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<p>Gru (Steve Carrell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) go undercover at a mall to flush out the thief of a special secret formula in 'Despicable Me 2'</p>

Gru (Steve Carrell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) go undercover at a mall to flush out the thief of a special secret formula in 'Despicable Me 2'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: 'Despicable Me 2' offers some big laughs, but the story seems mighty soft

Once again, the Minions steal the show

The original "Despicable Me" is still probably the best overall film that Illumination Entertainment has produced, but they're a young company. I think they tried valiantly with "The Lorax," but they had to add so much busywork to the lean and lovely Dr. Seuss story that it just felt padded. Their live-action/animated hybrid "Hop" is a little too willfully cute for my tastes, but it has more in common with the "Despicable" films, and the ways they're similar sort of define how I think about the company.

Pixar has the best story department in animation, even today, but what Illumination brings to the table is a non-stop joke machine sensibility, and that's what makes their films enjoyable. Even if they don't quite land some thematic point or connect the dots on an emotional arc, the jokes just keep coming, one after another, and way more of them work than don't. "Despicable Me 2" is a less emotionally resonant experience than the first film, but it is positively packed with laughs. There is a sweetness to the movie that works well enough to ground it in something identifiably human, and to be honest, I don't really need "Despicable Me 2" to be as emotionally devastating an experience as something like "The Spectacular Now." The laughs seem way more important to me, and I can't fault the film in that department.

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<p>Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey)&nbsp;and Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson)&nbsp;bond as part of Justice Forever in 'Kick-Ass 2'</p>

Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) and Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) bond as part of Justice Forever in 'Kick-Ass 2'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Director Jeff Wadlow talks about the challenges of being the new guy on set for 'Kick-Ass 2'

We discuss the way real life and fiction collide in the sequel

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE - For the first half of my stay on set, I catch glimpses of Jeff Wadlow, but from a distance only. The soundstage I'm on is taken up largely with a rooftop set, and it's on the rooftop that Wadlow is busy staging and shooting the intense final fight between Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and The Motherfucker (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), something that's been brewing for two full films now.

It's not until lunch that I got the chance to really sit down and talk with Wadlow, and while he and I were unfamiliar with each other, he seemed immediately ready to discuss anything. I talked to him first about how many familiar faces I saw in every department, and how most of them had a fairly strong sense of what a "Kick-Ass" film should be since they were there for the first one. From Wadlow's script, I got the sense that he had an equally strong idea about what a "Kick-Ass" movie should be, and I asked him how he'd found the process of working with this full company as the newcomer.

"It's been great," he began. "I mean, I've been very lucky in that once they read the script they were in. And I think as you said, that was everything.  When there's talk of the sequel happening without Matthew directing… I heard from my agent, you know, that nothing was a done deal, and he didn't have options on the cast, which was not typical. Normally you have options so it's not really that much of an issue."

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<p>Title art has to go...</p>

Title art has to go...

Credit: The Weinstein Company... AND Warner Bros.?

Weinstein Company forced to rename 'The Butler' (UPDATED)

A century-old short film may have just cock-blocked Harvey

UPDATE (7/5): Okay, this is probably due an update by now. Fireworks on and offline over the holiday, it seems. Weinstein appealed, Lee Daniels begged (and got a private reply, which I'm stunned hasn't shown up somehow in the reporting given the pettiness of all of it) and now this Hollywood Reporter story pretty much lays out WB's beef. Straw/camel's back for them. Waiting on Weinstein retort.

EARLIER (7/2): Lee Daniels' "The Butler," the Precious" director's follow-up to 2012's sultry train wreck/masterpiece (depending on who you're asking) "The Paperboy," showed up here and there in our uncovered Oscar Contenders section earlier this week. I get a "Bobby" vibe from the film (and hey, I actually liked "Bobby"), but whatever. We'll see what it is when we do, but in the meantime, the film has some unexpected branding decisions to make.

Deadline reported yesterday that Warner Bros. was seeking to block usage of the title "The Butler," claiming copyright on a 1916 short film. I guess it turns out the film violated Title Registration Bureau rules by using "The Butler" and judgment was swift, levied today: The Weinstein Company has to find a new title for the film. The clock is ticking, too: the term has to be removed from all marketing by midnight tonight, so hang onto those posters, movie theater workers. They might be worth something.

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"So You Think You Can Dance"

 "So You Think You Can Dance"

Credit: Fox

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: 'Top 20 Perform, 2 Eliminated'

Two dancers are cut, but still have to perform with their partners

The opening number is pretty great -- dreamlike, ethereal, a little spooky, and it makes great use of the stage. Dammit. Now I don't want anyone to go home! I'll get over that shortly, however. It's better to just accept the inevitable. Two dancers will be getting the axe, and there's nothing anyone can do about it now. 

Our judges are Nigel Lythgoe, Mary Murphy, and Christina Applegate. I'm glad to see her back. She's made some insightful comments in the past, and it's always good to have another female on the panel, I think. 

Flashback montage from last week. I still wish Wayne Brady had taken his clothes off and danced with Cat Deeley. That would have been memorable!

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<p>Johnny Depp makes a persuasive case for his approach to playing Tonto in the new film incarnation of 'The Lone Ranger'</p>

Johnny Depp makes a persuasive case for his approach to playing Tonto in the new film incarnation of 'The Lone Ranger'

Credit: HitFix

Johnny Depp discusses playing Tonto and 'Rango' for 'Lone Ranger' director Gore Verbinski

The actor talks about what he gets from this particular partnership

It was about 113 degrees outside in Santa Fe when i sat down to talk to Johnny Depp about his role as Tonto in Gore Verbinski's 'The Lone Ranger,' which opens tomorrow.

I didn't realize how much altitude is also an issue in Santa Fe, and I found myself drinking about a full bottle of water between each interview and still drying out in the middle. I'm not sure how Depp managed to sit there all day and still look like… well, like Johnny Depp. Considering he just turned 50, I'm pretty sure he had the real Fountain Of Youth built into his contract for "Pirates Of The Caribbean 4" as a rider. As always, he seemed soft-spoken and incredibly serious about his work, a good interview because you know that he's really thinking about his answers.

I love "Rango." I think it is so jam-packed with Verbinski's obvious fondness for Westerns that it feels almost giddy, and Rango is a great character for Depp to give voice. There's something perfect about his weird exaggerated appearance and Depp's dry Joe Friday-like delivery that makes me laugh right away. When that film came out, we spoke to Depp about it, and I even asked him at the end of that interview about when we might be able to expect Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man" on Blu-ray.

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Watch Miguel and Mariah Carey's video for 'Hermosa,' the half-Spanish 'Beautiful'

Watch Miguel and Mariah Carey's video for 'Hermosa,' the half-Spanish 'Beautiful'

What's 'mega-fine' en español?

HitFix has already crowned Mariah Carey and Miguel's "Beautiful" among the songs of the summer for 2013; but the two together are trying to push its popularity up over the top with five new remixes, including a part-Spanish version "Hermosa."

So if you weren't convinced that single is "f*ckin' beautiful," then head to a nameless resort, go down to the pristine waters, and splash around a bit en español. Both singers know their way around Spanish singing (and she's released previous Spanish versions of "Hero," "Open Arms" and "My All").

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Kerry Washington: White women approach me saying, 'I want to be Olivia Pope'

Kerry Washington: White women approach me saying, "I want to be Olivia Pope"
"One of the most profound things for me about ('Scandal') is the number of white women of all ages who come up to me and say, 'I want to be Olivia Pope,'" Washington tells Vanity Fair. Washington is this month's Vanity Fair cover girl, a rare accomplishment for a black woman. PLUS: Shonda Rhimes talks starting in the middle of the story.

CBS moves "Big Brother" eviction to Thursdays
The Eye network is swapping "Person of Interest" with "Big Brother," so the reality show's live eviction will air on Thursdays starting July 11.

Matthew Perry: I was never high on the "Friends" set, but I was "painfully hung over"

Perry details his past addictions in the latest People magazine, saying that "eventually things got so bad I couldn't hide it and everybody knew" on the "Friends" set.

7 Disney Channel shows to jump into the future over 1 weekend

The Flash Forward event kicks off July 26.

Hallmark Channel cancels Marie Osmond's talk show "Marie" after 1 season

"Marie" is now eyeing a syndication launch for fall 2014.

"Person of Interest" is giving away Comic-Con key cards
Nearly 30 San Diego hotels will use the special key cards.

Will "Breaking Bad's" Saul Goodman spinoff 30 minutes or an hour?
That's one of the decisions Vince Gilligan is trying to make as he works "full speed ahead" on the proposed spinoff.

"The Wire" and "Fringe" alum Lance Reddick is taking on comedic roles to avoid typecasting

Reddick, who recently guested on "Wilfred" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," says: "I just wanted to do something silly, something completely different, and I felt like I just wanted to have some fun."

"Glee" fans create their own Kurt-Blaine engagement scene for a charity project
Their scene ended up subbing for the one that never aired.

Is the good cop/bad cop trope actually used in real life?

Good cop/bad cop didn't really become a big part of TV series until the last 30 years.

ESPN's "Nine for IX" examines women in sports

Nine sports documentaries by and about women to mark the 40th anniversary of Title IX.

Catch a glimpse of Nickelodeon's "Laverne & Shirley" reunion

"Today" showed a preview of Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on "Sam and Cat."

"Anna Nicole" vs. Anna Nicole
How does the Lifetime movie compare to real life?

"Naked and Afraid": Reality TV's craziest show?
The Discovery reality show is, "in every sense of the word, an insane show. It's also quite possibly the most riveting reality series on television. Ever," says Kevin Fallon.

Anna Camp suffered a concussion filming "True Blood"
"I was fortunate to have a great, great stuntwoman with me, but during one of the takes, I rolled, I was on the ground, and I hit my head," she says.

Before "SNL," Kate McKinnon starred in "Vag Magazine"

Watch McKinnon in a 2010 web series. PLUS: McKinnon calls "SNL" her dream job.

Win a date with Kristen Bell

The "Veronica Mars" star is raising money for the charity Invisible Children.

Here are 12 forgotten '90s Saturday morning cartoons
From "Back to the Future" to "Kid 'n' Play."

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<p>Miranda Cosgrove seemed pleased to play the struggles of her character in 'Despicable Me 2'</p>

Miranda Cosgrove seemed pleased to play the struggles of her character in 'Despicable Me 2'

Credit: HitFix

Miranda Cosgrove discusses the pains of young love in 'Despicable Me 2'

The 'iCarly' star talks about building the bond with her young co-stars

My exposure to the work of Miranda Cosgrove is very, very limited.

For example, I could tell you that I think she does lovely work in "Despicable Me 2" as Margo, the oldest of the girls that were adopted by Gru at the end of the first film. She is at that age where she's starting to notice boys, and they're starting to notice her, and while I'm sure every teen (and every father of every teen girl) has trouble during this period of transition, not all of them have a former evil genius for a father.

Watching Gru's frustration as he sees Margo make those first fumbling steps towards adulthood is very funny, but I have to admit… I can only laugh because I have sons. I think I would be a total catastrophe as a dad if I had two girls. Overprotective hardly even begins to describe how I'd handle things. Yesterday, someone ran a photo of Eminem's daughter on Twitter, who was so much a presence in his lyrics when she was basically a baby. She's a pretty teenage girl now, and I can't imagine being the poor teenage kid who goes to pick her up for a date and then has to face Eminem before he can leave the house again. I would have absolutely no problem being a menace if some kid showed up to take my daughter on a date, and "Despicable Me 2" gets a lot of comic mileage out of showing how Gru handles it.

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<p>Justin Bieber: Angel or a 'witch?'</p>

Justin Bieber: Angel or a 'witch?'

Justin Bieber's new music will end 'witch hunt,' says manager Scooter Braun

When will we get new single 'Heartbreaker?'

Did you know that there’s a witch hunt going on against Justin Bieber. Uh huh, that’s right. According to his manager, Scooter Braun, once Bieber drops the new single, “Heartbreaker,” all the crazy talk will stop.

“We’re hoping the witch hunt’s gonna end when he just speaks for himself in the music,” Braun told MTV News. Of course, that begs the question, was he speaking for someone else before in his other singles?

Yes, Bieber has found himself in the news on a regular basis lately for everything but his music, whether it was for pot found on his tour bus or his abandoning his monkey in Germany or for a pro athlete threatening to tackle him if he doesn’t drive slower through their gated community or for hitting a paparazzo.

No specific word yet on when the single will drop and the witch hunt will be over. Bieber teased that the song was “coming soon,” last month on Twitter, but now it sounds like it may be closer to the end of the year.

Braun and Bieber have been talking about the Bieb’s “music journal,” but have yet to reveal how that differs from an album, although Braun hints to MTV that the distribution mechanism may be very different than the traditional means of delivery: “People and fans should be very excited for the end of this year because he's just written so many songs on the road,” Braun says. “And we decided there needs to be a way to release these songs in a different way than the normal album and be able to allow him to express himself in music while dealing with so many different bullsh-- stories every single day."

Furthermore, Braun says, “When you see 'Heartbreaker,' know it's coming directly from him and don't think [of] the normal 'Oh this is my single and this is going to be on the album' [rollout]. Realize there's gonna be a very unique way of how this music is going to be released unlike we've seen before from him."

More to be revealed later. Maybe he’s coming house to house to deliver the song to each of us personally.

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TNT renews 'Falling Skies'

TNT renews "Falling Skies"
The TNT Steven Spielberg series starring Noah Wyle will be back for Season 4.

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Janelle Monae lets her hair down in new video for 'Dance Apocalyptic'

Janelle Monae lets her hair down in new video for 'Dance Apocalyptic'

She's partying like it's 2099 in the stylish clip

Janelle Monae lets her hair down, literally, in the video for “Dance Apocalyptic,” the new track from her Sept. 10 release, “The Electric Lady.” 

She sheds her usual top-knot/up-do because if you can’t let loose when the end of the world is coming, well, when can you? With her tresses down and dressed in a white outfit that’s much funkier and less formal than her normal black and white get-up, she boogies her way through the impending end days with her all female band, as she cavorts to the jumpin', jivin' tune. Think she's not powerful? Think again. As the emcee warns us, she's so powerful, she knocked a man out with her eyelashes.

[More after the jump...]


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Listen: Beck's new song 'I Won't Be Long'

Listen: Beck's new song 'I Won't Be Long'

It's a spacey, melodic jam for July

Beck’s promises “I Won’t Be Long” on his spacey, melodic new single, released today. The track, which has a funky, electronic break down, follows “Defriended," which Beck released in early June.

“Long” focuses more on atmospherics and feel rather than lyrical depth. Most of the lyrics are “I won’t be long,” repeated over and over, and then “Oh so silently we go,” over a steady drum beat and a fuzzy guitar.

[More after the jump...]

 Though more approachable and inviting than “Defriended"( i.e.: it doesn't sound like it was recorded underwater),  “Long” definitely sounds like it could have been recorded in the same session as both share an affinity for electronics. Similarly to "Defriended," “I Won’t Be Long” is also a stand-alone single that won’t be on an album, but is available as a limited edition 12” vinyl that also features a 14:49 extended mix.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a new album coming from Beck, who last released a full album in 2008 with “Modern Guilt.”  As we previously reported, Beck is working on two acoustic albums, the first of which will be out this fall.


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