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Hot Sheet: Madonna, Paul Newman, Fame


Movie Picks ...

Coco Before Chanel-- So it doesn't have the bite of La Vie en Rose or pack quite the belly laughs of Julie & Julia. Biopics come in all shapes and sizes, and thanks to the pairing of Audrey Tautou and director Anne Fontaine, Coco Before Chanel is a pleasant enough look at one of fashion's biggest icons before she became a star.

Rage -- Best known as an experimental filmmaker (she "mainstreamed" once, with the little-seen Christina Ricci-Johnny Depp "historical" romance The Man Who Cried), writer-director Sally Potter gets back to her roots with Rage, a series of images shot largely against green-screen backgrounds and billed as "behind-the-scenes interviews" at a New York fashion house. The big draw here? Jude Law in drag. Premiering in theaters, on video on demand, and on cell phones today. Click here for more on the movie:

Surrogates -- OK, so I doubt many of you are itching to race out to theaters to check out Bruce Willis's latest blond toupee. And the concept of robots living our lives for us isn't exactly revolutionary. But director Jonathan Mostow can do creative (T3, Breakdown), and Melrose Place's resident gay, Caleb (Victor Webster), brings his trademark sex appeal. If you're looking to kill a few hours, why not.

Fame-- Debbie Allen's been upgraded to principal, at least two of the leads have done regular time on the CW, and, because it's 2009, one of the classically trained musicians dreams of making it big in hip-hop. But even though Fame has been given a bit of High School Musical's gloss, at its core, the heart of the piece is still there. Remember the name! Also, if you want a shot at $50,000 and you have a set of pipes, brush up on those lyrics to the Fame theme, sing your heart out and enter to win here. Also, click here for a chance to win a Fame prize pack, including a DVD, soundtrack and a Memorex iPod karaoke machine... in addition to other great giveaway prizes.

Book Picks...

Paul Newman, the Man Behind the Baby Blues -- Darwin Porter's gossipy biography of the late, iconic actor -- indulge us as we call him Hollywood's all-time handsomest -- bears the tabloid-ready subtitle His Secret Life Exposed. It's fitting, since Porter makes provocative (and, it should be noted unsubstantiated) claims of Newman bedding a who's who of Hollywood greats, female and male -- all conveniently now deceased -- including a tempestuous sexual affair with James Dean and an unrequited love for frequent costar Robert Redford.

DVD Picks ...

30 Rock, Season 3 -- Each episode of this Emmy award-winning sitcom was funnier than the previous, culminating in the highly touted "Kidney Now!" season finale. TV's most quotable sitcom was visited by a slew of eclectic guest stars -- Jennifer Aniston, Carrie Fisher, Jon Hamm, Steve Martin, and Oprah Winfrey are just a few--but it's enough to just revel in the inspired lunacy of Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, Tracy Morgan, and especially Alec Baldwin. Prepare to "lizz" yourself.

Filth & Wisdom -- This little musical-comedy-drama-romance (the website's words, not mine) probably would have never seen the light of day if it weren't for the single-named star who wrote and directed the thing: Madonna. One critic said she did herself proud, while another urged Madge not to quit her day job. So will Madonna the director fare like Madonna the actor or Madonna the musician? One way to find out.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, season 2
-- Since Alias went off the air, TV has been sadly devoid of good ass-kicking women. Who better to fill the vacancy than the mother of the man destined to save all humanity and the female robot sworn to protect them. So The Sarah Connor Chronicles isn't as good as the movies that inspired it. It's still good, popcorn fun, and it's a hell of a lot better than that Christian Bale fiasco.

Music Picks ...

Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel by Mariah Carey -- Mariah's oft-pushed back MIA finally comes out Tuesday, and it's a slight departure from her 2005 smash hit, The Emancipation of Mimi, and it's carbon-copy follow-up, E=MC2 --more voice, less of her awkward take on hip-hop (remember the lyric "them chickens ash and I'm lotion"?). Lead single "Obsessed" is a fun listen, but the lyrics and video are intolerable. The unironic diva sounds great on her second single, the Foreigner cover "I Want to Know What Love Is," though it's too faithful to the original. Anyway, with Mariah, you love her or hate her, so go forth and purchase, or sneer and snicker.

La Roux's self-titled album
-- Usually thought to be only singer Jess Jackson (the girl with the wild cockatoo hair), La Roux is actually Jackson and coproducer Alex Stewart. The British duo created some brilliant electropop that's addictive and danceable; their debut drops Tuesday. The singles "In for the Kill," "Bulletproof," and "Quicksand" are irresistible, and even when the duo go melancholy, like with "Cover My Eyes," they still nail it. La Roux remixes will rock the indie gay bar scene for the rest of the year.

Celebration by Madonna -- The only thing to say about Madge's 36-song greatest hits opus that comes out Tuesday is what was left off. While these weren't her biggest hits, they were some of her best: "Angel," "True Blue," "Rain," "Bedtime Story," and "Jump" all failed to make the cut (tears). Just for kicks, here's the video to a remixed version of "Jump."

Other notable recent releases and those dropping next week include discs from Foreigner (hope they thanked Mariah in their liner notes), Zero 7, Alice in Chains, Patty Loveless, Paramore, Babs, and Perez Hilton protege Sliimy.

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