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<p>Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck make for two fairly bland scumbags in 'Runner Runner'</p>

Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck make for two fairly bland scumbags in 'Runner Runner'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck battle it out in mild-mannered 'Runner Runner'

Will fans of 'Rounders' be satisfied with this one?

I liked Brad Furman's last film as a director, "The Lincoln Lawyer." It wasn't a genre defining masterwork, but it displayed real control and confidence, and it struck me as the work of soon who had a real knack for connecting with his cast.

Likewise, I am fond of "Rounders," a film co-written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien that has grown in esteem since it was first release in 1998. The film predated the pop culture obsession with poker, and it had a great ensemble cast that included Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Malkovich, John Turturro, and Martin Landau.

When I first read that "Runner Runner" takes place in the world of online gambling, I thought it sounded like a perfect venue for Koppleman and Levien to explore, and I walked into the screening fingers crossed. So far, Justin Timberlake has not really won me over on film. I think he exhibited a bit of promise in his early roles like "Alpha Dog" or "Black Snake Moan," but I'm not sure he's actually ever lived up to that promise. He's fine in "The Social Network," but he's far from the best thing about the movie. I thought he was just flat-out strange in "Bad Teacher," but I'm not sure how much of that is what was written and how much of it was what he brought to the role. As a lead, I thought he was flat in both the horrible "In Time" and the deeply mediocre "Trouble With The Curve," and when you've got filmmakers like David Fincher and Clint Eastwood directing someone and still not getting any real signs of life out of him, maybe the problem isn't the directors.

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"The Originals"
"The Originals"
Credit: The CW

Interview: Charles Michael Davis talks being mean on 'The Originals'

The man behind Marcel says he has 'an ace up my sleeve'

As Marcel on "The Originals" (premiering tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET on The CW), Charles Michael Davis is all charismatic malice, charming even when he's tearing apart anyone who'd be stupid enough to stand in his way. Marcel might just be the guy to take on Klaus (Joseph Morgan), though we'll find out how that head-to-head turns out soon enough. The show, a spinoff from "The Vampire Diaries," follows Klaus to New Orleans, a little swamp he once built into a real city many, many years ago -- and, when he left, a city he left in the hands of his friend Marcel. Now Klaus is back, and Marcel isn't all that happy to hand over the reigns. I talked to Davis during press tour, and found out that, like Marcel, he's charming and, yes, funny. Unlike Marcel, I don't think he kills people when they displease him. Or at least I hope not.

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<p>Cate Blanchett at her NYFF Gala Tribute.</p>

Cate Blanchett at her NYFF Gala Tribute.

Credit: AP Photo/Charles Sykes

NYFF pays tribute to Cate Blanchett... and so do we

The star's sixth Oscar nod is on the way, but her career goes deeper than that

Cate Blanchett, as you may have heard, received a Gala Tribute at the New York Film Festival last night. On the one hand, such events are opportunities for actors to bask in the warm glow of others' admiration, in return for doling out a few anecdotes and quotable (usually self-deprecating) reflections on their life and work. On the other, however, they can be key campaign stops for actors on the awards trail, and for Blanchett – the incumbent Best Actress frontrunner for her riveting comeback performance in Woody Allen's “Blue Jasmine” – this was her first significant PR opportunity of the season, considering how unassumingly the art house hit opened in the summer.

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Win it! Patty Griffin's 'Silver Bell' and lithograph

Win it! Patty Griffin's 'Silver Bell' and lithograph

'Lost' album from 2000 finally seeing the light of day on Oct. 8

Patty Griffin's new album is actually a bit old -- 13 years, in fact. "Silver Bell" has been an underground favorite of the folk singer's fans, ever since it was shelved and lost during the major label shuffle back in 2000.

Now "Silver Bell" is getting a proper release on Oct. 8 via Universal, and what is lost is now found: HitFix is giving away a copy of the album plus a lithograph of the album artwork.

Below are super-easy instructions on how to WIN IT:

1. Follow HitFix on Twitter.

2. Retweet HitFix's message below:


A winner will be randomly selected from retweeting entrants. Entrants cannot have their Twitter on "private," as we won't be able to see your tweet. Entrants must be U.S. residents.

And that's it. Contest is over at 11:59pm PST on Monday, Oct. 7.

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"American Horror Story: Coven"
"American Horror Story: Coven"
Credit: FX

Check out the spooky, well-dressed cast of 'American Horror Story: Coven'

Come for the voodoo, stay for the gorgeous costumes

Given that "American Horror Story: Coven" will be chock full of grand dames (Kathy Bates! Angela Bassett! Jessica Lange!), it's only right that the costumes be all kinds of awesome. Forget those mental patient rags and nuns' habits of "Asylum" and put these ladies in ornate frocks and elegant black dresses with on-trend peplums! It's highly superficial to gush over what these ladies will be wearing, but damn, these costumes are awesome! Plus, we don't have much else to go on at this point, other than some creepy promos that don't tie into the actual show and a teaser that makes the show look a little bit like "The Craft," which I'm hoping is just an unfortunate accident.

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<p>David Heyman (right) at the New York premiere of &quot;Gravity&quot; with Sandra Bullock and&nbsp;Alfonso Cuar&oacute;n</p>

David Heyman (right) at the New York premiere of "Gravity" with Sandra Bullock and Alfonso Cuarón

Credit: AP Photo

'Gravity' producer David Heyman: 'I would make the phone book with Alfonso Cuarón'

After 'The Prisoner of Azkaban' he was ready for whatever the journey would be

Producer David Heyman's relationship with Alfonso Cuarón actually began well before he tapped the filmmaker for a new direction in the "Harry Potter" franchise back in 2004. They were thinking of collaborating on an adaptation of William Sutcliffe's 1999 road trip novel "Are You Experienced?," but the project fell through. Cuarón went on to make "Y Tu Mamá También" and Heyman went on to shepherd the "Harry Potter" books to the screen. When it came time for a stylistic detour in that series, Cuarón was the first artist Heyman had in mind.

"There were several reasons I thought he was the perfect choice [for 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban']," Heyman says. "One, I loved 'A Little Princess' and I also liked his first film a lot. I felt that he had a really keen understanding of teenagers. 'Y Tu Mamá' was about the last moments of being a teenager and this third 'Harry Potter' was about the first moments of being a teenager. He was good at bringing sort of the truthfulness to the relationships."

For Heyman it was about cultivating a sense of modernity to an already wildly successful film franchise. The way to sustain the series was to reinvigorate it after director Chris Columbus had done such a definitive job of setting up the world. "Even though, funny enough, his film was the least successful of the eight financially, Alfonso sort of redirected the series in such a way that it allowed us to continue on to make eight films," Heyman says. "He allowed us to grow up."

Cut to five years later and Cuarón is out on a bit of a limb with a hugely challenging concept: "Gravity." Heyman didn't even need to read the script to know that he was in for whatever ride was in store. And as it would turn out, it would be quite the eventful ride indeed, both in front of and behind the camera.

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<p>Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in &quot;Scandal.&quot;</p>

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in "Scandal."

Credit: ABC

'Scandal' and Olivia/Fitz as the best/worst couple of them all

How the Shonda Rhimes drama works whether you love or hate the central pairing

"Scandal" — Shonda Rhimes' delightfully insane drama about Washington, DC fixer Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), her team of crisis managers, and the President of the United States (Tony Goldwyn) with whom she's been having an on-again, off-again affair for years — is back for a third season tonight at 10 on ABC. I've seen the premiere, and it's very strong, as it deals with the fallout from Olivia and Fitz's relationship being leaked to the media, and from the revelation — which would be absurd on many a "serious" drama but which works just fine here — that Joe Morton's shady intelligence boss is actually Olivia's estranged father. (Morton and Washington share a scene early in the premiere that's dynamite, and not just because it's one of the few moments in the run of the show that so much as alludes to Olivia's race and the complications it causes in this situation.)

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Quick fixes for the fall's worst new TV Shows - 'Dad,' 'Betrayal' and more

Quick fixes for the fall's worst new TV Shows - 'Dad,' 'Betrayal' and more

It's been a dismal fall for new shows, hasn't it?
Since we did galleries for Most Anticipated New and Returning shows a couple weeks ago, normally we would have done Worst New Shows at some point as well. Instead, time got away from us. Also, *most* of the new shows could have qualified for a Worst gallery and we went with "Most Anticipated" instead of "Best" for a reason.
Anyway, instead of trying a Worst gallery now, I went with Quick Fixes/Suggestions for the fall's worst new shows, including a couple that have yet to premiere. It's too late for basically all of them, but that's the nature of a business that still believes that, when in doubt, Heather Locklear can fix any new show.
Check out all of my suggestions (and a couple from Sepinwall) in the gallery below:
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<p>I'm curious to see if they stick with a traditional version of her costume for film or if they try something way more real-world.</p>

I'm curious to see if they stick with a traditional version of her costume for film or if they try something way more real-world.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Samuel L. Jackson confirms that Elizabeth Olsen is set to play Scarlet Witch in 'Avengers' sequel

He's unsure if she's working for or against the heroes, though

See, this is why you don't tell Sam Jackson anything.

In a short conversation with the Wall Street Journal, Jackson confirmed a casting rumor that has been persistent for the last few months. He was talking about "Avengers: Age Of Ultron," and said, "I know we're shooting in London, that James Spader is Ultron and going to be the bad guy, and that we added Ms. Elizabeth Olsen, but I don't know what she's doing."

He doesn't specifically say that she is playing The Scarlet Witch, but that's the role she's been circling for a while now. Olsen and Jackson are both in the Spike Lee remake of "Oldboy" that comes out at the end of November, and she's been in the mix for this part basically since Whedon first mentioned that Wanda Maximoff would be part of the "Avengers" sequel.

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NBC to air the Mark Burnett/Richard Branson space reality show

NBC to air the Mark Burnett/Richard Branson space reality show
"Space Race" will have contestants compete to lift off from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, possibly next year.

Versace not happy with Lifetime's "House of Versace" movie
The company has taken issue with the inspiration for the film, the book "House of Versace" by Deborah Bell.

"Survivor's" Colton insists he quit to benefit partner Caleb
"I felt like the sooner I distanced myself from him, the better his chances would be," says Colton, who received a tongue-lashing from Jeff Probst.

"Girls" porn parody's "Hannah" doesn't understand Lena Dunham's objection

"It seemed like she liked the parody that 'SNL' did of her, so obviously it wasn't making fun of her that was the issue," says Alex Chance, who plays the porn version of Hannah Horvath.

Howard Stern & Jerry Seinfeld go shopping for cereal
The shock jock tweeted a photo from today's filming of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."

Last night's "SVU" tackled seemingly every issue imaginable

It wasn't just about Paula Deen and Trayvon Martin.

"Rachael Ray" renewed through 2016

The two-year renewal will mean Rachael's talk show will have been on for 10 years.

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Travel with The Civil Wars to Paris in new video, 'Dust To Dust'

Travel with The Civil Wars to Paris in new video, 'Dust To Dust'

That's one way to reunite the now-defunct pair

Not so very long ago, The Civil WarsJoy Williams and John Paul White actually liked each other and enjoyed each other’s company.

The now -defunct duo look back to that time in the video for “Dust To Dust,” the haunting second single from the pair’s sophomore self-titled set.  The video features what they claim to be found footage from a 2011 trip to Paris. Yeah, “found” footage, just like “Blair Witch Project” or “Paranormal Activity.” Watch them stroll in Paris. Enjoy the cafes and book stores vicariously.

Seriously, it’s a clever way to deal with how to create a video that still features the band members when the band members are no longer talking to each other.  I imagine future videos will have old concert footage or be conceptual.


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Fox renews 'Sleepy Hollow'

Fox renews "Sleepy Hollow"
The freshman drama, which is slated to run for 13 episodes this fall, has received an order for a 13-episode 2nd season.

"24: Die Another Day" will film in London

Jack Bauer is leaving the United States, with the action taking place in the UK.

"Breaking Bad's" R.J. Mitte joins "Switched at Birth"
He'll recur on the ABC Family series as a pre-med college student.

Exxon accuses FXX of stealing its logo

Exxon Mobile has filed suit against 21st Century Fox, claiming the new FXX logo with intrerlocking X's steals from the Exxon logo.

Miley Cyrus gets a "Ken Burns"-style documentary, thanks to Jimmy Kimmel
Watch the birth of twerk. PLUS: Miley's VMAs outfit is the most popular Halloween costume, Miley's MTV documentary was a "strategic hot mess," and Miley will have her first post-VMAs interview with Matt Lauer on "Today."

Amazon orders 3 new pilots, including 1 from Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman
The two cousins are collaborating on "Mozart in the Jungle," a drama on the sex and drugs world of the symphony.

Alec Baldwin deletes tweets attacking future MSNBC colleague Joe Scarborough
Read his anti-"Morning Joe" tweets. PLUS: Chris Matthews jokes about "Killing O'Reilly" on "Colbert Report."

Oprah is planning a lavish 60th birthday bash
Oprah Winfrey will celebrate the Big 6-0 in January.

You can watch Louis CK's PaleyFest chat tonight live online
PaleyFest will be livestreaming the interview starting at 9:20 p.m. ET.

ABC announces celeb-studded "David Blaine: Real or Magic" special
The 90-minute special will show Blaine performing for everybody from George W. Bush to Woody Allan to Katy Perry.

"Masters of Sex's" Michael Sheen is dating a VH1 star
He and "VH1 Morning Buzz" host Carrie Keagan are an item.

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