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<p>The first official image from &quot;Life of Pi&quot;</p>

The first official image from "Life of Pi"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Ang Lee's 'Life of Pi' drowned out by 'OSCAR!' noise at CinemaCon

Does Fox have a contender? The breathless hordes seem to think so.

CinemaCon in Las Vegas is where it's at this week as movie journos and bloggers have descended on Sin City and turned an exhibitors convention into an exasperated "We saw 10 minutes of 'X' movie!" slog. Nevertheless, I kind of wish I was there.

But then I don't know what I could add when everyone is not just covering the same events but coming away with the exact same talking points. Are they distributing memos or something? Anyway, it's no different than Comic-Con, I guess, where "Sucker Punch" looks like it could be an awesome movie for all of 600 seconds.

As it pertains to potential awards contenders, they've shown some much-anticipated footage from Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" in 48 frames-per-second, which yielded responses from mixed to overwhelmingly negative (a few champions of the hyper-real look scattered here and there). Today, though, "Oscar" was on everyone's lips after a taste of Ang Lee's "Life of Pi."

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Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Usher wants to make you 'Scream' on new single

Clunky lyrics weigh down the groove

Usher moves from the dance floor to the bedroom on new single, “Scream.” 

The club thumper is all about pleasing his woman and living in the moment. Although the mood is totally set by the sexy, mid-tempo groove, some of the lyrics definitely go down as his worst. We can live with the trite “Imagine me whisper in your ear that I wanna take off all your clothes,” but “Relax and get on your back if you want to scream” sounds decidedly unromantic and a little creepy, even coming from someone as smooth and undoubtedly skilled as Usher.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Florence Welch looks particularly like the Evil Queen from &quot;Snow White and the Huntsman&quot; in this performance during the first weekend of Coachella earlier this month.</p>

Florence Welch looks particularly like the Evil Queen from "Snow White and the Huntsman" in this performance during the first weekend of Coachella earlier this month.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris PIzzello

Listen: Florence + The Machine's new song for 'Snow White and the Huntsman'

Group brings just the right amount of menace

Florence + the Machine’s ethereal, dramatic music is the perfect match for “Snow White and the Huntsman,” the second of this year’s two Snow White themed movies...the one that stars Charlize Theron.

On “Breath of Life,” group namesake Florence Welch surrounds her considerable pipes with strings, operatic background singers, chanting, and drums to create an atmospheric theme that conjures up images of doom and danger.  Quite frankly, it sounds like it could have worked just as well in “The Hunger Games.”  You won’t be singing along to it, but it sticks in your mind after only a few listens.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Jason Statham is returning for another mission with 'The Expendables 2,' and today, we've got your first look at his character poster for this summer's action film.</p>

Jason Statham is returning for another mission with 'The Expendables 2,' and today, we've got your first look at his character poster for this summer's action film.

Credit: Lionsgate

Check out our exclusive 'Expendables 2' Jason Statham poster premiere

And then find out where you can see the rest of this summer's Dirty Dozen

I haven't seen the new "Expendables 2" trailer that premiered at CinemaCon this week, but it seems like it went over well with the crowd that was there.

No one would be happier to see this movie work than I would.  I want to believe.  I love action movies that don't remotely apologize for what they are and what they do, and if you do an ensemble film like this correctly, it can be tremendous fun.  While I didn't love the first film, the potential of it was potent, and the additions they're making this time absolutely make it worth taking another trip with the Expendables.

What additions?

Well, I'm glad you asked.

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<p>Kim of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
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Kim of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: One World' - 'Never Say Die'

Troyzan battles, Kat pouts and every goes after a pig
Pre-credit sequence. The Tribe returns. "Now we're in a hopeless situation unless the boys win Immunity," says Muscular Mark Twain, who's prepared to go with the women, rather than being seen to be on Troyzan's side. Kim's a bit surprised that her name has been discussed in a leadership role, sooner than she might have hoped. Troyzan, for his part, feels alone and he repeats, once again, that it's one man against all of the women (and Muscular Mark Twain) and he has to keep winning Immunity. Isn't that exactly where we left the pre-credit sequence last week?
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<p>I love MacLaine's sequel idea she pitched, and I&nbsp;love how confused it seems to make Jack Black even more.</p>

I love MacLaine's sequel idea she pitched, and I love how confused it seems to make Jack Black even more.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Shirley MacLaine says Jack Black deserves Oscar for 'Bernie'

An unlikely pair make for a lively interview

Shirley MacLaine's been famous as long as I've been  aware of movies and movie stars, and she has been part of more classics than I can list here today.

She's one of those people who works infrequently enough that when you get a call asking if you want to interview them, you say yes no matter what the film is.  You say yes because you have no idea how many more opportunities there will be to speak to them and tell them how much their work has meant to you.

Thankfully, "Bernie" is more than just an opportunity for me to sit down with a great movie star.  My review will be up later, but it's safe to say I'm wildly enthusiastic about it, and I think both MacLaine and her co-star, Jack Black, give great performances in the movie.  Much of what they do is bouncing off of one another, so it makes perfect sense that they put the two of them together for the interview.

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<p>I'm not going to lie... this is exactly how I felt when I&nbsp;realized Neill Cumpston had sent me a review for this summer's 'The Avengers'</p>

I'm not going to lie... this is exactly how I felt when I realized Neill Cumpston had sent me a review for this summer's 'The Avengers'

Credit: Walt Disney Company/Marvel

Review: Neill Cumpston returns to review 'The Avengers'

An internet legend returns just in time to review the summer's biggest movie

Who is Neill Cumpston?

That question was asked of me frequently during my time at Ain't It Cool News, and over the years, I've heard other people answer that question with a fair degree of authority, accusing people of secretly writing Cumpston's reviews for AICN.  Peter Travers once claimed to know the "truth" about Neill.  But those people are crazy.  The entire time, I repeatedly explained that I met Neill standing in line at a test screening, and Neill is simply Neill.  He is a far more vocal example of a certain section of fandom than I am, and I love his pure enthusiasm.  I was happy to publish him not because he is famous, but because he is Neill.  If you don't know his work, check out his "Grindhouse" review.  Or his "Return Of The King" review.  Or his "Batman Begins" piece.  He is a work of art.

He's also completely insane, of course.  The way he connects the dots in his writing delights me from a purely anthropological point of view, and his use of profanity is Pulitzer-worthy.  Make no mistake… a Neill Cumpston review is flat-out filthy at times, but always for a purpose.

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<p>Robert Pattinson in &quot;Cosmopolis.&quot;</p>

Robert Pattinson in "Cosmopolis."

Credit: Alfama Films/Prospero Pictures

Cannes Check: David Cronenberg's 'Cosmopolis'

Continuing our series of Cannes competition previews

The auteur: David Cronenberg (Canadian, 69 years old)

The talent: At this stage in his career, we don't expect an undistinguished cast from a Cronenberg film, and true to form, this one is packed to the rafters with interesting names -- though not ones you'd necessarily expect on one bill. Juliette Binoche (returning to Cannes for the first time since winning Best Actress two years ago), Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, Mathieu Amalric and Jay Baruchel are all on board -- as, more improbably, is Somalian rapper K'Naan. (On a side note, this is the director's first feature in 10 years not to star Viggo Mortensen.)

The big attraction, however, is some guy called Robert Pattinson in the lead. It's perhaps the poppiest casting coup of Cronenberg's career, and the best chance yet for the talented British heartthrob to win some admirers beyond the fiercely devoted "Twilight" faithful.

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Mark Foster receives a deep facial at his local salon in the music video for "Houdini".
Mark Foster receives a deep facial at his local salon in the music video for "Houdini".
Credit: Columbia Records

Watch: Foster The People's 'Houdini' video shows the band's sleight of hand

Is it a social commentary on the music business?

After repeated viewings of Foster the People’s video for “Houdini,” we’re not sure if the trio is making a fun video or a much deeper commentary on life in the pop music machine... either way, it works.

The boys are playing live when a lighting rig crashes down on them to disastrous effect putting their concert that night in jeopardy. But never fear, a league of scientists and masterminds put the band back together again, fixing all their wiring and moving parts (leaving the question as to whether they were real to begin with or always a creation). The team of scientists resurrecting them even turns the group into a boy band with dance moves straight out of N’Sync’s “Bye, Bye, Bye” video. Mystery men in green suits (who, like a green screen in filming won't be visible to those watching)  manipulate their every move.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>The &quot;American Idol&quot; Top 6</p>
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The "American Idol" Top 6

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Top 6 Performances - The Music of Queen

The 'Idol' singers tackle Queen and songs of their choosing

It isn't easy to sing the music of Queen. It's not enough to be a talented singer. Remember when the mentors from "The Voice" did that awful Queen medley last season? Exactly. All four of them could sing, but being able to sing isn't the same as being able to sing a song specifically tailored for the voice of Freddie Mercury.

I'd say that all six of our remaining "American Idol" contestants can sing. But none of them have a Freddie Mercury-style voice. In fact, the guy who seemed most likely to be able to sing a Queen song, albeit with Coldplay-style affectations, was Colton Dixon and America sent him home last Thursday.

Sorry about that, Colton. But what you did to "September" wasn't kind. 

Anyway, Wednesday's (April 25) "Idol" will feature one Queen song apiece, plus one seemingly random selection from the bottomless "Idol" catalogue. 

Let's see how things go...

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<p>&quot;Boardwalk Empire&quot;&nbsp;rivals Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt will be together at least one more time tomorrow night in LA.</p>

"Boardwalk Empire" rivals Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt will be together at least one more time tomorrow night in LA.

Credit: HBO

Keeping things in moderation: 'Boardwalk Empire'

Your local TV critic will be heading to Los Angeles to talk about vintage Jersey gangsters

Just a heads-up about both a TV-related event I'll be involved in tomorrow night, as well as how that'll affect the blog for the next few days.

Tomorrow night, I'll be in LA to moderate a "Boardwalk Empire" panel featuring Terence Winter and a good chunk of the season 2 cast: Steve Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, Gretchen Mol, Vincent Piazza and all the Michaels: Pitt, Shannon, Stuhlbarg and Kenneth Williams. It's for members of the TV Academy as part of the show's Emmy campaign, but it will also be streamed live on and, from around 7:30 to 9 p.m. Pacific. It's rare to have this many castmembers from the show together (even the first press tour session was, I believe, just Winter, Buscemi and Macdonald), so we'll be talking about a lot of stuff from both seasons, and not just the Nucky/Jimmy events from the end of season 2.

Because of my travel schedule, I'm not going to have time to do episode write-ups of anything on Wednesday or Thursday I haven't already seen in advance. So I'll have "Community" and "Parks and Rec" going up tomorrow, but "Suburgatory" (and the other ABC comedies) "Don't Trust the (Broccoli) in Apt. 23," "Awake," and the "30 Rock" live show are all going to be skipped. (Someone on Twitter reminded me the other ABC sitcoms are repeats tonight.) I may come back to the "30 Rock" episode several days late, but given my feelings about the first live show, it may not be worth anyone's time to wait.

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<p>Ewan McGregor is one of the nine people serving in this year's Competition jury at Cannes.</p>

Ewan McGregor is one of the nine people serving in this year's Competition jury at Cannes.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Cannes jurors range from Ewan McGregor to Jean-Paul Gaultier

Meanwhile, Michel Gondry's latest heads up Directors' Fortnight selection

What do Hiam Abbass, Andrea Arnold, Emmanuelle Devos, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Diane Kruger, Ewan McGregor, Alexander Payne and Raoul Peck have in common? Okay, no prizes for this one -- you've already seen the headline.

This year's Cannes Film Festival competition jury, who will serve under previously announced jury president Nanni Moretti, is a typically motley crew, sufficiently diverse to stump any pundits trying to handicap the Palme d'Or race in terms of what the people voting might be looking for.

It's hard to imagine what cinematic common ground off-the-wall French fashion designer Gaultier might find with stern Haitian filmmaker and political activist Peck, for example, or where the sensibilities of the jury's two British members, jaunty Hollywood star McGregor and tough-minded realist director Arnold, may collide. Therein lies the fun.

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