new roles
"American Horror Story" was not a show I enjoyed at all in its first season, but I couldn't help admiring the decision its creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, made at the end of it. Having spent 13 episodes telling a story with a beginning, middle and end about a family who moves into a haunted house, dies, and becomes closer in death than they were in life, Murphy and Falchuk elected not to continue that story in the FX drama's new season. Instead, "American Horror Story" (it returns tonight at 10) will be that rarest of 21st century TV creatures: an anthology drama. Each season will tell a complete story, then start over from scratch, perhaps bringing along some actors (Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Zachary Quinto, Lily Rabe and Sarah Paulson all return from last year, among others) but in entirely new roles.
 
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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."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Roundup: On 'Perks' and other Oscar wallflowers

Also: Carax on Kylie's 'Holy Motors' number, and Foxx talks slavery in 'Django'

Variety's Jon Weisman has fallen a little bit in love with "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." As have many people, including us here at In Contention. Yet the film isn't even being mentioned as a dark-horse Oscar player in most circles. Why so? Because, Weisman, argues, it wasn't tapped for awards glory sight-unseen. Referring to awards season as being run a bit like a high school clique: "[S]ome pics get a head start and others a hurdle based on little more than their loglines. This is true even though movies don't need to please everyone to reach the Dolby Theater in February." (He points to the recent Best Picture nomination for the poorly received "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" as an example of the latter.) What other gems are fighting to be considered awards material? [The Vote]

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2013 Best Supporting Actor Oscar Contenders: Leonardo DiCaprio and Tommy Lee Jones round out a crowded field

2013 Best Supporting Actor Oscar Contenders: Leonardo DiCaprio and Tommy Lee Jones round out a crowded field

Is it a wide open field or a battle for two slots?

Predictably, awards season begins with almost every major category either being characterized as too competitive or more wide open then you could possibly imagine.  The 2012 best supporting actor field is somehow an intriguing mix of both (at the moment).

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<p>Kurt Sutter and Maggie Siff of &quot;Sons of Anarchy&quot;</p>

Kurt Sutter and Maggie Siff of "Sons of Anarchy"

Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' recap: 'Small World'

The body count keeps rising this season on 'Sons of Anarchy'
The body count keeps rising this season on "Sons of Anarchy" and "Small World" was full of "collateral damage."
 
The hour's four violent deaths provide a pretty decent overview of the episode, so let's look at each one:
 
 
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<p>Godspeed You Black Emperor's &quot;Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!&quot;</p>

Godspeed You Black Emperor's "Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!"

Credit: Constellation

Review: Godspeed You! Black Emperor's 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!'

Listen to the album -- the post-rock band's first in 10 years -- in its entirety

Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s new album “Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!”  -- for fans in waiting for 10 years – succeeds not in its tightness, but where the bolts are loose and their joints feel flung everywhere. Given the space of five minutes or 20, they fill up the moments with large and small matter, for the listener to apply their own context and analysis as the band grinds, heavy-lidded, through the noise-making they love.

For an instrumental group whose lineup is not complete without a film projectionist, they leave their story-telling generously open to interpretation. The new mystery machine begins with an urgent sound sample, of a man’s voice describing a someone “with his arms outstretched,” over and over again as the emergency gets clouded by guitars. First, it sounds of gulls, then washes of bleating, repeating scales, quarter tone gray matter, and then parting of the clouds into a drum march straight from the Occupy movement (car horns and all). And that’s just the first song.
 
And to looking too deeply for ultimate political or timely thesis is almost contrary to the clamor. The group’s drones of “Their Helicopters Sing” sounds like a Celtic orchestra warming up, the entropy of molecules seeking order, bellowing voices made mechanical, or simply a resting heart-rate exercise to get the to their next 20-minute workout. There isn’t the benefit (or distraction of lyrics), but the element of storytelling is still there in the dozens of electric instruments and their operating conductors. Why would they keep a glockenspiel in the studio anyway, if not to tell the whole story? Or the literal breath exhaling at end of exhaustively titled “Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable?” The Recording Gods even bless the room noise blaring toward the end of 20-minute highlight “We Drift Like Worried Fire,” perhaps only for the reason that it just sounds good there, allelujah.
 
It’s good to know there’s intentionality underneath all of that abstraction and chaos. That way, the infinite becomes immediate, even if you don’t know what the hell it all means.
 
Listen to the whole album below.
 

 

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<p>&nbsp;Tuesday's &quot;The Voice&quot;</p>

 Tuesday's "The Voice"

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' Tuesday - The Battles Continue

NBC's hit turns in a less-than-thrilling hour
We’re slightly more than halfway through the Battle Rounds on “The Voice”. With only three steals remaining, there isn’t much in the way of strategy left for the four coaches. Then again, “strategy” hasn’t been the name of the game thus far in this phase of the competition. Still, there have been a surprisingly high number of good pairings thus far, with the lesser ones shunted off into montage-form for our benefit. Tonight’s one-hour installment will take us that much closer to The Knockout Rounds. Early favorites in that round already include Trevin Hunte, Amanda Brown, and Nicholas Davis. Will anyone join that upper tier tonight? Only one way to find out. As always, I’ll be recapping the show in real time.
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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' eliminates another couple and teams are picked

It's a 'Gangnam Style' guilty pleasure for the celebs next week

Well, it's Tuesday night, and that means it's elimination night. And presidential debate night, in case you're on the East Coast and were planning to watch something else on network television after "Dancing with the Stars." Or hey, you could watch the debates, too. It's a free country. 

First up, Bristol & Mark, Kelly & Val,  Sabrina & Louis, Shawn & Derek are on the block. The package is pretty zippy, but we do get at least one intriguing moment. We see Val kiss Kelly on the sternum before they go on stage. Okay, this has to be dating, right? Or they are just the absolute best of friends.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 154

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 154

Dan and Alan talk 'Emily Owens MD,' 'Hunted,' 'American Horror Story' and more

The

Happy Late Tuesday, Boys & Girls! Time for a later-than-we-were-hoping-for installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
We were delayed yesterday by my travel and the sheer quantity of stuff to watch and then time slipped through the cracks today as well.
 
But hopefully this podcast'll make it up before the premiere of "Emily Owens, MD" tonight. Or, at the least, it'll certainly make it up before tonight's premiere of MTV's "Underemployed."
 
That's not saying much. Sorry about the lateness.
 
But we discussed a lot of stuff this week, including HBO's "The Girl," FX's "American Horror Story: Asylum," Cinemax's "Hunted" and this week's episode of "Homeland."
 
Today's breakdown:
"Emily Owens MD" (00:01:00 - 00:08:15)
"Underemployed" (00:08:20 - 00:16:15)
"Suburgatory" (00:16:15 - 00:23:45)
"American Horror Story" (00:23:50 - 00:32:20)
"Hunted" (00:32:25 - 00:44:15)
"The Girl" (00:44:20 - 00:54:40)
Early cancellations (00:54:40 - 01:05:20)
"X Factor" Hosts (01:05:25 - 01:10:35)
"Homeland" (01:10:40 - 01:23:30)

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.] 

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

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 154: 'American Horror Story,' 'Suburgatory,' 'Hunted' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 154: 'American Horror Story,' 'Suburgatory,' 'Hunted' & more

Dan and Alan also review 'Emily Owens, M.D.,' 'Underemployed' and 'The Girl'

The

It's a very late in the day installment of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, as Dan and I talk about shows returning and new, discuss the season's first cancellations and some other moves of note, and continue what's for now been a weekly "Homeland" segment.

The line-up: 

"Emily Owens MD" (00:01:00 - 00:08:15)
"Underemployed" (00:08:20 - 00:16:15)
"Suburgatory" (00:16:15 - 00:23:45)
"American Horror Story" (00:23:50 - 00:32:20)
"Hunted" (00:32:25 - 00:44:15)
"The Girl" (00:44:20 - 00:54:40)
Early cancellations (00:54:40 - 01:05:20)
"X Factor" Hosts (01:05:25 - 01:10:35)
"Homeland" (01:10:40 - 01:23:30)

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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