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<p>Matt Damon,&nbsp;Scarlett Johansson and Cameron&nbsp;Crowe on the set of &quot;We Bought a Zoo&quot;</p>

Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and Cameron Crowe on the set of "We Bought a Zoo"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Temple of the Dog: Cameron Crowe and his tunes

The director assembles another killer soundtrack for 'We Bought a Zoo'

I mentioned my thoughts on Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo" in this morning's round-up. To elaborate a bit, the film has problems. But I don't know if "problems" is the word, because there's no denying that the film works. It's just heavy-handed in a way that doesn't feel organic to the material (unlike the heavy-handedness of, say, "War Horse").

Nevertheless, I have zero desire to dismantle it because its heart is in the right place. It mines legitimate emotion in a number of areas and, knowing what Crowe has been through in his personal life as of late (divorcing his wife of many years, Nancy Wilson), you can see him working through some things with this material. And much of it rings true. It's an uptick from "Elizabethtown," no doubt, and I think he'll find his stride again very soon and before long, we'll have another top-notch Crowe film on our hands.

One thing that stuck out in "We Bought a Zoo," though, was the soundtrack. Of course, it would.

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<p>William Hurt was the star of one of Ken Russell's most famous film, 'Altered States'</p>

William Hurt was the star of one of Ken Russell's most famous film, 'Altered States'

Credit: Warner Home Video

Ken Russell, noted director of 'Women In Love,' passes away at 84

Few directors have ever pushed the envelope as far as he did

Ken Russell is dead.

And while I consider Ken Russell a giant, a genuine force to be reckoned with, a man who left a giant shit-smeared mark across the face of cinema like a moustache added to the Mona Lisa, I confess I haven't seen one thing he made in the 20 years since his film "Whore" was released.

That's crazy.  According to the IMDb, he's directed 19 things since then.  I knew he contributed to "Trapped Ashes," an anthology film that I still haven't seen, but I didn't see it.  And I've never heard of the other 18 projects.  He was just off my radar.

Again… that's crazy.  But if you're looking to sum up the cinematic output of one Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell, the word "crazy" is probably a great place to start.  His was a long sustained and beautiful madness that played out in a wildly uneven filmography, where his highs were as high as anyone's who worked in the British pop '60s and the international art house '70s, and where his lows were as low as anyone working in the Golan/Globus exploitation mills of the '80s.  He clashed famously with actors, directors, censors, rock stars and most other life forms at one point or another.

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<p>Beyonce in &quot;Dance for You&quot;</p>

Beyonce in "Dance for You"

Watch: Beyonce wants to 'Dance for You,' detective

Seventh, noir-ish music video from '4' arrives

It was a stormy night, and the detective was hard at work, gazing out the window.

He suddenly found himself to be the luckiest heterosexual model-man on the planet, as Beyonce arrived and gyrated seductively at him.

If you're a hetero sexual lady detective, however, this is sort of boring.

"Dance for You" is the seventh music video to arrive from Queen B's latest album "4" (this track was culled from the deluxe version) and is the seventh of seven to be included on her latest "Live at Roseland" DVD 2-disc collection. It was directed by the singer and Alan Ferguson, who helmed "Party" earlier this fall.

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<p>Colin Ford (left)&nbsp;and Matt Damon in&nbsp; &quot;We Bought a Zoo&quot;</p>

Colin Ford (left) and Matt Damon in  "We Bought a Zoo"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Oscarweb Round-up: Sneaking 'Zoo'

Also: Actress roundtable and Bale is done with Batman (duh)

So the big story of the weekend, after the "War Horse" chatter died down a bit, was the nationwide sneak peek at Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo." I bought a couple of tickets and headed down to the local multiplex to have a look, and while it's certainly a better film that Crowe's last outing (2005's "Elizabethtown"), it's unquestionably heavy on the saccharine pedal. Nevertheless, I immediately thought of it as a film I'd watch again, probably multiple times. It's a definite stop-and-watch on TV in the future. Probably because of the characters Crowe is still, even in a film that doesn't begin to approach his best work, able to manifest, people you want to spend time with. I think Drew McWeeny did a good job of separating these various moving parts in his review here at HitFix. [Motion/Captured]

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<p>Shane (Walton Goggins)&nbsp;and Vic (Michael Chiklis)&nbsp;back in the (relatively)&nbsp;good ol' days of &quot;The Shield.&quot;</p>

Shane (Walton Goggins) and Vic (Michael Chiklis) back in the (relatively) good ol' days of "The Shield."

Credit: FX

'The Shield' finale, 3 years later

What would the surviving members of the Barn be up to today?

I did my best to avoid working over the long Thanksgiving weekend, but I couldn't step away from the Internets altogether (smartphones are the methadone of my web addiction), and saw this tweet on Friday pointing out that it was the third anniversary of "The Shield" finale - and, therefore, the end date for one of the storylines set up in that finale. Some thoughts on that coming up just as soon as I dial 912...

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2012 Grammy Awards Predictions: Does Adele sweep the nominations?
Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

2012 Grammy Awards Predictions: Does Adele sweep the nominations?

Also look for Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Tony Bennett to land nods

The Grammy nominations will be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 30, during the Grammy Nominations Concert Live special, airing at 10 p.m. ET.

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: The Real Housewives of Atlanta' - 'Jewels Be Dangled'

It's Kandi's birthday, but her mother is the one stealing the attention

Phaedra visits Kim bearing a massive gift basket and (more importantly) an apology for how her husband got into a fight with Peter at the baby shower. Kim accepts the apology -- and notes that Cynthia has made no effort to contact her and never brought a gift. I have to say, that's pretty crappy of Cynthia. Not only did Peter throw a fit at the shower, Cynthia and her bratty husband showed up just minutes before they started stacking the chairs and turning off the chafing tables. At the very least, make a damn phone call. Kim notes that Peter is older than dust (her guess? Sixty-five or seventy-five), but most definitely old enough to know better than to start a fight at a damn baby shower. I'm with Kim on this one. Even though I thought her shower was thoroughly ridiculous, that's no excuse for anyone to come, pitch a fit, and not even leave behind a onesie. 

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<p>Andy and Tommy of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>
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Andy and Tommy of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Release The Brake!'

Teams drive Ford Mustangs, make waffles and follow pigeons
Much has been written -- some of it even true -- about the myriad attempts on the life of Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin in 1916.
 
He was stabbed and poisoned and shot and beaten and drowned. Even after he was confirmed dead, observers swore that Rasputin sat up in the middle of his own cremation. 
 
Now you may say that Rasputin had a power that was magical or malevolent or possibly divine. Or you may say that the people entrusted with assassinating the crazed mystic were really awful at their jobs. Or you could suggest that superstitious people spun a web of folk tales around the death of a man they hated and feared and that those legends have only grown with passing years.
 
Me? I just figure that each time Rasputin was killed and went to the gates of either Heaven or Hell (presumably the latter, but I don't want to rule anything out), he was greeted by St. Peter or Charon or the gatekeeping figure of your choice and he was told, "Grigori Rasputin... You're in luck. This was a Non-Elimination Assassination Attempt." So Rasputin returned to Earth, dealt with some pathetic Speed Bump in life and continued. 
 
Eventually, though, Rasputin was eliminated from the Human Race and other than periodic returns in "Hellboy" and whatnot, he's stayed gone.
 
In most ways, Bill & Cathi are absolutely nothing like Grigori Rasputin. In fact, they're pretty admirable folks. They completed for 10 legs on "The Amazing Race" and mostly kept pace with contestants half their ages. They didn't fight. They didn't complain. They just kept going. As parents or grandparents or just general role models for how to get the most out of life, they're top-notch.
 
But...
 
[Full recap of Sunday (November 27) night's "The Amazing Race" after the break...]
 
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<p>Carrie (Claire Danes)&nbsp;investigates a shooting at a mosque on &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Carrie (Claire Danes) investigates a shooting at a mosque on "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

'Homeland' - 'Crossfire': Take me out to the ballgame

Carrie hunts for Walker, while Brody flashes back to his time in captivity

A review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as I find out what vitamin water is...

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<p>Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount)&nbsp;needs answers in a hurry on &quot;Hell on Wheels.&quot;</p>

Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) needs answers in a hurry on "Hell on Wheels."

Credit: AMC

'Hell on Wheels' - 'Jamais Je Ne T'oublierai': Look away

Cullen has to focus on his job, while Elam tries to spend his money

Your interest in "Hell on Wheelsremains just strong enough for me to keep doing these weekly talkback posts. What's notable about tonight's episode, I thought, is how it finally puts Cullen Bohannan's quest for... revenge! on hold for a while and forces him to actually spend time focusing on his day job as Doc Durant's foreman. Which is probably for the best in terms of the show's long-term creative future (if it has one): there's only so many bad men who hurt his wife, while there are many, many miles of track still to be laid, and the show needs to get its central character more actively involved in what the show is actually about. (Though this week, at least, he's a pretty lousy boss for most of the hour.) 

What did you guys think of this one? Would you rather Cullen just continue his bloody quest, or were you glad to see him spend more time at the office? How did you feel about Lily and Doc's interactions, Elam's search for comfort, the Irish brothers' attempt to make fast cash, etc? 

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<p>Margaret (Kelly Macdonald)&nbsp;and Nucky (Steve Buscemi)&nbsp;await a diagnosis on &quot;Boardwalk Empire.&quot;</p>

Margaret (Kelly Macdonald) and Nucky (Steve Buscemi) await a diagnosis on "Boardwalk Empire."

Credit: HBO

'Boardwalk Empire': Are you there, God? It's me, Margaret

Nucky, Jimmy and Margaret struggle to keep their lives under control

A review of tonight's "Boardwalk Empire" coming up just as soon as I pay to hear what kind of fool I am...

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Rick (Andrew Lincoln) on "The Walking Dead."
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) on "The Walking Dead."
Credit: AMC

'The Walking Dead' - 'Pretty Much Dead Already': Opening the barn door

Shane's temper reaches a boil in the mid-season finale

A review of tonight's "The Walking Dead" mid-season finale coming up just as soon as I'm in line for the early bird special...

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