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I love the Vista Theater in Los Angeles.
There aren't many stand-alone single-screen theaters left in this city, and I can't think of any other theater that features the kind of luxurious legroom that is one of the Vista's most winning features. When Greg Ellwood proposed the Vista as the site for our special screening of James Wan's new film "The Conjuring," I was thrilled.
Monday night, we had a full house turn out, and the film played beautifully. There are few things I love more as a film fan than being in the theater when a horror film is really working on every level. I reviewed the film last week, and seeing it again only underlined for me just how controlled and carefully built it is. I think Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are really wonderful in it, and it would have been so easy for filmmakers to make the Warrens look silly or to overplay things and really ladle on the special effects.
It's a Roland Emmerich film.
That's pretty much all I'll need to say to most hardcore film nerds for them to know where they'll fall if they see "White House Down," but I'll go a little more in-depth here just to clarify what I mean by that.
As much as any filmmaker working right now, Roland Emmerich is a guy who can be defined by his interests. With the notable exception of "Anonymous," which I thought was overwrought and accidentally hilarious at times, his films all follow a pretty basic model of spectacle, destruction, and big broad character archetypes. He makes junk food, and he does it without apology. What I find fascinating is how much the cinema landscape has changed around him over the years, so while he hasn't changed much at all, everyone else has, and he's gone from looking like a Spielberg fan with ADD to being almost sedate compared to the way most action is shot now. Emmerich's style can be defined largely by the word "more." Whatever's going on in a scene, Emmerich will always ladle on a little more, and then a little more on top of that and then, what the hell, a little more.
So tonight the top 20 dancers will be hoofing it for our amusement and, really, the approval of the judges. As we learned last week, the judges started planting the seeds in our minds early (actually, I think we can agree prematurely) about who should win (Anna is the beast) and who shouldn't. Not cool judges, not cool.
Hopefully tonight will shake things up a bit, as I hate to think that voters will follow direction so easily or that no dancer will defy expectations. Of course, that also means someone who isn't very good (Cyrus) can make it a lot further than logic would suggest thanks to a compelling smile and an engaging backstory. Fingers crossed for great dancing, period.
One film from the year's festival circuit so far that I'm particularly looking forward to revisiting is David Lowery's "Ain't Them Bodies Saints." That's partly because a first viewing afforded many rich textural pleasures -- from Bradford Young's dusky cinematography to Daniel Hart's inventive, handclap-heavy score -- that deserve to be savored in less pressured surroundings than a Sundance premiere, but also because the film has changed a little, and reportedly for the better.
"Psych" gets 2 extra episodes
One of them will be determined by fans.
N-word controversy boosts Paula Deen's cookbook sales
Orders for "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up" jumped 1300% in the past 24 hours, while "Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible," jumped 114% on Amazon. PLUS: Deen's ratings have been declining, Deen is "America's racist grandma," why Deen's firing was long overdue, and Anne Rice says Deen is being crucified.
Mike Tyson's stage show coming to HBO
Spike Lee and Tyson are working on "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth," to air later this year.
"24" music composer will be back for "Live Another Day"
Sean Callery composed the music for all 192 episodes of "24."
Report: "Storage Wars" loses Barry Weiss
Weiss, one of the original cast members, is exiting the A&E reality show after this season, according to Radar Online, which says that Weiss already taped his farewell.
NBC puts "Siberia" online
Watch the first episode of the extreme reality show set in Siberia.
Disney Channel hopes "Teen Beach Movie" becomes the next "High School Musical"
Can Disney revive the beach party film with next month's "Teen Beach Movie"?
"Mad Men": The story of Peggy's pantsuit
Costume designer Janie Bryant says of the pantsuit: "When we see her in the office, it really is that moment of 'I am empowered. I will survive.' I wanted to see Peggy in pants to illustrate that she had come so far. It was such strong expression of empowerment." PLUS: 15 predictions for the final season, "Mad Men" and Vietnam, and Vincent Kartheiser wouldn't be sad to see Pete Campbell killed off.
Julianna Margulies headed to real-life trial
Margulies allegedly screwed the managers who got her "The Good Wife" job out of their commissions.
Could Olivia Pope handle the Edward Snowden scandal?
How the "Scandal" character might approach the NSA controversy.
"Under the Dome" was already a financial success, even without big ratings
Before selling a single ad, CBS raised $3 million an episode -- the cost to film an episode -- by selling foreign rights, taking advantage of North Carolina tax breaks and selling Amazon online rights.
Check out the real age of TV high schoolers
When their shows started.
Inside "The Daily Show's" producer's room
What's the guy doing in a cage?
Conan O'Brien's twist on "Big Brother": "Coma House"
Everybody lives together under one roof -- and comes out with a coma.
Many "Game of Thrones" actors have appeared on "Doctor Who"
They include Diane Rigg, Joe Dempsie and more. PLUS: Check out a White Walker mask.
How Gary David Goldberg fought to cast Michael J. Fox on "Family Ties"
NBC programming boss Brandon Tartikoff didn't want Fox to play Alex P. Keaton. PLUS: How "Family Ties" healed America.
"Breaking Bad" is getting its own beer: "Heisenberg's Dark"
An Albuquerque brewery is coming out with the beer, but it won't be blue.
Ex-"Girls Next Door" star Holly Madison is engaged
Her boyfriend popped the question on Monday.
History channel creating web spinoffs for "Counting Cars" and "Swamp People"
"Count's Kustoms After Hours" and "Swamp People After the Hunt" debut this week.
Maxim puts Alyssa Milano on the cover 15 years after her first appearance
The 40-year-old "Mistresses" star first appeared on Maxim's cover in March 1998.
HGTV renews "Renovation Raiders"
The home makeover show will be back for Season 2.
Though he’s knee-deep in a European tour, Bruce Springsteen is already hard at work on his follow-up to 2012’s “Wrecking Ball.”
"I have a lot of material. I still feel like I'm in the middle of the well,” The Boss told Rolling Stone.
And while you wouldn’t think there would be many firsts left for him, Springsteen cut tracks while on tour in Australia with guitarist Tom Morello, who was filling in for Steve Van Zandt. "We've never had a recording session during a tour in our lives. We did a couple of things that I wanted to put down. So that was very exciting. And being with Tommy was exciting. The band – Steven, Nils, all those guys – continues to be a source of inspiration for me."
He wouldn’t give any details about the direction or when a release date could approach, but just added that after the tour ends in September, he’ll be back at it (which also means for all of us hoping for more U.S. dates, the answer is no...).
"A week or two later, after stopping, I'm in the studio working, making a demo. You stop the performing for awhile, because this level of intensity. . . You need a break from it."
Last week, Springsteen and the E Street Band performed “Born To Run” in full, dedicating it to Van Zandt’s “The Sopranos” co-star James Gandolfini, who died June 19.
It would appear that Mariah Carey has not learned the art of letting go. Carey, whose album, “The Art Of Letting Go,” was slated for a July 23 release, has been pushed back.
In a tweet to fans Monday night, Carey said, “While making this album, I got so immersed in the creative process that I just don’t feel I would be doing it justice to release it on 7/23.” And then later, “I’d rather not exclude meaningful songs. I want to give you this album as it’s meant to be heard. When I’m ready, you’ll be the first 2 know.”
That could be code for “we need more hits” or “I don’t want to do all this promo stuff right now” or it could really mean that she wants to rework the album, though calling it back a month before release for an artist as big as Carey is a bit of a major step given that the marketing campaign was surely already in place for a July 23 drop.
As far as we know, Carey will still perform at the 2013 BET Awards on June 30 and for free in Central Park on July 13 as part of a Major League Baseball’s Sandy Relief efforts.