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<p>Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are very good together in the well-made but troubling 'Saving Mr. Banks'</p>

Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are very good together in the well-made but troubling 'Saving Mr. Banks'

Credit: Walt Disney Company

Review: Emma Thompson brings real soul to true-life Disney drama 'Saving Mr. Banks'

Corporate mythmaking gets no more canny than this

While "Saving Mr. Banks" is based on the actual events that led to the making of "Mary Poppins," one of the most justifiably beloved films made during the entire time Walt Disney was the actual head of the studio that still bears his name, it is corporate myth-making on a large scale, and some of the choices that were made in telling the story make me uncomfortable. As a piece of entertainment, "Saving Mr. Banks" is very well-made and emotional, but as something that purports to be true, it is disturbing in the way it rewrites actual events.

P.L. Travers, creator of the character Mary Poppins, was a complicated figure by any standards, nearly as complicated as the most famous character she created, and her relationship with Walt Disney was contentious, to say the least. The script by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith covers the broad strokes of their famous interaction and the film makes some very smart observations about the creative process. In particular, Emma Thompson's portrayal of Travers is filled with lovely grace notes, and I'm sure at least part of that is informed by the fact that Thompson is a formidable writer in her own right. She understands the highs and lows of being a writer, and she captures the emotional weather that most writers face in pretty much every moment she's onscreen.

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"Scandal"

 "Scandal"

Credit: ABC

'Scandal' recap: Will Olivia get the truth about Remington out of Fitz?

Josie Marcus takes a bite out of gender stereotypes

You know it's really hit the fan when Olivia drunk dials her dad. Yeah, that happened. 

While buying into Operation Remington is a bridge too far for me (for some reason I can accept the idea that the President once shot down a plane, but I find the idea that he ended up dating the daughter of a woman killed on that plane a little much -- I know, picky picky picky), I love that this conspiracy is unraveling at the worst possible time -- as Fitz is gearing up for re-election. Seeing the chess pieces move in this episode was like watching professional ballroom dancers or ice skaters glide through a routine. If backstabbing was a dance, it would be a tango. 

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"The Vampire Diaries"

 "The Vampire Diaries"

Credit: The CW

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Is Katherine dying?

Another doppelganger joins the fun
I hope Nina Dobrev negotiated a pay raise for this reason. It seems "The Vampire Diaries" is ripping a page from "Orphan Black" and working the show's lead actress seemingly half to death with a small fleet of characters (same goes for Paul Wesley, too). This week, we meet Amara (also known as Crazy Pants), bringing the character total for Dobrev thus far to three. Not only is Amara an entirely distinct animal from both Katherine and Elena, Dobrev is in almost every scene. Seriously, I hope she got a bump for all this work.
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<p>Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence almost perpetually seem to be on the verge of making an inside joke to each other.</p>

Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence almost perpetually seem to be on the verge of making an inside joke to each other.

Credit: HitFix

Lawrence and Hutcherson think their 'Catching Fire' director is 'too nice' for Hollywood

And how is Katniss like Mystique?

Yes, Jennifer Lawrence has a new haircut.

And, yes, it's freakin' adorable.

One of the reasons people seem to like Lawrence on an almost chemical level is because she seems to present the "real" Jennifer Lawrence in any interview you see, something that is not easy to do. There is a very real and understandable drive to protect some degree of your privacy when you are a public figure, and I don't blame anyone for doing their best to guard parts of themselves.

But Lawrence, simply by virtue of how she carries herself, makes it seem like she's got nothing to hide and no filter with which to hide it. She is outspoken and charming and very direct about things. It helps when she's comfortable, and at this point, I think it's safe to say that she's comfortable when it comes to speaking about anything regarding "The Hunger Games."

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A nationwide protest against ABC and Jimmy Kimmel is planned for 27 cities on Saturday


A nationwide protest against ABC and Jimmy Kimmel is planned for 27 cities on Saturday

An organization representing 100 Chinese American organizations around the United States says it isn't satisfied with ABC's apology or Kimmel's apologies (on his show and directly to protesters) for the sketch in which a kid says "kill everyone in China." "We know ABC has issued an apology, but that is not enough," says Charles Lu, who is chairman of the Roundtable of Chinese American Organizations. "We want ABC to make a formal apology to all Chinese and do something in the future to avoid terrorist violence."


Here's the 1st look at NBC's "The Sound of Music"

The trailer doesn't have any actual footage since the production will be broadcast live.

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Analysis: How will Marvel's Daredevil and Luke Cage fit in on Netflix?

Analysis: How will Marvel's Daredevil and Luke Cage fit in on Netflix?

What does the new Marvel/Netflix deal mean for superheroes on TV?
News broke early this morning that Netflix and Disney are partnering to bring a quartet of high profile Marvel characters to the screen in 13-episode series starting in 2015. 
 
In reporting the story, HitFix's Alan Sepinwall talked about how the four shows -- built around Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage -- will come together in a "Defenders" miniseries just as the early Marvel films came together in "The Avengers."
 
This afternoon, I chatted with HitFix's Gregory Ellwood, more of a comic fan than I am, about the Netflix/Marvel projects, what they mean for the characters and what they mean for Netflix. 
 
Check out the video above!
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Album Review: Lady Gaga needs more pop than art on 'Artpop'

Album Review: Lady Gaga needs more pop than art on 'Artpop'

It's a spacy, cold album badly in need of more heart and fun

In many ways, Lady Gaga has always been a performance artist posing as a pop act these last few years. On her newest studio effort, “Artpop,” out Nov. 11, she concentrates more on the art, than the pop, and the album is worse for it.

The majority of “Artpop” is a meditation on fame, culture, fashion, sex, drugs, music and pop art (hence the Jeff Koons cover). That high-flying intersection may be where Lady Gaga lives now, but it’s feels like the end of lonely street. Largely cold and soulless (at least until the final few songs)—whether from the clinical, loud, electronic production or from Lady Gaga’s often mannered delivery and stilted lyrics —”Artpop” is for her the Little Monsters who loudly embrace their outside status buffeted by the shelter of Momma Monster’s umbrella.  In some ways, Lady Gaga can be applauded for making an album that in no way aims for radio acceptance (though first single, “Applause” found it), but it’s going to be a hard sell to her mainstream fans.

Even when she’s poking fun at herself, as she does on “Mary Jane Holland”: “I know at the moment they think I’m a mess/but its alright because I’m rich as piss,” she sings, there’s a part that rings true. She used to be one of us, but now she is one of them, even if she wants to joke that she’s not. And don’t get me started on the pretension of having an album title in all caps.

Some of Lady Gaga’s biggest hits, like “Bad Romance,” or “Paparazzi” have featured different patches of songs stitched together, bonded by her mannered vocals. Along the beats or weird synths, there was usually a melodic chorus that glued the whole song together. That happens far less often here and the result is an collection of songs that sounds intentionally cacophonous and chaotic. She may be saying exactly what she wants to about the state of pop culture, but that doesn’t mean we’ll want to listen.

Working with a phalanx of producers here, from DJ White Shadow to Zedd, David Guetta, will.i.am, RedOne, Madeon and even Rick Rubin, what Lady Gaga could have really used here was a great editor to craft her ambition a little more tightly.

Track-by-track review of “Artpop”:


Aura: The opening salvo, also heard in “Machete Kills” is a campy, fun invitation to go on this trip with Lady Gaga and see her naked underneath the covers.  The shape-shifting song opens with a sultry voice over by Gaga that recalls Shirley Bassey before switching to a kitschy, synth-laden, stuttering vocal portion. Eventually it moves into a catchy sung portion, where she questions if you want to see the girl who lives behind the aura. Rinse and repeat. Final word: Artpop. Welcome to the album.  GRADE: B

Venus:  Go on an interplanetary journey with the goddess of love in this trippy, EDM number around the planets. Sample lyric: “Uranus, don’t you know my ass is famous?”  There’s a great disco tune in here centered around the “When you touch me I die...This could be love” chorus, but it gets buried in the space mission. Fun fact: “Venus” samples Zombie Zombie’s cover of Sun Ra’s “Rocket Number Nine.”  GRADE: B

G.U.Y.: From Venus, we go to Eros, Greek god of love. “Let me be the girl under you that makes you cry,” she sings in this dancey track that features a refrain redolent, but less catchy, than “Bad Romance. She’s still on her space travels, but this track feels far more weighed down by its clunkiness. GRADE: C

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<p>Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde in &quot;Third Person.&quot;</p>

Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde in "Third Person."

Credit: Sony Classics

Sony Classics comes to the rescue of Paul Haggis' 'Third Person'

The Oscar winner's latest met with a tepid response at Toronto

Things haven't exactly gone swimmingly for Paul Haggis since he won that contentious Best Picture Oscar for "Crash" nearly eight years ago. Clint Eastwood's "Letters from Iwo Jima" nabbed him another writing nod a year later, and a pair of new-model Bond films kept him ticking over, but on the directorial side of things, it's been a case of diminishing returns. Only a surprise Best Actor nomination for Tommy Lee Jones kept "In the Valley of Elah" from sinking without trace, while the Russell Crowe-starring thriller "The Next Three Days" was pretty unmemorable pulp. Reviews out of Toronto for his latest, "Third Person," didn't exactly suggest the slide had been reversed.

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<p>Lillie McCloud of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>

Lillie McCloud of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Top 13 Performances Deja View - Thursday edition

After Wednesday's SNAFU, the Top 13 perform again for your votes

So here we are again.

I mean, we knew we were going to be here again, but I was eagerly awaiting the season's early rankings and, mostly, a performance by Selena Gomez before a double elimination.

Instead, "X Factor" put the wrong numbers on the screen for the East Coast and all of the voting was discarded. Since the contestants were all ready with their "Save Me" songs, "X Factor" is making all 13 of them sing again. In one hour. 

This could be nuts. Click through for another Top 13 recap, same as last night only FASTER.

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Sharon Osbourne apologizes for telling 'The View' ladies to 'f*ck themselves'


Sharon Osbourne apologizes for telling "The View" ladies to "f*ck themselves"

"Please understand, it was my irreverent, irreverent behavior and no disrespect meant," she said on Thursday's episode of "The Talk. "And I'm not a person that is mean. I'm really not and I apologize." PLUS: Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy respond to Sharon Osbourne's anti-"View F-word.


"American Horror Story" wants Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett to return for Season 4

"I have approached them and they wanna do it," says Ryan Murphy.


Anne Heche reunites with "Hung" creator for an NBC comedy

She'll play a department store sales manager who questions everything about love and relationships.


By extending Damon Wayans Jr., "New Girl" is breaking the "one black friend" trend
"Brooklyn Nine Nine" has two Latina and two black male cast members. And now "New Girl" will have two black males on its cast, which upends a trend of some sitcoms to have a token minority cast member. PLUS: 5 things Wayans should do on "New Girl," like sing.


Nine Inch Nails' network TV debut is tonight on "Jimmy Kimmel Live"

After a quarter century, the industrial rock band will finally appear on network television.


"Everwood" cast will have a formal reunion at Austin's TV festival
Just about the entire cast will be there in June for the ATX TV Festival, including Emily VanCamp, her real-life ex-boyfriend/on-screen brother Chris Pratt, Treat Williams and Gregory Smith.


Has "Scandal" become more relevant than "Homeland"?
The ABC drama has proven to be more in line with the NSA scandal and the fears of Americans than the Showtime series. PLUS: Olivia Pope has lost a fan.


"Colbert Report" guest: I was told to talk to Stephen as if he was a "rich drunk idiot at a bar"

WNYC’s Brian Lehrer reveals some behind-the-scenes tidbits from last night's appearance, and also shows the green room spread.


Who will play Obama in HBO's "Game Change" sequel -- Will Smith or Giancarlo Esposito?
Those are the two names co-author John Heilemann suggested when asked about his new book "Double Down," which HBO has optioned to turn into a movie.


Kristen Schaal attached to an ABC comedy project
"The Daily Show" contributor will play a small-town misfit who goes on trial for the murder of the century. She'll also contribute as a writer.


Psychology prof denounces Jimmy Kimmel's Halloween candy prank on children
"Pranking your own children is not harmless fun, but is cruel and potentially damaging," says Mark Barnett, a psych professor at Kansa State University. "A parent who would violate this trust for a big laugh or 15 minutes of fame is, in my opinion, acting irresponsibly and not looking out for the best interests of the child."


Bill Nye: I hope "Dancing" and "Big Bang" lead to another TV show
"I'm hoping to parlay this into a show again," says The Science Guy. "Because that really is my first love and that’s where I’d like to get back to work. Also, this may be delusional, but I feel like I have something to say."


"Veronica Mars" team reuniting for CW's "iZombie" -- based on the DC Comics series

Rob Thomas and his "Veronica" movie co-writer Diane Ruggiero are writing the project about a female med student who becomes a zombie.


Minnesota Timberwolves are giving away Season 1 of "Girls" to entice female fans
For $18, females will get an upper-deck ticket, free beer or wine, and a DVD copy of Season 1.


"Freaks & Geeks" star Martin Starr is headed to "The Goldbergs"
He'll play a video store employee.


"Grey's Anatomy's" propmaster tells all
Here's the story of 10 iconic "Grey's" props.


Chris Christie makes his "Michael J. Fox Show" cameo tonight
The newly reelected New Jersey governor will play himself.


Fox may have to give advertisers free Super Bowl pregame ads due to low Fox Sports 1 ratings
Fox has already given away "make-goods" for the World Series due to FS1's lackluster ratings.


"Grimm" adds Kirk Acevedo and Jesse Pinkman's "Breaking Bad" girlfriend
Acevedo and Emily Rios will guest as former soldiers.


Omarosa: I won $10,000 bet with Bethenny

"I was a life preserver for her sinking ship!" she says of helping boost Bethenny Frankel's ratings.


Rose McGowan never watched "Charmed"

So she's not planning to watch the remake.


The Olsen Twins never felt like actresses, not even on "Full House"

They've always considered themselves businesswomen.


Why "Arrow" is the best-ever live-action superhero show

It's better than "Batman," "Smallville," "Wonder Woman" and even "The Incredible Hulk."


"Supernatural" pays tribute to "Game of Thrones"

See the opening of last night's episode. PLUS: Natalie Dormer "spoils" "Game of Thrones."


Letterman won't do viral videos
"We are no longer fighting for recognition," says "Late show" producer Rob Burnett, adding: "Part of Dave’s genius is what he doesn’t do. If he was still putting on a Velcro suit and jumping on a wall, he’d be the television equivalent of Gallagher."


Johnny Galecki: "Kaley's not just an ex, she's a part of my life"

The "Big Bang Theory" star has opened up for the first time about his secret romance with Kaley Cuoco. PLUS: Cuoco has a fake wedding on Ellen.


See the "Girl Meets World" family together in a photo booth
Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel took pics with their new TV kids.


Melissa Joan Hart's memoir details all her celebrity hookups

They include Adrian Grenier, Ryan Reynolds and James Van Der Beek, among others.


"Doctor Who" disco remix is being re-released
The band Mankind had a Top 25 hit with their 1978 disco take on the "Who" theme.

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<p>Taylor&nbsp;Swift performs at the 2013 CMA&nbsp;Awards</p>

Taylor Swift performs at the 2013 CMA Awards

Credit: AP Photo

Tech Support: Best Original Song Oscar race heats up with Taylor Swift and Beyoncé

But do Disney and Idina Menzel have it wrapped up with a 'Frozen' showstopper?

We're a little ways off yet from the Academy unveiling its long list of eligible contenders in the Best Original Song Oscar race. But in the meantime, and particularly since we finally started populating the category's Contenders section with entrants in the last week or so, it doesn't hurt to put a finger to the wind and see what's what.

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Dinner with Lee Harvey Oswald (Will Rothhaar)

 Dinner with Lee Harvey Oswald (Will Rothhaar)

Credit: Nat Geo

In Dallas with 'Killing Kennedy' and star Will Rothhaar

Lee Harvey Oswald is a hugger?

Last month I had the opportunity to not only watch Nat Geo's new movie "Killing Kennedy" (Sun. Nov. 10 at 8:00 p.m), but watch it in the theater where suspected shooter Lee Harvely Oswald was arrested. To make it all thoroughly meta, I was watching along with Will Rothhar, who plays Lee Harvey Oswald in the movie. Did I mention we all went to Lee Harvey Oswald's grave with Rothhaar on Oswald's birthday, too? It was the capper to a visit to Dallas that was chock full of such moments. Conversations segued seamlessly from conspiracy theories to debates about favorite movies, history intersected with fiction more often than anyone expected, and "known facts" were thrown into question by both the people who were players in both this tragic historical event and the movie about it. Let's just say it was a memorable weekend.

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