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<p>Edie Falco in &quot;Nurse Jackie.&quot;</p>

Edie Falco in "Nurse Jackie."

Credit: Showtime

'Nurse Jackie' - 'Game On': Don't rain on my parade

What did everybody think of the season 3 premiere?

I offered up some very brief thoughts on the new season of "Nurse Jackiein this morning's column. The show is what it is, and that's just good enough for me to watch from time to time but not good enough for me to make it appointing viewing and blogging. No point in making the same complaints over and over again. So I'll likely do what I did last year and just let the season play out and then check back in after the finale.

But for those of you who watched the season 3 premiere, what did you think?


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<p>Chris Hemsworth tries to draw a sword... er, a hammer... from a stone in this summer's 'Thor'</p>

Chris Hemsworth tries to draw a sword... er, a hammer... from a stone in this summer's 'Thor'

Credit: Paramount/Marvel Studios

New 'Hangover' and 'Thor' posters make it feel like summer's here

An IMAX exclusive and a close-up look at the morning after

It's summer, right?

I get confused because of the way I see movies.  My schedule is not the same as the calendar schedule, and it leads to some confusion about when things are coming out and how soon they're going to be screening for the general public.

When I start seeing all the marketing materials for the summer movies kicking into high gear, it makes me feel like the season is actually starting instead of still a month or more away.  Today, there are two new posters out for May releases, and they both do a nice job of selling tone.

So far, I like that they're playing things understated for the campaign for "The Hangover Part II."  There's no reason to play hardball with an audience when you're making a sequel to the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time.  I like that the poster is just an image for the four guys looking pretty much worn down and burnt out.  I still laugh every time I see Ed Helms and his Tyson-style face tattoo, and it's looking more and more like that monkey is this movie's equivalent to the baby in the first movie.

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<p>'Body of Proof' star Dana Delany</p>

'Body of Proof' star Dana Delany

Credit: ABC

HitFix Interview: Dana Delany talks 'Body of Proof'

Emmy winner and 'Desperate Housewives' veteran discusses her new ABC drama
There's a school of oft-repeated conventional wisdom that says that the only place for actresses over 40 to get a meaty leading role is on cable.
By that questionable logic, "Body of Proof" should be on TNT or FX or, mostly likely, on Showtime. 
"Body of Proof" features Dana Delany as Dr. Megan Hunt, a prodigiously talented neurosurgeon who becomes a Medical Examiner after an accident leaves her unable to operate at her former peak. Megan has a failed marriage and a damaged relationship with her young daughter and she also has an ego that causes her to butt heads with the detectives she can usually out-think.
It's a fantastic character for the 55-year-old Delany. 
It's also the lead role on a network TV show.
"Body of Proof" premieres on ABC on Tuesday (March 29) at 10 p.m. after the season's first "Dancing with the Stars" results show.
I caught up with the "China Beach" Emmy winner last week to talk about this complicated new character, the significance of playing the role on a network and the advantages of having "Body of Proof" pushed to midseason.
Click through...
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<p>Thom Yorke handing out The Universal Sigh in London today (March 28)</p>

Thom Yorke handing out The Universal Sigh in London today (March 28)

Radiohead hands out free newspaper promoting King Of Limbs

What's inside of The Universal Sigh, and what is it good for?

Radiohead completists, rejoice: there's another damn thing you get to collect.

The band has released the first edition -- its only edition -- of the Universal Sigh newspaper, which is less an actual newspaper than a 'zine in tabloid form with newsprint. It arrived today overseas and will be handed out in select locations and cities tomorrow in the U.S. in promotion of the second-round release of the band's latest "King of Limbs" album.

Universal Sigh is not the "newspaper album" that will apparently come with the deluxe order of "King of Limbs," but is its own entity and website, to which fans can post pictures of themselves holding the thing.

Contained are drawing, pictures, stories and poetry. Rip It Up, based in New Zealand, was among one of the first to get their hands on one of the papers, and has posted a .pdf version of Universal Sigh.

"In addition to a wealth of exclusive artwork by Zachariah Wildwood and Donald Twain, THE UNIVERSAL SIGH features contributions from acclaimed writers Robert MacFarlane (author of the award-winning Mountains of the Mind and The Wild Places, as well as The Old Ways, due out 2012 via Penguin) and Jay Griffiths (winner of the Discover award for best new non-fiction award for Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time, and whose other acclaimed works include Wild: An Elemental Journey, Anarchipelago, and A Love Letter from a Stray Moon)," a release says of the contributions.

But if you really loved Radiohead, you wouldn't be satisfied with just that, hrm, would you?

The select spots -- like at record shops -- that the newspaper will be available are posted on the site (c'mon, guys, its not like Brooklyn's like Staten). Its another way that Radiohead has been able to reach fans at all levels -- the mp3 version of album was available without much waiting a mere six weeks ago, priced just below $10. Tomorrow, there will be vinyl, CD and digital retail versions up. The deluxe drops in May.

This little gesture is an expansion on the band's aesthetic artistic work -- Zachariah Wildwood and Donald Twain appear to be the new alter-ego pen-names of longtime collaborator Stanley Donwood and Thom Yorke -- a completion of vision that's free, and a digression from having to actually listen to a Radiohead album in order to appreciate Radiohead. Yorke may even be literally handing you your copy, too, if he does an encore of his appearance in London today.

I still listen to "King of Limbs," though I still prefer other Radiohead albums over it. But the Universal Sigh handout intrigues me, like something in its pages is the start of a game that will move somewhere into the pit of the internet, or a there's still further codes of "Limbs" in need of cracking.

What do you think of the ploy? Will you be in line for one?

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 66: 'The Killing,' 'Body of Proof,' 'Camelot' and more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 66: 'The Killing,' 'Body of Proof,' 'Camelot' and more

Alan and Dan also review 'The Borgias,' 'Chaos,' 'Nurse Jackie' and 'United States of Tara'


It's Monday, which means it's time for a new Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, a particularly busy installment in which Dan and I review seven different series, including two Showtime veterans and a passel of new stuff. The run-down: 

"Nurse Jackie" -- 01:50 - 11:40
"United States of Tara" -- 11:40 - 20:20
"Body of Proof" -- 20:25 - 28:13
"Chaos" -- 28:15 - 35:40
"Camelot" -- 35:40 - 44:40
"The Borgias" -- 44:45 - 50:30
"The Killing" -- 50:30 - 01:03:30
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>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Credit: AP Photo/Tony Avelar

Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa spring forth with March 29 releases

Pearl Jam reissues also highlight busy album slate

Britney Spears’ “Femme Fatale” will likely suck all the air out of the room for the plethora of other March 29 releases, but there’s a little something here for everyone. For headbangers, we’ve got new sets from Sum 41 and Cavalera Conspiracy. Nerdrockers can chew on a new Mountain Goats album and stoners can vege out to a new Snoop Dogg. Plus, Pearl Jam has something old and new for fans as part of the Seattle band’s ongoing 20th anniversary party. And just a reminder--if you'd prefer Radiohead's "The King of Limbs" as a physical CD, this is your week.

Cavalera Conspiracy, “Blunt Force Trauma” (Roadrunner): The Cavalera brothers, Max and Iggor, reunite for their second Cavalera Conspiracy album, the follow-up to 2008’s “Inflikted.” How loud do you think it can go? Think Sepultura and then go to 11.

Beth Ditto, “Beth Ditto EP” (Deconstruction): Gossip lead singer goes on a busman’s holiday for her first official side project to collaborate with Simian Mobile Disco. SMD fans know she already collaborated with the duo on “Cruel Intentions” from its 2009 “Temporary Pleasures” album.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Eva Green of 'Camelot'</p>

Eva Green of 'Camelot'

Credit: Starz

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 66

Dan and Alan talk 'Camelot,' 'The Killing,' 'Body of Proof' and much more


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls.
It's a busy week on the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
We've got five new shows premiering between cable and the networks, plus the returns of Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" and "United States of Tara."
We were a little worried the podcast might be extra-epic. It isn't. It's just a standard hour-plus.
Here's the breakdown:
"Nurse Jackie" -- 01:50 - 11:40
"United States of Tara" -- 11:40 - 20:20
"Body of Proof" -- 20:25 - 28:13
"Chaos" -- 28:15 - 35:40
"Camelot" -- 35:40 - 44:40
"The Borgias" -- 44:45 - 50:30
"The Killing" -- 50:30 - 01:03:30

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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<p>Natalie Portman as the White Swan in Darren Aronofsky's &quot;Black Swan.&quot;</p>

Natalie Portman as the White Swan in Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Darren Aronofsky speaks out on 'Black Swan' body double controversy

Watch the movie's special effects reel and judge for yourself

Natalie Portman may be keeping quiet, but her "Black Swan" director Darren Aronofsky isn't.  After Sarah Lane, Portman's body double, claimed in an interview Friday the Oscar winner had only performed 5% of her full body dance sequences on screen Aronofsky has issued a statement to EW making it clear the American Ballet Theatre soloist knows not of what she speaks.

“Here is the reality. I had my editor count shots. There are 139 dance shots in the film. 111 are Natalie Portman untouched. 28 are her dance double Sarah Lane. If you do the math that’s 75% Natalie Portman. What about duration? The shots that feature the double are wide shots and rarely play for longer than one second. There are two complicated longer dance sequences that we used face replacement. Even so, if we were judging by time over 90% would be Natalie Portman," Aronofsky says.

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<p>Toni Collette in &quot;United States of Tara.&quot;</p>

Toni Collette in "United States of Tara."

Credit: Showtime

Review: Showtime's 'United States of Tara' & 'Nurse Jackie' take different paths in season 3

'Tara' wants to change and 'Jackie' doesn't

The entertainment media (of which I am an unapologetic member) loves its trend stories, and one of the popular trend pieces a few years back was about how Showtime had passed HBO as the standard-bearer for quality programming on pay cable. HBO was in its fallow post-"Sopranos" period, while Showtime kept rolling out one attention-getting new series after another, from "Weeds" and "Dexter" through to "Nurse Jackie" and "United States of Tara," which both begin their third seasons tonight at, respectively, 10 and 10:30.   

Somewhere along the way, though, HBO mounted a furious comeback, thanks to the popular success of "True Blood" and critical acclaim for the likes of "Boardwalk Empire" and "Treme." And at the same time, the formula with which most of the Showtime series had been created - some combination of noted character actors plus high-concept premises, often placed in a half-hour format that somehow classified laugh-light series as comedies - has become to seem as conventional and tired as the stuff the broadcast networks churn out season after season. Most Showtime series burn hot, burn bright, then hang around for a very long time, flickering on and off, because it's bad business sense to let them simply burn out. (Case in point: "Dexter," which will never change a darned thing about its formula so long as it's the channel's biggest hit.)

That's not always the case, though, as demonstrated by the contrast between tonight's two returning shows. "Nurse Jackie" exemplifies the stuck-in-neutral, idea-over-execution problems that ultimately plague most Showtime series, while "United States of Tara" has found a way to transcend arguably the channel's most gimmicky premise.

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<p>Has &quot;Dexter&quot;&nbsp;Michael C. Hall just been voting for his show over and over the last few weeks?</p>

Has "Dexter" Michael C. Hall just been voting for his show over and over the last few weeks?

Credit: Showtime

Hulu's Best in Show heads into its final round

Can nice guy Chuck take out serial killer Dexter?

And so it has come down to this in Hulu's Best in Show contest: "Chuck" vs. "Dexter" for the win.

In one corner, you have sweetness and light, nerds and the women who love them, comedy and pop culture references and unapologetic product placement. In the other you have darkness and dysfunction, a serial killer who can't find a place in this world, prominent guest stars and unapologetic repetition of the same plot structure year after year. I wouldn't consider either one a serious contender for the best show on television right now (though I'd at least think about "Chuck" in that discussion), but it's a fairly interesting contrast in style as we get to the end.

At the same time, what those two shows have demonstrated that they have in common are fanbases who will vote early, vote often and knock out everything that gets in their way. "Chuck" was even able to overcome my vote for "Community" in the last round, staying neck and neck with the Greendale gang for most of the week before pushing ahead to a comfortable win over the weekend - and that was in a week when the show had aired an episode that (based on the comments in my review) many of you didn't like very much. There was definitely a sentiment among the "Chuck" fans that "Community" had already gotten renewed so their show "needed" the win more, and while I think the impact this contest will have on renewal will be somewhere between slim and none, I admire the commitment.

If you've been reading me for a while, you know my vote's going to "Chuck" here - and not just because of this awesome fan version of the credits, "Greatest American Hero"-style, that showed up on YouTube last week:

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<p>The kids from 'Attack The Block' may seem scary at first, but that's because you haven't seen the monsters from outer space that they have to fight.</p>

The kids from 'Attack The Block' may seem scary at first, but that's because you haven't seen the monsters from outer space that they have to fight.

Credit: Optimum Releasing

SXSW surprise 'Attack The Block' coming to LA for one night and we've got your tickets

30 of you will have a chance to see one of the year's coolest films early

Have I mentioned yet that I love "Attack The Block"?

It's hard sometimes when you see a movie at a film festival that you fell head over heels in love with, particularly when that movie does not have a US distributor lined up.  If you're in the UK, you'll see "Attack The Block" on May 13, 2011.  But if you're here in the States, there's nothing.  No release date.  No one set to release the film.  And so far, the conversations we're hearing in the press include such lunacy as subtitling the English-language movie for a US release or, even scarier, a remake.  Which is hopefully not a conversation anyone actually involved in releasing the film ever really has.  Nobody's finding a better cast of real kids than this one, and nobody's going to do what Joe Cornish did as a director.

Let me be clear: if you remake "Attack The Block" for the US market, I hope you get an entire colony of fire ants in your urethra.  And I hope they're very, very angry.

If you live in Los Angeles, I have a lovely surprise for you.  This coming Thursday night, we're going to be participating in a special screening of the film, and I'm authorized to offer 15 pairs of tickets to you, the viewing public.  You want to see it now?  You want to avoid a huge wait?  You want to see what it looks like before somebody tries to make it "better" for an American audience?  Here's your chance.

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<p>Guy Pearce as Monty Baragon in &quot;Mildred Pierce.&quot;</p>

Guy Pearce as Monty Baragon in "Mildred Pierce."

Credit: HBO

'Mildred Pierce' - 'Part One & Two': Pie in the sky

What did everybody think of the HBO miniseries?

I offered up my own review of HBO's "Mildred Pierceon Friday. Now it's your turn. We're not even halfway through yet - there's still nearly four hours, plus the arrival of Evan Rachel Wood as an older Veda, to go over the next two Sundays - but I'm curious how y'all found the first two chapters, and whether you intend to stick around for the remaining three.

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