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  • Apple Security Breach Gives Complete Access to Your iPhone

    Right now, if you visit a web page and load a simple PDF file, you may give total control of your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to a hacker. The security bug affects all devices running iOS 3.1.2 and higher.

    Update: Initially we thought that this exploit only effected iOS4 devices, but it turns out all iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads running 3.1.2 and higher are susceptible.

    The vulnerability is easily exploitable. In fact, the latest one-click, no-computer-required Jailbreak solution for iOS 4 devices uses this same method to break Apple's own security (although in a completely benign way for the user).

    How it works

    It just requires the user to visit a web address using Safari. The web site can automatically load a simple PDF document, which contains a font that hides a special program. When your iOS device tries to display the PDF file, that font causes something called stack overflow, a technical condition that allows the secret ninja code inside the font to gain complete control of your device.

    The result is that, without any user intervention whatsoever, that program can do whatever it wants inside your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Anything you can imagine: Delete files, transmit files, install programs running on the background that can monitor your actions... anything can be done.

    This is not the first time that something similar has happened. At the beginning of the iPhone's life there was a problem with TIFF files that also caused the same security breach. Apple patched the bug after a while, but back then there were very few iPhones compared to the current installed base. Apple says that there are 100 million iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads in the world. Obviously, malicious hackers are racing to get a slice of that market.

    How can you avoid it?

    Right now, the easiest way to avoid this problem is by not going to any PDF links directly and not loading any PDF from any non-trusted source.

    You can also jailbreak your iPhone and install a program that will ask for authorization every time your browser encounters a PDF (just look for "PDF loading warner" in Cydia).

    Apple Security Breach Gives Complete Access to Your iPhone

    While this doesn't solve the security problem at all, at least it will remind you every single time.

    Read more »
  • n3D presents History Channel's The Universe in 3D on July 30

    History Channel doesn't have its own 3D network yet, but the day after season five premieres there, it will be aired at 10 p.m. on DirecTV's n3D... in 3D (and in 2D on The 101.) A&E TV VP David Zagin claims "The 3D experience greatly enhances the graphics of The Universe," and it certainly seems possible, given the CGI renderings featured on the show, which will focus that episode on "The 7 Wonders of the Solar System" including mountain ranges on Saturn's rings, a massive Volcano on Jupiter as well as its red spot, and hi-res photos of lava flow on Mars. Check the press release after the break for all the details, no word whether there will be any more 3D episodes coming our way, but hopefully this means things are looking up for DirecTV's attempts to acquire content for the first 24-hour 3D network in the US.  Read more »
  • LG intros two new 600Hz 3D PDP TVs, as well as streamer boxes

    Nipping at the heels of announcements by Panasonic and Samsung, LG has just revealed that its first batch of 600Hz active-shutter 3D Plasmas, the 50" 50PX950 and 60" 60PX950, will soon be available in Korea for the price of $2500 and $4200, respectively. Measuring a svelte 1.2 inches wide, these sets will feature DLNA support, an USB port, and access web content from sources like YouTube and Picasa. Of course for those who can't stomach the agony of needing a physical ethernet or USB cable to access media, the Art Cinema DP1 WiFi multimedia player also announced in tandem by LG should spare you. Likened to a set-top DivX box minus the wires -- though it looks more like a blade in our opinion, the device will stream online content from the usual suspects as well as a laundry list of video files formats stored on your network, even in 1080p. Pricing and release details on this accessory, however, are still anyone's guess, and by the stern look on that model's face, mum's the word.
    Read more »
  • Disney's The Lion King and Alice in Wonderland come home on Blu-ray in 2011

    In keeping with plans to re-release two of its 14 classics each year, trailers on the Blu-ray edition of James & the Giant Peach reveal The Lion King (Diamond Edition) and Alice in Wonderland (Special 60th Anniversary Edition) will arrive in high definition next year. No real word on specs yet, but we'd expect to see the same care taken in remastering and restoring the audio and video to its highest quality that's been seen on previous releases. HighDefDiscNews has plenty of screengrabs and the two trailers (embedded after the break) so now with plenty of advance warning you can get the kids ready (or have them, if necessary) in preparation for 2011's obligatory combo pack purchase.

    Update: The video's are gone, forced down by Disney's legal hounds no doubt, but trust us, they were real and they were spectacular.  Read more »
  • Green Lantern Character Posters Up (Images leaked)

    The Green Lantern footage might not have quite hit the spot for every attendee in Hall H at Comic-Con this year, but Warner Bros. will no doubt be pleased with how the panel itself went over, especially with Ryan Reynolds bringing his real superpower (charm) to wow the crowd and particularly a young fan who watched, slack-jawed as he recited the Lantern oath. And now the first teaser posters have arrived (via Collider), which offer a look at the leads, including, for the first time outside of Hall H, Mark Strong’s Sinestro.Yes, the Floating Head Of Mark Strong is now the In Shadow Head Of Mark Strong As The Bad Guy In Green Lantern. And he’s not alone – Reynolds’ Hal Jordan, Blake Lively’s Carol Ferris and Peter Saaaaaarsgaaaaaard’s Hector Hammond also get their own image.The film follows one of the many Lantern origin stories, »

    Read more »
  • Venice Announces International Jury, Led by Tarantino

    We already knew that Quentin Tarantino was chairing the international jury at the 67th Venice International Film Festival. Now the Fest announces that he will be joined byGuillermo Arriaga, Arnaud Desplechin, Danny Elfman, Luca Guadagnino, and Gabriele Salvatores. The jury awards the official prizes of director Marco Mueller's Venice Fest which takes place on the Lido from September 1 through 11 and is organized by la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta. They announce the prizes on closing night: the Golden Lion (best film), Silver Lion (best director), Special Jury Prize, two Coppa Volpis (best actor and best actress), the Premio Marcello Mastroianni (best new young actor or actress) and two Osellas, for best technical contribution and screenplay. Bio details on the jurors »

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  • Library of Congress adds DMCA exception for jailbreaking or rooting your phone

    This is a wild one, and we're still parsing through the announcement, but on the surface it looks like the Library of Congress has added new anti-circumvention exceptions to the DMCA that, among other things, allow people to tweak their handsets for the purpose of installing legally obtained software -- known as jailbreaking in iOS land, and rooting in the Android / webOS world. Check out the full statement from the Librarian of Congress, which is mostly an update of existing exceptions on record, after the break, but here's the primary excerpt:
    Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.
    Now, before all you EFFers go all totally wild (although it's undoubtedly a win for the EFF line of thinkingon this issue), you should know that this in no way requires Apple to jailbreak your phone for you, or lay down its arms in this ongoing fight. Basically, they just can't sue you for the specific act of breaking their protections, but there's nothing stopping them from putting those protections in there in the first place, or for suing you for an infringement not covered in this exception -- like distributing Apple code in a non-Apple-approved way, or installing illegal or pirated software. Not that any of you jailbreakers would ever do that. What's more, the DMCA still broadly forbids distributing to the public any "technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof" that's primarily designed to break access controls, so Apple can always go after the Dev Team directly -- and we'd still keep those dreams of opening Joe's Jailbreak Hut on ice for now.

    On a more minor note, the language pertaining to unlocking a handset to work on another wireless network has also been expanded from "firmware" in 2006 to "firmware or software" in the 2010 revision. Also, and very exciting for the YouTube set, the section pertaining to cracking a DVD video and excerpting scenes for commentary or criticism has been expanded beyond educational use into documentary and non-commercial applications. Read more »
  • Apple sorta gives in announces free bumpers for all iphone 4 users

    After arguing that all smartphones have the same antenna problem the iPhone 4has, Apple has given a solution to the "non-problem". The one we asked for: Free bumpers or cases. Here are all the details.

    • If you have an iPhone 4, you can get a free bumper from Apple.
    • If you want another case—or Apple's bumpers are out of stock—you can pick another one from some options.
    • If you already bought another case an Apple bumper, you get a refund on that.
    • The offer applies until September 30. At that time, they will "examine" the situation again, and decide to extend the free bumpers or offer a different solution (hmmm, does that mean an updated iPhone then?).

    It's good to see that Apple has acknowledged the problem and they are providing a free fix. Sure, it is a bandaid and the problem—which, unlike Apple says, is notcommon in other phones, like my iPhone 3G—still exists. But it's something.

    Thanks to everyone who supported the free case petition and our continuous coverage of this and other issues. It's because of you that Apple could not ignore the antenna problem anymore. And thanks Apple for listening to our plea and providing a free solution, even if it's just a bandaid on the actual design problem.

    Read more »
  • Lebron "I am joining the Miami Heat"

    Ending 2 years of speculation Lebron James announces that he is joining the Miami Heat.

    Lebron James
    The biggest name in 2010's free agent market, Lebron has agreed to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh as a Miami Heat player. The team rumored to be coached once again by the legendary Pat Riley is now being called the best assembled NBA team ever.

    Rumors started circulating earlier in the day that Miami Players had already gathered at the W Hotel in South Beach and had reserved 25 rooms in preparations for King James declaration of a Miami dream team.

    Sources quickly dismissed the Brooklyn Nets even with the publicly known closeness of James and entertainer Jay-Z. The Nets coming off perhaps one of the worst seasons in team history just don't have the role players to immediately win a championship. The Bulls still remained in the hunt late into the last few days with it's agreement with Boozer. The Knicks perpetually took themselves out of the running by acquiring Amar'e Stoudamire and bypassing talent that could've created scoring opportunities for James. Miami now features 3 of the top 5 players in the league.  Combined they have scored nearly 35,000 points and the oldest player of the bunch is a mere 28 years old (Wade).

    The speculation over the last two years has reached epic proportions even as far as suggesting King James would join the NFL.  Now that Miami is all set and raring to go let the speculations over under the table dealings. Reactions from Cleveland have yet to surface but as far as we can tell Lebron broke a million hearts tonight.
    Read more »
  • Lebron James sued by dead beat dad

    LeBron James and his mother Gloria James are being sued for millions by a man who claims he tried to prove he's the NBA star's biological father -- but LeBron and his mom tampered with the evidence in a diabolical cover-up

    The lawsuit is explosive -- in it, 55-year-old Leicester Bryce Stovell claims he met Gloria in a D.C. area bar in 1984 ... and had unprotected sex with her on the night they met. He later found out she was 15-years-old at the time ... he was 29.

    According to the docs -- filed recently in federal court -- Gloria has spent the rest of her life shielding LeBron from the truth. 

    Leicester claims Gloria went back to her hometown in Ohio after they hooked up -- but returned several months later to inform him she was pregnant with a boy named LeBron ... but she never specifically identified the father. 

    Leicester -- a self-proclaimed high school star athlete -- says he remembers telling Gloria, "Well, if he's mine, make sure he plays basketball." He claims that was the last time he saw Gloria for more than 20 years. 

    According to the docs, Leicester claims he reconnected with Gloria over the phone in 2007 -- when he began to think he could be LeBron's father ... partly because they look almost identical.  Leicester also notes that when he saw LeBron at an NBA game he was, "struck by our similarity in appearance ... James and I are nearly if not identical height and pigmentation and have very similar athletic body types." 

    Leicester claims during the 2007 phone call -- Gloria denied ever meeting him -- threatened to have him physically harmed -- and told him, "LeBron's money is for his children."

    A few days after the phone call, Leicester claims LeBron -- through his lawyer -- agreed to take a DNA paternity test. 

    Leicester claims he was given results that showed he was not LeBron's dad ... but several months later, he began to suspect that the results were tampered with ... and Gloria and LeBron were behind the fraud. 
    Read more »
  • Oakland BART Officer Found Guilty Of Manslaughter In Oscar Grant Killing

    A former BART officer was found guilty of manslaughter in the slaying of Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009. 

    Prosecutors said that officer Johannes Mehserle, 28, deliberately shot his gun into Oscar J. Grant III’s back as he attempted to handcuff him on New Year's Day 2009. Mehserle testified in court that he thought he was unleashing his taser, not a gun. 

    The killing was video taped by several witnesses in Oakland. Mehserle, a White man, shot a round into the back of Grant, a Black man, who was face down on a trainstation platform. Police were working 12-hour shifts in preparation for riots and crowd control. 

    Mehserle resigned from the transit force a week after the shooting. 

    Alameda County Deputy Dist. Atty. David R. told jurors that Mehserle's holster was designed to avert discharge of the handgun, reports the L.A. Times. "He let his aggression dictate his conduct," Stein told jurors. Lawyers for Mehserle charged the gun and the taser had similar weight. 

    A friend of Oscar Grant testified that he heard Mehserle proclaim that he was going to use the taser to in the infraction that occurred with 22-year-old Grant and three other men. Grant was unarmed.

    Others testified that Mehserle expressed immediate grief and despair after the killing of Grant.

    Detractors of the police system and the case continue to express discontent with the verdict, considering it too light for Mehserle. 

    "He's sick to his stomach, because he has shot a man who did not deserve to be shot,” a defense attorney told the jury. A group of protesters expressed a unified discord after the verdict was announced. 

    Several members of Oscar Grant's family and friends have filed multimillion-dollar lawsuits against the BART transit agency. 

    Johannes Mehserle faces two to four years in jail for involuntary manslaughter. Read more »
  • Amy Winehouse and Questlove form a group

    Amy Winehouse has made a name for herself in the music world after winning various awards for her critically acclaimed projects Frank and Back to Black, but her fame has also given way to controversy surrounding drug usesuicide attemptsailments and tabloid fodder. Aside from all of this, she has also shown her appreciation for Hip Hop with collaborations including work with Ghostface KillahRappers have also given her praise, including Jay-Z and Nas, whom she wrote "Me and Mr. Jones" about.

    Now, Winehouse is planning a project with one of Hip Hop's most acclaimed producers, ?uestlove, the drummer behind The Roots and Raphael Saadiq, who will be playing the guitar. No name has yet been given to the group. 

    In the past, Winehouse was denied a visa for posessing cannabis and for an assault she has been cleared of since. As a result, getting together has been a challenge, but one thattechnology has allowed them to tackle.

    According to The Sun, ?uestlove confirmed that the show will go on.

    "The group will definitely happen. It's just the closest she can come to the States is Jamaica. I'm off to France soon so I'll see if she's up for discussing it over dinner. We're Skype-ing the shit out of each other."

    Read more »
  • France team in ruins; Henry, Sarkozy to meet

    KNYSNA, South Africa -- France winger Florent Malouda apologized to his nation and its fans after the team's disastrous World Cup, saying that restoring its battered reputation is now the priority.

    Coach Raymond Domenech and his players were expected to return home Wednesday to a hostile reception from a nation shocked by their behavior during the tournament.

    Striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home after verbally abusing Domenech, causing the rest of the players to refuse to practice two days before France's 2-1 upset loss to South Africa that left the team in last place in Group A.

    "It's a complete disaster that we chose to express ourselves like this," Malouda said. "We honestly didn't know it would affect people so much. We could not imagine what would come after that. We're really sorry for the French population and the French fans. That's not what we want to show.

    "The image we have shown to the world, the way they see France right now is a disaster. As players, we are the first responsible for that. Before the World Cup we had great expectations, and we are leaving without winning a single game."

    France striker Thierry Henry will meet President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday to discuss the debacle. On Wednesday, Sarkozy met with Prime Minister Francois Fillon and Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot to talk about it.

    "The head of state asked the ministers to ensure that those responsible learn the lessons of this disaster quickly," Sarkozy's press department said. "He also asked the ministers to ensure that no financial reward is given."

    France defender Patrice Evra said Tuesday that all the players had agreed to forfeit their bonuses.

    Opinion among the players seems to point to Domenech, a lame duck before the tournament, as the main culprit for the failure.

    "There is a cause for all this failure, several things will come out," said Evra, who was stripped of the captaincy by Domenech. "Then, if people don't want to forgive, at least they will know the truth."

    Whether it was Domenech's failure to manage the team well, the attitude of Evra and other players or an interfering French soccer federation, the answers promise to be more entertaining than the team's performances.

    "The End of a world," read the dramatic headline on the front page of sports daily L'Equipe on Wednesday.

    Not only did France go out in the group stage for the second consecutive major tournament without a single win, but Domenech's handling of the squad and the extraordinary player strike created a media tempest.

    Last Sunday, the team refused to train over the FFF's decision to expel Anelka from the team after details of his expletive-filled rant were printed in L'Equipe. Anelka had insulted Domenech at halftime of France's 2-0 loss to Mexico.

    The extraordinary scenes from France's practice field, as Domenech broke up an altercation between Evra and a fitness coach, were beamed live back to the nation. One FFF official stormed off, shouting "I'm ashamed" before resigning on the spot. Domenech was left alone to explain why his players were not training and sitting on a bus.

    Malouda was the only France player to score at the World Cup. When the final whistle blew after the South Africa loss Tuesday, the enormity of the embarrassing exit hit him hard.

    "I have never been a boxer, but it's just like you get knocked out," he said. "When you see the atmosphere in the stadium, you wanted to stay in the competition but we know we don't deserve it. What can we do? Go home. We deserve it."

    Many observers, including former France stars like Zinedine Zidane and Bixente Lizarazu, blamed Domenech for letting the situation spiral out of control and the FFF for retaining him after the team failed to make it out of the group stage at Euro 2008.

    Domenech ended his six-year tenure without a trophy and in contentious style, refusing to shake the hand of South Africa's coach.

    Laurent Blanc, a World Cup winner in 1998, will take over and Domenech wished his successor well.

    "I've had six exceptional years, in both ways," Domenech said. "I wish Laurent all the happiness possible. I hope the France team succeeds."

    Read more »
  • Gonzalez header ends Switzerland's Cup-record streak of not conceding a goal

    PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa -- Chile broke through the formerly impenetrable Swiss defense when substitute Mark Gonzalez scored on a header in the 75th minute Monday, and Chile beat 10-man Switzerland 1-0 to move closer to a spot in the final 16.

    Before Chile scored, Switzerland set a World Cup record in the 69th minute by going 551 minutes without allowing a goal, breaking the mark of 550 held by Italy at the 1986 and 1990 tournaments. Chile has won both its games in Group H.

    "This is for my family and for all the people who have supported us in Chile," Gonzalez said. "This was a great moment for me and for our team."

    Gonzalez headed home a pass from fellow sub Esteban Paredes, who had gotten around the staunch Swiss defense and crossed to Gonzalez at the back post. Gonzalez's downward header beat goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

    "We are in a good position, and we have one more game to prove ourselves even more," Gonzalez said of Friday's match against Spain at Pretoria.

    Switzerland played a man down since the 31st minute when midfielderValon Behrami was sent off with a straight red card for rough play against Arturo Vidal. That ejection irked the Swiss.

    "For me, it was just an unbelievable decision," Behrami said. "There was small contact with my hands on his neck, and he went down like [he was hit with] an elbow. Everyone can make a mistake, but this mistake was very, very big for me because it's a dream to play in a World Cup."

    Vidal admitted he was surprised by the red card.

    "I felt his elbow on my neck," Vidal said. "It was a definite yellow card, but I wasn't expecting a send-off."

    The last goal the Swiss allowed came on July 2, 1994, when they were eliminated 3-0 by Spain in the second round. Aitor Begiristain scored from a penalty kick in the 87th minute 16 years ago.

    Swiss sub Eren Derdiyok nearly equalized in the 90th minute but drove his shot wide from in front of the net as Switzerland put on late pressure.

    Chile had all the first-half pressure even before Behrami's ejection for hitting two Chileans in the face within seconds.

    Alexis Sanchez appeared to give Chile the lead in the 49th minute, but was clearly offside. He nearly scored in the 55th minute on a break but was thwarted from the right side by Benaglio.

    Chile included striker Humberto Suazo in its starting lineup, while Steve von Bergen replaced injured defender Philippe Senderos for Switzerland. Senderos, who has an injured his right ankle, will also miss Switzerland's final match.

    Suazo was replaced by Jorge Valdivia to start the second half.

    "Suazo played the first half-hour where the space was very small and the ball rarely hit the area he was playing, hardly any possibility to move forward," Bielsa said. "It was very difficult for him to lead the attack in this kind of situation."

    Chile's Carlos Carmona received one of nine yellow cards handed out by Saudi Arabian referee Khalil Al Ghamdi. It was Carmona's second of the tournament, and he will miss Chile's match against Spain.

    The game started in a sea of red -- Chilean and Swiss fans in their predominant colors, and many empty seats, which are mostly red at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Costumes included a woman dressed in a full-length cow outfit and dozens of Chilean flags.
    Read more »
  • Eminem retiring, Wayne pleads guilty, Def Jam distancing self from hip hop

    EMINEM'S LAST ALBUM?

    If you ask me, Eminem is too talented to be considering retirement. But, I am hearing this. Sources deep within the halls of Interscope Records have come back to me saying that Eminem will rebuild Shady Records and step off...riding off into the sunset. According to my source, Em is going to do this in 2011, spring or fall. I heard part of it is going to be produced by Em, but mostly Dr. Dre. There is no title or anything like that. Anyway, Eminem's album is out right now...Monday. You know what this means? If fans bust out, they could usurp Drake from that top slot!!!

    LIL WAYNE SAYS - "I'M GUILTY" 


    Lil' Wayne is in Rikers, but he is still fighting other cases outside of the bing. He was forced to plead guilty in AZ instead of looking at jail time. He caught a case in '08, where the coppers found a gun, weed, coke and some ex pills on his tour bus. Wayne just pleaded guilty and now he's going to go through 36 months of probation. Don't dudes get tired of going through the system? It has to be a headache. 

    DEF JAM SIGNS MORE SINGERS 

    Def Jam used to be the illest Hip-Hop label, but it looks like its getting closer to the illest R&B label. Not only have they had the likes of Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson, but it appears that they are close to signing Brandy and new jack thug singer J. Holiday. Apparently, The Dream is running his jibs about it. He is an executive at Def Jam in addition to being one of the singers. I BET this was plotted out in some way so Brandy has a happy ending to her reality show.  Read more »
  • Movie Review: Jonah Hex

    In Jonah Hex, Josh Brolin stars as the title’s anti-hero, a Confederate soldier-turned-bounty hunter who, after being convinced by the United States government, looks to stop a madman (John Malkovich) with a weapon capable of destroying the country. Oh, and Megan Fox stars as a prostitute with absolutely no backstory whatsoever.

    In another world, Jonah Hex would be an R-rated action extravaganza chock full of hardcore violence that a story such as this deserves. Instead, in this reality, Josh Brolin somehow finds himself in a disjointed 77-minute borefest that is far more laughable than exciting or just plain watchable. To say that this movie is bad is an understatement, but what do you expect with a movie so short? There’s a reason that movies usually clock in at around 90 minutes or more. It is extremely difficult to craft a story – or a good one at least – within such a tight time frame.

    The most infuriating part about the length of the movie is the fact that there was plenty of material that was simply brushed over. If you’ve never read the comics (which I haven’t), good luck figuring out what is going on during the cheesy comic book-esque prologue, or the first fifteen minutes in general. Instead of skimming over these fine details – including a very important one that sort of attempts to explain Jonah Hex’s ability to communicate with the dead – how about just showing them?

    Length wasn’t the only problem with Jonah Hex, but it certainly starts that slippery slope that leads to a terrible movie. The writing is rushed, with lame one-liners capping off pedestrian fight scenes. I would attempt to joke about Megan Fox’s performance, but her role suffers the most in all of this. Before the final showdown of the movie, she appears in about three scenes, and barely does anything in those. Now, her performance could have been so bad that parts of it had to be cut, which is entirely possible, but she is literally just a prostitute who loves Jonah Hex. There is no explanation as to how the two know each other or why she loves him so much.

    It really is too bad that Jonah Hex turned out the way that it did; there were hints that it could have been so much better. With such a good cast, despite whatever reservations you might have towards Megan Fox, it’s amazing that it ended up being so…boring. But with the overall disappointment this entire flock of summer movies have brought on moviegoers, maybe we should have expected thi

    Read more »
  • rue Blood Episode Recap: "Beautifully Broken"

    On Sunday's episode of True Blood, Bill gets a proposition from the King of Mississippi. Sookie and Eric team up to find him while fending off werewolves. Tara, Jason and Lafayette all meet new love interests, while Sam meets his family.

    BILL

    We begin this episode Mike Tyson-style: Bill, with a severed ear in his mouth, all Mike Tyson-style. At his feet are a pile of bloodied naked bodies. Cooter's still alive — "Cooter? Seriously?" Bill asks with a snort — and just as he's about to attack Bill anew, up gallops Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare), aka the King of Mississippi, in full equestrian gear. He couldn't look more out of place. (For more on Russell, check back tomorrow for my Q&A with O'Hare. There is a lot more to this guy than meets the eye.)

    The king is not concerned that Bill killed three of the wolves, but he is not at all happy that Cooter and his friends fed off Bill. "You drank from my guest?" he spits. As a punishment, he takes out a pistol and shoots the only remaining living guy. He orders Bill into the saddle, and off they go.

    Meanwhile, back at the castle, we meet Russell's husband Talbot (Theo Alexander), who has just redecorated the castle's guest room with a bed that once belonged to a famous Hungarian serial killer. He's hilarious. "I think I'm going to have to bring in the girl," Russell says mysteriously to Theo after they've escorted a befuddled Bill to his quarters. What exactly is he doing there?

    He's there for a dinner party, of course! What's that? Vampires don't eat? Well, somebody better tell Theo that because he has quite the spread planned. First up: carbonated blood with a citrus finish. "This one ate only tangerines for weeks," Theo says. Ha!

    The king says he wants to make Bill sheriff of Area 2 in Mississippi. He insinuates, however, that his eventual goal is much larger. He says he's asked Sophie-Anne to marry him (huh?), but that thus far she has rebuffed him. (OK, I did some research on this, and in the books, marriage between vampire monarchs is more of a political endeavor than a romantic one, meant to consolidate regions of power — just like humans in past centuries. They don't make that distinction clear on the show. In fact, Russell doesn't mention it until Theo has left the table to "drain the second course." "Carlo, bring me that Thai boy," Theo sing-songs as he re-enters the kitchen.)

    Ah, warm blood bisque infused with rose petals — my favorite!

    Then Russell says something interesting here, which picks up on an interesting plot line that was hinted at last season in Bill's dealings with the queen. Russell thinks Sophie-Anne is crazy to not utilize Bill, such a talented, young vampire, for better means than babysitting a waitress in Bon Temps. Bill weakly protests that it wasn't her idea, that he's not working for her, but it's clear from their conversation that Russell is on to something. (More on that later...)

    Blood sorbet! A nice palate cleanser before... well, more blood.

    Then, the worst party-crasher ever, Lorena, shows up. Bill welcomes her by throwing a hurricane lantern at her. As she bursts into flames, I find myself thinking how funny it would be if that was it for her, but I happen to know that it most definitely isn't. I get it — she's Bill's Kryptonite, so any time he needs to be bent to someone's will, she shows up. I like howMariana Klaveno plays her, but honestly, plot-wise I find her mostly to be annoying and extraneous.

    JESSICA

    Meanwhile, over at Fangtasia, Jessica sweetly asks Pam how to feed without killing. It's like the vampire birds-and-the-bees talk. Pam's advice: You force yourself to stop when the heartbeat slows; she likes to think of crying children with soggy diapers and maggots to calm her impulses.

    Back at Compton Manor, Hoyt is on the doorstep with some B-positive TruBlood. He's sweet, as usual, but Jessica's got a corpse rotting under the floorboards, so this is no time for a midnight stroll. She blows him off and starts weeping bloody tears yet again. Oh, you crazy kids; I want it to work for them so badly.

    She goes to sleep next to the decomposing redneck, who really must be stinking up the joint. The next evening, her frantic spraying of Lysol isn't doing the trick, so she looks into renting a chainsaw. But when she returns to take care of the body, it's gone.

    INSIDE COMPTON MANOR

    Presumably while Jessica was out at Home Depot, a figure wearing a mysterious pair of boots enters Compton Manor and ransacks Bill's study. He finds a secret drawer panel that contains a very detailed dossier on Sookie, including her family tree and a newspaper article about her childhood spelling-bee victory.

    This is interesting on many levels, as it hints at a big secret that has yet to be revealed: As in the books, Bill was, in fact, sent to Bon Temps to protect Sookie. If she were ever to find out that she is a job for Bill, she might not feel so tender about his French-restaurant proposal.

    ERIC and GODRIC

    There was a series of flashbacks to Augsberg, Germany, in 1945 in this episode, and for lack of a better location, I'm going to write about them here.

    An American soldier comes across a crouching, naked woman who appears to have been traumatized in some way. But no. As Uncle Sam's Finest approaches gallantly with his coat, she transforms into a werewolf and attacks him.

    If Eric and Godric were action figures, these would be the special World War II Editions. They're dressed as SS officers, which is perplexing. Eric pins the naked woman to the wall with swords (yuck). Featured prominently is the Operation Werewolf brand on her collarbone. As such, she says they're on the same side. "No, we're not," Eric says. Clever Nazi disguise, Eric!

    Eric wants to know who her master is, information she'll reveal if he gives her some of his blood. He obliges and she says her master is one of them, a vampire. (Russell?)

    Unfortunately, with an infusion of vampire blood, she's strong enough now to overpower him. Fortunately, Godric steps in and breaks her neck, lickety-split. "A vampire is never at the mercy of his emotions. He dominates them," he says solemnly to his ward. Yes, sensei.

    TARA

    When we last saw Tara, she was attempting suicide. Lafayette arrives just in time to stop her and take her away from the hapless Lettie Mae, whose only assistance is to remind Tara that she can go to hell for killing herself.

    As a cautionary tale, Lafayette takes Tara to see Ruby Jean Reynolds (Alfre Woodard), aka Lafayette's mom. What are her first words for her son, who she tells people is dead, after not seeing him for six months? "God killed him, because he's a faggot. But he keep coming back." Oh boy, she's clearly a handful. They meet Jesus (Southland's Kevin Alejandro), Ruby Jean's handsome nurse, and exchange pleasantries. "God killed you too," Ruby Jean says of Tara. "Almost," Tara replies.

    So Lafayette says that there's some darkness in their family, and that he wanted to remind Tara that they are strong enough to overcome it. Point taken, Tara says. Lafayette also mentions that he thinks Jesus is hot, so get ready for all that to happen.

    Franklin Mott (The TudorsJames Frain), a rakish, shifty-looking vampire, shows up at Merlotte's and sets his laser flirting sights on Tara. She's in no mood (when did we last see that sweet smile?), but she's polite. A pan down to the floor reveals that those were Franklin's boots we saw earlier in Compton Manor. Did he dispose of the redneck's body too?

    Later, Tara is outside taking a slug off a bottle when she hears two rednecks mocking Eggs' death. Franklin intervenes in this confrontation, and is helpful enough to hold one of them while Tara beats the crap out of him. His fangs come out, but he doesn't bite anyone. In this context, I think it means he's turned on. So get ready for all that to happen too.

    Quick note: Last week a lot of the comments were really anti-Tara. I understand that many of you think she's a whiner, but keep in mind, she's also a total sad-sack. She's had nothing but bad luck, and her troubles have hardened her. It doesn't bode well that now she's playing Sexual Fight Club with what appears to be a very sinister vampire, but I'm hopeful for more scenes of a lighter Tara in the future. She's a tough girl, so she doesn't need my protection, but come on, give her a break. (For what it's worth, Rutina Wesley is the sweetest, nicest person, the complete antithesis of Tara. It's a real testament to her acting abilities.)

    SAM

    Now, if I were to write negative comments on my own recap, it would be about this story line. I have an idea where it's heading, but man, is it slow going for now.

    Sam wakes up in his truck outside the Mickens house with Tommy pointing a shotgun in his face. He takes him inside where he meets Joe Lee, who's sporting his best BVDs for the occasion, and Melinda — Sam's mom and dad.

    Melinda tells Sam that she was 16 and Joe Lee was in jail when she gave him to the Merlottes. Sam says that he thinks he knows the real reason she gave him up, but Melinda says she was hopeful she'd be like his dad, the only non-shifter in the family.

    Tommy is a petulant, jealous little twerp, so he takes off. Sam follows. They fight about their grass-is-greener childhoods until Tommy decides he'd like to go for a run. So they strip down — Tommy's covered in scars, by the way — and shift into their canine alter egos. Tommy laughs at his big brother's go-to shift, the cute collie; he's a more scrappy pit bull.

    On the run, Tommy lures Sam into the street and transforms into some sort of eagle and flies away, leaving a naked Sam lying in the dirt, having narrowly escaped getting hit by a truck.

    JASON

    Andy gives a press conference, at which he's lauded as a hero. Later at Merlotte's, a drunken Jason tells everyone that Andy is the "wind beneath my wings." So he doesn't drive home, Andy offers him a ride. On his way, Andy gets called to a drug bust at a suspected meth house. Jason stays in the car, from where he sees a mysterious girl, who we'll later learn is named Crystal Norris (Lindsay Pulsipher). So get ready for all that to happen as well. He also sees a dealer escaping, hops out of the car and apprehends him. Thus begins the germ of an idea in the tiny brain of Jason Stackhouse.

    ARLENE and TERRY

    Terry makes a list of 10 reasons why Arlene can trust him with his kids, including that he nursed a baby armadillo and has a "diploma" in anger management. It's sweet, but her hormones decided this was a good time to puke. I guess it's no surprise that the dimwitted Terry hasn't caught on to her condition yet.

    SOOKIE

    Sookie is at Fangtasia with Eric, Pam and Jessica, and she's telling them about the Operation Werewolf brand they found on the dead guy at the scene of the car crash. "Never seen it before, sorry," says Eric unconvincingly (see above).

    Once Jessica and Pam head off to the ladies' room "to stare at themselves in the mirror" though, Eric says that werewolves are territorial, vicious, and pathologically secretive. "Boy, does that sound familiar," Sookie cracks. He's worried about her getting involved with them. "Your life's too valuable to throw away," he says.

    At that point, Sookie plays the Godric card and cries about losing Bill. "Don't do that. It makes me feel... disturbingly human," Eric says. Heh.

    The next morning at Merlotte's, Sookie sees a strange man in the woods and hears his malevolent thoughts. He disappears, but Terry is there, and the two of them track him, but find only his clothes. She makes Terry promise not to reveal what they've seen and says that a vampire sheriff is on the case.

    Terry gives her a gun to protect herself. "I've always liked you, and I'd miss you if you got killed," Terry says. Aw.

    Eric shows up at Sookie's house that night and tells her the whole story about werewolves that we saw in the flashback. He says he owes Sookie, presumably for finding Godric. But he's still the same Eric. "You're going to invite me so I can protect you or have passionate, primal sex with you," he says. "You're not going to distract me by talking nasty," Sookie, ever the lady, replies.

    But then, Eric has a twitchy vampire sensory moment, and asks her again, more insistently, to invite him in. So she does. Inside there's a werewolf, and just as he's about to strike, Sookie fires the gun and the screen fades to black.

    "I'm Alive" by Shelby Lynne is the outro, which I guess is all anyone in Bon Temps can hope for these days.

    What did you think of "Beautifully Broken"? Lots of new love interests on the horizon — any predictions? Will Sookie find out about Bill's job? Will he take a new one in Mississippi? Am I being too hard on Lorena? What do you think happened to the body?

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  • Toy Story 3 Dominates the box office

    To infinity and beyond may not be a stretch for Pixar’s â€œToy Story 3,”which sold $109 million in ticket sales in North America over the weekend and is on track to deliver a total domestic gross of over $400 million, analysts said.

    “Toy Story 3” entered the marketplace as a strong No. 1 — the 11th Pixar title in a row to achieve that feat. The result was Pixar’s best opening ever, even when adjusting for inflation.

    Sales were big enough almost to wipe out an early-summer slump at the multiplex. Total domestic box office revenue since early May is now only down by less than 1 percent from the same period last year, according to Hollywood.com, which complies ticketing statistics. In recent weeks revenue had dipped by over 6 percent, leading to hand wringing in Hollywood.

    If history is any guide, “Toy Story 3” will continue to dominate in the weeks ahead. On average just 23 percent of the total domestic gross for a Pixar film comes from opening weekend, according to Hollywood.com.

    “The audience was much broader than normal,” said Chuck Viane, the president for distribution at Walt Disney Studios, whose parent company owns Pixar. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie with such unbelievably positive word of mouth.” In limited release overseas “Toy Story 3” sold about $45 million.

    Blissful reviews for the latest installment of the beloved â€œToy Story” franchise may have helped persuade audiences to pay extra to see the film in 3-D. An outsize portion of sales, for example, came from the 180 Imax theaters playing the movie. Though only 2 percent of the cinemas showing the film were Imax, they still delivered 8 percent of the weekend gross.

    Young adults, typically not a big audience for animated films, also played an important role. Disney said “Toy Story 3” drew 40 percent of its nonfamily audience from people ages 17 to 24: the group that grew up with Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the other characters from the franchise.

    “Toy Story 3,” directed by Lee Unkrich, becomes the third movie to open to more than $100 million at the domestic box office so far this year. All three have been movies made under the Disney umbrella. The other two are â€œAlice in Wonderland,” which sold over $116 million in its opening weekend, and â€œIron Man 2,” which opened to over $128 million.

    The challenge for Disney, which bought Pixar in 2006, is to avoid flops in between blockbusters that diminish the financial impact of its megahits. After “Iron Man 2” came“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” which should go down as one of the biggest failures of the year. The seesawing could continue: next up on Disney’s release slate is â€œThe Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” a live-action fantasy starring Nicolas Cage that strikes many veteran movie marketers as a tough sell.

    For the weekend â€œThe Karate Kid” from Sony Pictures Entertainment continued to prove itself an audience favorite, selling about $29 million for second place and a new total of $106.2 million, according to Hollywood.com

    “The A-Team” from 20th Century Fox was third with about $13.8 million and a new total of $49.8 million, while the comedy â€œGet Him to the Greek” from Universal Pictures was fourth with $6.1 million ($47.9 million total).

    “Shrek Forever After” (a DreamWorks Animation title distributed by Paramount Pictures) was fifth with $5.5 million, bringing its total to $223 million.

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  • On HBO, one man's journey into a natural gas crisis

    If you need a break from worrying yourself sick about the still-gushing BP oil leak, I can tentatively recommend you watch Josh Fox's artful and disturbing documentary "Gasland," airing Monday night on HBO.

    It's about the natural gas industry, which might be on the verge of insidiously ruining America's water supply. As such, "Gasland" could push a certain sort of viewer -- me, for example -- into the realm of panic attack. (First the oceans, now the streams and rivers?! And nobody cares about this stuff! Nothing can be done! And, as "Gasland" indicates, Dick Cheney and Halliburton still call the shots! Gaaaah!) We can all just get adjoining padded rooms -- a whole psych ward of neurotics who binge on documentaries and tumble into permanent despair.

    "Gasland" is one man's (Fox's) attempt to educate himself about the six-figure offer he received in 2009 for the drilling rights beneath the hippy-dippy Catskills/Poconos farm where he was raised, near the Delaware River -- which, as it happens, sits on a potential swath of gas deposits, which are deep, deep underground.

    Fox -- a banjo-plucking, horn-rimmed-hipster filmmaker in his late 30s -- appears to have inherited his place from his parents ("Gasland" never makes this quite clear), and he wants to know more about gas exploration techniques before he signs the paperwork. Though I doubt he was ever going to sell his drilling rights, Fox presents "Gasland" as a quest that quickly moves from naive questions to discoveries of corporate evil.

    In that spirit, "Gasland" ventures where so many other environmental-outrage documentaries have gone before and returns with more questions than answers. What's different is that Fox makes for a warmhearted and darkly humorous road-trip companion. It's less about inconvenient truths and more of a memoir wrapped around an unfinished "60 Minutes" exposé.

    He starts in the small town of Dimmick, Pa., near his home, where some residents sold their rights only to have their wells turn suspiciously toxic soon after the drilling began. There are even rumors of a faucet where the water will ignite if you hold a lighter to it. That's not good.



    Fox starts learning about the vast natural gas reserves spanning from the Northeast, down to the South, then across Texas and up the Western states; the gas is frequently tapped through a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" in industry parlance.

    Fracking pumps millions of gallons of chemically treated water deep into the earth, shattering the shale so that a gas well can be tapped. The chemicals used in the process are so many and multi-syllabic that they make for a frightening-sounding list, especially when the gas companies are not legally compelled to name them all, citing proprietary secrets. The craze to find natural gas really picked up with the 2005 Energy Act, which, Fox accurately notes, exempted gas exploration from federal water safety laws. (That's where Dick Cheney comes into Fox's narrative.)

    Fox expands his journey far west, to Colorado and Wyoming, where he befriends farmers and rural residents who blame unregulated fracking for their ruined water supplies. Here, Fox finds and films many examples of the hitherto mythic flammable faucet. Also: mountain streams that now bubble with toxic vapors and a frantic woman who's helpfully kept in her spare freezer all the dead animals she's discovered on her land. Gas wells surround all this.

    Shot against the chilly and bleak American expanse, "Gasland" quickly becomes a dirge. Fox winds up standing in a field next to some wells, wearing a gas mask and playing forlorn ditties on his banjo.

    That's because "Gasland" never loses its sense of jaded artistry; it is first and foremost a movie, made by a Gen-X smartie who likes quick-cut montages of skies and clouds and water interspersed with telltale trendy Helvetica title cards.

    In the Michael Moore spirit of things, Fox provides many glimpses of his attempts to get gas company executives and PR people to return his phone calls, including the predictable scene of a man in a suit removing the clip-on microphone and abruptly ending an interview. Although this is presented as sticking-it-to-The-Man material, it instead hints at Fox's failings as an amateur journalist.

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