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The Avengers Reviewed: More Marvel, Less Fun

3 May 2012 10:45 AM, PDT

Walt Disney & Co. “Marvel’s The Avengers

The Journal’s Joe Morgenstern released his — we’ll say it –mixed– review of “Marvel’s The Avengers.”

He thinks Robert Downey Jr. was better in the first “Iron Man,” and he calls Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, “bland.”

He is, however,  a fan of Chris Hemsworth’s Thor:  “the demigod is touching in his attachment to his trusty hammer.”

He writes:

What passes for a plot is simple enough, even if frequent »

- WSJ Staff

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Cartoonist Alison Bechdel Pens the World’s Toughest Mother’s Day Card

3 May 2012 9:00 AM, PDT

In advance of Mother’s Day, cartoonist Alison Bechdel has penned a new book called “Are You My Mother?” that strips the sentimentality out of mother-daughter relationships. The graphic novel take a hard look at Bechdel’s frayed bonds with her mother, and draws upon the author’s own therapy sessions and transcriptions of her conversations with her mom. Bechdel’s previous book, “Fun Home,” was an acclaimed international bestselller and the new release is also drawing raves. A video chat with the author. »

- Christopher John Farley

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Diablo III Preview Proves You Can Go Home Again

3 May 2012 7:00 AM, PDT

Blizzard Entertainment Image from Diablo III

A few weeks ago during a trip back home I went to visit my old high school. Revisiting a place that so singularly defined my identity for a moment in time, I suddenly felt strangely out of place. I scanned my surroundings restlessly until I could lock on to something old and familiar—the office of my favorite history teacher, the courtyard we would pace around in during breaks—before I felt at home again in my own skin. »

- Yannick LeJacq

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‘Survivor,’ Season 24, Episode 12: TV Recap

3 May 2012 6:00 AM, PDT

CBS Chelsea Meissner, Sabrina Thompson and Alicia Rose during the immunity challenge on “Survivor: One World.”

Previously on Survivor:  Troyzan was voted out, leaving just one man standing, the somewhat senile Tarzan. Christina was at the bottom of the female alliance, but seems to be ignorant of that.

Back at camp, Alicia is mocking Christina and worried about Sabrina. Alicia claims she is in charge. “I’m controlling everything. I’m the most powerful player in this game,” she tells the camera. »

- Jason Evans

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Is Ashton Kutcher’s New ‘Brown Face’ Popchips Ad Racist?

3 May 2012 4:27 AM, PDT

YouTube Ashton Kutcher as “Raj” in new Popchips commercial.

A snack food advertisement featuring Ashton Kutcher as an Indian man drew criticism across the web Wednesday. In the ad for Popchips that some are calling racist, the “Two and a Half Men” star is seen playing a Bollywood producer named Raj  while wearing brown face and talking with an accent.  “If you are of Indian descent and not defended by this, you are a sad representation of your people,” reads »

- Lyneka Little

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‘American Idol,’ Season 11, Finalists Compete: TV Recap

2 May 2012 7:01 PM, PDT

Michael Becker / Fox. Hollie Cavanagh performs in front of the judges on “American Idol.”

The scramble was on to land a spot in the final four on “American Idol,” but to say any one competitor has a lock on this season would be ridiculous. It’s anyone’s game, as we saw tonight, with back-to-back solid showings. Everyone is bringing their A-game as the week’s dwindle, and one wannabe Idol is attempting a serious comeback from behind.

There were »

- Stephanie Krikorian

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Keeping Up with the Norah Joneses

2 May 2012 6:45 PM, PDT

Getty Images Norah Jones on November 9, 2011 in New York City.

“Little Broken Hearts,” the new album out yesterday by the talented singer-composer Norah Jones, is alleged to be different than her previous recordings, which may not be a good thing:  Ms. Jones has yet to make a bad album.  What’s changed here isn’t the quality – on balance, a middling production by Danger Mouse does little harm – but her point of view, according to some critics and her record label, »

- Jim Fusilli

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Sumner Redstone and Tom Cruise Are BFFs Again

2 May 2012 6:23 PM, PDT

Getty Tom Cruise

Beverly Hills, Calif.—Nearly six years after Sumner Redstone dismissed Tom Cruise from his role running a production company at Paramount Pictures, Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone says he and the movie star have now reconciled, professionally and personally.

“His behavior was terrible!” said Mr. Redstone, 88 years old, recalling a period in 2006 when Mr. Cruise engaged in a series of odd public displays, such as jumping up and down on a couch during an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s television show. »

- Ethan Smith

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Scott Rudin Says ‘Corrections’ Pass Is Not Atypical

2 May 2012 3:01 PM, PDT

Getty Images Producer Scott Rudin at the Eleventh Annual AFI Awards on January 14, 2011 in L.A.

HBO passed on “The Corrections,” a series based on the novel by literary phenom Jonathan Franzen, but producer Scott Rudin called the cable network “great partners” and said “they’re free to do what they want.”

The pilot was adapted from Franzen’s novel of the same name – about the multilayered story of a dysfunctional family in the Midwest – and directed by Noah Baumbach, »

- Barbara Chai

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Share Your Avengers Photos With Us: #avengersWSJ

2 May 2012 1:00 PM, PDT


The Avengers opens at midnight tonight, and we want to feature your photos of fans in costume.  Send us your photos of the opening night celebrations.

*Use your phone to take pictures of fans in costume at the Avengers opening night

*Email the photo to yourphotos@wsj.com or share them on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #avengersWSJ

*Include your name, date, time of day, type of phone you used, and location for the photo

Disclaimer: By submitting »

- WSJ Staff

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Meet Obama’s Long-Ago Girlfriend, Minus Photo

2 May 2012 12:35 PM, PDT

VanityFair.com The article online, minus a photo of Ms. Cook.

Take that, Internet. Vanity Fair magazine’s fascinating new book excerpt on Barack Obama in the early 1980s has been posted online, but you’ll have to buy a print copy for one key thing: a photo of his then-girlfriend.

VanityFair.com has a long selection of David Maraniss‘s biography of Barack Obama as a young man, covering his time in New York during his first job after »

- WSJ Staff

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Brazil Returns to New York

2 May 2012 12:00 PM, PDT

Bebel Gilberto

Brasil Summerfest’s returns to New York in July, and its producers this week announced an eclectic lineup of performers skewing towards the emerging and the young.

The artists so far scheduled to perform include two hip-hop performers– Flavio Renegado, who incorporates reggae and African themes in his music, and Criolo, who was MTV Brazil’s “best new artist” in 2011.

Other musicians set to interpret the rich stew of Brazilian musical genres on New York stages include Mallu Magalhães, »

- Robert P. Walzer

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James Taylor: The Walking Man Talks

2 May 2012 11:00 AM, PDT

Getty Images James Taylor at Carnegie Hall, April 3, 2012.

James Taylor hasn’t allotted time for writing a new album since “October Road” dropped in 2002.

“I’m as dry as…as,” he said, straining for a metaphor after a concert in Berlin last week. “Yeah, I’m dry.” But while playing in Europe before his summer U.S. Tour, Taylor discussed kicking his drug habit, John Belushi’s death and the absence of politics in today’s music.

Speakeasy: You said »

- Mary M. Lane

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Order This Car, Get a Camera to Record Your Speeding Ticket

2 May 2012 9:00 AM, PDT

Search YouTube and you can find scores of videos made by people driving fast – maybe a touch too fast – in their high performance cars.

Now, Ford Motor Co. is getting in on the action by offering the first 1,000 customers who order a 2013 Ford Focus St a free GoPro HD Hero2 camera pack. The GoPro is a go-to camera for speed video enthusiasts.

The Focus St is a 252-horsepower version of Ford’s bread and butter compact car. The horsepower and »

- WSJ Staff

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My First Job: Jason Segel

2 May 2012 7:00 AM, PDT

Everett Til Schweiger and Jason Segel in “Slc Punk!” (1998)

Jason Segel has never worked a nine to five job. He’s avoided part time jobs and babysitting too. In fact, the only job he’s ever held besides acting is ushering.

At age 11, the sole reason he took the job was because it was part of the requirements of the acting course his parents enrolled him in at the Santa Monica Playhouse.

“I made like $12 bucks. I was taking this »

- Alexandra Cheney

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Why Tony Nominee Condola Rashad Owes Her Best Friend $100

2 May 2012 6:00 AM, PDT

Getty Condola Rashad

Condola Rashad has been having a good few months. In December, the 25-year-old actress (and daughter of Phylicia Rashad) made her Broadway debut in “Stick Fly,” earning the attention of critics and audience members for her performance as Cheryl, the maid in a house of wealthy African-Americans.

When “Stick Fly” closed, Rashad heard the news by telephone. The very next day, she received a second call, informing her she’d been cast in a remake of “Steel Magnolias, »

- Barbara Chai

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Bobby Vee Suffering From Alzheimer’s

2 May 2012 3:56 AM, PDT

Everett/ Tm and Copyright (c) 20th Century-Fox Film Corp. All Rights Reserved Bobby Vee in “Swingin’ Along,” 1962.

Former teen heartthrob Bobby Vee announced on his website that he was diagnosed more than a year ago with Alzheimer’s Disease. The 69-year-old singer who had a string of pop hits in the 1960s, including “Take Good Care of My Baby” and “Devil or Angel,” told fans that he is taking time to focus on things most important to him. The singer writes, »

- Lyneka Little

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Tyler Perry’s Studio Burns in Atlanta

1 May 2012 7:46 PM, PDT

Getty Tyler Perry

A fire broke out at film and TV mogul Tyler Perry’s studio in Atlanta earlier tonight.

The Atlanta Fire Rescue Department issued a statement saying in part “This evening at 8:41 p.m., the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department responded to a reported structure fire at Tyler Perry Studios, located at 3133 Continental Colony Parkway Sw. The first Afrd unit arrived on scene in less than five minutes, reporting a working fire at 8:45 p.m.”

The statement »

- WSJ Staff

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‘Dancing With the Stars,’ Season 14, Week 7: Who Was Voted Off?

1 May 2012 7:14 PM, PDT


“Family Matters” for Jaleel White – but so do viewer votes and judges’ scores, and he and Kym Johnson didn’t have enough of those. Thus, they became the latest couple sent packing on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Jaleel and Kym won the first dance-off, two weeks ago, against Gavin DeGraw and Karina Smirnoff. This time, they lost to fellow dance-duel vets Roshon Fegan and Chelsie Hightower. Unlike the previous two dance duels, this one had some level of suspense going in. »

- Lisa Reynolds

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‘The Voice’: Who Was Voted Off?

1 May 2012 7:05 PM, PDT

NBC Christina Aguilera on “The Voice.”

It’s the live semi-final eliminations.  But first, you’ll have to sit through a lot of random performances!

Tonight there are performances by Cyndi Lauper (love) and Kid Cudi  (also fab) but really, can we not just cut through all this clutter and get to it.  Some former contestants come on and talk about how they made albums that not that many people bought.

They make great recommendations like “have fun” and “be yourself. »

- Dawn Fallik

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