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<p>Aimee Mann</p>

Aimee Mann

Credit: Sheryl Nields

HitFix Interview: Aimee Mann on new album, Patton Oswalt and bummer songs

Will that boxing musical ever get made?

Even after nine albums, Aimee Mann seems to always find a way to keep things fresh. She’s roared through concept albums, Christmas songs and soundtrack work; her last two albums “@#%&*! Smilers” and last week’s drop of “Charmer” have been decidedly pop-driven efforts, this new one with even more sonic layers and even a James Mercer duet.

But that’s not the end of Mann’s penchant for collaboration on "Charmer. She had Laura Linney star in the music video for the title track. Jon Hamm, Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster and others showed up for the clip to “Labrador,” directed by Tom Scharpling and is a shot-for-shot remake of Mann’s former band Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry.”
The latter is especially representative of Mann’s all-in sensibility, whether it’s putting herself out there as a nihilist in “The Big Lebowski,” as a boxer and sport enthusiast, as a one-time-only standup comedian (“It was terrifying.”), or as an actress in Kickstarter-funded film “Pleased to Meet Me.” Musically, she’s put both feet in ‘70s- and ’80s-inspired power pop for the set.
Below, we talk about “Charmer” and her various relationships to film, comedy and songs about suicide.
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<p>&quot;Louie&quot;&nbsp;goes to a dark place in the season finale.</p>

"Louie" goes to a dark place in the season finale.

Credit: FX

Season finale review: 'Louie' - 'New Year's Eve'

Louie battles holiday depression and seems some familiar and unfamiliar faces

A review of the "Louie" season finale coming up just as soon as I throw some crayons into the skillet...

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"The Mentalist"

 "The Mentalist"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Robin Tunney talks changes ahead for 'The Mentalist'

Why Jane and Lisbon may never open 'the locked box'

"The Mentalist" will be kicking off its fifth season with new episodes Sunday, Sept. 30 at 10:00 p.m., but that's not all that's new. It's a new night for the series, which will be up against stiff competition from NBC's Sunday night football and ABC's "666 Park Avenue." Star Robin Tunney isn't scared of no programming changes… oh, wait, maybe she is. I spoke to the actress at the TCA press tour and she discussed how she really feels about the new night, what she sees happening this season, and her feelings about Jane and Lisbon opening "the locked box." 

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<p>Suraj Sharma in &quot;Life of Pi.&quot;</p>

Suraj Sharma in "Life of Pi."

Credit: Twentieth Century-Fox

Roundup: Awaiting the New York premiere of 'Life of Pi'

Also: 'Life rights' in 'The Hurt Locker,' and Kylie talks 'Holy Motors'

The New York Film Festival kicks off its golden-anniversary edition tonight with the world premiere of Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" -- Kris will be on hand to offer his thoughts. In the meantime, A.O. Scott shares his notes on the films he's seen from the lineup, including "Pi," which he describes as "a lavish reminder that film nowadays is sometimes not film at all, but rather a rapidly evolving digital art form." He also notes that it's an unusually large-scale choice of opener for an arthouse-dominated fest that kicked off with an Alain Resnais film three years ago. Have they sold out? Scott discusses. [New York Times]

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<p>Damian Lewis and Claire Danes in &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Damian Lewis and Claire Danes in "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

Review: Showtime's 'Homeland' returns strongly for season 2

It's time to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, quality-wise

The early critical narrative about Showtime's "Homeland" was "Okay, this is a great pilot, but how do they make it work as a series?" Then it was, "Okay, it's great so far, but they're going to screw it up in the end, right?" By the end of the season, it was — mostly — "Well, that was a terrific finish, but what do they do for an encore?"

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<p>Kathryn Newton stars as a teenage girl who finds herself at the center of some unexplainable events in 'Paranormal Activity 4'</p>

Kathryn Newton stars as a teenage girl who finds herself at the center of some unexplainable events in 'Paranormal Activity 4'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: 'Paranormal Activity 4' treads water instead of pushing forward

The series stumbles for the first time, but they can still correct their course

I think the "Paranormal Activity" series is fun.  Not great.  Not important.  Not a redefining series of genre films.  But fun.  2007's "Paranormal Activity" did not pick up a distributor right away, and it didn't hit theaters until September 2009, with Paramount treating it almost as an experiment.  It caught fire and it quickly became evident that the studio was going to want a follow-up.  Oren Peli, who wrote and directed the original, stepped into a more supervisory position, and as he started branching out with projects like "The River" and the still-unreleased "Area 51," he helped other people build out the mythology that he started.

Tod Williams directed the sequel, and Michael R. Perry and Christopher Landon and Tom Pabst all contributed to the script.  It expanded the world a bit and started to try to make sense of what happened to Katie (Katie Featherston) and Michah (Micah Sloat) in the first film.  It carefully built the big set pieces so it leaned on the exact same sort of scares that the first film did, but with a baby right there in the middle of things.  The film ended with an upsetting cliffhanger of sorts with Katie making off with young Hunter (William Juan Pietro), and part three went back in time to the '80s to show Katie and her sister Kristi as kids, bringing in co-directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman to work with with Christopher Landon, who returned as the sole writer this time. I think the last fifteen minutes or so of "Paranormal Activity 3" is the scariest sustained sequence in any of the movies, and I thought it set up a really interesting broader canvass for the films.  When I saw that Joost and Schulman were coming back to direct the fourth film, I thought the movie was in great hands, and I was excited to see what they came up with.

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Chris Colfer and Sarah Jessica Parker on 'Glee'

Chris Colfer and Sarah Jessica Parker strike a pose at on "Glee"

Credit: Fox

'Glee' recap: 'Makeover' introduces Sarah Jessica Parker

High school elections and New York fashionistas combine for a light, fun hour

I love Ian Brennan's vision for "Glee."

"Makeover," which "Glee" co-creator Brennan wrote and Eric Stoltz directed, wasn't a Very Special episode like last week's "Britney 2.0." There was no musical icon to celebrate or serious social issue to tackle. There was a special guest star in Sarah Jessica Parker, but Brennan knows how to write to that having previously penned Gwyneth Paltrow's debut episode "The Substitute" and Ricky Martin's "The Spanish Teacher."

More importantly, Brennan knows how to keep "Glee" light on its feet. "Makeover" was both the most relaxed and best episode we've seen so far in Season 4. We're still making progress.

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"Project Runway"

 "Project Runway"

Credit: Lifetime

'Project Runway' recap: 'It's Fashion Baby'

It's a baby design challenge - complete with screaming dolls

Can you believe Ven is gone? I know; it's a huge relief. Anyway, the designers feel the same way, and not just because they were so sick of that fan/flower trick they wanted to yank their own teeth to distract themselves from the searing pain of seeing it over and over and OVER again. But Ven's timely exit has left them a little shaken -- and focused on getting to Lincoln Center. Christopher, however, is feeling confident, having won three challenges. I think Christopher may be getting a little smug, really.

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<p>Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller are Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes in &quot;Elementary.&quot;</p>

Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller are Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes in "Elementary."

Credit: CBS

Series premiere review: 'Elementary' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new CBS mystery?

I posted my review of CBS' "Elementaryyesterday. Now it's your turn. For those who tuned in tonight, what did you think? Was it too easy to compare it to either "Sherlock" or "The Mentalist" (or any other CBS procedural) to enjoy, or were Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu interesting enough to make it work? If you're a Sherlock Holmes fan, did this feel like a fair take on the character? Did you figure out where the story was going before Holmes and Dr. Watson did? And will you watch again?

Have at it.

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<p>Chris Pratt and Rob Lowe on &quot;Parks and Recreation.&quot;</p>

Chris Pratt and Rob Lowe on "Parks and Recreation."

Credit: NBC

Review: 'Parks and Recreation' - 'Soda Tax'

Leslie plays the role of Mike Bloomberg, Andy gets in shape, and Ben tries to be cool

A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I lecture you on consistent font use...

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<p>A scene from Ernst Lubitsch's &quot;The&nbsp;Patriot&quot;</p>

A scene from Ernst Lubitsch's "The Patriot"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The Academy goes on the hunt for its own history

A 1928 Best Picture nominee by Ernst Lubitsch is still at large

Fixating as we do on the seasonal ins and outs of the Oscar process, it’s easy to forget that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a purpose beyond handing out gold stars to the industry’s great and good. As an organization dedicated both to the development and preservation of the medium, they have fostered a wealth of films and archive materials that have scant relationship to the Academy Awards. Little wonder they warmed so to the film-preservation paean that was “Hugo” last year.

Still, when their archiving obligations overlap with celebration of the awards that made them famous, it’s an irresistible promotional opportunity for AMPAS. Hence the launch of their Oscar’s Most Wanted movement, which seeks to complete their library of every single film, short or feature-length, that was once graced with the golden man’s touch.

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<p>Band of Horses</p>

Band of Horses

Credit: Columbia

HitFix interview: Band of Horses talks 'Mirage Rock,' Railroad Revival and Pearl Jam

Bill Reynolds can't hang like Willie Nelson hangs

Band of Horses will contend that the move from an indie to the major label system definitely works in some artists’ favor. It did for them. Since moving on from esteemed Sub Pop to a partnered drop with Fat Possum and Columbia, now squarely on Columbia, the rock troupe has seen a lot more sales action even without a big radio presence. Just this week, they earned their second-best charting and sales tally for new “Mirage Rock,” landing at No. 13 yesterday. 

Bassist Bill Reynolds, who’s been with the band for five years, admits that the move wasn’t popular with everybody, and he’d heard the horror stories.
“It could have easily become a sh*tty situation. But creatively we were allowed to do what we wanted,” he said in our recent interview. “We have longer arms, to get our releases into other countries… The assumption with major labels is that they’re gonna try and knock a homerun at every opportunity, which means everyone assumes you’re working too hard.”
The secret, he said, is working with the right team, so think in terms of being in a rock ‘n’ roll band as a company “a lot of employers and employees. I got friends who are like, ‘Can you come play at my cousin’s event?’ But we have all these employees who depend on this for their living. Even though I’m the one who gets to be on stage, there’s so many people involved.”
Over the years of headlining tours and supporting slots, Reynolds said he learned the most from playing out with Pearl Jam, for precisely those reasons above. Referring to the Seattle band’s operations as “a well-oiled machine,” he said from day one, “each one of them would take us under their wings. And they were just so humble, it’s amazing to see musicians of their caliber to be humble. We’ve been on tours where there’s [the band] yelling and screaming at everyone. I thought, with [Pearl Jam], this is how you maintain that long. They’ve had a really long career. That would the dream.”
Band of Horses, fronted by Ben Bridwell, is combining with another crew of unique musicians, on the second incarnation of the Railroad Revival train tour. Last year, it was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Mumford & Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show travelling on the tracks together. This year, it’s BoH with Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson and actor/musician John C. Reilly and Friends.
“Hell yeah, I’d love it if Willie Nelson was to rub off on me, it’d be awesome,just being in the presence of someone like him. I also hear Jamey Johnson likes to jam a lot. That dude’s a badass ,” Reynolds enthused. “The train… one of the cars is a recording studio. So we can all meet up in there when we want. As for Willie, I’ve been to his house before. He hangs out a lot later than I do. I can’t hang like that dude does. He operates on his own time.”
On the heels of last week’s release of “Mirage Rock,” Band of Horses just released their six-song “iTunes Festival” live EP yesterday. Check it out here.


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