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<p>Frank Ocean</p>

Frank Ocean

Listen: Frank Ocean talks dropping 'Channel Orange' early and his tour

Why recording in Beverly Hills was fun, but not necessarily productive

Frank Ocean planned all along to drop “Channel Orange” a week early digitally. Or so he told Zane Lowe at BBC Radio 1 in an interview that aired today.

“[I wanted to] let the music speak for itself for a second and not be in a situation where the record leaked. It was always my plan to drop it ahead of time,” the Odd Future member said of his solo set.. He added that he mirrored his plan on what his buddies Kanye West and Jay-Z did with “Watch The Throne,” which also came out digitally prior to its physical release.

In this digital age of cherry-picking tracks, Ocean says he made a work with the intent that the album be listened to from start to finish: “I hate to sound selfish, but that’s for my own personal enjoyment also,”he says. “That’s a big thing for me to make things sound cohesive and follow through.”

Noting how expensive studio time can be, Ocean recorded a number of the tracks in a rented house in Beverly Hills, bringing in any equipment he needed. He added that he definitely spent a little more time in the house’s pool and sauna than his label approved of, but that it still saved money.

His overarching goals in making “Channel Orange” were “to do things that I hadn’t done before structurally with songs and I wanted to go places sonically where I hadn’t gone before...I tried to just make something true to what I heard in my head and true to what I thought the future should be to me music wise.”

As Ocean heads out on his own tour starting tonight in Seattle, he noted that he may not be the road dog that other artists are, preferring quality over quantity: “I want to give the best show possible where I can to put myself in position to do my best,” he says. “If that means a lesser volume of appearances, so be it.” However, he’s got a pretty full plate coming up. Following his headlining U.S. gigs, he’ll switch to opening for Coldplay on the British group’s stadium swing in August and September.

Lowe doesn’t address Ocean’s recent letter about his past love affair with a man, but they cover some other interesting territory and Ocean sounds genial and relaxed throughout.

“Channel Orange” has sold well enough in its first week of digital only release that it is on target to debut at No. 2 on next week’s Billboard 200 album chart. Target has already announced that it will not carry the album. Though some groups have accused the mass marketer of homophobia, the chain said in a statement that it was not selling the title because of the digital exclusive.

Neither Katie Hasty or I have had time to write up a proper review of “Channel Orange,” but it is an excellent, often searing, album that manages to sound retro and progressive at the same time. Fans of artists like D’Angelo and Outkast will appreciate how Ocean similarly incorporates many different musical genres, while staying primarily within the R&B field.

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<p>If Jessica Biel shows up dressed like this in 'The Wolverine' when she plays Madame Hydra, someone may need to throw a glass of water on me because I'll faint.</p>

If Jessica Biel shows up dressed like this in 'The Wolverine' when she plays Madame Hydra, someone may need to throw a glass of water on me because I'll faint.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Jessica Biel goes to war with mutants as Viper in 'The Wolverine'

Could her second Marvel movie be the one that puts her over the top?

Jessica Biel was, frankly, made to play a comic book character.  She transformed her physique when she signed on for "Blade: Trinity," and she gave a dedicated performance in what was unfortunately a weaker movie, but that performance wasn't enough to make it work.  It seems like a given that some smart producer would find the right comic book role for her, and now it appears she's once again dipping into the Marvel Universe with a role in James Mangold's upcoming "The Wolverine."

Her character, Viper, is also known as Madame Hydra at times, and she's had a long history in the various comics published by Marvel.  She's been a Captain America bad guy, and at once point she even stole the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier.  One of her most famous storylines involved characters who we already know are part of "The Wolverine," so it makes sense she would also show up.

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<p>Six of the seven stars of &quot;The Big Bang Theory&quot;</p>

Six of the seven stars of "The Big Bang Theory"

Credit: CBS

Comic-Con 2012 Live-Blog: CBS' 'The Big Bang Theory'

CBS' hit Thursday comedy makes its first Hall H appearance

SAN DIEGO - CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" has come a long way from its first "Why is that sitcom doing a Comic-Con panel?" appearance in San Diego to Friday (July 13) afternoon's visit to a packed Hall H.

I know "The Big Bang Theory" isn't the first TV comedy to panel in Hall H -- "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" was there just last year -- but I'm prepared to go out on a limb [without doing an iota of research] to say that this is the first time a multi-cam TV comedy has had a Hall H panel. 

Prove me wrong!

Or, alternatively, just follow along with my live-blog.

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<p>Michelle Williams in &quot;Take This Waltz.&quot;</p>

Michelle Williams in "Take This Waltz."

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

A belated appreciation of 'Take This Waltz'

One of the year's best films has already been out for two weeks

Every now and then, the curious in-between state of being a film critic in two different countries means an occasional slip in awareness. As much as I try to stay abreast of both the UK and US release schedules, I'm sometimes surprised to find that this film or that has or hasn't surfaced in one of those regions -- particularly when the parallel universe of the festival circuit means so many things are seen out of time.

Which is why this post arrives a fortnight late: somewhere between my festival exploits in Edinburgh and Karlovy Vary, I completely failed to register that Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz" -- itself a long-tarrying premiere at Toronto last autumn -- opened Stateside at the end of June. (Perhaps I was distracted by its August release date in the UK.) No harm, no foul -- except when we're talking about one of the year's best films.

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<p>The cast of &quot;Firefly.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

The cast of "Firefly." 

Credit: FOX

'Firefly' cast and Joss Whedon reunite 10 years later at Comic-Con: Live-blog

Will Adam Baldwin now be asked John Casey questions?

If "Firefly" isn't the most beloved Comic-Con TV show of the 21st century, it's easily in the top 2 or 3. Joss Whedon's space cowboy drama (which I revisited a couple of summers ago) had a short run, but has lived on in the hearts and minds of the fans, to the point where some shows featuring "Firefly" alums might as well not have brought any other actors to their panels. Even another Comic-Con institution like "Chuck" annually received one or two "Who'd win in a fight: John Casey or Jayne Cobb?" questions for Adam Baldwin.

So I'm guessing the Ballroom 20 crowd will be going nuts as Baldwin, Nathan Fillion, most of the show's cast and Whedon himself reunite for a 10th anniversary panel, and I'll be live-blogging the whole thing. Remember that the Convention Center wifi is iffy at best, and just because you haven't seen an update in a while doesn't mean I'm not still typing. I will update this thing as often as I can during the hour.

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Watch: Madonna takes a ride in 'Turn Up The Radio' video snippet

Watch: Madonna takes a ride in 'Turn Up The Radio' video snippet

When can you check out the full clip?

Radio hasn’t really responded to the first two singles from Madonna’s “MDNA,” but we're hoping the third single “Turn Up the Radio” may do the trick. The sweet pop slice is more in vogue with what pop stations are playing these days.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Yvette Nicole Brown, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi and Alison Brie are the &quot;Community&quot;&nbsp;cast representatives at Comic-Con this year.</p>

Yvette Nicole Brown, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi and Alison Brie are the "Community" cast representatives at Comic-Con this year.

Credit: NBC

New 'Community' producers face the Comic-Con fans: Live-blog

How will Dan Harmon supporters react to Port and Guarascio?

It's time for what could be the most interesting TV panel of Comic-Con, in which "Community" fans are placed in the same room as the NBC comedy's new showrunners, Moses Port and David Guarascio. Will the audience Q&A portion of the hour turn into a non-stop harangue of these men who would dare to fill the shoes of fired creator Dan Harmon? Will Port and Guarascio — who will be joined by stars Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie and Danny Pudi, plus returning writer/producers Megan Ganz and Andy Bobrow — be able to deflect any criticism in advance by pointing out that they had nothing to do with Harmon's exit, and insisting they want to keep making his version of the show? Or will their presence on stage turn out to be a minor sideshow compared to the chance for 4,000 fans to yell their love of the show's stars? 

I'm going to be live-blogging the panel, with the caveat that the Convention Center wifi is iffy at best. Remember: just because you haven't seen an update in a while doesn't mean I'm not still typing. I will update this thing as often as I can during the hour.

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<p>Elijah Wood and Jason Gann in &quot;Wilfred.&quot;</p>

Elijah Wood and Jason Gann in "Wilfred."

Credit: FX

Comic-Con 2012: 'Wilfred' cast and producers talk dog suits, mythology and more

Producer wonders if getting answers on TV shows is always a good thing

Yesterday at Comic-Con, I moderated the panel for FX's "Wilfred," which began with a screening of an upcoming episode that somehow managed to be even more disturbing than last year's episode (the one with Raffi, "the deepest throat in the stuffed animal kingdom"), and that launched a discussion that at times had me fearing would get us all banned from Comic-Con forever — yes, even Elijah Wood. For those who weren't there, all I will say is that it turns out there are some things you can't even show on FX, as showrunner David Zuckerman explained that one scene in particular will have to be altered before it airs in a few weeks. (It's what I believe is the season's seventh episode, titled "Avoidance.")

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<p>Bryan Cranston in the desert for the &quot;Breaking Bad&quot;&nbsp;episode &quot;4 Days Out.&quot;</p>

Bryan Cranston in the desert for the "Breaking Bad" episode "4 Days Out."

Credit: AMC

'Breaking Bad' star Bryan Cranston looks back at Walter White's greatest hits, part 2

On telling Jesse to run, being The One Who Knocks, and a lot more

Earlier this week, I sat down with "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston to look back on his memories of some of the classic Walter White moments from the AMC drama's first four seasons. It was such a long conversation that I had to split it into two parts. Part one ran yesterday, and after the jump, I talked with Cranston about two of the most famous Walter White lines of all — "I am the one who knocks!" and "Run." — the breakdown in the crawl space, and more.

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<p>Sarah Silverman and John C. Reilly were both blunt and funny during their appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con to discuss their new animated film 'Wreck-It Ralph'</p>

Sarah Silverman and John C. Reilly were both blunt and funny during their appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con to discuss their new animated film 'Wreck-It Ralph'

Credit: John Shearer/Inivision/AP Photo

'Wreck-It Ralph' panel shows 10 minutes of footage with John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman

Acclaimed animation director Rich Moore shows off his passion project

SAN DIEGO - The final movie that Disney did a full presentation for during their Hall H panel at this year's San Diego Comic-Con is one of the most ambitious films they have on their schedule for this year, and based on the material they showed here, they should feel good about what they're trying.

Chris Hardwick, aka The Nerdist, seemed completely comfortable moderating the panel, and at the start of this final stage of the event, he mentioned that he had recently been talking to some friends about "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and how that film could never happen today because of corporate lawyers and IP battles.  Almost as soon as he had that conversation, he saw the first trailer for "Wreck-It Ralph" and realized that he was, in fact, completely wrong.

Director Rich Moore walked out to join Hardwick onstage, kidding as he walked out.  "You said it was just going to be you and me."

As he settled in, he talked a bit about the premise of the film.  "Ralph thinks there is more to life than wrecking, and he sets out on a journey to become more than just an 8-bit bad guy."  When Hardwick pointed out that Moore was a director of "The Simpsons" for five years, Moore was quick to point out "That was 22 years ago."

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<p>Christian&nbsp;Bale in &quot;The Dark&nbsp;Knight Rises&quot;</p>

Christian Bale in "The Dark Knight Rises"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The 'Dark Knight Rises' Oscar talk begins

And here...we...go!

You could hear the hype machine behind Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" humming to life the instant it was assured some form of existence. It's building to a fever pitch this week as the film is on everyone's lips down in Comic-Con and word out of uniquely selective screenings makes the rounds. And now, David Germain has gone and thrown out the Oscar talk, so strap in.

Discussing the film in semi-review language, Germain swears it "has the weight and scope – and then some – of 2008's 'The Dark Knight'...whose snub in the best-picture field helped prod the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to expand the category to more than five nominees." He basically plants a flag for the film's chances on the circuit and gets Nolan, Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway on the record to discuss the franchise's awards legacy.

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<p>Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu</p>

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu

Credit: CBS

'Elementary' team talks 'Sherlock,' a female Watson and Moriarty at Comic-Con

Jonny Lee Miller had a Holmes conversation with Benedict Cumberbatch
SAN DIEGO - With new TV series panels at Comic-Con, there's a familiar panel structure. A show is scheduled for an hour and that means a 44 minute screening of the pilot, six minutes of applause, actor introductions and more applause and then five minutes of questions, usually not getting any deeper than "What drew you to this show?" before the panel is rushed to an end.
 
It's pretty unsatisfying and I have to assume it often leaves the talent wondering why they wasted three hours on the train down from LA.
 
I mention the typically empty new show structure as a way of complimenting the panel for CBS' new drama "Elementary," which took place on Thursday (July 12) in Comic-Con's Ballroom 20.
 
Somehow, with only 65 allotted minutes, "Elementary" screened its pilot and got in a solid 15 minutes of Q&A, which included decently direct questions from moderator Dalton Ross of EW, as well as a good selection of audience queries. I came away from the "Elementary" panel feeling like an awful lot of important points were addressed and like the crowd was mostly satisfied with the results. 
 
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