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<p>Kirsten Dunst's fine with the end of the world in the piercing new film 'Melancholia' from director Lars Von Trier</p>

Kirsten Dunst's fine with the end of the world in the piercing new film 'Melancholia' from director Lars Von Trier

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Review: Kirsten Dunst is piercing in Von Trier's apocalyptic 'Melancholia'

The director and the actress both reach new heights together

The rapturous sound of Wagner's "Tristan un Isolde" wraps around the audience as surreal images of the end of the world unfold in slow motion.  Kirsten Dunst, gaunt and adult in a way we've never seen before, stands at the center of the chaos, almost bathing in it.  Before we ever see the title of the film, a hand-written scrawl with the director's name above it in equal size, Lars Von Trier's "Melancholia" has already offered up a more ravishing experience than most of the films I've seen this year, and at that point, he's just getting warmed up.

I have an on-again/off-again relationship with the work of Von Trier.  I remember a great deal of buzz before the American release of "Zentropa," and by the time I walked out of it, I was ready to write him off entirely.  Nothing about the film appealed to me.  Then someone showed me his earlier film "The Element Of Crime," and I got interested again.  His mini-series "The Kingdom" convinced me that there was a disturbingly dark wit at play in his work, and 1996's "Breaking The Waves" absolutely pulverized me emotionally.  It remains one of my favorite films of that entire decade, punishing as it is.  I'm not a fan of "The Idiots" or "Manderlay," and "Dogville" was an experiment I liked but didn't love.  "Dancer in The Dark" is one of those films that I am fairly sure I admired, but that I never ever want to sit through again.  His experimental movie "The Five Obstructions" is one of the canniest films about filmmaking I've ever seen, a way of illustrating just how much any one thing can affect the entire outcome of a piece of collaborative art.  And with "Antichrist," it felt like he pushed shock as far as he possibly could, not to destroy his audience, but hopefully to destroy himself.  Even when I don't like something he makes, I find I am compelled to examine it, sometimes more than once.

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<p>Matthew Morrison</p>

Matthew Morrison

Credit: AP Photo

Matthew Morrison dumps his own tour to join New Kids and Backstreet Boys

'Glee' star makes the announcement on 'Good Morning America'

Matthew Morrison is ditching his own solo tour to join a pair of teen idols on the road this summer. Today, the “Glee” star announced during a “Good Morning America” appearance that he would be opening for the conjoined New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys. See the announcement below and watch Robin Roberts squeal like a tween.

While it means he won’t get the glory and will play to a lot of empty seats as folks rush from work to the venue, it also means he’ll get in front of a lot more people than he would have on his own. His tour was in 2,000-3,000-seat theaters; the NKOTBSB outing is a mix of arenas and even stadiums.

For those folks who were on the early part of the tour, you may be lucky. Since Morrison’s tour started June 18 and the New Kids/BSB tour doesn’t begin until July 6, some of the earlier shows, including New York’s Beacon Theater performance, are still on the books.

Morrison first date with the boy bands will be July 6 at Anaheim’s Honda Center. He will be on the tour through Aug. 6 in London, Canada, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Morrison’s self-titled solo album is expected to enter the Billboard 200 in the mid-20s on Wednesday.

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<p>Javier Colon and Angela Wolff battle on Tuesday's 'The Voice'</p>
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Javier Colon and Angela Wolff battle on Tuesday's 'The Voice'

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'The Voice' - The Battles, Part 2

How did this week's four Battles go?

I've been up since 5 a.m. covering TV's upfronts, so it's either going to be a blessing or a curse to get to turn off my brain for an hour to watch eight people scream-yell at each other in Tuesday (May 17) night's second round of Battles on "The Voice."

Let's see how things turn out, after the break...

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Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy of "Dancing with the Stars"

Kirstie Alley and Maks Chmerkovskiy of "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'Dancing with the Stars' Results - The Final Three

Stevie Nicks performs and another couple gets the boot

I hate to say this, but I suspect Ralph is going home, although I can’t count out Kirstie getting the boot. Admitting you were once a big cokehead on national television (not something she’s ever kept a secret or anything, but might surprise some viewers) is either a fabulous Oprah-worthy way of bonding with viewers or a huge mistake. We’ll find out.

Len requests Chelsea and Mark’s rumba. Even the second time around this is still pretty hot, have to say, which isn’t something I often think about dances that involve a shroud. It’s kind of like watching someone get their groove on at a funeral, though it’s hardly the weirdest thing Chelsea’s had to wear on this show. Anyway, Mark has done a good job of choreographing outside of the box this season and even though it tends to get Len’s knickers in a twist, it’s served Chelsea well. And there’s really nothing wrong with getting Len’s knickers in a twist anyway.
Full recap of Tuesday's (May 17) "Dancing with the Stars" after the break...
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<p>Lea Michele of 'Glee'</p>
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Lea Michele of 'Glee'

Credit: Mike Yarish/Glee

Recap: 'Glee' - 'Funeral'

A sudden death highlights both the strengths and shortcomings of the show's second season

There are some weeks in which “Glee” is the gift that keeps on giving. Not from a viewing perspective, but a writing perspective. It’s never much of a struggle to write about the show, even if it’s often a struggle to figure out what the heck is supposed to be going on in a particular hour as an audience member. “Funeral” contains a little bit of what’s great about the show, and a little bit of what’s horrible about it, but mostly this episode will be remembered spending its second-to-last episode of the year aping another FOX hit.

[Full recap of Tuesday’s (May 17) “Glee” after the break…]

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<p>Rachael Taylor, Minka Kelly and Annie Ilonzeh of 'Charlie's Angels'&nbsp;</p>
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Rachael Taylor, Minka Kelly and Annie Ilonzeh of 'Charlie's Angels' 

Credit: ABC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 73

Dan and Alan discuss ABC, FOX and NBC's upfront presentations


Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls. Time for a one-day-delayed installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
With Alan zipping around Manhattan on Monday for FOX and NBC's upfront presentations, there was no chance to podcast and we wanted to wait until after ABC announced today, hence the late hour. 
The result is roughly an hour-and-twenty minutes of upfronts conversation, covering NBC, FOX and ABC giving first impressions of their schedules and the little bits we've seen of their new shows. With any luck, we'll find time to podcast again on Friday so that we can give similar depth to CBS and The CW.
Here's the breakdown:
NBC's Upfront -- 06:00 - 36:40
FOX's Upfront -- 36:45 - 53:30
ABC's Upfront -- 53:35 - 01:20:30

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.]

And here's the podcast...


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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 73: Upfront Week, part 1: NBC, FOX & ABC

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 73: Upfront Week, part 1: NBC, FOX & ABC

Alan and Dan talk about the first few days of the network upfronts


Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be two different Upfront Week editions of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, in which Dan and I talk about the many, many, many, many scheduling moves and new show clips we've seen over the last couple of days. The run-down:

NBC's Upfront -- 06:00 - 36:40
FOX's Upfront -- 36:45 - 53:30
ABC's Upfront -- 53:35 - 01:20:30
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us at and/or if you have questions you want answered on the show. Please put the word "podcast" in your subject line to make it easy to track them down amid the hundreds of random press releases we get every day.
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<p>Disco Biscuits</p>

Disco Biscuits

Kaskade, Crystal Method and Disco Biscuits headline Identity Festival

Electronic traveling show will hit 20 cities starting in August

Most of the focus is on the multi-day festivals such as Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, but there are still a few traveling multi-artist tours making the rounds this summer.

Electronic-music festival Identity will play 20 outdoor amphitheaters starting with Aug. 11 at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Indianapolis.

Appearing on the fest are such electronica luminaries as Kaskade, the Crystal Method, Steve Aoki, Pretty Lights, Rusko, Avicii and Disco Biscuits (who definitely tread that jam band/electronica line).

Ticket  and venue info is available at

Identity is billing itself as the sole electronic-only festival, but there is, of course, the Electric Daisy Carnival, which also caters to that musical genre. The Electric Daisy Carnival is holding five raves this summer, some are single day, others are three days. As you may recall, a girl died at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles last year after overdosing on Ecstasy. The festival moved its Los Angeles date to Las Vegas this year.



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Listen: New Lady Gaga track 'Marry the Night' bows in Farmville

Listen: New Lady Gaga track 'Marry the Night' bows in Farmville

Do you want to m-m-m-marry it?

Well, if you love the night so much, why don't you m-m-m-marry it?

This song comes courtesy of Mother Monster's own version of Facebook game Farmville: GaGaville. I see what you did there.

Because of the game company's dibs on premiering it, I suspect the stream below will be removed from YouTube in about five minutes. I urge you to press on, be not disheartened.

I'm so sick of Lady Gaga. This thing -- this album -- finally comes out on May 23.

[Stream -- to be inevitably removed by Interscope -- after the jump...]

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Song Of The Day: It's 'Always Spring' in I'm From Barcelona's new video

Song Of The Day: It's 'Always Spring' in I'm From Barcelona's new video

Album 'Forever Today' out, well, today

I'm going to get my favorite part of this announcement out of the way first. I'm From Barcelona, who are not from Barcelona, have their own Etsy shop. I love these goods, I love the new take on merch, I feel as twee as a Flintstone vitamin.

OK: Now for the meat in this good news sandwich. The Swedish indie-pop crew has released its new album "Forever Today," well, today, and in celebration have unleashed a very sunny music video to the set's second single. "Always Spring" reminds you that it's always happy hour summer somewhere, and that it doesn't take a good singer to be a great frontman. Emanuel Lundgren takes us by the hand on a countryside jaunt and bike ride.

The thing appears to be made from an iPhone video, while Lundgren's mustache may be the worst (read: best) photo-bomber ever. It's sweet.

"Forever Today" is the follow-up to 2008's "Who Killed Harry Houdini?".

[Video after the jump...]

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<p>These paintings were done by Kim Ki-Duk during a happier period in his life.&nbsp; A period before he made the insufferable 'Arirung'</p>

These paintings were done by Kim Ki-Duk during a happier period in his life.  A period before he made the insufferable 'Arirung'

Credit: Finecut

Review: Kim Ki-Duk's hyper-personal 'Arirang' dares you to stay seated

At what point does genuine depression turn into miserable self-pity?

While I'm busy kicking my cinematic heroes in the balls today, I might as well finally share some thoughts on the new film by Kim Ki-Duk.

Since seeing "The Isle" at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001, I've greatly admired this outrageous, ambitious Korean director, and several of his films have become favorites of mine in the years since.  In particular, I adore "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring," a meditative piece that seemed to mark a new maturity for him.  For the last three years, though, he's been suffering from a crippling depression that has kept him away from filmmaking, due in large part to a near-fatal accident involving an actress on the set of "Dream," his last film. 

This is not a narrative film, but a documentary of sorts, a diary of depression as he tries to deal with his artistic block and his newly discovered fears about what could go wrong while making a movie.  It is a nakedly personal film, and it is also almost completely unwatchable.

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<p>Amos Lee</p>

Amos Lee

Watch: Amos Lee's visions of white in 'Flower' music video

New single features No. 1 album-maker's strong pipes

It was kind of hard to fathom it, when Amos Lee came out with a No. 1-selling album "Mission Bell" on The Billboard 200 earlier this year. Granted, sales required for a No. 1 aren't what they used to be, and it marked a record low, but then again, how many No. 1 albums do you have, chump?

Anyway, it's easy to see why people like the New York singer-songwriter, particularly with the light feather new "Flower," the video to which dropped this week.

I was a big fan of initial single "Windows Are Rolled Down." There's something so harmless about his soul songs and unfiltered acoustic guitar. "Flower" would be largely unforgivable for that meh-inducing first line, "My heart is like a flower / That blooms every hour / I believe in the power / Of love," were it not for the strength in its melody. 

Its accompanying clip is equally hate-melting, with an adventure in white-wash and paper folding. Lee may not be impressed with how he's portrayed on paper, but the story takes it time and lays back, just like the track does.

Lee is on tour with a slew of major headliners, including Adele, Lucinda Williams and Calexico (that band's co-founder Joey Burns produced "Mission Bell"). Check all dates here.

[Video after the jump...]

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