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<p>&quot;We Are Men&quot;</p>

"We Are Men"

Credit: CBS

Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'We Are Men'

It could be worse. That's the high praise on this Monday comedy.

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show:"We Are Men" (CBS)
Airs:Mondays at 8:30 p.m.
The Pitch: "Sex and the City" for sad, desperate middle-aged men. So... "Entourage" in its later years.
Quick Response: New TV Season Pet Peeve: People who compare "We Are Men" to "Happy Endings," just because both shows begin with a guy being ditched at the altar, even though the scene in "We Are Men" is explicitly a referencing "The Graduate" and "We Are Men" has nothing particular in common with "Happy Endings" otherwise. I lead this blurb with that essentially meaningless annoyance because there's hardly any point in saying anything about "We Are Men." It's there. And by causing me almost no discomfort or pain, it's better than "Partners," which tanked in this slot last year. It's better than "Dads," which has a similarly disconnected sensibility regarding homosocial friendship. And it's better than the legion of Mancession comedies which several networks, mostly ABC, tried and failed with a couple years ago. So what I'm saying is that I was prepared to be annoyed or offended by "We Are Men" and, instead, I was merely bored. Victory! Tony Shalhoub seems amused to be playing a sleazy letch at this point in his career and who am I to begrudge Tony Shalhoub's self-amusement? Jerry O'Connell seems amused to be wandering around in a banana hammock in several scenes and who am I to begrudge the fat kid from "Stand by Me" wanting to show off that he's still the kinda stud-muffin who can marry a former super-model? Kal Penn seems a bit uncomfortable and I'm not sure how I'd describe his character, but he may just be easing back into TV after his brief period sorta-kinda working for the Obama Administration, so perhaps he'll find something to amuse him by the fourth or fifth episode. And then there's Christopher Smith, who is playing what absolutely would have been the Josh Cooke role two or three years ago and I want to warn him that shows that contain A Josh Cooke Role usually suffer A Josh Cooke Fate, which is speedy cancellation. But I forgot he was there, which is at least as much a factor of his not having much of a character as his not giving much of a performance. The fact is, I kinda like the backdrop of a "Quality furnished short-termed housing" complex in Tarzana and I don't hate the core trio not counting Chris Smith (who I also don't hate, but who I really have no opinion on). The pilot, though, is a random hodge-podge of leering and "rules," plus stuff with Fiona Gubelmann, who you know I love, but who won't have anything to do going forward. So... Whatever.
Desire To Watch Again: One more episode. Period. When it turns out that it's yet another "The guys try to fix Carter up on a date" snooze, I'll be done, even though this is a time slot in which I notoriously give shows too many chances.


Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Almost Human' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Back in the Game' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'Sean Saves the World' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'Reign' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'The Crazy Ones' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Enlisted' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Betrayal' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Blacklist' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: The CW's 'The Tomorrow People' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: CBS' 'Hostages' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: FOX's 'Sleepy Hollow' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: ABC's 'Trophy Wife' 
Take Me To The Pilots '13: NBC's 'The Michael J. Fox Show' 
All of my 2012 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2011 Take Me To The Pilots Entries
All of my 2010 Take Me To The Pilots Entries



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<p>Tony Leung in &quot;The Grandmaster.&quot;</p>

Tony Leung in "The Grandmaster."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Academy to host screening of Wong Kar-Wai's 'The Grandmaster'

After a rough Berlin debut, the martial arts epic is seeking a second wind

Wong Kar-Wai's long-awaited, long-delayed martial arts epic "The Grandmaster" looked to be the dream opening film at this year's Berlin Film Festival, but it received a slightly rude awakening when it finally premiered. I was far from the only critic to voice my disappointment with the film, which bore the scars of work that had been labored over a little too long -- though it still offered sporadic thrills and ravishing beauty aplenty.

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<p>Cliff Martinez</p>

Cliff Martinez

Credit: HitFix

Exclusive: Composer Cliff Martinez scoring French action-thriller 'Mea Culpa'

Composer is also behind the wheel of a Corvette commercial score

AUSTIN - Cliff Martinez has had a busy 2013 thus far. The successful stateside bow of "Spring Breakers" and the wide release of "Only God Forgives" this month seems to be part of a larger career surge for the composer. During an interview promoting his (current) film with "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn, Martinez revealed some more of his future work, which includes penning music for forthcoming feature "Mea Culpa."

"I'm about to do a French film called 'Mea Culpa.' It's an action-thriller," Martinez said, likening it to a mix of  "Die Hard" and "Taken." It will be his third French movie, though he said, "I've never done anything like it."

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, "Mea Culpa" is directed by Fred Cavaye ("Anything For Her," "Point Blank") and stars Vincent Lindon, Gilles Lellouche and Nadine Labaki. It is set for release in early 2014, and was picked up by Fox International just ahead of Cannes this May.

Martinez said he and Cavaye bonded over a mutual disdain of traditional action movie scores.

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Cory Monteith's friend: 'He couldn't stop. He tried. He just couldn't'

Cory Monteith's friend: "He couldn't stop. He tried. He just couldn't"
E! spoke with several of the "Glee" star's friends, including one who said he was shooting up heroin and crystal meth in March. "It was very scary," the friend says, adding that he had "major track marks." PLUS: Monteith's ex-girlfriend was kept in the dark about his drug use, and "Glee" casting for 2 new roles in wake of Monteith's death.

ESPN could make a Keith Olbermann announcement on Wednesday

The former "SportsCenter" anchor is close to getting his own ESPN2 late-night show.

Watch Bryan Cranston sing during his Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony

Check out photos of Cranston and his star from today's ceremony. PLUS: Watch Aaron Paul's speech, and Jane Kaczmarek's emotional tribute. Also, check out new "Breaking Bad" cast pics, and even more pics + episode titles.

"Big Bang Theory" getting an "Artist Series"
The CBS comedy will debut as a work of art at Comic-Con.

Watch the new "X Factor" panel in action
Here's your first glimpse of Paulina Rubio and Kelly Rowland.

Will Netflix become an Emmy game-changer on Thursday?

There's a lot of buzz that "House of Cards" and/or "Arrested Development" will score when nominations are announced Thursday.

"Big Brother" this season: "A lab experiment in overt racism"
This year, says Jon Caramanica, CBS has turned the show "into a rare opportunity to watch white privilege and unconscious racism in the field. It may be occurring in a sealed-off space, but it’s feasting on the oxygen of national network television."

Why isn't the Jewish community outraged by "Princesses: Long Island"?
The Anti-Defamation League couldn't care less about the Bravo reality show, which may be because it's ethnic stereotyping is over the top in hits outlandishness.

Expect to see Jenny McCarthy wearing glasses on "The View"
Apparently McCarthy turns into "Librarian Jenny" every time she's guest co-hosted in the past. PLUS: Dear ABC: McCarthy on "The View" will kill children.

"Game of Thrones" becomes a periodic table
Showing the dead and living characters.

"The Walking Dead" composer talks about working on "Agents of SHIELD"
"At first glance, I was nervous that 'Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD' would be difficult to approach," says Bear McCreary. "… It ties together a cinematic universe that spans years of characters, storylines and scores by talented composers. The instant I saw the pilot, I connected immediately with the characters." PLUS: New "SHIELD" footage released.

Mary-Louise Parker quitting acting?
"I'm not really that into it anymore," the former "Weeds" star says. "I don't know how many more movies I wanna do. I wouldn't mind doing a TV show again, I'd like to do a couple more plays, but I'm almost done acting, I think."

CBS sued again over "Hawaii Five-0"
An L.A. judge has brought back CBS in the fold of a lawsuit filed by the talent manager for the creator of the iconic series.

"Whose Line Is It Anyway?" is back on track

Wayne Brady says of the CW version, premiering tonight: "When we were shooting, we were joking around saying it felt like everyone stepped out for lunch and came right back."

"Pretty Little Liars" spinoff "Ravenswood" experiences a cast shakeup
Model Elizabeth Whitson is out, and her role will be taken over by Merritt Patterson, who was set to play Whitson's character's best friend.

In defense of Aaron Sorkin's self-righteousness

"Smugness has a way of covering up the reality on the ground," notes Stephen Marche. "That's the flaw of a show like 'The Newsroom,' but it's also its major advantage."

"SNL" alum Jack Handey of "Deep Thoughts" fame publishes his first novel

Handey has become the envy of every comedy writer in America.

Kris Jenner's talk show has a solid debut

New syndicated talk show "The Real" also did well in its limited premiere. PLUS: "Kris" was awful.

"Homeland" casts 2

New additions include "Weeds" alum Martin Donovan and Shaun Toub.

Watch "30 Rock's" Grizz carry a man like a baby
Comedian Mark Malkoff gave the 7-foot-tall Grizz Chapman a challenge.

Will "Veronica Mars" bring back Sheriff Lamb?

He was killed off in Season 3, but Rob Thomas hinted that a "Sheriff Lamb" will be part of the movie.

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to honor Jon Stewart

"The Daily Show" host will be presented with the 2013 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Civilian Service Award.

"Major Crimes" cast creates an anti-bullying PSA
In support of gay and lesbian youth.

Check out a map of "Seinfeld"

Dan Zinman has put together "Maps About Nothing."

Stephen Amell returning to "Arrow" very ripped

"June 13th & July 15th. No filter," the actor wrote in captions showcasing his transformation.

"Covert Affairs" returns

What can we expect of Annie and Auggie in Season 4? PLUS: Hill Harper on being the new CIA boss, and about those bombshells.

Here's a look at the "Treme" cookbook
With a forward from Anthony Bourdain.

Poppy Montgomery "thought it was a joke" when "Unforgettable" was uncanceled

She tells Letterman: "I didn't believe them."

Why "Arrested Development" shouldn't get another season
Season 4 was bad enough.

Adam Levine gets engaged
"The Voice" star is going to marry his latest model girlfriend.

"Top Chef's" Gail Simmons is pregnant
The celebrity chef is expecting her first child.

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<p>Let's see... Tom Hanks, a pretty European actress, a work of art, and a secret... yep, that's a Robert Langdon film, all right.</p>

Let's see... Tom Hanks, a pretty European actress, a work of art, and a secret... yep, that's a Robert Langdon film, all right.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Ron Howard and Tom Hanks are both back for Dan Brown's 'Inferno' for 2015

Robert Langdon has a new mystery to solve thanks to David Koepp

I am not remotely surprised that they're skipping "The Lost Symbol" completely.

Actually, maybe I am a little surprised. After all, Tom Hanks and Ron Howard both made mountains of cash for the first two Robert Langdon films, "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons," despite the fact that very few people seemed to genuinely like either of the films. Dan Brown's books are pop culture juggernauts, and that combination of talent combined with the omnipresence of the books made the movies as close to a can't miss proposition as you can get in modern Hollywood.

"The Lost Symbol," though, tarnished the brand pretty thoroughly, because it seemed to reveal the mechanical structure behind the franchise too nakedly. It is a formula book to such a deadening degree that it's almost a parody. It's so by-the-numbers, and it covers the exact same ground as the not-terribly-subtle also-ran series of "National Treasure" movies that Bruckheimer made for Disney. Those films seemed to stake a pretty firm claim on the idea of Washington D.C. as a big giant Rubik's Cube ready to be solved, and Brown's book felt thin even by his own standards.

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<p>Kristen Wiig and Darren Criss are both charming, but 'Girl Most Likely' never quite comes together</p>

Kristen Wiig and Darren Criss are both charming, but 'Girl Most Likely' never quite comes together

Credit: Lionsgate

Review: Kristen Wiig's 'Girl Most Likely' definitely doesn't connect

A scattered comedy doesn't really showcase anyone well

When I saw this film at last year's Toronto Film Festival, it was called "Imogene," which is the name of the main character in the movie, played by Kristen Wiig. At that point, the film did not have a distributor lined up, and I decided to wait to see if they were ever going to release it to theaters before writing a review. Since it will actually be seeing a limited release this Friday, I guess now it's fair game to write about it and to try to explain what a frustrating near-miss the whole thing turns out to be.

Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini have a very uneven overall filmography. I think they always seem to be totally engaged with what they're doing, sincere about it, but it doesn't always connect. I think "American Splendor" is pretty great, a lovely variation on the biopic genre, and their early documentary "The Last Days Of Chasen's" was a fairly wise look at the struggle for status in LA culture and the impermanence of Los Angeles. "The Nanny Diaries"? Not so much. Not for me. And I thought "Cinema Verite" was decent, but ultimately felt like a thin version of something much meatier. "The Extra Man" is uneven, but Paul Dano and Kevin Kline are so in tune playing off each other that it pushes it over in the end.

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Google is working on an online pay TV service

Google is working on an online pay TV service
Google has been talking to media companies about licensing their channels for a new service that would compete with satellite and cable TV.

Lea Michele is grieving alongside Cory Monteith's family
"They are supporting each other as they endure this profound loss together," the "Glee" star's rep said in a new statement.

Ellie Kemper to guest on "HIMYM"
"The Office" alum will appear in one episode as a wedding  guest at Barney and Robin's wedding.

"Secret Life of the American Teenager" star going topless
Shailene Woodley, 21, is baring her body for Interview magazine.

"Game of Thrones" reveals Season 4 directors
Creators David Benioff & D.B. Weiss will direct the season premiere.

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<p>Nicolas Winding Refn and Cliff Martinez</p>

Nicolas Winding Refn and Cliff Martinez

Credit: HitFix

'Only God Forgives' director Nicolas Refn-Winding's next projects: An ad and a horror

Cliff Martinez also 'driving' a Grey Goose ad

AUSTIN - Composer Cliff Martinez and director Nicolas Winding Refn have one of the hottest non-romantic relationships in Hollywood, yielding spectacular results from their two recent feature collaborations, on "Drive" and "Only God Forgives." Their next endeavors together may make the bond even stronger.

Speaking to HitFix during press time for "Only God Forgives" -- out later this week -- Refn and Martinez revealed that they've worked on a Grey Goose commercial together. And Refn has a horror film among his "irons in the fire."

"Monogamy has its advantages. There's a creative telepathy. There are things he doesn't have to tell me, and I know his likes and dislikes, and as you work with someone repeatedly as we have, you're ale to go a little deeper each time," Martinez said. "And now we're doing a vodka commercial together."

"Oh, yeah, I sold out," Refn said after some chiding."I discovered I could go on making the films I want to make and make a good living by making commercials," having completed some fashion spots for houses like Gucci.

"I don't do things for money unless it's a lot of money," Martinez said as he smiled.

"But you like vodka," Refn said.

"I do like vodka. There's a concentration of short form of commercials..."

"They're home movies, small movies."

"He shoots a mean commercial," Martinez said, pointing to cohort. "This vodka commercial is every bit as stunning as film. I like that everything you have to say is in 30-60 seconds. It tells a big story in small amount of time."

The two didn't say when to expect the Grey Goose spot, but Refn went on to discuss what else he has planned after promoting "Only God Forgives." He briefly mentioned his "Barbarella" remake, but seemed even more eager to discuss a visual he's had in mind, for female-centric horror film.

"I like women a lot. I like to shoot women a lot..." A moment's pause. "Visually."

"I would like to do a horror movie. Men are less, women are more. I like women and I'd like to do something with sex, but not having it -- sex. Women all tied up in high heels. And that excites me, I think."

I asked the pair what exactly the horror premise would be. Refn shrugged in slow motion. I asked, at least, what color would the heels be. Another long pause.

"Nine inches." Martinez said. Refn laughed and nodded.

"I just thought it could be fun to do a horror movie and with just do women in it. I think I've done a lot with violent men. I loved working with [Kristin Scott Thomas]. I loved Carey [Mulligan] in 'Drive.'"

Is it about violent women?

"The whole idea of 'Only God Forgives' is to make a movie that takes place inside the womb of a woman. That's the mystery of life. And i wanted to make a movie of what it would be like living there [in the womb] and trying to survive," Refn said. "I'm still in the womb, and I would like to be born out of it and into the world of only women."

Martinez interjects with a little creative telepathy. "Maybe it can be a sequel. 'Only Drive Forgives.'"

"Only God Forgives" is out on Friday.

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Album review: Pet Shop Boys' 'Electric' sparks with intensity
Credit: x2

Album review: Pet Shop Boys' 'Electric' sparks with intensity

What are they doing covering Bruce Springsteen?

After last year’s  introspective “Elysium,” Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant return with “Electric,” an aggressively dance-oriented album of eight originals and one very interesting cover. This is an album to thump, not think, your way through.

The album marks the first time PSB have worked on a studio album with producer Stuart Price, best known for his work with Madonna and The Killers. Price has talked about combining “Old school synth and drum machine programming and new school computer mangling” for the album. That intent is clear from the the album’s opener, "Axis." An instrumental with a relentless rat-a-tat that looks back (think Herbie Hancock’s “Rocket”) and to the future at the same time.

“You don’t know you could own me,”  Tennant repeats over and over as “Bolshy” builds and builds to the breaking point. “Where you lead, my heart will go.”  The romance, or lack of, continues with the third cut.  Could anyone but the two intellectual dance boys from the U.K. get away with a pretentious title like “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct” and still have you dancing? The track combines the best of vintage PSB with a playfulness that’s irresistible. Awash in synths and ringing bells, Tennant declares he’s giving up on love. “It’s a blatant fallacy,” he opines over a persistent clang and and a rock bed that actually recalls Asia at times.

The whole exercise is by turns breathless and hypnotic (“Flourescent”) and melodically intoxicating (“Thursday” featuring Element). Remarkably, for a duo in its fourth decade, the sense of freshness the pair brings to the project is its greatest asset. Even when the subject matter isn’t sunny, there’s an inviting bounciness on every track.

And about that cover: Tennant and Lowe take on Bruce Springsteen’s anti-war song, “The Last To Die” and, against all odds, it works. Go figure.The bed of beats only adds to the urgency of the lyrics about both a traditional war and a domestic one.

This is the Pet Shop Boys' first album after coming out of a long relationship with Parlephone and they chose to release it on their own label, x2. Maybe the joyous noise is the sense of freedom, but however it was created, it's welcome.

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Cory Monteith died of an overdose of heroin and alcohol

Cory Monteith died of an overdose of heroin and alcohol
The coroner's office said the 31-year-old actor "died of a mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol," adding: "There is no evidence to suggest Mr. Monteith's death was anything other than a most-tragic accident."

James Franco to guest on "The Mindy Project"
He'll play a doctor on the first two episodes of the season.

Nathan Fillion's contract dispute forces "Castle" to shut down for 1 day
The actor was a no-show today and is pushing for a four-day work week.

"Psych" books Tom Arnold
He'll guest as a paranormal police consultant.

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ABC unveils fall premiere dates

ABC unveils fall premiere dates
"Grey's Anatomy" returns with a two-hour season premiere, "Modern Family" with a one-hour premiere and we'll have to wait till Oct. 3 for "Scandal."

Danny McBride OK after "Eastbound & Down" roller skating mishap
McBride didn't suffer any serious injuries after slipping and falling, but he was sent to the hospital.

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<p>Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston may be smiling here, but their work in 'The Conjuring' is no laughing matter</p>

Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston may be smiling here, but their work in 'The Conjuring' is no laughing matter

Credit: HitFix

Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor discuss building a family in James Wan's 'The Conjuring'

You need actors this good to ground a movie this scary

Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor aren't really the first names that would leap to mind if you asked me to name horror stars, but that's precisely what makes them such potent casting in James Wan's terrifying "The Conjuring," which opens this Friday.

We held a special screening of the film a few weeks back, and Ron was good enough to come do the Q&A with me after the film. He's a great spokesman for the film and a really easy interview, all things considered. I think of Ron as one of those great utility actors, a guy you can plug in anywhere who will give you a grounded, honest performance. He's having a particularly great summer, though, between this and his work in Joe Swanberg's wise and well-observed "Drinking Buddies," and it's great talking to someone as they're in the middle of a completely deserved victory lap.

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