‘Zombieland’ kind of fun, completely forgettable (Movie review)

“Zombieland” is a fairly fun movie, but it also stretches this whole “being chased by a pack of zombies” thing to the point where I wonder if the genre has run dry. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin were apparently the lucky winners of a drawing to be in this post-apocalyptic road-trip romp; sometimes acting is hard, but I gotta think this movie was easy to make (at least for the stars who don’t have to wear zombie makeup).

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In ‘Juliet, Naked,’ Nick Hornby lays bare the funny side of music snobbery (Book review)

Nick Hornby taps into a gold mine of insider humor in “Juliet, Naked” by making fun of extreme levels of music snobbery. Hornby invents a cult-favorite 1980s musician named Tucker Crowe and provides so much analytical detail about this made-up musician’s songs that I almost wanted to google Crowe to make sure he wasn’t a real person.

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‘24’ TV show could learn something from ‘24’ novels (Book commentary)

You know, when I watch “24,” I usually make fun of it, and I don’t get any satisfaction from doing that. But it’s different from other downhill-progressing shows, because every season represents a completely fresh start. Because each season is a single day, “24” Season 8 (set for a January launch on Fox) wouldn’t have to reference ANY of the previous seven seasons/days; it could simply concentrate on being really good.

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Hilary Duff has the right stuff for ‘Gossip Girl’ (TV commentary)

Hilary Duff submitted a pilot episode that got turned down this season; that allowed “Gossip Girl”(8 p.m. Central Mondays on The CW) to cast her for — as every report on the subject says — “several episodes” as starlet-turned-student Olivia Burke. Basically, she’s a recurring character whose amount of recurrence is to be determined.

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Oh, how I love/hate ‘(500) Days of Summer’ (Movie review)

“(500) Days of Summer,” the would-be-romantic, too-sad-to-be-a-comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, starts with a narrated warning that this is not a love story. It’s not so we’ll smirk and say, “Isn’t that cute — a love story that says it’s not a love story.” It’s meant as a literal warning, so don’t say it didn’t warn you.

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How crucial is continuity in franchise storytelling? (Commentary)

I’m curious to hear from my readers on this one: How important is it to you that a franchise has continuity between each of its installments? I ask this because two of my favorite sagas are “Star Wars,” in which every story fits on a coherent timeline, and “Terminator,” which has launched three distinct timelines since 2001 between movies, TV and books.

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