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<p>John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Ben Affleck in &quot;Argo.&quot;</p>

John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Ben Affleck in "Argo."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Roundup: Audiences still eager for 'Argo'

Also: 'Mea Maxima Culpa' to play in Italy, and Sasha Stone's Oscar dirty dozen

"Paranormal Activity 4" may have topped the box office this weekend, but the story of the chart remains "Argo" -- which, by dipping just 15% to take $16.6 million, posted the strongest ever hold for a live-action film on a non-holiday weekend. Warner Bros. are said to be confident the film will reach at least $90 million domestically, which is a pretty extraordinary projection these days for a film about grown-ups in which nobody wears a cape. All of which underlines the immediate reaction I had upon finally seeing the film for myself last week: combining that strong populist appeal with old-fashioned craftsmanship, rousing political history and Hollywood insider lore, it's unequivocally the one to beat for Best Picture. [Variety]

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<p>James and Mark of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

James and Mark of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Funky Monkey'

Despite the misleading title, this episode includes no monkeys
I need a ruling on this, "Amazing Race" viewers:
 
Is the streak of "Amazing Race" Legs determined by cab failures over or is it alive at three?
 
Mostly, Sunday (October 21) night's "Amazing Race" episode was finally able to jettison a team that had been dead weight since the premiere, but I can't say with absolute confidence that a faulty piece of cab steering didn't play a major role.
 
My vote is "The streak is over and Sunday's Leg came down to ineptitude on the part of the Racers and not the driver," but if you want to take the opposing side, I can't necessarily argue.
 
We can discuss after the break...
 
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<p>Lucia Micarelli in &quot;Trem&eacute;.&quot;</p>

Lucia Micarelli in "Tremé."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Tremé' - 'I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say'

It's Christmas in New Orleans, but not everyone gets what they want

A quick review of tonight's "Tremé" coming up just as soon as I explain the difference between a fiddle and a violin...

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<p>Claire Danes and Damian Lewis in &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Claire Danes and Damian Lewis in "Homeland."

Credit: SHO

Review: 'Homeland' - 'New Car Smell'

Carrie and Brody cross paths again in a pivotal hour

My review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as my plan is the same as your plan...

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<p>Kelly Macdonald in &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Kelly Macdonald in "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Boardwalk Empire' - 'Ging Gang Goolie'

While Nucky's away, Margaret and Owen get into trouble

A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as you can break a hundred...

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<p>IronE Singleton as T-Dog on &quot;The Walking Dead.&quot;</p>

IronE Singleton as T-Dog on "The Walking Dead."

Credit: AMC

Review: 'The Walking Dead' - 'Sick'

Rick makes a shaky alliance with the prisoners, while Hershel's daughters have to wait

A review of tonight's "The Walking Dead" coming up just as soon as I'm pardoned by the state of Georgia...

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Album Review: Taylor Swift's 'Red' shows her musical colors
Credit: Big Machine

Album Review: Taylor Swift's 'Red' shows her musical colors

Does her ambitious reach exceed her grasp on this year's biggest release?

Taylor Swift’s second collection was named “Fearless,” but that title seems more apt for her latest album, “Red. Out tomorrow (Oct. 22), the set is the biggest release of 2012 and is expected to sell more than 1 million copies in its first week.

After moving millions of albums, selling out arenas around the world, introducing oodles of younger fans to country music, and creating her own cottage industry based on songs about her good-for-nothing ex-boyfriends, Swift has crafted an album that portrays an artist in transition musically, if not thematically. The 22-year old is not just sliding further toward the pop end of the country-pop spectrum she has navigated since her 2006 self-titled debut, but also strongly gravitating toward rock.  She seamlessly and fearlessly veers between these various musical styles.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Steven&nbsp;Spielberg on &quot;60 Minutes&quot;</p>

Steven Spielberg on "60 Minutes"

Credit: CBS

Spielberg talks 'Lincoln' on '60 Minutes': 'He was a father of a nation in need of repair.'

The director discusses his latest as a personal endeavor

"Lincoln" director Steven Spielberg was featured tonight on CBS' "60 Minutes" tonight, and the segment pretty much put the guy on the couch, digging into his family life and history in order to find a defining thread connecting all of his legendary films.

The thing they settle on is a portfolio about the outsider, with Spielberg noting everything from his long-time denial of his Judaism to a 15-year time of estrangement from a father he finally reconciled with nearly 20 years ago. They also get his parents to sit down and discuss the impact Spielberg's early life has had on him and the impressions left, etc., but keep coming back to a sense of shattered ties ultimately informing a lot of his work over the years, right up to and including his latest.

"I saw a paternal father figure, someone who was stubbornly committed to his ideals," he said of Abraham Lincoln, played by Daniel Day-Lewis in the film. "He was living with two agendas, both of which had to do with healing: to abolish slavery/end the war, but he also had his personal life, and I think there's darkness there."

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<p>Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts in &quot;Rust &amp; Bone.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts in "Rust & Bone." 

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

'Rust and Bone' and 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' take top honors at BFI London Film Festival

Alex Gibney's 'Mea Maxima Culpa' takes the documentary prize

LONDON - I mentioned last week that Jacques Audiard's "Rust & Bone," five months after a more divided Cannes reception, seemed to be playing well at the BFI London Film Festival. With civilians and critics alike, it was perhaps the title I heard most often in conversations about what festival titles had stood out, or indeed which ones they planned to see -- egged on, perhaps, by the ubiquitous billboards for the film plastered around the British capital. Meanwhile, it earned extra, inadvertent media exposure as the site of the festival's most tabloid-friendly incident: at its gala premiere, two patrons were ejected from the cinema for getting more than a little frisky during the film. Adjust the inevitable "thrust" and "boner" puns to taste.

More officially, however, its status as the film of the festival was sealed at last night's festival awards ceremony, where a jury led by David Hare handed it the Star of London for Best Film over 11 other shortlisted titles. London has become a happy hunting ground for Audiard: in 2009, his film "A Prophet" took the inaugural Star, a prize that has since been handed to "How I Ended This Summer," "We Need to Talk About Kevin" and now "Rust & Bone." Four years in, and they have yet to make a dud choice.

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<p>Dawson of &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Dawson of "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Interview: Sarah Dawson talks 'Survivor: Philippines'

Dawson talks Jeff Kent secret-keeping and Jeff Probst kissing
I'm not sure I realized until seconds before it was time for her exit interview that "Dawson" was actually "Survivor: Philippines" contestant Sarah Dawson's last name. 
 
I did, however, know two things for sure about Dawson:
 
1) She was the only player so far this season able to identify future baseball Hall of Famer Jeff Kent in the wilderness, but she was voted off on Wednesday's (October 17) episode without ever revealing that information.
 
2) She had a bit of a crush on "Survivor" host Jeff Probst and when she was voted out, rather than using that last moment as a chance to spread the truth about Jeff Kent, she used it to give Probst a huge hug and kiss on the cheek.
 
Both of those facts, plus her announcement that if Jeff Kent wins he owes her a number of gifts including a pink gun, came up in my exit interview with Dawson, a conversation that proves that she could have been one of the most amusing, quotable players of the season, if only she'd been given any screentime.
 
Click through for the full interview.
 
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<p>Bruno Mars</p>

Bruno Mars

Credit: AP

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Bruno Mars

Would being host and musical guest work out for Bruno Mars?
There are times when you can reasonably guess the quality of an episode of “Saturday Night Live” by the host. It doesn’t yield a particularly reliable prediction of what unfolds, but it’s a fairly good rule of thumb all the same. Christina Applegate hosting? One could reasonably assume a solid show. Daniel Craig? One could reasonably assume a shaky show. Neither assumption directly related to the result, but expectations were raised or lowered accordingly ahead of time. But with a host like Bruno Mars? All bets are off. It could be the best show of the season thus far. Or the worst. Or somewhere in the middle. Anything is possible, which is both thrilling and terrifying. Mars’ musical chops are known. His comedic chops? Far more unproven. But hey, Eli Manning was also unproven, and he led one of last season’s strongest episodes. So let’s err on the side of optimism until proven otherwise.
 
As always, I’ll be rating the sketches in real time. As always, you’ll be doing a Google search to discover where I live so you can bring the pitchforks to my place of residence rather than the comments section. Why mess with success?
 
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<p>Beyonce</p>

Beyonce

Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

Beyonce, Adele and Justin Bieber top this week's Music Power Rankings

Some vets make the list as well

1. Beyonce: Bey snags the Super Bowl halftime show. Not on the possible guest list: M.I.A. or her middle finger.

2. Microsoft Music Service: Once more with feeling. Microsoft will launch its own internet music service next week starting with XBox and then spreading to Window 8. Let’s hope it works out better for them than Zune.

3. Justin Bieber:
His video for “Beauty and a Beat,” featuring Nicki Minaj, got 10.6 million views in its first 24 hours on Vevo, setting a new record. Congratulations are due, but as he’ll eventually learn that careers are measured in years, not days... (or, see below, decades)

4. The Rolling Stones:
They make it official and announce four dates in November  to celebrate the 50th: The two London dates sell out in seven minutes. Hey, it’s only rock and roll but we stil like it.

5. Adele:
She’s making other folks rich. Rumor has it her U.K. indie label’s profits soared to $67 million in 2011, primarily on the back of “21.”

6. Taylor Swift:
As the Oct. 22 release of “Red” approaches, the only question is how much more than 1 million  will it sell in its first week?

7. Bruce Springsteen:
  Like Superman, The Boss swoops into to Ohio and Iowa to rally for Obama.  Working On a Dream 2.0.

8. Lady Gaga:
She puts Die Antwoord in their place after they nastily kill her off in a video. Apparently their ire comes from her asking them to open for her. What an insult! They too edgy and hip to open for her, but they’ll sure use her to get publicity. #growup #youstilldonthaveahit

9. Barbra Streisand: It’s a good time to be Babs: She’s on a sold-out tour and with “Release Me,” debuting at No. 7, she is the only act to land more than one album on the Billboard 200 in every decade since the ‘60s. Her closest competition? The Rolling Stones (see No. 4)

10. Jason Aldean:
The country superstar joins the elite ranks of artists who can play stadiums. His stadium tour includes a July date at Fenway Park, making him the first country artist to ever play the Red Sox' home field.



 

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