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<p>Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender in &quot;A Dangerous Method.&quot;</p>

Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender in "A Dangerous Method."

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Tell us what you thought of 'A Dangerous Method'

The film begins rolling out this week

We seem to be posting a lot of these lately, but it's a major week for releases and we're keen to know what you make of it all. David Cronenberg's measured Freud-Jung study "A Dangerous Method" opened in limited release earlier this week and is slowly rolling out to other areas -- critical reaction to Cronenberg's newly demure style, not to mention Keira Knightley's bold performance, has been varied since it premiered in Venice, so I'm particularly interested to hear where you land on this one. I wasn't entirely sold in my review, though Cronenberg's explanation of his approach made for one of my favorite interviews I've done on this site. If you've managed to see it, share your thoughts below.

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<p>Ah, the old Savaii Tribe. Good times...</p>
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Ah, the old Savaii Tribe. Good times...

Credit: CBS

Not-a-Recap: Things learned from the 'Survivor: South Pacific' clip show

Guess what? Whitney and Keith were an island couple. Shocking, right?
I'm suggestible. 
 
So when CBS spent seven days relentlessly promoting this week's "new" episode of of "Survivor: Pearl Island," eventually it infiltrated my brain. 
 
Even though I knew that the pre-Thanksgiving episode of "Survivor" (or the Thanksgiving episode before the shift to Wednesday) is always a clip show, I somehow convinced myself that I would glean copious insights from everything "new" in the episode and that I would be able to use those insights in future recaps and "Survivor" exit interviews. It would be just like that season I watched all of the Ponderosa videos on the "Survivor" website, when surely all of those post-eviction weigh-ins and grotesque peanut butter pig-outs left me with ample wisdom. Right?
 
Honestly, I watched the Ponderosa episodes in the "Heroes vs. Villains" season because I couldn't bring myself to say farewell to Amanda Kimmel. 
 
I haven't watched since.  
 
And I won't watch another "Survivor" clip show ever again. It turns out that for the most part, "Survivor" editors put great effort into attempting to craft the season's storylines and if material didn't make the final cut, it was left out for a reason. 
 
"For the most part."
 
There were still some precious kernels to be gleaned from the clip show. 
 
Yes, that's an overstatement of the word "precious." It's possibly even an overstatement of the word "kernel."
 
Click through for the bullet-point highlights... It'll be just like you wasted the hour, too!
 
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<p>A scene from &quot;The Artist&quot;</p>

A scene from "The Artist"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'The Artist' among contenders for Louis Delluc Prize

Oscar entries 'Le Havre' and 'Declaration of War' also shortlisted for France's top film award

It's not often (or indeed ever) that the Louis Delluc Prize overlaps with the Best Picture Oscar race, but here we are: Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist," not content with being one of the leading candidates for US awards glory, has been shortlisted for what is arguably the most prestigious trophy in French cinema.

The Oscar-equivalent César Awards may receive more publicity, but the Delluc, awarded each year to a single French film, has a far longer and more illustrious history -- the list of previous winners is a veritable checklist of Gallic cinema titans, beginning with Jean Renoir in 1937, and extending to Cocteau, Bresson, Tati, Truffaut, Godard, Malle, Resnais, Rohmer, Chabrol... you get the idea. It's a list you wouldn't mind being on, and for Hazanavicius, I imagine that's no less enticing an honor than an Academy Award. 

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<p>Asa Butterfield in &quot;Hugo&quot;</p>

Asa Butterfield in "Hugo"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Listen to Best Original Song contender 'Coeur Volant' from Martin Scorsese's 'Hugo'

Add another track to the list of hopefuls

We haven't gotten around to posting many of the original song contenders this year as we have in year's past. The list is accumulating as we build toward the official submission reveal in a few weeks. Meanwhile, a fresh new contender crossed my desk that's worth pointing out, seeing as it's in one of this week's releases.

I don't remember how Zaz's "Coeur Volant" is used in "Hugo." Maybe some of you who are fresh off seeing it can advise, but remember, that's an important element. The way the voting proceeds, each song is viewed in the context of its usage in the film.

This is a delightful track of a piece with Howard Shore's French-inspired score and themes. Indeed, Shore is listed in the music and lyrics credits for the film, along with Elizabeth Cotnoir and Isabelle Geffroy. I think he's already a serious contender for recognition in the Best Original Score category, so maybe he could end up with two nods this year.

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<p>John&nbsp;Williams looks to be in the hunt for another double nomination this year.</p>

John Williams looks to be in the hunt for another double nomination this year.

Credit: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Tech Support: John Williams charges back to lead the field of Best Original Score hopefuls

Other contenders include Howard Shore, Alberto Iglesias and the prolific Alexandre Desplat

I’ve had the honor of speaking to many film composers over the past few years, and my admiration for their profession and their art only continues to grow. Composers almost always come aboard a film when the shooting is over and only the editor, director and sound mixers are still working. From that starting point, with no control over the film’s content, they are assigned to write the music. It is lonely, painstaking work.

But when done well, a cinematic score can be a miraculous accomplishment. Not only have many film scores become iconic (ranging from “Chariots of Fire” to “Star Wars” to “Gone With the Wind”), but the atmosphere of the film can be built through music. We can come to inhabit the world of the characters and the plot can be told, through notes. John Williams’s chugging theme for “Jaws” remains probably my favorite example of a character – the shark – essentially being created through the score.

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<p>Penelope Ann&nbsp;Miller in &quot;The Artist&quot;</p>

Penelope Ann Miller in "The Artist"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Tell us what you thought of 'The Artist'

The film hits theaters this week

I'll say no more on my feelings about "The Artist" for now. I think I'm well on the record. But many of you will be getting your own opportunity to judge as the film opens in limited release this week. Guy will be celebrating the occasion with a list of the 10 best films about the movie business next week, and he'll also have a big interview piece with the principals of the film up tomorrow some time. Be sure to check back for that, but for now, if you've already gotten around to the film, let us know what you thought. And if you happen to get around to it later this weekend or when it makes its way to you via wider release, head on back here and join the conversation.

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<p>Shailene Woodley,&nbsp;George Clooney and Amara Miller in &quot;The Descendants&quot;</p>

Shailene Woodley, George Clooney and Amara Miller in "The Descendants"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Oscarweb Round-up: Predicting NYFCC

Also: Calling 'Raiders' overrated and the perceived wide open Best Picture race

The New York Film Critics Circle will be voting for its annual superlatives on Tuesday. It won't exactly be definitive, though, seeing as the group was so anxious to be heard first that it won't even see all of the films in play this year (bravo, Warner Bros., for doing the right thing). So I guess it's time to start asking for predictions on who'll take it. I really couldn't care less at this point, but I do ultimately see "The Descendants" pulling it out. Maybe "The Tree of Life" could surprise, but I don't think that kind of film can survive in their voting paradigm, so chalk me up for Alexander Payne's film. Another possibility is "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," which will be the last film they see. But I think "The Descendants" sets itself up as the critics darling with a win there. Tom O'Neil recently polled pundits (including Guy) for predictions. [Gold Derby]

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<p>Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) reports on a &quot;WKRP&nbsp;in Cincinnati&quot;&nbsp;Thanksgiving tragedy.</p>

Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) reports on a "WKRP in Cincinnati" Thanksgiving tragedy.

Credit: CBS

Happy Thanksgiving, sitcom-style!

Why not spend some time today with your old friends from 'WKRP' and 'Cheers'?

Happy Thanksgiving, to all my American readers! (And happy Thursday morning to everyone else.) In what's become something of an annual blog tradition for me, I'm going to embed two of the all-time classic sitcom episodes about Thanksgiving: "Turkeys Away," from "WKRP in Cincinnati" and "Thanksgiving Orphans" from "Cheers." If you have some time to kill before football, turkey, or whatever your family's Thanksgiving plans entail, enjoy some retro laughter, particularly in the climax of each episode.

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"Top Chef Texas"

 "Top Chef Texas"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'Top Chef' - 'Red Hot Chili Cook Off'

It's an all night challenge -- and it pushes the chefs to the edge

It's back to Texas for, yes, a chili pepper-focused challenge followed by an actual chili cook off. I know, everything is meant to fit a theme, but I'm hoping we move away from "things people might want to eat on a ranch" pretty quickly. 

Before we get started, Lindsay and Sarah tell everyone that they don't feel they turned on Keith. Oh, okay. That throwing him under the bus motion? That was just a vigorous upper body exercise. Nyesha thinks she's seen everyone's true colors and feels the competition has turned cutthroat. I think Nyesha's dead on. 

Dakota walks into the workroom and sees a bunch of chilis (I prefer chiles, but Bravo has gone with the Americanized spelling, so I'm just going to get on board). Two Hot Tamales and Border Grill co-owners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger will be the guest judges. Padma explains the Scoville heat scale and then, the challenge -- create a dish highlighting one chili pepper. The hotter the pepper you choose, the more money you stand to win. But if you burn the judges' faces off, you probably won't win anything. 
 
Not everyone is thrilled with this challenge. Richie isn't a spice fan. Chris Jones' stomach has issues with spicy foods. But wait! Chuy is a spicy guy and he choses the habanero chili, which is worth $12,500. More importantly, he cooks with it constantly. Nyesha is also cooking with a habenero. So is Grayson. But Paul picks the ghost chili, the hottest one in the world -- and it's worth $20,000. He's the only one who picks the ghost chili. Paul is either brilliant or insane. 
 
Beverly - Anaheim chili
Anaheim chili credit with ssamjang paste
This looks a little bland, but it is interesting that she's the only chef who isn't cooking her chili. 
 
Sarah - Fresno chili
Salmon belly seared with fresno chili relish
This might be good, but just looking at it gives me indigestion. 
 
Richie - Fresno chili
Fresno slaw with pineapple curd and seared bay scallops
Pineapple curd? He says he's going for sweet, but this sounds awfully sweet. 
 
Chris J. - Manzano chili
Seared chicken with manzano vinaigrette
This looks okay, but I'm not sure it's wildly innovative. 
 
Chris C. - Thai chili
Coconut soup with Thai chili
This sounds good to me -- coconut soup with a spicy element. This is the first dish we've seen that I'd actually order. 
 
Heather - Thai chili
Date & pistachio cous cous, pickled cucumbers, red onions and Thai chili
Date and pistachio? With Thai chili? 
 
Chuy - Habanero chili
Sauteed scallop with achiote
Padma seems to realize the tomatoes are canned, not fresh. Bad move, Chuy.
 
Grayson - Habanero chili
Habanero popper with cream lime sauce
I love that she made a popper. The cream lime sauce looks good, too. 
 
Nyesha - Habanero chili
Baby fennel & rock shrimp salad with orange habanero vinaigrette
Why shrimp? There's so much seafood being used in the challenge -- and I'm not convinced it's the best choice to stand up to a really hot pepper. 
 
Paul - Ghost chili
Chilled coconut soup with kaffir lime, ghost pepper relish
Another coconut soup -- again, I think that's a good idea. Who knows, he might win big after all.
 
Sadly, we only see ten of the fifteen. Let's just imagine all of the other dishes were tasty. The good news is that none of the judges gagged or cried, so even Paul must not have burned off anyone's face. 
 
Susan says some of the chefs were wimpy. The worst were Beverly (she didn't do enough with the pepper), Richie (too sweet), Chuy (overpowering canned tomato flavor). On the best side, we have Heather (exactly the kind of food Susan likes to eat), Grayson (she showcased the chili) and Paul (he had the confidence to cook a ghost chili and it was actually delicious). 
 
The winner is… Paul. Because he chose the ghost chili, he gets $20,000 and immunity. 
 
There's no time for celebration, because we're already moving on. The Elimination Challenge is… the Chili Cook-Off. Each chef will be part of one of five teams. Chris C. isn't thrilled about being on a team with Sarah, given how she tore into Keith. Each team will be cooking a big pot of chili, at the house, for 200 rodeo regulars. And they have all day (and night) to torture themselves with the task. 
 
The teams go shopping and it's a fight for the meat. Then, back at the house, it's a fight for the contents of the fridge, cooking utensils, spots for cooking and basically anything else you can think of. Luckily, it doesn't get too ugly, though you can tell some of the chefs either want to punch holes into walls or cry. 
 
As everyone starts cooking, Tom drops by the house. He discovers Nyesha's Blue Team is putting chocolate in their chili. He seems to be impressed. I know it sounds gross, but it really can be good if you haven't tried it. Next, Tom visits the White Team, which is cooking at the fireplace outside. Tom seems to be grossed out when Heather tells him the Blue Team will be serving pickled peaches on the side. 
 
Oh, look, a commercial for Prevacid! How apropos!
 
The cooks cook all night. They get punchy. They dive into the pool. Chuy drinks more of the beer than he should. Some people nap. Some refuse to rest. It's like a college dorm party right before finals. Sarah, of course, gets some rest. It's not like anyone would try to throw her under the bus for getting a full night's sleep while other members of her team were still stirring and cooking, right? Oh, we can only hope!
 
After they arrive at the rodeo and set up, the judges arrive -- Padma, Tom, Susan, Mary Sue and Gail. Gail needs help opening her beer due to a weird bagel accident. Really, a weird bagel accident, I didn't make that up. 
 
Green Team - Sarah, Chuy, Chris C.
Chili con carne
Mary Sue loves the depth of flavor. Tom says it grows on him. Gail thinks it's a little thin. Mary Sue thinks it should have been served with a tortilla.
 
Red Team - Dakota, Whitney, Chris J.
Braised brisket and short rib chili
Gail thinks it has a subtle smokiness. Tom thinks it's seasoned well. Susan thinks it's a little stringy. 
 
Blue Team - Heather, Edward, Paul
Smoked brisket chili with summer pickles
Gail says that, having eaten this, pickled peaches are now her favorite thing to eat with chili. Tom thought the vegetables were great, but the chili, hmmm…
 
Black Team -  Nyesha, Beverly, Richie
Chili mole with cornbread
Susan likes the cornbread but Mary Sue thinks their food is unfocused. 
 
White Team - Lindsay, Grayson, Ty-lor
Three bean and beef chili with poblano cornbread
Gail wishes they hadn't put the pickled vegetables in the chili, but Susan loves them. 
 
Tom is glad he doesn't have to pick a winner (that will be done by the rodeo attendees). But Gail points out they still need to pick a losing team, which will be just as hard. Gee, Gail, you really know how to bring the room down. Go eat a bagel. 
 
The Black Team (too sweet), Red Team (the shredded meat was unappetizing), White Team (not enough heat). 
 
Lindsay refuses to go back to the bottom with this challenge. I don't think you have much of a say in this, Lindsay, but I have to admire your determination. Unless you intend to start hurting people or something. I wouldn't put it past her, really. 
 
The chefs watch the rodeo in a stupor and Beverly begins crying, thinking that her husband is missing all the fun. Nyesha tries to comfort her, but I think she's a little freaked out that her teammate is melting down into a puddle of goo before her eyes. She's right to point out that showing emotion makes your teammates assume you're weak -- not a good thing when you have to scrap for food and cooking tools on timed challenges. 
 
The winner is… the Green Team. Unfortunately, the Black Team is the losing team. But they'll get one last chance to prove themselves, according to Padma. They must transform that losing chili into a winning dish in thirty minutes. Nyesha, Richie and Beverly look exhausted, and I half expect one of them to stand up, say screw this, and head home. They're that tired. 
 
Chris C. is panicked thinking his little buddy Richie might go home. He tells everyone that Richie would give anyone who wanted it a kidney, and he'd pluck it out from his side on his own, because he's that strong. I think Chris C. might have been hitting the beer with Chuy. 
 
Beverly
Seared tuna with habanero creamed corn
 
Nyesha
Frito-encrusted black tiger shrimp with roasted corn salsa
 
Richie
Frito-encrusted pork tenderloin, potato hash and ricotta cheese chili puree
 
The judges eat and talk. Susan was disappointed in Richie's dish. Tom thought it was one note. Padma thinks he did a lot in 30 minutes -- but let's face it, you don't get points for quantity. Gail thought Nyesha's shrimp were beautiful but she needed more sauce. Tom was unimpressed with her corn salad. Mary Sue thought Beverly's dish was imaginative. I think Richie might be going home. 
 
Our defeated, exhausted three face the judges. Tom tells Beverly her dish was everyone's favorite, and she's safe. Nyesha's dish was nice but didn't go far enough. Richie had a lot of imagination but it never came together. Padma tells Richie to pack his knives and go.
 
Richie, utterly defeated and worn out, bursts into tears and falls into Chris C.'s arms. Man, get the guy a bed and something to eat. I'm sure he's sad to be eliminated, but I think this challenge pushed everyone, not just Richie, way too hard physically and emotionally. No, they didn't have to cook all day and all night -- but with chili, everyone knows that's the best way to develop flavor. 
 
The good news is that Richie shouldn't be too sad -- he can still try to beat Keith in "Last Chance Kitchen!"
 
Do you think it was Richie's time to go? What did you think of a chili cook off challenge? And do you think anyone is emerging as a frontrunner?
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<p>Chris Cooper in &quot;The&nbsp;Muppets&quot;</p>

Chris Cooper in "The Muppets"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'The Muppets'

The film hits theaters today

One more wide release solicitation for opinions before getting to the limited films tomorrow. Really packed holiday weekend at the theaters, and much as I love elements of "Hugo" and Michelle Williams's performance in "My Week with Marilyn," if you're asking for a recommendation from the stuff that went wide this week, I'd say spring for "The Muppets." It's not some perfectly crafted work of art, but it was the best time I've had in a theater, perhaps all season. Too bad the Oscars missed the boat. But in any case, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the film when/if you see it, so chalk up your take in the comments section below.

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<p>Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) goes for a swim as a way of drawing young Colin Clarke into her world in the new film 'My Week With Marilyn'</p>

Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) goes for a swim as a way of drawing young Colin Clarke into her world in the new film 'My Week With Marilyn'

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Review: Michelle Williams finds the bruised soul of 'My Week With Marilyn'

A smart look at one of Hollywood's biggest icons digs deep and strikes gold

At this point, I'm amazed by Michelle Williams so regularly that I'm used to it. 

After all, she's been crushing it in film after film.  "Blue Valentine."  "Wendy and Lucy."  "Meek's Cutoff."  "Take This Waltz."  She has slowly but surely asserted herself as one of the most impressive young actors working, able to tap into a wellspring of pain that makes her work almost impossible to take at times while being hard to turn off.  I love it when an actor starts to really play these raw nerve types of roles, and if it is her real-life personal pain that drives her, then I am truly sorry on her behalf, but I am thankful we at least have the work to enjoy.

Playing Marilyn Monroe seems like the sort of thing that is almost too big a challenge, and one of the reasons I've never been a huge fan of biopics in general.  I think they often try to distill an entire life into two hours and often fail miserably at the task.  Human lives are complicated, and any person over the course of a life lived richly will probably be several different distinct people over the course of many decades.  We change.  We evolve.  We are rarely just one thing, but biopics are by their very nature reductive, designed to sum someone up with a few signature moments or ideas.  I hope I'm not defined that easily, and I don't believe most people are.

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<p>George Clooney in &quot;The Descendants.&quot;</p>

George Clooney in "The Descendants."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Long Shot: Down on 'Descendants'

Academy-friendliness and social hostility co-exist in Alexander Payne's latest

Bar an offhand tweet-review that I’d now downgrade about two notches, I’ve been quiet on Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” since seeing it at the London Film Festival last month, and remained so when it hit US screens last week to an inevitable shower of critical applause – with many returning the film to its pre-Toronto position as the film to beat for the Oscar.

I’m not sure why I’ve felt so disinclined to write about it, besides the fact that—contrary to what many may believe about film critics—it’s not a lot of fun to pick away at films beloved by the majority. At first I thought “The Descendants,” a glibly engineered dramedy of Grief and Reconciliation and other capital-letter emotional states, simply wasn’t interesting enough to discuss at any great length, its virtues and offenses both too minor to get worked up about: competent films this bland and condescending get a free pass all the time from critics and audiences, so why single this one out for censure just because it has a bit of Oscar buzz?

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