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<p>Joaquin Phoenix in &quot;Her.&quot;</p>

Joaquin Phoenix in "Her."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Roundup: 'Her' arrives in the Oscar race

Also: The Weinsteins' 'Fruitvale Station' error, and LAFCA honors Richard Lester

The story of the weekend, as you may have heard by now, is that Spike Jonze's "Her" went down a storm at the NYFF this weekend. Critics (including HitFix's Drew McWeeny) are nuts for the oddball techno-romance. Can all that critical love translate into Academy attention, as it did with Jonze's first two features? Steve Pond belives so, declaring the film a likely bet for Best Picture and Best Original SCreenplay nominations, though he thinks acting nominations will require some adventurousness from the actors' branch -- particularly if Scarlett Johansson is to be the first actor ever nominated for a voice-only performance. [The Wrap]

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"Dancing with the Stars"

"Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars' recap: A surprising elimination

Alloe Blacc performs, but that's not the shocker

We kick off the episode with a live performance of "Wake Me Up" by Alloe Blacc, which is great, but the real reason to be excited about this episode of "Dancing with the Stars" is because it's the one that forces each star to pick their most memorable year and build a dance around it. This is not as easy as it might seem, but it does usually lead to tearful confessions and tugging on heart strings, so even if the dancing is marginal there's plenty of drama. Grab your tissues! Oh, and at this point, Tom explains a female star is on the chopping block, though that can change. Sweat, ladies, sweat!

Christina & Mark

The Background: Christina felt dissed by Julianne last week. But moving on! She picks 2010 as her most important year, which is when she had her baby girl. That year, her marriage to her cheating baby daddy also ended, so major highs and lows. She chooses CeeLo's "Forget You," because she survived this ultimate betrayal. Oh, I love this already! Go, Christina, go!
The Dance: She's dancing the cha cha cha. This is just as feisty as I hoped it would be. Christina has been very strong throughout, but this was actually a notch above.
The Judges: Len thought it was fire and ice -- fire in the performance, ice in the attitude. In short, he liked it. Bruno thought she had a sharp finish and it was indecently hot. Carrie Ann thought it was something special, and she really was right on with her technique.
The Scores: Carrie Ann - 9 Len - 10 Bruno - 9 It's their first ten of the season -- and from Len!

Since a female star is going home, Brooke asks the women if they're miserable thinking about this.

Jack & Cheryl
The Background: He picks last year. His daughter was born in April, which was exciting. Two and a half weeks after she was born, he was diagnosed with M.S. He starts crying thinking about his baby not having her dad. He doesn't mention his wife's miscarriage, but that was this year.
The Dance: He's dancing the waltz for his wife and his daughter. Still some weird hands, and he always looks a little grim on the dance floor. I was hoping this particular dance would be more emotional for him, but I'm not seeing it.
The Judges: Bruno has so much admiration for Jack, and his dancing was wonderful. Carrie Ann thinks he's graceful and, I guess, aaaaaaaah. This is, she explains, good. Len appreciated how much he stayed in hold. But he noticed the weird hands, too.
The Scores: Carrie Ann - 9 Len - 9 Bruno - 9

Leah & Tony
The Background: Her most important year was the last year, which is when she left Scientology. She chooses not to be a victim, and she thinks her daughter has gotten to see the strength in her family. She'll be dancing contemporary. She hasn't danced contemporary, and neither has Tony. She comes up with the puppet concept.
The Dance: I can tell this isn't Tony's thing. Lean needed direction to work on her footwork so it didn't look so leaden. There's a lot of ballroom in this, unfortunately, which isn't working. This isn't her fault, by the way. And, really, it's unfair of the show to ask Tony to do contemporary.
The Judges: Carrie Ann loved the concept… but once it got into lifts, it didn't feel fluid. Len agrees. Great idea, crappy lifts. Bruno loved that she took on something difficult.
The Scores:  Carrie Ann - 7 Len - 7 Bruno - 8 Leah looks pissed, but she says she's just happy she got through the routine.

Paris Hilton in the house! She wanted to support Christina. Brooke suggests she do the show. Paris poses and smiles.

Corbin & Karina
The Background: 2011 his 12-year-old sister was diagnosed with scoliosis. I'm sorry, but a dancer personally fighting MS or friggin' brain cancer beats second-hand scoliosis. Sorry, but this doesn't feel personal at all but an attempt to jump on the physical ailment bandwagon.
The Dance: This is fine. I'm really not impressed with Corbin at all after his "most memorable" moment. Oh, look, he has to hug his sister in the audience. Not manipulative at ALL.
The Judges: Len thinks he's a terrific dancer. Bruno thinks he could be the love child of Fred Astaire and Ben Vereen. Carrie Ann thinks she saw a lift. Karina argues that didn't happen. Hmmm… Tom wants to know if she'll change her score if they can get a slow motion replay. It's like sports, but better outfits!
The Scores: Carrie Ann - 9 Len - 9 Bruno - 10

Bill & Emma

The Background: Yes, Bill cried last week when he realized he wasn't getting cut. He is just a big softy, and that's absolutely his charm, I think. Anyway, he picks his most memorable year as 1982, which is when he got married. The fact that none of this seems contrived speaks to how sincerely charming he's been on this show (and in his career).
The Dance: He's dancing the Viennese waltz to "Always A Woman," and it's so sweet -- but damn, his arms are just so rigid.
The Judges: Bruno tells him not to swing his arms. Carrie Ann thinks he touched our souls, but his timing was off. Len thought he stayed in hold, so kudos!
The Scores: Carrie Ann - 8 Len - 8 Bruno - 8

Tom weighs in on whether or not Carrie Ann can change her vote -- nope. Too bad. I was hoping for instant replays to become a part of the show.

Snooki & Sasha
The Background: She chooses 2012, which is when she had her son. That makes sense, as she has completely changed since then. She likes cleaning and doing laundry now. What?
The Dance: She's dancing a jazz routine to "Work Bitch" by Britney Spears. This is actually fun. Not entirely coordinated; sort of like a dance you'd see at a wedding reception, but it is fun.
The Judges: Carrie Ann was surprised, because she doesn't seem to be a natural but she barrels through. Len thought it had energy and attack. Bruno says she works hard for her money.
The Scores: Carrie Ann - 9 Len - 9 Bruno - 9

Time for pros to talk about whether or not previous dance experience is an advantage. Some say it isn't, some say it is, some say it's actually a disadvantage. Blah blah blah.

Brant & Peta
The Background: In 2009 his dad died of lymphoma. He's going to dance to Elton John's "Your Song," and this is probably going to be really emotional.
The Dance: Wow, this actually looks like a contemporary dance (sorry, Leah, but this is how it's done). Actually, the dance is too emotional for a soft little song like this, but it was REALLY good. Like, shockingly so. And he gets weepy at the end.
The Judges: Len thought it was terrific. Bruno says he threw himself into it and did some Martha Graham contractions, too. Carrie Ann thought every movement was driven from a true place of passion.
The Scores: Carrie Ann - 9 Len - 9 Bruno - 9 That's it? No tens?

Amber & Derek
The Background: She didn't make it onto "American Idol," but she got onto "Glee," so her most memorable year is 2009. That's fine. At least it's honest. Big year!
The Dance: As usual, very solid. Amber is always good, though I think the judges lay it on pretty thick.
The Judges: Bruno says she's a star. Carrie Ann thinks she's incredible. Len thinks it wasn't a foxtrot.
The Scores: Carrie Ann - 9  Len - 7 Bruno - 10. Wow, Len was NOT happy with Derek, I think, and Amber paid for it.

Elizabeth & Val
The Background: She's doing a jive in '90s clothing with Mario Lopez rooting for her in the audience. I don't love Elizabeth, but kudos for her for saying her favorite year was 1) something that happened to HER and 2) wasn't just a second-hand illness. I'm still annoyed with Corbin. But wait! 2012 is actually her most memorable year, but she wants to tie it into "Saved by the Bell."
The Dance: They start out with a skit. Hmmm… I'm not seeing any 2012 in this, but okay. This looks really awkward, if you ask me.
The Judges: Carrie Ann thought it was a mess, but she loved the '90s. Len thought the kicks were clean and exact, so, basically he means, suck it, Carrie Ann! Bruno also loved the '90s. It was fun! So… Len liked it.
The Scores: Carrie Ann - 8 Len - 9 Bruno - 9

Enough with the dancing -- someone needs to pack their dressing room! Elizabeth & Val are in jeopardy. Christina & Mark and Corbin and Karina are at the top. Leah & Tony are at the bottom.

Christina & Mark, Elizabeth & Val and Leah & Tony are the bottom three.

Elizabeth & Val are safe. So, who goes home? I have to think Leah & Tony. The couple leaving right now is… Christina & Mark. Seriously? That's crazy! Such a shame -- I think tonight's dance would have scored with voters, certainly more than Leah's did. I like Leah's story, I'm rooting for her, but not to the extent that I'm okay with a more talented dancer going home.

I'm genuinely surprised. It's a shame no one will get to vote for Christina routine tonight. She admits she's shocked, but she's happy to be going out with the first ten of the competition. I'd say good for her, but it's a pretty hollow victory.

Were you surprised she got the boot? Do you think she should have gone home? Who are you rooting for?

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<p>Damian Lewis as Brody in &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Damian Lewis as Brody in "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

'Homeland' star Damian Lewis on Brody's return

Where will the show take Brody now? What was it like to go bald for season 3?

Damian Lewis made his first appearance of "Homeland" season 3 in tonight's episode, "Tower of David," which I reviewed here. On Friday, I spoke briefly with the show's Emmy-winning leading man about where exactly he and Brody find themselves at this stage, and how much life he thinks the character has left in him.

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<p>Beau Bridges and Michael Sheen in &quot;Masters of Sex.&quot;</p>

Beau Bridges and Michael Sheen in "Masters of Sex."

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Masters of Sex' - 'Standard Deviation'

Masters gets frustrated with the brothel, and we see his past with Scully

A quick review of tonight's "Masters of Sex" coming up just as soon as I take a Midol and watch "General Electric Theater"...

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<p>Sunday's &quot;Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Sunday's "Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'King Arthur Style'

If you like travel fun, this was an exciting 'Race' episode
It's the season of travel on "The Amazing Race." 
The premiere was determined largely by seven teams taking one prohibitively early flight to Chile, while the other four teams were basically left battling to stick around. And Naina & Hoskote, one of those four lagging teams, were eliminated after one faulty cab right. In their exit interview, Naina & Hoskote lamented the inability to their their travel in their own hands. 
The second Leg saw Rowan & Shane struggle with one bum cab ride and then they did what Naina & Hoskote could not and they tried to break from the pack on a long bus ride across Chile. They didn't succeed but, heck, they made the effort.
Sunday (October 13) night's "Amazing Race" was the most travel-centric episode in recent "Amazing Race" memory, as it turned out that getting from Santiago, Chile to Lisbon is surprisingly easy, or at least that there are a surprising number of possible ways of making the journey. We had smart travel moves. Stupid travel moves. And, sadly, we had a team get utterly and totally hosed by a booking agent and attempt a bold move to recover from that blunder. And for the second week in a row, we learned that sometimes it's healthier to stick with the pack, rather than attempting to game the system. 
I don't remember the last "Amazing Race" episode to end with Phil Keoghan greeting a team before they had the chance to do even a single task because they were so far behind, but in this case, Phil greeted the eliminated team at the airport, told them they were eliminated and suggested that since they were in the airport still, it should be easy for them to find their way home. Ouch.
Meanwhile, at least three times per season I complain about the actual Non-Elimination Legs and at least once or twice, I lament an episode in which I'd totally have approved of seeing an NEL. This is one of those.
More after the break...
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"Once Upon A Time"

"Once Upon A Time"

Credit: ABC

'Once Upon A Time' recap: Is Tinkerbell 'Quite a Common Fairy'?

In other news, Mulan almost makes a big confession

While this week's episode is ostensibly about Tinkerbell joining the Neverland fun, it's hardly the big excitement, if you ask me. No, Ed Kitsis and Adam Horowitz did something pretty remarkable in that [spoiler ahead; consider yourself warned]…

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<p>Patricia Arquette and Steve Buscemi in &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Patricia Arquette and Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Boardwalk Empire' - 'The North Star'

Nucky sees Margaret on the way to Tampa, while Chalky can't resist Daughter Maitland

A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I'm attacked by a rogue possum...

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<p>Damian Lewis as Brody on &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Damian Lewis as Brody on "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

Review: 'Homeland' - 'Tower of David'

Brody resurfaces in Venezuela, while Carrie gets back on her meds

A review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as I build a house out of popsicle sticks...

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<p>Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese in &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

Chad L. Coleman as Tyreese in "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

Season premiere review: 'The Walking Dead'

Life at the prison is good — but is it too good to last?

"The Walking Dead" is back for a fourth season, and I have a review of the premiere coming up just as soon as I guess that you were a homicide cop...

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Michael Cudlitz joins 'The Walking Dead'

Michael Cudlitz joins "The Walking Dead"
The actor, coming off of "Southland,:" will play Sgt. Abraham Ford, a pivotal character from the comic book.

Edward Norton will host "SNL" for the 1st time

He'll host the Oct. 26 episode with musical guest Janelle Monae. PLUS: "SNL" spoofs the shutdown with "Gravity."

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<p>Rowan and Shane of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Rowan and Shane of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Rowan & Shane talk 'The Amazing Race'

'Queen of Bingo' stars discuss their 'Race' demise
When I talked to "The Queen of Bingo" stars Rowan Joseph and Shane Partlow before they embarked on their "Amazing Race" experience, the long-time buddies and co-stars were in performance mode, giving nearly endless answers, playing off of each other energetically.
I spoke with a less enthusiastic Rowan and Shane this week following their "Amazing Race" elimination. They were sent packing after a tough Leg that included a bad cab ride, a mistaken gamble on a long-haul bus to Santiago, Chile and a strange Roadblock in which Rowan did a full task along with an unaffiliated amateur shoeshine worker, rather than one of the marked shiners, leading to a long delay.
Despite all of those misadventures, Rowan and Shane finished the Leg right behind Baseball Wives Nicky and Kim, very nearly surviving.
In their exit interview, Rowan and Shane discuss the circumstances behind their elimination and I pull teeth.
Click through for the full conversation...
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<p>Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with the least likely suspect, but she turns out to be exactly what he needs in the new Spike Jonze film 'Her'</p>

Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with the least likely suspect, but she turns out to be exactly what he needs in the new Spike Jonze film 'Her'

Credit: Warner Bros

Review: Phoenix and Johansson make magic in 'Her'

An unconventional romance packs a hefty human punch

One of the reasons Spike Jonze remains so interesting as a filmmaker is because each individual piece of art he creates seems to exist in its own world, and only when you set it all next to each other and consider the full range of what he creates do you get a full picture of just how emotionally rich and complicated his body of work really is. I'm almost glad I hadn't seen all of "Her" yet when we spoke at this year's Toronto Film Festival, because I think I might have been too emotional to fully articulate my reaction at that point.

Jonze can certainly indulge his goofball side with very silly things, but he has also made movies that contain devastating endings, broken-hearted masterworks that clobber the audience with a bracingly direct quality. I would argue that "Being John Malkovich" could be on a short list of the very saddest endings of all time. I remember being horrified by it the first time I saw it and wondering why more people weren't just battered by the suggestion of Cusack's fate, of the hell his daily life would be living silently trapped behind someone else's eyes. "Adaptation" was one of the most complicated and difficult emotional reactions I've ever had to a movie, and it took me a long time to work my way up a second viewing. And then "Where The Wild Things Are"… well, we've said enough about that.

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