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Chris Rock explains the inspiration for 'Hammy the Bear' in 'Top Five'

Chris Rock explains the inspiration for 'Hammy the Bear' in 'Top Five'

On his latest success: 'I just did things I normally hadn't done before'

Sometimes if the parts aren't coming to you, you simply need to create them. It's an old story in the entertainment business and the genesis of Chris Rock's fantastic new flick "Top Five."

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<p>New Girl</p>

New Girl

Credit: FOX

Review: 'New Girl' - 'Thanksgiving IV'

Schmidt tries to turn Thanksgiving into a night for everyone to get lucky

A quick review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I'm looking for a fake redhead with a medium-sized neck...

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Turner Classic Movies teams with Disney for 'Treasures from the Disney Vault'
Credit: Disney

Turner Classic Movies teams with Disney for 'Treasures from the Disney Vault'

'Game of Thrones' launches a mysterious Season 5 website

Turner Classic Movies teams with Disney for “Treasures from the Disney Vault”
In exchange for TCM endorsing Disney World’s "Great Movie Ride,” Disney will provide TCM with vintage movies, cartoons, documentaries and episodes of TV series like “Disneyland” and “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” for a new programming block, reports the NY Times.   “Treasures from the Disney  Vault” will be offered by TCM “roughly four to five times a year,” says a TCM exec.


“Game of Thrones” launches a mysterious Season 5 website
Those who sign up at ThreeEyedRaven.com will get a Twitter direct message teasing: "You now have the power of #TheSight. Keep watch for visions of the future."


This season's “Homeland” has become one of the most damning critiques of American foreign policy
In Season 4, Carrie = America and Saul Berenson = America as it imagines itself. PLUS: How would “The Newsroom” cover the events on this season of “Homeland”?


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'Cake' Trailer: Jennifer Aniston Goes Anti-Glam Just in Time for Oscar Season

'Cake' Trailer: Jennifer Aniston Goes Anti-Glam Just in Time for Oscar Season

Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, and Anna Kendrick help her out

Jennifer Aniston famously de-glammed herself for the role of a disheveled pill-popper suffering from post-traumatic stress in the darkly comic "Cake," and now viewers can get a look at the final result in the film's first trailer.

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E! greenlights Joel McHale’s website 'Comments Section' pilot
Credit: E!

E! greenlights Joel McHale’s website 'Comments Section' pilot

'SNL' posts a cut “Def TED Talks” sketch starring Jay Pharoah as Russell Simmons

E! greenlights Joel McHale’s website “Comments Section” pilot
Snarky website comments will be deconstructed on this series hosted by comedian Michael Kosta and produced by McHale under his new “Soup” deal.


Regina King joins FX's “Pariah”
She’ll co-star with Bill Burr as an ex-TV star who finds himself jobless after an on-air meltdown.


“SNL” posts a cut “Def TED Talks” sketch starring Jay Pharoah as Russell Simmons
The Def Jam/TED Talks mashup was dropped from the Cameron Diaz episode. PLUS: “SNL” alum Horatio Sanz starts a “Hooray Show” podcast.


ABC celebrates the “New Sunday Knight”
Check out the poster for “Galavant,” premiering Sunday, Jan. 4.

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Exclusive: Joseph Trapanese scoring 'Divergent' sequel 'Insurgent'

Exclusive: Joseph Trapanese scoring 'Divergent' sequel 'Insurgent'

The composer/arranger catches us up on Kelly Clarkson, M83, 'Annie,' 'Tron' and more

Catching up with Joseph Trapanese is like getting a summary experience for a hustling composer. In the past year, he's scored, worked in sound design and arranged for a diverse array of films, including franchises like "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay" and the "Divergent" series; remakes like "Annie"; a sequel like "The Raid 2"; and original scripts like "Nightcrawler." He's dipped into TV like for "Wonder Woman," and nabbed further video game gigs like he did for racing title "The Crew." On top of all that, he's still active in the pop music sphere, having just completed work with repeat customer Kelly Clarkson and collaborating with acts like M83 for live performances.

I sat down with Trapanese back in January, after "Raid 2" punched Sundance in the face, and even after only 10 months, it was time we caught up. This week, during our chat, Trapanese exclusively revealed that he's on tap as composer for Shailene Woodley-starring "Insurgent," the sequel to "Divergent," out Sept. 14, 2015. The first film, which came out earlier this year, featured music be electronic musician Junkie XL and had Hans Zimmer on as executive music producer (Trapanese did for some additional arranging).

Trapanese also filled us in on what's happening with Clarkson, how scoring for video games is different for film, if "Tron 3" is still in the works and what's happening with "Oblivion" score co-composer Anthony Gonzalez aka M83. Below is our abridged interview.
 

HitFix: Tell me everything about "Insurgent." That's a big deal for you!

Joseph Trapanese: It's a great step forward for me, in terms of scoring a franchise film on my own. It's really exciting to step into a mythology that's going to last over several films, work with a world built over those films... to be part of a franchise like that.

I had already read the books for the first film, and the script, and worked on M83's songs and Ellie Goulding's song for the soundtrack.

How's "Insurgent" going to be different from the first movie?

It's going to connect the world of the film and Tris' mind. The first film was all about Beatrice becoming Tris, coming from a peace-loving community and becoming this warrior. In this movie, she has become a warrior, but there's obviously a bigger war that's going on. We've stepped from beyond a world of just focusing on one woman's journey, and now we're looking at the world in a very different way. We've grown up in this film. It's a bigger concept to be had.

The first film had a lot of sounds in it, very song-driven from artists like Woodkid and Ellie Goulding. It gave the film something to hold on to, to really bring you through the journey. This film, there's a lot more danger and a lot more at stake. We've vacated the song-based soundtrack, relied more on the score. The score is darker and more intense.

But are you still going to be working with guest and featured vocalists? I sure do love Ellie Goulding.

I love Ellie as well. We'll just have to wait and see. Not only can I not talk about it, but I haven't finished the score yet. We've scored about two-thirds to three-quarters of the film, about to dive into the final steps. With digital filmmaking, everything can be changed, which is a good and bad thing. Before, you have to be bound to a decision. Now, it's also great but challenging if,  later in the game, we have to tweak those decisions. We've been working on this since July, slowly. We've been talking about it since March.

Is it also kind of nice, though, to be the only composer?

My goal is whether I'm with another composer or collaborator... it's a team effort to score a film like this. It's always exciting to score, period. I am the sole composer, though, so it's a real challenge.

How's scoring for a video game any different? Talk about "The Crew."

It's extraordinarily different. It is so different day-to-day. You have to break apart the production process and the pipeline. We wanted to make sure we had different sounds for different parts of the game, so I had to make a chart, for each mission, what kind of speed, what kind of sound... it was a nerdy, scientific way to think about it, it's a whole different set of rules.

One thing that got easier as I went along was that I had no pictures. You had to just imagine, one player could take 30 seconds for a level, and someone like me would take 10 minutes, so I thought about loops. Music plays a very different function for these loops.

We also build it differently, adding a second layer of music in addition to the first. I explain it like this: you have a race lap, so you have the base song. When you get to the final lap, there's actually a second layer that makes it more intense more exciting. The classic version of this happening, like for Mario Kart, is you take the same music and just speed it up. For us, we wanted to do something more sophisticated. So the intensity is greater. Those are the types of things that get to the heart of "How was that different?".

In a movie, I go up to a guy and punch him in a scene. In a video game, you could go up to a guy and talk to him and then punch him. The elements are so much more malleable.

What's new with Kelly Clarkson? You guys worked together on [2013's] "Wrapped in Red." Are you working on a lot more pop?

I just wrapped on some arrangements and recording for her new album. I know nothing about when it will be released, but I was with [producers] Greg Kurstin and Jason Halbert. It was really fun to work on Kelly's album again.

And with Greg, he produced the music for the new "Annie" film, so I did some arrangements for that. David Campbell was the lead orchestrator on that project. He's an incredible person when it comes to arranging pop music for orchestra. He did all the songs, and I came in toward the end and did the score with Greg, I arranged and orchestrated the orchestra. That was super fun.

It's been a really, really great year because I've had the pleasure being involved in so many different things. For "Nightcrawler," James Newton Howard asked me to do some additional music production and some interesting sounds, alternate mixes and remixing for that score, and that was super fun. It was Jake Gyllenhaal like nobody's ever seen.

How many tracks did you work on for Clarkson's album? What size of orchestra did you work with?

I did four or five arrangements, I don't know how many will end up on this record. It was a full orchestra. When we first worked on "Wrapped in Red," and when we got a chance to work on her Las Vegas run, it was fun to see when a great pop artist who has rarely seen the full force of the musicians. It goes beyond the big bombastic scope of a whole orchestra -- the big timpani and cymbals thing --  there's a certain humanity you can't replicate when you have 50 or 60 members in a room. That's one thing that led Daft Punk from "Tron Legacy" to [their 2013 album] "Random Access Memories." Even though I didn't work on that album, as a fan, you could tell what a lot of what they did was influenced by working with an orchestra. There's no way to replicate it.

Is there any update on those Joseph Kosinski projects, the Tom Cruise Le Mans film or the follow-up to "Tron: Legacy?"

For that Le Mans project, I would love to be involved if that moves forward. Joe Kosinski, in my book, is one of the greatest working directors out there. Any time he asks me to jump, I say "How high?".

And for "Tron 3," every few months, I hear a rumble from a friend who's either a sound designer or a producer, someone involved who was on "Tron" say, "I hear it's coming... I hear it's coming." I hear it's coming and I know they are actively working on it, but stars have to align for everyone to get the green light. Hopefully that happens soon, because I would love to strike up the band again and do something new for the Tron world.

How's M83 doing?

I know he's in pre-production on his new album, and if he comes calling again... Anthony remains one of my closest collaborators and musical friends. Any time, whenever I see his name pop up on the caller ID, I get very excited. I sure hope we can work together again on this new record.

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Review: 'Penguins of Madagascar' lands some laughs but still feels cynical
Credit: 20th Century Fox/Dreamworks Animation

Review: 'Penguins of Madagascar' lands some laughs but still feels cynical

This seems like the quintessential Dreamworks Animated movie

First, let's state the obvious and get it out of the way. This is a crass piece of corporate product, an animation studio working more as an IP farm than as a storytelling unit, and it exists so that Dreamworks Animation can continue to wring money out of the "Madagascar" franchise. It is a perfect example of marketing driving the machine.

It's also a profoundly silly movie that really isn't even trying to play by the conventional rules of family animation. They nod to creating a sentimental arc between Private (Christopher Knights) and Skipper (Tom McGrath), but they don't dwell on it, and they handle it with a fairly deft touch. The main goal of the movie is just to be ridiculous, and it does that in spades.

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<p>David Oyelowo in &quot;Selma&quot;</p>

David Oyelowo in "Selma"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

David Oyelowo says a higher power told him he would play Martin Luther King Jr.

'I never relented,' the actor says of the project's long journey to the screen

BEVERLY HILLS — Get ready to hear a lot more about actor David Oyelowo. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay's "Selma," which sounded a thunder clap upon arrival at this year's AFI Fest, he exhibits a presence and a commitment that is sure to keep him in the thick of the Best Actor Oscar discussion. And according to him, it was sort of pre-ordained.

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2015 Spirit Awards Nominees: Winners and Losers

2015 Spirit Awards Nominees: Winners and Losers

Just another day for 'Boyhood' and 'Birdman'

No joke, there were a ton of surprises from today's announcement of the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards nominees. That sounds like something someone would write every year after Film Independent reveals the honorees for its awards shrine of American independent cinema, but that's actually not the case.  

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Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon to star in a limited TV series written by David E. Kelley
Credit: Associated Press

Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon to star in a limited TV series written by David E. Kelley

'Hart of Dixie' is returning a month early, on Dec. 15

Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon to star in a limited TV series written by David E. Kelley
The project, "Big Little Liars,” is based on the best-selling novel by Australian author Liane Moriarty about "three mothers of kindergartners whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder.” The project, which will be penned by Kelley and produced by Kidman and Witherspoon, will soon be shopped to various networks.

 

“Hart of Dixie” is returning a month early, on Dec. 15
The Rachel Bilson drama was supposed to begin Season 4 in January, but it’s been moved up to bolster the “Jane the Virgin” fall finale on Dec. 15. After that, “Hart of Dixie” will take a few weeks off and return Jan. 9 in its regular Friday at 8 timeslot.


Jeffrey Dean Morgan to play Joe DiMaggio on Lifetime’s “Marilyn”
He’ll play the New York Yankees legend in Lifetime’s four-hour miniseries on Marilyn Monroe’s family life.


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Garth Brooks cancels Jimmy Fallon and “Today” appearances due to Ferguson unrest
The country music star, who was scheduled to visit "The Tonight Show" on Thanksgiving, wrote on Facebook: “We landed in NY last night to the news of the civil unrest that was going on in our nation. To spend the day promoting our stuff like nothing was wrong, seemed distasteful to me.” He added that his followers should “love one another.”


Ferguson officer Darren Wilson breaks his silence to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos
“World News,” “GMA” and “Nightline” will have excerpts of the exclusive interview over the next day.


Syfy orders reality show “The Bazillion Dollar Club”
The six-episode “docuseries” will follow the creators of the hardware accelerator Highway1.


Jennifer Lawrence recreates “The Vanderpump Rules” intro
Lawrence visited Vanderpump’s Beverly Hills restaurant Pump over the weekend with her “Vanderpump Rules”-loving pals.


“The Walking Dead’s” Robert Kirkman’s biggest regret is the CDC episode from Season 1
"It possibly gave away too much information and was such a big change very early on in the series,” he says.


“The Flash” to face-off with the Reverse Flash
The Dec. 9 episode will feature the Reverse Flash, but don’t expect to learn his true identity anytime soon.


“New Girl" finds Coach a love interest
Actress Meaghan Rath will romance Damon Wayans Jr.’s character in time for Valentine’s Day.


Joy Behar cracks Barbara Walters jokes in front of Barbara Walters
Walters was in attendance for her former “View” co-star’s one-woman show "Me, My Mouth & I."


On British reality TV, Kendra Wilkinson recalls having sex with Hugh Hefner at age 18
The former "Girls Next Door” star said on "I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!” that “you’re not obligated” to sleep with Hef, “it’s your choice."

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'Imitation Game' hits a snag as 'Selma' and 'Birdman' get the Spirits boost

'Imitation Game' hits a snag as 'Selma' and 'Birdman' get the Spirits boost

After success with recent contenders, Harvey finally hit an indie roadblock

We laid out a few of the films that weren't eligible for today's Independent Spirit Awards announcement yesterday. Movies like "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Foxcatcher," etc., as well as a number of foreign players, were not going to be in the mix. But of those that were, the real shocker today is that "The Imitation Game" turned up a goose egg. According to The Weinstein Company, it was eligible. That's not getting off to a great start for Harvey Weinstein's thoroughbred this season.

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Sleepy Hollow - Magnum Opus
Credit: FOX

'Sleepy Hollow' - America's 'Magnum Opus' was hoarding important apocalyse artifacts

New England is lousy with mythical relics.

Last week was an Abbie-centric episode where we finally got to see her and Jenny interact with their mom. Of course, Mrs. Mills was embodying the “cryptic messenger” trope, so the family reunion was laced with unnecessary terror and miscommunication. So, a pretty standard family gathering.

This week, the gang returns to the task at hand. Moloch — and certain doom — are barreling down on the world. They’ve got to gear up for the “Magnum Opus.”

*************

No nightmare cold open this week. Instead we get the other, far more delightful opening where Ichabod and Abbie do something with modern technology, causing the curmundgeon in Crane to come out. This time? A friendly game of Head’s Up charades using their phones. Abbie’s clue is Crane “Cannot tell a lie,” which leads to outrage by Ichabod because his BFF George Washington lied ALL THE TIME. 

“Whatever, Colonial Mythbuster,” chides Abbie, voice of the audience.

This attempt to trick their subconsciousnesses (that is one awkward word) into making sense of the Mills family journal is cut short when Katrina pops in via mirror call. This is the first time the gang has heard from her since she went back “undercover” and it’s not good news. Katrina hasn’t managed to kill Moloch because murdering evil children is wrong or hard or something. Suck it up, girl.

Katrina warns that Moloch is days away from reaching maturity and her hands are tied. Truly, TRULY the most inept witch of her age, you guys.

Abbie is like “Back to the drawing board, we gotta find this weapon my mom said was hidden in the pages but couldn’t be bothered to tell us exactly where and oh my God, I hate this obtuse bullshit.”

Unbeknownst to our heroes, Henry’s mirror has a redial function. Exposition Library is compromised! Sound the drudge siren! The Horseman of War is able to eavesdrop as Abbie and Ichabod finally puzzle through the myriad of steps needed to find the weapon. Nothing is ever easy.

Speaking of difficult situations, Abbie gets an alert that Reyes is hot on the trail of Captain Frank Irving, Escaped Convict. Abbie texts Jenny to let her know the cops are setting up checkpoints and to be safe, since Jenny is transporting Irving across the border to Canada. I hope Abbie was using a burner phone or that warning is gonna come back to bite her in the ass.

One anagram, distorted drawing, political cartoon, and epiphany that America might have been founded as a by-product of preparing for the Apocalypse later, we arrive at the solution to all our Moloch woes. The Witnesses must find the sword of Methuselah. Luckily, like all major artifacts pertaining to the End Times™, it’s located in Sleepy Hollow. You cannot throw a rock in this county without hitting a priceless mythical artifact.

There is one catch: prophecy states in order to wield the sword of Methuselah, one must “Know yourself of perish.” Crane pretty much says, “Um, so maybe I shouldn’t touch it then,” and I concur because this is a man who latches onto the viewpoints of loved ones like an opinion leech.

Back in the Carriage House, Henry congratulates himself on being clever enough to let Katrina use the mirror. Now he and Death know what the plan is and can stop the heroes. Sure dawn is approaching, but that’s not War’s problem. Abraham had best just ride faster to get to the sword first.

DAMMIT, KATRINA.

Despite our fugitives taking a road supposedly checkpoint free, there’s one anyway. Irving isn’t surprised; the cops are widening the net. Jenny the Genre Savvy keeps a spare burner phone in her glovebox though, so armed with a means of communication Irving bails out of the moving car. They’ll meet up on the other side.

Not gonna lie, I’d watch a show just about the hyper-competent adventures of Jenny and Irving.

Following the map laid out by Ben Franklin, Abbie and Ichabod have reached the point where 'X' marks the spot. But there’s a whole of nothing…until Abbie sees the ruins from her vision last week. Turns out Mrs. Mills wasn’t in Victorian London OR ancient Rome; she was singing eerie lullabies in the wilds of New England. 

Suddenly, a wild Headless Horseman appears! He uses “Can’t see shit.” It’s super effective! The Scooby gang hides in the bushes while Abraham curses his lack of eyes. But he has bigger problems. Dawn is coming, so murdering his friend-turned-foe must wait. Headless dismounts to enter the ruins and I instantly want our heroes to steal his horse. But sadly, it is not to be. Instead Abbie sneaks up the back while Ichabod pleads for restraint. Just let the UV Rays get him, seems to be Crane’s argument.

Abbie is having none of that nonsense and spies on Abraham. The Horseman of Death is engaged in a bout of vandalism. He’s stealing property like a teenage hooligan. Abbie’s a terrible spy and knocks a brick loose, turning the unseeng gaze of Death upon her. Uh, oh.

For once, Crane gets to play the hero, distracting his estranged friend while Mills escapes. Ichabod runs about twenty feet and dives behind the rocks, winded. Time to add in some cardio, dude. The mood lightning vanishes just in time for the sun to rise. Abraham is forced to retreat, steaming like a plate of fajitas. 

Ichabod Crane, the only human on Earth who actually uses the Sunrise/Sunset part of his phone’s weather app.

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