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Paranormal Activity 2 victim

This woman did not close her mouth for an hour and a half

Watch: 'Paranormal Activity 2' audience in LA reacts in nightvision

Getting a free screening means you may be in their commercial

So I woke up this morning to a news alert about some raw video of the "Paranormal Activity 2" screening, including that night-vision stuff of people in the audience sh**ting their pants at the scary parts. It's amazing how effective that footage was in the trailers last year. This stuff is really fun, it's fascinating and voyeuristic to watch people squirm as they get scared.

Given that Drew liked the movie, I threw together a look at the evening for you all to see. Are any of our VIP pass winners in the video? Let us know! And remember, being lured into a free screening may get you on national TV, looking like a scare-dy-cat!

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<p>Neon Trees</p>

Neon Trees

Watch: Neon Trees' new video takes you back to '1983'

Bring your red leather jacket

In a Top 40 radio climate totally dominated by solo R&B-influenced males and solo females, alternative rock band Neon Trees has done the near impossible and scored a Top 20  hit with the catchy “Animal”  (In part, no doubt, due to its placement in a television commercial for Las Vegas). They are the only rock band in the Top 20.

We'll see if they can make it two in a row with their new single, "1983," the video for which premiered today. “1983”  sounds strikingly similar to “Animal” with its big chorus. The video opens like the scene in “Big,” where Tom Hanks’ character visits a fortune-telling machine. In this case, lead singer Tyler Glenn wants to go back to, you guessed it, 1983. He gets transporting to a carnival. He even gets to  wear a red, Michael Jackson leather jacket.  There’s really not much more to it than that. Bright lights, small city. Try not to be distracted by the obvious product placement by soft drink Crush.  Nothing subtle about that one.

“1983” debuts on Billboard’s alternative chart this week at No. 37. There’s a performance clip of the song that was making the rounds this Spring (you can see it here), but the official video arrived today--- 27 years behind schedule.

 

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<p>M. Night Shyamalan, seen here on the set of 'Devil' with the Dowdle Brothers, may direct his first piece of material written by someone else if 'One Thousand A.E.' happens</p>

M. Night Shyamalan, seen here on the set of 'Devil' with the Dowdle Brothers, may direct his first piece of material written by someone else if 'One Thousand A.E.' happens

Credit: Universal

M. Night Shyamalan's secret new SF film will be first not written by him

Gary Whitta's the author this time, so what does that mean for Night?

Can you feel it?  The wind just changed direction, and I have a feeling it's going to be a long time before that wind changes back.

Since the release of "The Sixth Sense," M. Night Shyamalan has been calling his own shots, and he's grown a reputation for himself as a wee bit of a control freak.  And by "wee bit," I mean "planet-sized."  If you've never read The Man Who Heard Voices, the book that was written by Michael Bamberger about the development and production of "The Lady In The Water," you should.  It's an amazing glimpse at a man who is still wracked by insecurity even after having a career-affirming mega-success or two, and who is so wounded by the development process on his early film "Wide Awake" and the unproduced "Labor Of Love" that he has never been able to fully embrace collaboration again.

That may be changing, though, and I consider it very promising news, indeed.  When Shyamalan first started gaining momentum in Hollywood, it was because of his skills as a writer.  If you go back and look at his early scripts on the page, like "The Sixth Sense" or his draft of "Stuart Little," what comes across first is the economy of his writing, and the elegance of how he could communicate an idea.  Over time, he's become more and more confident as a director, but in the process, he's lost touch with his own talents as a writer, and I'd say his last few feature scripts have been the worst work of his career.

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<p>Bobby (Brian Van Holt)&nbsp;has a botched landing in Jules' pool on &quot;Cougar Town.&quot;</p>

Bobby (Brian Van Holt) has a botched landing in Jules' pool on "Cougar Town."

Credit: ABC

'Cougar Town' - 'Keeping Me Alive': Truth or Penny Can?

Bobby and Laurie's stories get emotional, but only just enough to work

A quick review of last night's "Cougar Town" coming up just as soon as I get pregnant trying on bikinis...

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<p>Katie Featherston returns for 'Paranormal Activity 2,' and while that's good news for the audience, I'm not entirely sure the other characters would agree.</p>

Katie Featherston returns for 'Paranormal Activity 2,' and while that's good news for the audience, I'm not entirely sure the other characters would agree.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: 'Paranormal Activity 2' more than lives up to last year's surprise hit

Quickie horror sequel turns out to be a smart and scary ride

Anyone who walks into "Paranormal Activity 2" skeptical would be well within their rights.

Think about it.  The original, released theatrically last year, was a sort of lightning strike of indie inspiration, a shot-on-video film that used one house as a set and that managed to wring some real scares out of something as simple as two characters and some sound effects.  It was actually made two years earlier, and it took that entire time for people… specifically Paramount… to figure out how to sell this $11,000 film.  They pulled off an aggressive campaign and opened the film to impressive business, even managing to dent the previously undentable "Saw" franchise.

Releasing a sequel a year later would seem to be a sign that the studio is cashing in, and that this is something for them to squeeze as quickly as they can.  It's no stretch to imagine that whatever Paramount was rushing onto screens this year was going to be a pale imitation of the first, which was already a fairly lean little trick of a movie.

So how is the second one genuinely scary, and why do I feel like this is a near-perfect example of how to learn from a first film when building a second film?

One thing that made tonight's viewing so fun was the way Paramount has kept pretty much all story details under wraps, including the time-frame for this film.  When they started showing a few snippets (because it's not fair to call them clips based on how short they were) from the film in the last few weeks, it was surprising to see Katie Featherston show up again.  Considering the end of the first film, that isn't what I expected.  I thought we'd be seeing a brand-new family and just more of the same.

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<p>Jay (Ed O'Neill) confronts Gloria's (Sofia Vergara) dark side on &quot;Modern Family.&quot;</p>

Jay (Ed O'Neill) confronts Gloria's (Sofia Vergara) dark side on "Modern Family."

Credit: ABC

'Modern Family' - 'Unplugged': The curious incident of the Gloria in the night-time

A silly but funny Jay/Gloria/Manny subplot, but not much else to recommend

A quick review of last night's "Modern Family" coming up just as soon as I check the rat shovel for signs of dog...

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<p>Some random model and Liz of 'America's Next Top Model'</p>

Some random model and Liz of 'America's Next Top Model'

Credit: Francesco Carrozzini/Pottle Productions Inc

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model' 15 - 'Francesco Carrozzini'

The models compete to be Grammy Girls and portray fashion icons

Can we just give Ann the contract now and avoid the whole awkward presentation of the  yay-we’re-going-to-another-country-bring-in-the-male-models-in-lederhosen? Please? No?

[Full recap of Wednesday's (Oct. 20) "Top Model" after the break...]
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<p>Hank (Donal Logue)&nbsp;and Britt (Michael Raymond-James)&nbsp;help a man with amnesia (Noel Fisher)&nbsp;on &quot;Terriers.&quot;</p>

Hank (Donal Logue) and Britt (Michael Raymond-James) help a man with amnesia (Noel Fisher) on "Terriers."

Credit: FX

'Terriers' - 'Missing Persons': My secret identity

An amnesia case hits home for Hank in another great Donal Logue showcase

As I've been saying for the early part of this week, life has gotten in the way of TV reviewing for a little while, so some very brief thoughts on tonight's superb "Terriers" coming up just as soon as I recite the first eight numbers of the Fibonacci sequence...

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Ghostface

Ghostface on the set of 'Scream 4' courtesy of the director

Credit: Wes Craven

Watch: Ghostface is back in official trailer for 'Scream 4'

Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox are back and joined by new stars

A few days after this trailer premiered, appropriately enough, at "Spike's 2010 Scream Awards" and just two days after a crappy bootleg of said trailer made the rounds, we have the official trailer for Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson's latest installment in the "Scream" saga. ("exclusively" on Yahoo today)

"Scream 4" looks to review some familiar but much beloved territory. Ten years after the last installment, (wow, really?) Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is once again tormented by a demented knife wielding maniac with a sense of humor and a love of horror movies.

Returning are the franchise's surviving regulars, Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courtney Cox Arquette as well as a few fresh faces such as Hayden Panettiere and Rory Culkin. In the trailer, Culkin has the coveted role of explaining "the rules." Or the horror movie conventions that Ghostface will tend to follow this time around.

Looks like fun, watch the trailer embedded above and let us know what you think. Are you ready for more, or over it? 

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<p>Jud (or &quot;Fabio&quot;) of 'Survivor: Nicaragua'</p>

Jud (or "Fabio") of 'Survivor: Nicaragua'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Nicaragua' - 'Worst Case Scenario'

The claws come out as both Tribes face Tribal Council
Welcome to another week of "Survivor: Nicaragua," the season formerly known as "Survivor: Jimmy Johnson Edition," until Jimmy Johnson was voted out, and "Survivor: Old vs. Young," until the age-based twist was eliminated last week. As Wednesday's (Oct. 20) episode begins, it's more like "Survivor: Who The Heck's On Which Tribe?" 
 
Let's see if clarity ensues... After the break...
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<p>Weezer</p>

Weezer

What do Weezer, Elvis and Kermit the Frog all have in common?

They all recorded songs by some of the world's best songwriters

The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards once told me that the key to songwriting is “keeping your antenna up.” It’s a concept that almost every songwriter I’ve ever interviewed has repeated in some fashion.  They may be the ones with the songwriter credit, but  they are really just a conduit for something flowing through them.  Or, as Paul Williams put it Tuesday night at the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) evening at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, “There’s something in the song that didn’t come from us.”

That, however, does not mean that there aren’t often wonderfully amusing stories accompanied by the creation of the music. The Oscar-winning Williams was joined by some of the best songwriters to ever take pen to paper, as they told tales about how their most famous songs came about. The event heralded the opening of SHOF’s permanent exhibit at the museum.

The most amusing story came from the legendary Lamont Dozier, who, as part of the songwriter trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland, has written more than 50 No. 1s, most of them for Motown artists like Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross and the Supremes.

“I call this my infidelity song,” the good-natured Dozier told the crowd of his classic, “Stop in the Name of Love.”  “It was  six or seven in the morning. I’d had a couple. I was in a no-tell motel and I heard a knock on the door. My ‘friend’ went out the bathroom window because the woman I was with at the time was known to be a bit of a terror.” Dozier’s girlfriend came in the room and started chewing him out.  “I said, ‘Baby, please. Stop in the name of love!’ She said, ‘That’s not funny.’ I said,’ Wait. Did you hear that cash register?’” He went on to write the song that became a massive hit for the Supremes.

Dozier also told a remarkable story about Marvin Gaye recording “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You). Gaye showed up at the studio with his golf clubs, unhappy to be kept off the links. He groused that he didn’t know why he was there and that he hadn’t received a copy of the song to learn it beforehand. After he heard it, “he was immediately perturbed. He was pissed because the key was too high,” Dozier says, adding with a wink, “We did that on purpose because we knew if he reached for it, he would shine.  He did the song in one take and he just heard it for the first time that day. He was a genius.”

Mac Davis talked about writing songs recorded by  Elvis Presley, including “In the Ghetto,” “A Little Less Conversation” (which he originally wrote for Aretha Franklin) and “Memories.”

Davis first met Presley at a looping session for “A Little Less Conversation,” which appeared in “one of [Elvis’s] worst movies. That narrows it down to 50,” he joked. (The song appeared in 1968’s “Live a Little, Love a Little.”)  Col Tom Parker approached Davis and said, as Davis recalled, “‘You’re a good-looking boy. Let me rub your head.’” A slightly weirded out Davis complied, and Parker said to him, “You go tell everybody  you met Col. Parker and you’re going to be a star.”  He was right.

Despite protestations from his camp,  Presley insisted on recording “In the Ghetto.”  “He fought to record that song,” Davis says. “He was used to listening to Col. Parker. He was no longer No. 1, the Beatles were.  Priscilla’s told this story. They didn’t want him to cut it. They thought it was too political. It was a white guy singing about the ghetto.” “In the Ghetto” didn’t go to No. 1, but it showcased Presley in  totally new light.

Davis most recently wrote with Weezer. “Rivers Cuomo called and asked if I’d write a song with him,” Davis said. “I now have street cred with my kids.”  The clever tune, “Times Flies,” is on Weezer’s new album, “Hurley.”

Nick Ashford, who was joined by his wife and songwriting partner Valerie Simpson, talked about how nervewracking playing a song for Motown founder/chief Berry Gordy could be.  “There was a Motown quality control board,” he said. “It would be Berry and his disciples. Berry looks like Jesus.” Ashford had been summoned to play a song, but was quaking in his boots when the board sent a song by Norman Whitfield, author of such classics as “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “Just My Imagination,” got sent back to the songwriter for more work. Ashford played “You’re All I Need To Get By” and held his breath. “Berry Gordy said, ‘We’re not going to vote on this song. We’re just sending it out.”  The song, recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, became one of the biggest R&B hits of 1968 and was the biggest duet of Gaye’s career.

In a few other tidbits, Hal David, who, with partner Burt Bacharach,  wrote everything from “This Guy’s in Love With You” to “Alfie” and “Close To You,” revealed that “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” was turned down repeatedly before BJ Thomas recorded it for “Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid.” The song went on to win an Oscar.  (David did not say who passed on the song, but according to lore, both Ray Stevens and Bob Dylan declined to record it for the movie).

Williams said that “We’ve Only Just Begun,” a hit for the Carpenters, was originally written as a bank commercial. As much as he loved working with a number of artists, Williams holds a special place in his heart for a piece of felt that turned into his favorite partner: Kermit the Frog, for whom he wrote “The Rainbow Connection.”  Jim Henson gave me the most freedom I’ve ever been given,” he says of his work on “The Muppet Movie.”  “‘The Rainbow Connection’ is my favorite song I’ve ever written.”

In addition to the celebrated songwriters on the stage, there were many in the audience, including Jimmy Webb, who is responsible for my favorite line ever written:  “I need you more than want you/And I want you for all time,” from “Wichita Lineman.”

What do you think is the best song ever written?
 

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<p>Johnny Depp, looking fairly dapper here, reportedly wants to remake 'The Thin Man' with his 'Pirates 4' director Rob Marshall at the helm.</p>

Johnny Depp, looking fairly dapper here, reportedly wants to remake 'The Thin Man' with his 'Pirates 4' director Rob Marshall at the helm.

Credit: AP

The Morning Read: Johnny Depp's thirsty to remake 'The Thin Man' with Rob Marshall

Plus a first 'Cars 2' trailer, 'The Hobbit' is done with NZ, and Gene Simmons versus Anonymous

Welcome to The Morning Read.

Of course Johnny Depp wants to remake "The Thin Man".  He'll get to play another comic lead who spends an entire movie drunk.  It's like Jack Sparrow in a tuxedo, for god's sake.  And since he and Rob Marshall are evidently getting along like a house on fire on "Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" right now, I'd say if Depp really wants him to direct this remake, he will.  Intense jealousy barely begins to describe what I feel towards anyone lucky enough to be involved in this. 

I have a love of the "Thin Man" films, even the weakest of them, that I have for very few other films.  I love Nick and Nora Charles.  Hell, if you go to my Twitter page, my background since day one has been the two or them and Asta, their dog.  There is no greater screen couple, and as much as Depp feels like an easy slam-dunk as Nick Charles, the real key is finding a Nora Charles who gives as good as she gets, and who can be a completely game partner for him.  No easy feat.  This one's still an idea in a movie star's head, an itch he wants scratched, and there's no writer yet, much less a script, so for now, it's an interesting hypothetical.

I can't believe they caught the kid who threatened to kill Matt Stone and Trey Parker over their depiction of the prophet Muhammad on "South Park."  That's sort of amazing.  Anonymity really isn't the shield that people think it is.

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