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<p>Charlie Day studies monsters in 'Pacific Rim' this summer and plays one in 'Monsters University'</p>

Charlie Day studies monsters in 'Pacific Rim' this summer and plays one in 'Monsters University'

Credit: HitFix

Charlie Day talks about getting physical to play his role in 'Monsters University'

'Sunny' star also talks about his time in giant monster movie 'Pacific Rim'

Charlie Day is best known so far for his work on "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia," and that's as it should be. After all, he's a major creative partner in the production of the show, and it fully expresses a totally lunatic sensibility that Day seems very proud of, each and every week.

This summer, though, Day shows up in a few very different films. There is, of course, Guillermo Del Toro's "Pacific Rim," where Day plays a scientist who is the leading expert on the kaiju, the giant monsters that threaten our planet. I'll be publishing some looks at my time on the set next week, and a lot of what we watched involved Day, Ron Perlman, and something that was not there. Watching him work for a full day in that sort of environment, I was really impressed by how much Day threw himself into every take, into even the angles where he wasn't the focus of the shot. He seemed to be able to summon it up every time, and knowing Del Toro… knowing what he asks of his actors… I could tell that he felt like he had found another missing piece from his always-growing movie family.

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<p>Kraftwerk</p>

Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk is werking on a new album

Ralf Hütter says a follow-up to the group's last 2003 album is coming 'soon'

Kraftwerk fans rejoice! The electronica trailblazers have a new album "under way" for an arrival "soon," according to founder Ralf Hütter.

Speaking with The New York Times, Hütter said the German group's first studio set since 2003's "Tour de France" is a work-in-progress, as is all of Kraftwerk's operations.

“We didn’t fall asleep,” he said. “The 168-hour week is still going on since the beginning, since 1970.”

Kraftwerk has been performing over the last couple of years for residencies like at New York's MoMA, London's Tate Modern and, most recently, wrapping at Akasaka Blitz in Tokyo, performing full albums in chronological order. They have a slate of more general tour dates starting this month through November, posted below.

“Kraftwerk is a living organism,” Mr. Hütter added. “Music is never finished. It starts again tomorrow. The record is just a record, but for us it’s nearly boring. We like better the programs that we can operate with. So we are operating, we are upgrading, we are updating continuously. There’s continuous reprogramming going on, and composition and new concepts are also coming.”

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When should John Oliver quit with the 'I'm British' jokes?


When should John Oliver quit with the "I'm British" jokes?

On his 2nd outing as "Daily Show" substitute, Oliver pointed out again that he's British.


Report: No "Idol" return for J.Lo

Jennifer Lopez won't be back as a judge next season, according to E!


Jeffrey Tambor recreates the "Larry Sanders" opening on Jimmy Fallon

Watch Tambor reprise his famous Hank Kingsley character. PLUS: Fallon's 4th Video Game Week kicks off Monday.


Smithsonian announces "Oprah Winfrey Theater" after her $12M donation for black history museum
The $12 million donation will help fund a $500 million museum for black history and culture. Because of the donation, the Smithsonian is renaming its largest theater after Oprah.


"24's" longtime producer/director Jon Cassar will be back for "Live Another Day"

Cassar, who won an Emmy for his "24" directing, will return for the reboot.


"Teen Mom" Farrah Abraham is confronted on the Howard Stern show

She insists her sex tape isn't porn.


Watch Letterman's obsession with drums
A YouTuber made a supercut of Dave asking drummers, "Are those your drums?" PLUS: Letterman is "Letterace."

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<p>Michael Jackson</p>

Michael Jackson

Credit: AP Photo

Michael Jackson's wrongful death trial reveals the ugly truth behind touring

Why the show must go on

As the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial against AEG Live continues into its seventh week, the testimony is revealing as much about the often nasty business of touring in general as it is the particularly ugly secrets of the Jackson “This Is It”  outing specifically.

As the email trail shows, what it often comes down to— and Jackson was an extreme case because of his superstar status and the earning potential— is keeping the artist on the road, through whatever means possible. I’m not trying the case here and I have no idea how the jury will decide, but through the testimony so far, it sure sounds like Jackson was in no shape to be thinking about a 50-date stand at London’s O2 Arena.  From the emails exchanged, it’s a miracle he made it through the two sentences he uttered at the press conference he was so “drunk and despondent,” according to an email from AEG Live head Randy Phillips.

All sides at various times expressed anything from mild concern to outright panic about his ability to sustain the rigors of a live show or even do multiple 360 degree spins. I’m no sage, but I remember when the tour was announced and concerts kept being added, thinking there was no way Jackson could make it through that many concerts given how fragile a state he seemed to be in. To be sure, AEG tried to mitigate the risk by making the world come to Jackson instead of his going to the world, but even then, it seemed a case of greed.

So why, in the face of what seems to be incontrovertible evidence that Jackson was in no shape to perform, didn’t someone pull the plug? Because once the wheels are in motion, especially on an enterprise as large as this one, it’s almost impossible to stop the juggernaut...though Jackson certainly found a way to stop it permanently, sadly.

The artist may be alone up on the stage, or surrounded by a small band, but there is a whole behind-the-scenes cottage industry that depends upon that human taking the stage every night and millions are at stake when that doesn’t happen. It’s not just the money earned off the ticket sales, but from merchandise, concessions, parking, ticketing fees, etc. The ancillary revenue can often surpass the ticket take.

I’ve seen artists on stage who had no business being anywhere but in rehab and yet the tour chugs on every night. The artist is up on display, like a circus bear, trotted out nightly to make sure everyone gets his or her share and if the act stops, so does the money train. The goal is to prop them up with a phalanx of support: whatever it takes to get them on stage.

I’m painting a craven picture to be sure, and most tours are handled just fine, but it’s important to note that it’s not always the folks behind the curtain who are demanding that the act keep going: sometimes it’s the artist. There are varying accounts of Jackson’s financial situation, from downright broke to still flush, but it seems fair to say that money was the motivating factor for his willingness to take the stage again as well.

Regardless, the takeaway from the Jackson trial could very well be much bigger than the jury’s decision over whether AEG Live was culpable in his death. By showing the drama behind the star-making machinery, the trial has revealed to the world just how sordid the touring industry can be.
 

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See Rob Lowe as JFK


See Rob Lowe as JFK
Lowe began filming "Killing Kennedy" this week with Ginnifer Goodwin playing Jacqueline Kennedy.


"Veronica Mars" movie filming begins next week
"We r almost locked & loaded!" says Kristen Bell.


"The Voice" hits an all-time low
Tuesday's show was down 13% from last week.


IFC renews "Portlandia" for 2 more seasons
Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein will be back for Seasons 4 and 5.


Woody Allen put a "Bachelorette" in his new film
Ali Fedotowsky says she has a cameo in "Blue Jasmine."


"HIMYM" will be at Comic-Con for the 1st time
The entire cast will be there, along with the show's creators and director.


Soledad O'Brien lands on HBO
The former CNN anchor will join "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" and, with her production company, come up with scripted projects for HBO.


ESPN shutting down its 3D channel after 3 years

There just wasn't enough interest in an ESPN 3D channel.


"Steve Harvey" renewed through 2016

Harvey's talk show has been picked up for two extra seasons.


"True Blood" bringing back Courtney Ford
She'll reprise her role as Bill Compton's great-great-great-great granddaughter.


Disney Channel cancels "Good Luck Charlie"

The kids' show lasted four seasons.


Kristin Cavallari reveals her official wedding portrait

"It was absolutely perfect," says the former "Hills" star.

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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: Who survives the 'Vegas Callbacks'?

Just 33 dancers survive to walk the green mile

Vegas week is never a vacation, and there seems to be a rule at this point that at least one person has to be taken to the hospital. Still, it gives us couch potatoes a chance to see some really exceptional dancing (and occasionally some really crappy dancing) and watch our judges cry. That seems to be quite the trend for season ten, because as many times as I've seen the judges cry on this show, I think I've seen weeping more in these first few weeks than I have on entire seasons. I'm wondering if they're all sleep deprived or on some kind of low-protein diet. 

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<p>Naomi Watts in &quot;Diana.&quot;</p>

Naomi Watts in "Diana."

Credit: Entertainment One

First glimpse of Naomi Watts in teaser trailer for 'Diana'

Will the actress benefit from the Academy's fascination with the Royal Family?

"Diana," German director Oliver Hirschbiegel's biopic of the late Princess of Wales, is eagerly awaited in many quarters -- it's hard to underestimate the devotion the so-called People's Princess still inspires in millions across the globe, nearly 16 years after her death, and this is the first major feature film to take her as its principal subject. Two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts is filling the princess's chic shoes, and the wordless teaser trailer below promises a reasonable physical approximation.

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<p>Michael Shannon is so good at playing intense that I almost don't trust him when he smiles.</p>

Michael Shannon is so good at playing intense that I almost don't trust him when he smiles.

Credit: HitFix

Michael Shannon talks about finding something sympathetic in General Zod for 'Man of Steel'

One of our best character guys discusses his side trip into super powers

I'm not sure what I expected from Michael Shannon's take on General Zod, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't what I got.

That should not come as a shock, though. Michael Shannon has been slowly but surely cementing his reputation as an actor capable of surprising in any role, and the more work of his I see, the more convinced I am that he's one of the great character guys in film at the moment. Anyone who can play the tortured father from "Take Shelter," the shithouse-crazy ex-solder in "Bug," the hilariously irritated cop in "Premium Rush," and General Freakin' Zod, and do so without covering the same emotional ground twice, is a guy worth playing close attention to, whatever he's doing.

The great "Man Of Steel" debate appears to have kicked in, and I'm dumbfounded by some of the reviews I'm reading. I'm on the record as being a pretty passionate fan of the movie now, and I saw it again last night right around the time that review went live, and still feel just as strongly. I disagree with a lot of what I've read, and it's not even about the "like or dislike" of it, but more with the interpretation of what happens in the movie.

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<p>Michael Mann speaks at the hands and footprint ceremony for &quot;The&nbsp;Dark&nbsp;Knight Rises&quot; director (and now Legendary&nbsp;Pictures stablemate)&nbsp;Christopher Nolan in 2012.</p>

Michael Mann speaks at the hands and footprint ceremony for "The Dark Knight Rises" director (and now Legendary Pictures stablemate) Christopher Nolan in 2012.

Credit: AP Photo

Production begins on Michael Mann's cyber thriller

The film is scheduled for a 2014 release

I hate that this project doesn't have a title yet so I can give it a proper headline, but anyway, Legendary Pictures announced start of production today on Michael Mann's untitled latest feature. The director hasn't gone back to the feature film well since 2009's "Public Enemies," which was widely dismissed, but I was a fan. There was a detour into television (and some nasty brawls with David Milch, as I hear it) with HBO's short-lived "Luck," but he's getting back on the horse with a Morgan Davis Foehl-scripted cyber-theft thriller starring Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis.

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<p>&quot;This is the End&quot;</p>

"This is the End"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'This is the End'

Seth Rogen and friends face the apocalypse today

Oh yeah, "This is the End" hits theaters today. Well, sneak previews in advance of tomorrow's official release. YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY GO SEE IT. Seriously, I laughed so hard in this movie that my face hurt. But lest you think it's brainless humor, the film is actually very smart about how it pitches its theme, while at the same time sending up Hollywood image and culture. There have been few times this year that I've had this good a time watching a movie. Here's Drew McWeeny's review. So with that endorsement, I'll be waiting here to hear back from you on what you thought. If you're way ahead of me, rifle off your take in the comments section and vote in our poll. The rest of you: GO!

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<p>I could try explaining what's happening in this scene, but it all basically boils down to 'college life' in 'Monsters University'</p>

I could try explaining what's happening in this scene, but it all basically boils down to 'college life' in 'Monsters University'

Credit: Pixar

Review: Pixar delivers a largely familiar 'Monsters University' with a few new twists

Is 'pretty good' what people want from Pixar?

Perhaps we're entering an age of lowered expectations when it comes to Pixar, and perhaps that's not a bad thing.

Pixar deserved the reputation they built for themselves as a storytelling titan during their initial run of titles, and one could make a case that everything through "Toy Story 3" was part of a cycle that is now concluded. The decision to start playing the sequel game on a regular basis, no matter how story-driven, has created a shift in the way they are being treated, and it's hard to deny that it feels like a bit of a disappointment.

I am weary of prequels. I think they are narrative dead ends in the first place, and I don't understand the appeal. When they announced that the follow-up to the sweet and smart "Monsters Inc." was going to be a prequel, I thought it sounded really dreadful. And, honestly, I've barely looked at the marketing materials at this point. Why bother? Pixar movies are as pre-sold to the family audience as anything can be, and I know for a fact that whatever they release, we'll end up seeing.

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John Oliver's 'Daily Show' debut ratings matches Jon Stewart


John Oliver's "Daily Show" debut ratings matches Jon Stewart
About 1.5 million tuned in for Oliver's debut.


Lauren Graham's debut novel is set to become a TV series, produced by Ellen

The "Parenthood" star has closed a deal with Warner Bros. TV and Ellen DeGeneres to transform her New York Times bestseller "Someday, Someday, Maybe" into a TV drama.


Alfonso Ribeiro named host of "Spell-Mageddon"

The former "Fresh Prince" star has landed on ABC Family as host of its spelling bee game show.


Nigel Lythgoe: Maybe "Idol" should bring back Simon, Paula, Randy
"That little team, Randy, Paula and Simon, again are the template for judges forever now," he says. PLUS: Lythgoe blames ratings woes on no longer appealing to families.


Ed Burns joins TNT's "Lost Angels" as Bugsy Siegel; Robert Knepper promoted
Burns will play the legendary mobster on Frank Darabont's TNT drama, while Knepper has been promoted to as series regular.


"Big Bang's" Kunal Nayyar is headed to "Sullivan & Son"
He'll guest as a ladies man on the TBS comedy.


How reaction to "Game of Thrones" deaths compare to other TV show deaths
Turns out there was more outrage over the "Game of Thrones" deaths then deaths on "Mad Men," "Downton Abbey," "Breaking Bad" and "Dexter."


Why did a defense contractor sponsor a "Sesame Street" video on incarceration?

A new web feature went up on the show's website explaining, "What is incarceration?"


Jimmy Fallon films an ad promoting Kings of Leon's new album

Kings of Leon got Fallon to hawk the new album from the "Late Night" set, in a video posted on the band's YouTube page.


"Downton Abbey" creator responds to "Downton Diddy"

"He did his own version and put himself into it," says Julian Fellowes. "I thought that was very enterprising." PLUS: Drag queens spoof "Downton Abbey."


Katee Sackoff loses many Twitter followers over gun safety tweet
After seeing a news report about a 4-year-old shooting and killing his father, the "Longmire" star tweeted: "Please practice gun safety. This is horrible!"


Is Daenerys Targaryen a white savior on "Game of Thrones"?
The season finale raises an uncomfortable question about race. PLUS: Answering burning "GoT" questions.


Chart shows how the phrase "Spoiler Alert" has grown
"Spoiler Alert" never appeared in the NY Times before 2000.


Hank Azaria reads the L.A. Dodgers' starting lineup in his "Simpsons" voices

Watch Apu, Moe and Chief Wiggum present the starting lineup.


Don't compare the NSA's surveillance program to "The Wire"
Why David Simon was wrong to compare his show to what's been going on in the NSA.


Why is History channel embracing conspiracy theories?
From JFK to Nostradamus to UFOs, the former "Hitler Channel" now cares about obsessing over conspiracies.


Shohreh Aghdashloo writes memoir detailing her "24" clashes with Kiefer Sutherland
The Iranian-born actress, who played a terrorist in Season 4, says: "I'm afraid working with him proved to be hard. That young man was pretty angry. At the end of the day, I thought he was angry with himself."


"The Voice" finale will feature Bruno Mars, Nelly, Christina Aguilera
Florida Georgia Line will also perform on next week's finale.


Jeff Probst releases a 2nd children's book

The "Survivor"-inspired "Trial by Fire: Stranded, Book Two" is now available. PLUS: Probst offers 4 tips for success.


Lifetime's "Supermarket Superstar" starring Stacy Keibler debuts July 22

The reality show will pit contestants against each other in pitching their food ideas in hopes of getting their ideas on supermarket shelves.


Judy Blume likes "Girls": "It's crazy, it's sometimes funny, it's sometimes sad"
"The first season was more real, I think," says the author of books for children and teens. "And the second season was a little bit more out there."


"My So-Called Life" cast reunites, sans Claire Danes
Creator Winnie Holzman was joined at the ATX Television Festival by Wilson Cruz, Devon Gummersall and Devon Odessa.


Go record shopping with Fred Armisen

The "Portlandia" star took part in Amoeba Records' "What's in My Bag?"


Shirley Jones will play William Shatner's mom
The "Partridge Family" matriarch has signed on for the live "Hot in Cleveland" episode.


"Pretty Little Liars" returns for Season 3

The cast and creator talk about what's possibly in the trunk.


Brazilian artist recreates the "Friends" apartment with paper
See Bruna Salvador Conforto's accurate recreation of the NYC apartment.


See pics from Kristin Cavallari's wedding
"The Hills" alum married Chicago Bear Jay Cutler on Saturday.


Cartoon Network renews "Teen Titans Go!"

The animated series will be back for Season 2.


"Sam & Cat" gets big ratings for Nick

The spinoff of "iCarly" and "Victorious" was watched by 4.2 million, the best live-action launch on Nickelodeon in three years.


ABC Family's "Twisted" feels too much like "Pretty Little Liars"
There's not much original in the new series, premiering tonight.

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