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"Top Chef"

 "Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'Top Chef' - 'Block Party'

It's a block party challenge that forces friends to face off against one another

Before we begin our new episode, we see Charlize Theron go back into the stew room to thank the chefs. I don't know that we've seen that before, have we? As Grayson notes, she was a fan before, but now she's even more of a fan. And who can blame her? Very gracious, that Charlize! But we don't have much time to moon over Oscar winners and their good manners, because it's time for our Quickfire Challenge. Our six remaining chefs, who must all be exhausted beyond repair, trudge into the kitchen to see Padma, Emeril and Cat Cora waiting for them. Cat's tough, but hey, she's an Iron Chef, so it's not like she's not justified in being picky.

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<p>Marg Helgenberger left &quot;CSI&quot;&nbsp;at the end of tonight's episode.</p>

Marg Helgenberger left "CSI" at the end of tonight's episode.

Credit: CBS

'CSI' - 'Willows in the Wind': She left her Marg

What did everybody think of Marg Helgenberger's farewell?

I don't write about "CSI" very often, but wanted to note tonight's departure of Marg Helgenberger from the cast after over 260 episodes. William Peterson's been gone a while now, and though Ted Danson has worked out quite well after the problematic Laurence Fishburne era(*), Catherine has been just as important to the show as the various leading men. Where Grissom exemplified the brains, Catherine (who was very smart in her own right) was where the heart was centered. Among the reasons I've always preferred original recipe "CSI" to the spin-offs is that I liked the characters better, and Catherine and the way she related to everyone else was a huge part of that.

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<p>I sort of wish they would make this place into 'Jesus Organic Pizza' permanently.</p>

I sort of wish they would make this place into 'Jesus Organic Pizza' permanently.

Credit: HitFix

Sundance Diary Part Three: Bing Bars and Jesus Pizza

Tim League of Alamo Drafthouse fame is one of the familiar faces we ran into

Okay, gentlemen, here's the scenario.  You're standing in a room, and you're surrounded by Alison Brie, Emily Blunt, Teresa Palmer, Christina Hendricks, and Lizzy Kaplan, and it is absolutely imperative that you remain cool.  Could you?

These are the moments where you realize that you should never, ever complain about this job.

The place was the Bing Bar, where many of the publicity teams who are here this year have arranged for interviews to take place, and over the weekend, we were there to shoot chats for both "Wish You Were Here" and "Your Sister's Sister" at the same time, which is when the above scenario unfolded.  In addition to the assortment of some of the lovely ladies above, there were any number of familiar faces milling about.  Joel Edgerton and Martin Starr and Ice-T and his wife Coco and Mark Duplass, and everyone was catching up and talking about what they were in town to support, an open bar lubricating the day's conversations thoroughly and continuously.

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<p>Immediately after this photo was taken, Paul&nbsp;Giamatti's beard attained sentience, tore free from his face, and ate director Don Coscarelli.</p>

Immediately after this photo was taken, Paul Giamatti's beard attained sentience, tore free from his face, and ate director Don Coscarelli.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Paul Giamatti and Don Coscarelli conspire to bring 'John Dies At The End' to screen

We sit down with one of the great character actors working and an iconic horror director

The first time I heard Paul Giamatti talk about Don Coscarelli was on the set of "Shoot 'Em Up." 

At the time, Giamatti had just recently started talking to Coscarelli about starring in "Bubba Nosferatu," the sequel to "Bubba Ho-Tep," and as soon as I steered the conversation to the idea of the sequel, Giamatti lit up.  He told me about his first exposure to "Phantasm" when he was in his early teens, and by the end of the conversation, I realized that Giamatti was a full-blown horror nerd, and I liked him much more as a result.

No doubt he's a great actor, but there's something special about monster kids, people who grew up mainlining "Famous Monsters" and Saturday afternoon creature features and Godzilla movies, and there's a shared language that exists when we meet.  Giamatti stayed attached to "Bubba Nosferatu" even after Bruce Campbell decided he wasn't willing to star in it, and so it should come as little surprise that he jumped at a chance to finally work with Coscarelli as both producer and actor on the new film "John Dies At The End."

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<p>Kiefer Sutherland in &quot;Touch.&quot;</p>

Kiefer Sutherland in "Touch."

Credit: FOX

'Touch' - 'Pilot': I just called to say I love you

What did everybody think of the new FOX drama?

I posted my review of FOX's "Touch" yesterday. Now it's your turn. How did you feel about Kiefer Sutherland in a slightly un-Bauer-ish role? Did you like the clockwork plot, or did it strike you as contrived? Did you feel moved or manipulated by the big closing moments? Did you enjoy the Kring-ian moments or did it feel too much like "Heroes" for you? Did you believe the way things turned out (particularly involving the Chris Rock fan)? And are you looking forward to seeing more episodes starting in March?

Have at it.

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"American Idol"

 "American Idol"

Credit: Fox

Recap: 'American ldol' finds fresh talent in Aspen

At first the judges can't agree on one singer, though

It's time for auditions in Colorado, which should be a little snowy but will not feature an airplane hangar. Darn it! I just hope we get to see Steven ski. That would be worth it. 

8:00 p.m. EST Finally, "American Idol" is getting away from it all. By going to Colorado. I'm not sure how everyone in Colorado feels about this designation, as Ryan has made an entire state sound like a remote corner of nowhere, but okay. 

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<p>Jessie J arrives on the &quot;VH1 Divas&quot;&nbsp;red carpet in December.</p>

Jessie J arrives on the "VH1 Divas" red carpet in December.

Credit: AP Photo/Charles Sykes

Adele sets fire to the Billboard Hot 100; Jessie J achieves a first

Kelly Clarkson soars back into the Top 10

Adele scores a nice double win this week as “Set Fire To The RainR21; captures the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 while her album, “21,” logs another week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

“Fire” is the third chart topper from “21,” and it pushes Rihanna’s “We Found Love” featuring Calvin Harris,  down to No. 2, ending its 10-week run at No. 1.

Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling” hangs at No. 3 for another week, while David Guetta’s “Turn Me On” featuring Nicki Minaj soars 10-4. It’s the second biggest leap in the top 10, following Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger,” which leaps 21-8. The song is her second straight Top 10 hit from "Stronger," following "Mr. Know It All," which peaked at No. 10. Clarkson last achieved consecutive top 10s  with her 2004 album, "Breakaway," which spawned four back-to-back top 10s.

Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” inches up one spot to No. 5, , Bruno Mars “It Will Rain” falls two spots to No. 6 and LFMAO’s “Sexy And I Know It” slides two places as well to No. 7.

Rounding out the top 10: Jay Z and Kanye West’s “Ni**as in Paris” falls two to No. 9, and Jessie J notches her first Top 10 hit, as “Domino” moves 15-10.

 

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Watch: Evanescence's new video for 'My Heart Is Broken'
Credit: Wind-Up Records

Watch: Evanescence's new video for 'My Heart Is Broken'

Despite being held captive, Amy Lee looks radiant

“My Heart Is Broken,” the new single from Evanescence's self-titled album was inspired by victims of human trafficking. However if that notion is to be gleaned from the video, its inclusion is very subtle.

In the new clip, lead singer Amy Lee is clad in an evening gown and she has incredible magic fingers  with balls that spew white light.  She can gaze into the white light and she can even use her finger tips to  swirl around in the darkness an leave cool trails in the dark, like the sparklers we used to light on the Fourth of July.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&nbsp;Marion Cotillard and Owen Wilson in &quot;Midnight in Paris.&quot; &nbsp;Woody Allen's latest received four Oscar nominations Tuesday including best picture.</p>

 Marion Cotillard and Owen Wilson in "Midnight in Paris."  Woody Allen's latest received four Oscar nominations Tuesday including best picture.

Credit: Sony Classics

Sony Classics' Michael Barker talks 'Midnight in Paris' and 'A Separation's' Oscar nom haul

An the indie vet turns the tables on this pundit

PARK CITY - Tuesday was a good day for Sony Pictures Classics co-president and co-founder  Michael Barker.  Classics scored eight Academy Award nominations including four for Woody Allen's best picture player "Midnight in Paris" and found itself with three of the foreign language nominees: "A Separation," "Footnoote" and "In Darkness." The now legendary independent film distributor also secured distribution rights to the romantic dramedy "Celeste & Jesse" starring Andy Samberg, Rashida Jones and HitFix favorite Elijah Wood.  And yet, when Barker called me to discuss his company's impressive Oscar haul he immediately turned the tables and wanted to know what films I liked at the festival.  So, if Classics ends up securing "Keep The Lights On" or "Safety Not Guaranteed," I'll happily take credit for pushing them over the top for a sale.  The Oscars were top of mind though and Barker admitted that he was once again surprised by some of the selections.

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<p>Marion Cotillard, Alison Pill, Owen Wilson and Woody Allen on the set of &quot;Midnight in Paris.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Marion Cotillard, Alison Pill, Owen Wilson and Woody Allen on the set of "Midnight in Paris." 

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

The Long Shot: Fade away and radiate

Do this year's nominees reflect an industry afraid to look forward?

Amid the geeky cascade of trivia, facts and figures that always follows they unveiling of the Oscar nominations, one stat -- courtesy of our friend Chad Hartigan -- stood out to me: the average age of this year's Best Director nominees, at 61, is the highest it's been in the history of the awards. Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Terrence Malick and Alexander Payne -- a quartet of well-seasoned American auteurs who, by the time of the awards, will all be over the age of 50 -- have all been to this particular dance before. The lone foreigner and first-time nominee, Michel Hazanavicius, may be the upstart of the pack, but at 44, he's hardly wet behind the ears.

So, the movies the Academy liked most this year happened to be directed by a bunch of middle-to-three-quarter aged men. Big deal. That says more about industry hierarchy than the preferences of the Academy, right? In any case, last year saw a thirtysomething man win the prize; the year before, a woman. If "The King's Speech" had been successfully helmed by Selena Gomez, they'd probably have handed her the Oscar too. 

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Listen: Another new Van Halen track, 'Blood And Fire'
Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Another new Van Halen track, 'Blood And Fire'

How does it compare with 'Tattoo?'

We’ve already gotten to hear “Tattoo,” the underwhelming first single from Van Halen’s new album, “A Different Kind of Truth,” out Feb. 7.

Now, Rolling Stone is previewing 90 seconds of a new Van Halen track, “Blood and Fire.” It’s much more melodic than “Tattoo.” We don’t know if it’s based on an older song as well —“Tattoo” has remnants of a 1977 track, “Down In Flames — but it sounds like something straight out the ‘80s.  Rolling Stone readers (and major hardcore VH fans) have commented that this is built around one of Eddie’s unreleased instrumentral tracks called “Ripley.” If so, we’re wondering if any of the songs were brand new compositions  

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: Red Hot Chili Peppers get funky in new video for 'Look Around'

Watch: Red Hot Chili Peppers get funky in new video for 'Look Around'

How do they spend their down time?

Wonder what goes on behind closed doors for members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers?  They get their funk on in various and sundry ways. In the new video for “Look Around,” which premiered on Spinner today, we get an inside look at their leisure pursuits as each hangs out in his own room.

Anthony Kiedis hangs out with a lady friend, who comes in through the refrigerator, a kid and a dog.  Flea and a female friend dance then get down to even sillier pursuits as they strip down to their undies. Silly string is involved.  Chad Smith goes visit Kieidis and a little too jubilantly fixes a clogged toilet.

[More after the jump...]

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