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Hot Sheet: Bruno, Ms. Jackson, and The End of the World



- 2012: There's something kind of refreshing about the fact that one of the biggest movies of the year is directed by gay filmmaker Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Patriot). Centered on a group of survivors who fight back against apocalyptic events that were predicted by the Mayan calendar, the film stars John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Thandie Newton. But it's the bombastic power ballad by Idol alum Adam Lambert that's the icing on the cake -- not since Celine Dion belted out "My Heart Will Go On" has a song warranted an entire audience sitting through the last credit.

- Dare: High school seniors and best friends Alexa (Emmy Rossum) and Ben (Ashley Springer) compete for the affections of bad boy Johnny (Zach Gilford) in this complicated and compelling coming-of-age drama. Gay favorites Alan Cumming, Ana Gasteyer, and Sandra Bernhard round out the cast in this twist on the friendship between a girl and her gay.

- Women in Trouble: Few women in Hollywood have careers as varied as Carla Gugino. Known as well for her off-kilter performances (Sin City) as she is for playing the mom in kid fare (Spy Kids), here she's one of eight "women in trouble" in an ensemble pic by Snakes on a Plane writer Sebastian Gutierrez. It's also the first of two films in which she plays porn actress Elektra Luxx. The second, also by Gutierrez, is due next year.


- Do you remember the first time you heard "All I Wanna Do," Sheryl Crow's Rolling Stones-esque meditation on ennui, daytime drinking, and Santa Monica Boulevard, L.A.'s gay boulevard of broken dreams? That catchy tune -- and the entire Tuesday Night Music Club album -- served as a rollicking introduction to rocker chick Crow. Fittingly, a deluxe edition of TNMC comes out this Tuesday, and it features four previously unreleased recordings from 1995, TNMC videos, and a never-before-seen documentary from the 1993-95 Tuesday Night Music Club tour.

- OK, it's actually a DVD, but the Indigo Girls are always all about the music. Live at the Roxy, coming out Tuesday, is them at their jammin' best, playing in their home state of Georgia, specifically at Atlanta's Roxy Theatre. The 2007 performance has them joined by lesbian folk artist Brandi Carlile and playing fan favorites like "Closer to Fine" and their rendition of "Midnight Train to Georgia."

- Fall Out Boy -- the band with Pete Wentz -- releases Believers Never Die: Greatest Hits on Tuesday. Yes, the boys from Chicago have achieved much chart success, including hits like "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" and "Dance, Dance." This CD/DVD features videos, and two new songs, including "Alpha Dog."

- Madonna did it, and now it's Janet's turn. Ms. Jackson gifts us with a 34-song double album this week that has most of the faves: "Black Cat," "Miss You Much," and "If" (there's little love for newer material; "Rock With U" and "So Excited" didn't make the cut). There's also the obligatory new song: the Michael-sounding "Make Me."

Also out this week: Jennifer Aniston's f-buddy John Mayer releases the well-reviewed Battle Studies, British sensation Leona Lewis puts out the post-"Bleeding Love" Echo, and Norah Jones updates her sound (a bit) with the less narcolepsy-inducing The Fall.


- Bruno: Sacha Baron Cohen's gay fashionista moves to Los Angeles to become "the biggest Austrian superstar since Hitler" in this feature film rife with extreme gay stereotypes. Since much of the humor is derived from reactions by "normal" people to the flamboyant rogue, whether the film exposes homophobia or perpetuates negative stereotypes depends on your sensibilities. The DVD and Blu-ray release offers a myriad of bonus features, including deleted scenes such as one involving La Toya Jackson that was removed by the studio in light of Michael's death. Watch it here.

- Up: Pixar has done it again. In one of the most emotional, touching movies of the year, follow the adventures of Carl Fredricksen, a widower who sets off to take the adventure his wife was never able to with the help of a mouthy Boy Scout and a talking dog. Doesn't sound terribly kid-friendly or sophisticated, but like previous Pixar films, it's sure to touch your heart and tickle your funny bone.

- Spread: Ashton Kutcher and Anne Heche turn up the heat in this little-seen dramedy that pairs the two as lovers -- even if one of them is paying for it. Kutcher strips down (literally and figuratively) as Nikki, a lothario who sleeps his way into a life of privilege with Samantha (Heche), a high-powered attorney. Things go awry when he meets and falls for a girl who's playing the same game. Think American Gigolo meets Breakfast at Tiffany's.

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