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Exclusive: First 'Force Majeure' poster captures the moment a family crumbles
Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Exclusive: First 'Force Majeure' poster captures the moment a family crumbles

And who is that quoted on the poster?

When crafting a review of a film, one of the last things I ever have on my mind is how something might get pulled or quoted on a poster. It's happened enough times over the years now that the novelty has worn off, and at this point, the one kick that remains is knowing that my endorsement somehow meant enough to the filmmakers or was stated in such a way that it was something they wanted to use to help reach potential viewers.

One of the movies I really, really liked at this year's Cannes Film Festival was one I knew nothing about when I walked in. Didn't know the filmmaker, didn't know the subject matter, and really had no idea what to expect. I ended up thinking "Force Majeure" was one of the best films of the festival, and it's really stuck with me since then.

The film deals with what happens to a family on a ski vacation when, during what looks like an out-of-control avalanche, the father gets up and runs, leaving his family behind. Everyone's fine, but that moment and that decision end up creating a potentially unfixable rift in the family, and the film plays out in a very smart, very unusual way.

You'll get your own chance to see the film soon, and right now, it's playing here at Toronto. When we were asked if we wanted to debut the film's American poster, I was thrilled to do so. The moment on the poster is that moment that everything hinges on in the film, and it seems to me like about as smart a choice for an image as they could have made.

In a year where I've seen a number of strong films about family and how it is defined, "Force Majeure" remains one of the very best of the bunch, and I'll be excited to see how people respond to this one when it hits general release.

"Force Majeure" will be in theaters October 24, 2014.

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'Scandal' recasts the First Daughter
Credit: ABC

'Scandal' recasts the First Daughter

“Scandal” recasts the First Daughter
"Body of Proof’s" Mary Mouser replaces Madeline Carroll, who played Karen Grant last season.

Mary-Louise Parker could return to Showtime
The “Weeds” alum is eyeing the lead role on a TV series based on poet/essayist Mary Karr. If she does join the project, she’ll serve as executive producer.

Prince Charles remembers Joan Rivers
Prince Charles and wife Camilla Parker-Bowles released a statement saying: “Joan Rivers was an extraordinary woman with an original and indefatigable spirit, an unstoppable sense of humor and an enormous zest for life. She will be hugely missed and utterly irreplaceable.” PLUS: Here’s a photo of Prince Harry with Joan Rivers and Robin Williams.

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5 observations about Conor Oberst's dystopian future in 'Common Knowledge'

5 observations about Conor Oberst's dystopian future in 'Common Knowledge'

Black and white and zig-zagging

Two music videos for Conor Oberst's songs from solo album "Upside Down Mountain" tackle what is a disastrous dystopian future. In May, he dropped the visuals for upbeat and smart single "Zigzagging Toward the Light." Part 2 arrived this week, for track "Common Knowledge."

Watch both in succession below.

This second part of the depressing suite also takes place in New York, 10 years after some sort of cataclysm took place on Earth and knocked out all the electricity. An artificial intelligence force took control and speaks to the world's subjects like a calm and outward-interested singularity from "Her." Oberst here is dealing with the consequences, by wandering the halls of his record home Nonesuch and fondly recalling memories from before the fall.

Here are 5 observations about his next little journey in "Common Knowledge":

1. In a dystopian future, you can smoke indoors again. Zing!

2. In a dystopian future, record labels suffer a lot from what they suffer today: emptied cubes, abandoned office furniture, amazing views of New York City and no way to really enjoy it. Zing?

3. God, New York weather is always so sh*tty.

4. Conor Oberst is a clear liquor man, unless that was distilled a la the liquor Dozer makes in "The Matrix": "It's good for two things, degreasing engines..."

5. I have trouble putting records on the platter when I've been drinking, too, man.

I think the emphasis on "ritual" from the first short film is being expanded and broken (like, literally) here, with the trimming of those truly foul long locks, the mazel tov in busting a bottle, the habits of vice, the burial of the old. Just be careful walking barefoot around broken glass.

"Common Knowledge" is nervous, "fatalistic" and self-destructive -- not nearly as charmed as "Zigzagging," and perhaps that's the point.

Oberst is kicking off a new leg of touring next week, dates below. He's also plotted a single release for Black Friday (Nov. 28), with unreleased "Upside Down Mountain" session songs "Standing on the Outside" and "Sugar Street."

Here are Conor Oberst's tour dates:

Sept 14            Salt Lake City, UT @ Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre #
Sept 16            Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater #
Sept 18            Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom #
Sept 19            Houston, TX @ House of Blues #
Sept 20            Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater  #
Sept 21            Dallas, TX @ AT&T Performing Arts Center – Annette Strauss Artist Square #
Sept 23            Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theatre #
Sept 24            Aspen, CO @ Belly Up #
Sept 25            Bellvue, CO @ Mishawaka Amphitheatre #
Sept 27            Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory #
Sept 28            Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory #
Sept 30            Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market #
Oct 1               Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom #
Oct 3               San Francisco, CA @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Oct 4               San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore #
Oct 5               Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre (Co-Headline w/ John Prine)
Oct 11             Mexico City, MX @ Corona Capital Music Festival

# with Jonathan Wilson

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Aphex Twin drops new song 'mini pops 67' from first album in 13 years

Aphex Twin drops new song 'mini pops 67' from first album in 13 years

Don't waste this on bad speakers or headphones

You know when you open up a streaming player or a YouTube video and there are some dischordant mixture of sounds that you sometimes have to pause to make sure there aren't  other players or ads somewhere flooding your sound?

It's around the 0:34 mark that I did that the first time on the new Aphex Twin song "mini pops 67 (source field mix)." These dissonances continue in patches, sometimes when least expected. Gorgeous piano rhythms bubble, only to be derailed in vocal slips and sythesizer half-tones. The beat continues, but the downbeat will switch places as the phrase ends, or a flurry of hits come ahead of the "1." Richard D. James' voice falls right in line, but gets manipulated, auto-correct, slurred and fuzzed out in an unexpected -- and delightful -- fashion.

Yup, it sure is an Aphex Twin song. On repeated listens, these tonal experiments become less like studio accidents and more like structured, exciting, intricate and sassy-ass lab work. It's a trip, at high volume. Get all the texture by putting on those cans and chugging through your Friday.

"mini pops 67 (source field mix)" is on Aphex Twin's new album "SYRO," the producer and songwriter's first album in 13 years. It's out Sept. 23 via Warp.

Here is the tracklist for "SYRO":

1. minipops 67 (source field mix) (aka the manchester track)
2. XMAS_EveT10 (thanaton3 mix)
3. produk 29
4. 4 bit 9d api+e+6
5. 180db_
6. CIRCLONT6A (syrobonkus mix)
7. fz pseudotimestrech+e+3
8. CIRCLONT14 (shrymoming mix)
9. syro u473t8+e (piezoluminescence mix)
10. PAPAT4 (pineal mix)
11. s950tx16wasr10 (earth portal mix)
12. aisatsana

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'True Detective' may get Justin Lin to direct 2 episodes

'True Detective' may get Justin Lin to direct 2 episodes

“True Detective” may get Justin Lin to direct 2 episodes
The “Fast and the Furious” director, who’s also directed “Community,” could succeed Cary Fukunaga and direct the first two episodes of Season 2.

Chris Rock: "I met Joan Rivers on the worst day of her life” — my 1st time on TV
"I did the very last ‘The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers’ on Fox,” says Rock. "It was my first time on television. Her show just gotten cancelled and her husband had just shot himself in the head. And for whatever reason, she decided to go and do the last show. Boy, did I learn about the show must go on that day.” Rock goes on to say that Rivers "had it together on camera,” then cried during the commercial break. But “she kept it together.” PLUS: Report: Rupert Murdoch ordered the NY Post to downplay Rivers’ death on the front page, Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen talk about why gay people love Joan, Joan's book sales are up 60,000%, New Yorker pays a cartoon tribute to Joan, and her autopsy was inconclusive.

“Alpha House” gets a cameo out of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren
The Massachusetts senator yesterday filmed a scene as herself for the 2nd season of the Amazon series.

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Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande aces The National Anthem: Watch

No flub, no bad notes, just great singing

The Seattle Seahawks weren't the only winner last night. Ariana Grande is having a good week: Her new album, “My Everything,” came in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with a commanding lead, “Bang Bang,” her collaboration with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj continue to climb up the charts, and she absolutely nailed the National Anthem as the NFL season opener last night when the Green Bay Packers met the Seahawks.

Listen for yourself below. She didn’t goof up the words a la Christina Aguilera at the 2011 Super Bowl or Steven Tyler at a  playoff game. And she was certainly on key, unlike Roseanne Barr.

We recommend her for the gig at the 2015 Super Bowl.

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Walking Duh: AMC gives 'Walking Dead' companion series a pilot order
Credit: AMC

Walking Duh: AMC gives 'Walking Dead' companion series a pilot order

Dave Erickson and Robert Kirkman are writing the zombie spinoff

Guess what? AMC has given a pilot order to its currently untitled "Walking Dead" companion series.

What? You'd assumed the "Walking Dead" companion series had already just been given a series order? Well, not exactly.

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AMC orders a 'Walking Dead' companion series pilot

AMC orders a “Walking Dead” companion series pilot
The new series will be set in the same "zombie-plagued universe," but in a different location with an entirely new cast. “Almost from the beginning of The Walking Dead on AMC, fans have been curious about what is going on in the zombie apocalypse in other parts of the world,” says AMC President Charlie Collier. “In fact, beyond requests for zombie cameos, it’s the question I get asked the most.”

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Chris Brown

5 things we learned about Chris Brown from his new Billboard interview

Hey, people, he's only human

Chris Brown is one of those artists that seems to be made of teflon. No matter how many transgressions he commits, his largely female fan base not only continues to support him, but vigorously defends his tarnished honor, radio stations continue to play his music, he continues to get nominated for awards (including Grammys), and sell concert tickets.

After reading his cover story in Billboard, out today, I think I know why. Part of it is his ability to put himself forth— if not as the victim— as someone who these bad things just seem to happen to. He keeps saying he wants to be a better man, but his words don’t seem to lead to better actions for long periods of time. Nor do his words seem to indicate that he fully grasps the depth of some of his misdeeds. Maybe that’s because other than going to jail (not to make that sound like a picnic), there’s not a lot of fall out for his bad behavior. He seems to pick up right where he left off career-wise every time. He comes out with his new album, “X,” on Sept. 16. “Loyal,” the latest single from that effort, peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.  

Here are five things we learned about Brown from Billboard’s cover story:

1. He’s only human. He likes to say that a lot. Three times in the interview, he brings it up. In a Sept. 4 statement to Billboard (as a response to the shootings at the pre-VMA party he hosted and other events since the interview was conducted in mid-August), he didn’t answer the question, he simply said “I can only say that I am only human and I have made mistakes.” When asked what lesson he learned from being in jail (he served 108 days earlier this year for violating his parole), he replied, “Realizing I’m human like everyone else.” Asked to define redemption, he answered, in part, “Know that you’re human.”….

2. If he couldn’t make music or dance, he’d stay in the arts. “I would be somewhere in the industry, but not necessarily around music,” he says. “It would be more like fashion design, or I’d probably be a painter or street artist. I’m eclectic, with different styles of creativity. But painting is one of my biggest passions.”

3. He knows people will never let him forget about beating Rihanna and he’s okay with haters hating because that’s, uh, their problem: “As long as you’re doing something good, people will always bring up old stuff or negative stuff because they don’t want you to surpass a certain level or elevate,” he says. “But as long as you have your head on straight, it shouldn’t matter what people want to say.”

4. Jail was not fun. This was his daily routine: “A guard wakes you up; you eat. You stay in your cell most of the time, basically 24 hours a day,” he says. “Maybe on Mondays you go to the roof inside of a cage and have a phone call. It’s isolation. You have time to focus on what matters, on what to do and what not to do.”

5. And in response to that question we all want to know— how the hell has he kept such a loyal fanbase—he credits God. “My faith in knowing what my purpose is and how I’m trying to find out what my purpose is,” he says. “My fan base speaks volumes [to that]. I never want to say that I know everything or I know what the best song or a hit is. I just put it out there for people to like and love. I make music for myself personally, but I also try to do music that people can relate to, have fun with; evoke as much emotion as possible from my audience and peers. It’s God and just consistency with my talent. Being able to persevere if I get knocked down and always get back up.”

Read more of the interview here.

Will you buy "X" when it comes out?

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<p>Seahawks QB Russell Wilson</p>

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Packers-Seahawks NFL opener leads NBC Thursday

'The Quest' stays low against big NBC, CBS competition

Fast National ratings for Thursday, September 4, 2014.

The Thursday night premiere of NBC's Sunday Night Football -- program listings are silly -- pitting the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks against the perennially contending Green Bay Packers helped NBC dominate primetime in all measures.

While the Thursday kickoff was down a bit from last year's Ravens-Broncos opener, NBC is still calling this the third highest rated Thursday NFL Kickoff game ever in metered markets. And, of course, it goes without saying that these are preliminary ratings and will likely understate the numbers for the game itself.

Despite the football, the night only other piece of major original programming, CBS' "Big Brother," was actually up week-to-week, while ABC's "The Quest" was flat.

On to the numbers...

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Peter Gallagher joins 'SVU'
Credit: USA

Peter Gallagher joins 'SVU'

Peter Gallagher joins “SVU”
The former “O.C.” dad will oversee the special victims unit as Deputy Chief William Dodds.

NY Times corrects its Joan Rivers obituary: She died in 2014, not 1914
The Times had the perfect correction for its Joan Rivers’ obituary: "An earlier version of a label that appeared with this obituary on the home page of misstated the year of Ms. Rivers’s death. It  was 2014, of course, not 1914.” PLUS: Rivers’ funeral will be private despite her requesting “a huge showbiz” funeral, read TV Guide profiles of Rivers from 1966 and 1968, explaining Joan's “Can We Talk?" catchphrase, and recalling the one time Rivers hosted “SNL,” in 1983.

Sarah Silverman insults Jimmy Kimmel in talking about her “Masters of Sex” boyfriend Michael Sheen
“I don’t think I ever knew what love was” before dating him, Silverman tells Kimmel. “I don’t think I’ve ever been in love before, I realize.” PLUS: Silverman talks bringing pot to the Emmys, and Kimmel gets Erin Andrews and NFL players to read mean tweets.

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Late-night hosts pay tribute to Joan Rivers

Late-night hosts pay tribute to Joan Rivers
David Letterman called her a “real pioneer,” Jimmy Fallon choked up recalling getting a kiss from Rivers on his first “Tonight Show,” Seth Meyers recalled having Rivers on as a guest a month ago, and Jon Stewart paid tribute to her in his moment of zen. PLUS: Kimmel and Sarah Silverman remember Joan, who e-mailed Silverman last week congratulating her for her Emmy.

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