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<p>Casey Affleck sat down with us to discuss one of the best roles he's ever had in the new film 'Out Of The Furnace'</p>

Casey Affleck sat down with us to discuss one of the best roles he's ever had in the new film 'Out Of The Furnace'

Credit: HitFix

Casey Affleck on the physical and emotional demands of 'Out Of The Furnace'

Plus we ask him if we'll ever see a sequel to 'Gone Baby Gone'

Ben Affleck's been in the midst of a career renaissance lately, and the sheer volume of the reaction to his casting as Batman should serve as an indication of just how high visibility he remains. In the meantime, Casey Affleck's been busy with a Batman of his own, co-starring with Christian Bale in the dark revenge drama "Out Of The Furnace."

It's an incredibly physical performance by Affleck, and I'm not sure I've seen him do anything like this before. When we sat down to discuss the film, I had to ask him about how he approached that side of things, and I was surprised to see that he basically dismissed the challenge of turning himself into a sculpted block of wood. Ultimately, though, he's right; the physical transformation doesn't matter if he doesn't do an equal amount of emotional work, and this is one of the strongest roles he's played.

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'90210' memoir battle: Jennie Garth to release her memoir 2 weeks before Jason Priestley


"90210" memoir battle: Jennie Garth to release her memoir 2 weeks before Jason Priestley
"Beverly Hills 90210" star Jennie Garth's "Deep Thoughts From a Hollywood Blonde" is due out April 1. Priestley's memoir hits shelves April 15.


Halle Berry teams with History channel for a "Hannibal" miniseries
Berry, who is producing the miniseries, says in a statement: "Hannibal was not only the greatest African general to ever live, he may have been the greatest general, period."


Barbara Walters' "Most Fascinating People" of 2013 include KimYe, Robin Roberts and "Duck Dynasty"
Walters will reveal her No. 1 most fascinating person on her Dec. 18 special.


NBC announces Winter Olympics hosts
Lester Holt will host NBC afternoon coverage, while Dan Patrick and Rebecca Lowe will host weekday and weekend coverage on NBC Sports Network.


"The Bachelor" premiere will feature Sean Lowe and a very pregnant woman

Juan Pablo will get advice from his "Bachelor" predecessor.


Coming to CW: "Young Justice"?
Superboy and Miss Martian may be headed to the small screen, according to Bleeding Cool.


Watch the trailer for AMC's Revolutionary War drama "Turn"

"Turn" is based on the book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring."


Eliot Ness miniseries is in the works at NBC
The producers of the live "Sound of Music" musical are working on an eight-hour miniseries that would focus on the Prohibition agent's time as Cleveland's newly appointed director of public safety.


Check out the Kardashian crazy family Christmas card
Shot by Dave LaChapelle.

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<p>&quot;Despicable Me 2&quot;</p>

"Despicable Me 2"

Credit: Universal Pictures

'Despicable Me 2' comes out strong with Annie Awards nominations

Universal's money-making brand leads with 11 mentions

It was Universal's "Despicable Me 2" leading the way today with 11 nominations for the 41st annual Annie Awards. But Disney's "Frozen" — not far behind with 10 mentions — received nominations for Best Animated Feature, Best Direction and Best Writing. It's sure to dominate the scene this season en route to a likely Best Animated Feature Film Oscar win.

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<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Britney Spears' 'Britney Jean': What are the top critics saying?

Do they agree that the album is her most personal?

Today  is Britney Spears’ 32nd birthday, but she’s giving her fans the present. On Dec. 3, she releases her eighth studio album, “Britney Jean.”

HitFix’s review appeared on Friday. Here’s a round-up of what some of the other critics are saying about Spears’ latest, an effort she calls one of her most personal. However, most reviewers (including me) disagree.

The New York Times says the fun has been “leached out”:  “...It turns out that “Britney Jean” is about as personal as an airline preboarding announcement....While “Britney Jean” doesn’t make good on its “personal” promise, that’s not its main failing. The bigger letdown is that the music has lost its snap. Between albums, Ms. Spears traded away the teen-pop mastermind Dr. Luke — maybe she was tired of sharing him with Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Katy Perry — for Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, who is the executive producer of “Britney Jean.” Like the Black Eyed Peas back in 2009, Ms. Spears and Will.i.am have turned to European disc jockeys who have found dance music’s lowest, least funky common denominator: the steady thump of four-on-the-floor. And they’ve settled for too many tepid tracks.

The Telegraph in the U.K. calls it “aural Botox”: If Britney Spears’ eighth album is what happens when the real Spears stands up, she might as well sit back down. When Spears promised a highly “personal” break-up album, the pitch seemed unlikely coming from modern electro-pop’s vaguest avatar, then unlikelier still when the lead single turned out to be a will.i.am-produced Identikit banger titled, touchingly, “Work Bitch”.
But it’s still depressing to find more of the disco-tooled super-producer same here, allied to faintly atypical ballads that, nonetheless, add little to Spears’s synthetic sex-doll sheen.

Rolling Stone says Spears remains the pop queen, who “out-bizarres” fellow female artists like Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga: Britney Jean continues the roll she's been on in recent years – her 2007 glitch-disco manifesto, Blackout, is one of the most influential albums in modern pop, and 2008's Circus and 2011's Femme Fatale are in the same league. In fact, you can split Britney's career into pre-Blackout and post-Blackout halves, and you've got two of the all-time great pop careers. And she's still way weirder than she might seem on the surface – Britney Jean makes Yeezus sound like a positive-affirmations workshop.
Like her excellent late-summer electro-sleaze hit, "Work Bitch," Britney Jean adds up the high price of stardom. It's a concept album about the loneliness of pop life – with a high-profile broken engagement behind her, Brit gets personal and drops her most bummed-out music ever. If the title reminds you of Elton John weeping over Marilyn Monroe, figure it's meant to, because this poor girl has been getting way too much candle up in her wind lately.

Entertainment Weekly calls her “enigmatic”: Even now, just about to celebrate her 32nd birthday, Britney Spears remains as enigmatic as the Disney-groomed, emotionally insulated teen who greeted us in the late '90s. It's part of why we treasure her: The feeling that, even as she sings her most seductive or inventive songs, the real Brit's off dreaming her unknowable dreams. Britney Jean, which takes its title from her family nickname and has been billed as the most ''personal'' of her eight albums, tells you virtually bupkus about her struggles over the years. But in just 10 tidy songs, it brings us closer than ever before to that distant dreamer.
Of course, since it's a Britney Spears album executive-produced by will.i.am in 2013, it also happily indulges the fantasies of endorphin-seeking EDM festival goers.

The Boston Globe says Spears “barely registers” on the album: “Scream & Shout” turns out to have been a fitting setup for “Britney Jean,” where Spears barely registers on the product with her name on it (twice). With 20 or so producers elbowing each other for focus on 10 tracks (two songs have six listed producers each), it’s no wonder there’s barely room for the singer in the swirl of swerving Ibiza keyboards (“It Should Be Easy”), dubstep bumpers (“Til It’s Gone”) and Selena Gomez castoffs (“Alien”). Her choruses to “Body Ache” and “Work Bitch,” meanwhile, sound like holding-pattern preludes to the club riffs that follow, rather than vice versa, leaving the impression that she’s merely guesting on her own material.

USA Today damns it with faint praise, saying the album offers “ as much grace as anyone could have expected”: Britney Jean (*** out of four), streaming now on iTunes a week ahead of its Dec. 3 release, aims to present this modestly talented young woman who has somehow managed to sustain our interest for 15 years as a cool but accessible dance-pop diva — willing to dangle the occasional profanity to keep us alert, but ultimately more into the groove than anything else.

What do you think of "Britney Jean?" 
 

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<p>Justin Bieber in Brisbane on Nov. 27, 2013</p>

Justin Bieber in Brisbane on Nov. 27, 2013

Credit: AP Photo

Justin Bieber pleas for another chance on new song, 'Change Me': Listen

Can love save his life?

As we head toward the end of Justin Bieber’s #MusicMondays, the pop idol turns in one of his sparest tunes yet. On the soulful ballad,  “Change Me,” Bieber, accompanied only by a piano for most of the song, yearns to believe that the love of his life can be the one who makes him the man he wants to be.  She is his mirror and his salvation.

“Maybe you could change me/maybe you could change me for good/Maybe you could be the light that opens up my eyes,” he sings in a plaintive voice.  He needs her patience and love, as he pleads for her to be his serenity.

Alternating between his regular singing voice and his falsetto, Bieber declares he’s as ready as he’s ever going to be.

It’s a simple song,  but it’s also one of the better tunes we’ve gotten out of #MusicMondays and it’s almost possible to imagine how someone like Teddy Pendergrass could have lifted it up to something sublime.

Throughout #MusicMondays, Bieber has attempted to show his vulnerability by releasing songs mainly about love and where he’s fallen short. It’s possible to see the series as a song arc about his relationship with Selena Gomez and that, in some ways, these are letters to her. If that’s the case, “Change Me” is certainly one of his best efforts to win her back.
 

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Sam Champion is leaving 'GMA' for The Weather Channel


Sam Champion is leaving "GMA" for The Weather Channel
The ABC News weatherman will become the face of The Weather Channel and its managing editor, hosting his own morning show starting next year. He'll be replaced by Ginger Zee.


David Morrissey talks The Governor's "Walking Dead" fate

"None of us know until we actually read the episodes how long we've got," he says. PLUS: Watch "The Walking Dead" February return trailer.


Original "Bachelorette" Trista Sutter to renew her vows in a January ABC special
The ceremony with Ryan Sutter will be part of "Juan-uary."


Was this "Homeland's" preposterous episode yet?
"Good Night" may be the tipping point for the Showtime series. PLUS: "Homeland" should just embrace the fantasy, was this the most overtly "24"-ish" episodes?, why Brody is cable's Wile E. Coyote, and Damian Lewis talks Brody's mission.


"Major Crimes" books Malcolm-Jamal Warner for a 2-episode arc

Whom will he protect?


NFL delivers big ratings to CBS' Sunday lineup

The Broncos-Chiefs overrun boosted numbers for "The Amazing Race," "The Good Wife" and "The Mentalist."


"Orange is the New Black's" Crazy Eyes and Taystee make a Christmas music video together

Uzo Aduba and Danielle Brooks teamed with Brooklyn-based band Oh Honey for this "Jolly Christmas Medley."

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<p>Alfonso Cuar&oacute;n (left)&nbsp;and Emmanuel&nbsp;Lubezki on the set of &quot;Gravity&quot;</p>

Alfonso Cuarón (left) and Emmanuel Lubezki on the set of "Gravity"

Credit: Warner Bros.

Emmanuel Lubezki talks artistic similarities between Alfonso Cuarón and Terrence Malick

'They don't use cinematography as an illustration to text.'

One of the great achievements of the year is Emmanuel Lubezki's lensing of Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity," which it would seem has all but locked up his first Oscar win for Best Cinematography to date. His work in the film, which the uneducated will dismiss as limited due to the amount of CGI on display (failing to understand his invaluable place in that process), is a work of technical prowess and thematic potency.

On that last point, I recently spoke to Lubezki about some of the specific frames and fluid shots he and Cuarón crafted in the film. Perhaps you'll be reading those quotes later in the year as part of our annual "Top 10 Shots of the Year" column, but what struck me while discussing one image in particular was how much his thematic view of "Gravity" matches up with another film he made recently, from another master of the form.

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<p>Justin Tuck gets ready to crush RGIII</p>

Justin Tuck gets ready to crush RGIII

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: NBC's Giants-Redskins and CBS' Broncos-Chiefs games lead Sunday

'Christmas in Conway' is another Hallmark dud for ABC
Fast National ratings for Sunday, December 1, 2013. 
 
After a string of excellent Sunday Night Football games, NBC had a minor dud between the the Giants and Redskins, but still held on to win the night among young viewers, while CBS capitalized on nearly an hour of overrun from the far superior game between the Broncos and Chiefs to win overall.
 
Meanwhile, ABC got tepid numbers for "Once Upon a Time" and weak returns for the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "Christmas in Conway."
 
On to the numbers...
 
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<p>Will Forte, Bruce Dern and Stacy Keach in &quot;Nebraska.&quot;</p>

Will Forte, Bruce Dern and Stacy Keach in "Nebraska."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Roundup: What Nebraskans make of 'Nebraska'

Also: Asia's influence on current US cinema, and is 'Pines' flying to voters?

Since its Cannes premiere, Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" has more or less divided critics into two camps: those who accept it as a wry but essentially loving study of small-town manners and mores in the director's home state, and those who see it as something rather more patronizing and misanthropic than that. (I'm in the latter camp.) Steven Zeitchik goes to Norfolk, Nebraska -- where much of the film was shot -- and finds residents there similarly mixed on its merits. Many are approving: one enthuses that "now the world will get to see" the divisions that exist in their society. Another, however, voices reservations about what he sees as the film's use of unfavourable stereotypes. Payne's response? "People want to say it's condescending? Let them say that. This is my love letter to the state of Nebraska." [LA Times]

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<p>On &quot;The Good Wife,&quot;&nbsp;Alicia (Julianna Margulies)&nbsp;talks to Clarke (Nathan Lane).</p>

On "The Good Wife," Alicia (Julianna Margulies) talks to Clarke (Nathan Lane).

Credit: CBS

Review: 'The Good Wife' - 'The Decision Tree'

Alicia gets a surprise inheritance, while Florrick/Agos throws a party

A review of last night's "The Good Wife" coming up just as soon as I press the farting button...

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Atlanta': Should Porsha leave home?

Plus, is Kandi's relationship with Todd doomed?

This week on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," we saw several things I never expected to see. One, Peter gave Apollo advice, and it didn't suck. Two, NeNe gave Cynthia parenting advice, and it also didn't suck. And finally three, fiercely independent Kandi turned into a puddle of spineless goo when confronted with a difficult situation, which did, in fact, suck. But hey, if everyone insisted on behaving themselves with such exceptional reserve, this was going to turn into a Very Special Episode of "Downton Abbey" or something. 

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"HIMYM's" 200th episode will be told from The Mother's perspective


"HIMYM's" 200th episode will be told from The Mother's perspective

Cristin Milioti will be featured prominently in the episode titled "How Your Mother Met Me."


"The Walking Dead's" midseason finale: It's about time
Finally, something big happened on the AMC series. PLUS: Showrunner Scott Gimple always had this ending in mind, what it's like learning you're expendable, this episode was all over the map, and "Walking Dead" returns Feb. 9.


"Mob City" will tweet out Episode's 1 script, except the ending
Starting Monday morning up until its Wednesday premiere, the TNT series will tweet out the script of the first episode in hopes of building interest in the Frank Darabont series.


Sharon Osbourne calls MTV's "The Osbournes" "the biggest mistake I ever did"
Osbourne said on the BBC's "Graham Norton Show, "It was the biggest mistake I ever did, but would I have wanted to live a lesser life?  You make the most of what you have."


Roseanne goes on Twitter rant: "I'm never going to work in television again"
Roseanne Barr complained on Twitter Saturday that TV has treated her like garbage, especially in the past year. "I feel as if I've been insulted/assaulted for over a year," Roseanne explained. "Actually, for many years — from my first reality show to my second and two failed development details. Don't call me-I won't call you. I'm gone." PLUS: Mindy Kaling & Roseanne have lunch.


UK baby names are being influenced by "Game of Thrones," "Homeland," "Breaking Bad"
The most popular baby names of 2013 in Britain include Skyler, Brody and Arya.


Watch a 14-year-old Paul Walker on an '80s kids game show with his sister
"The Fast and the Furious" star, who died Saturday at age 40, appeared on TV numerous times before he became a movie star, including a guest appearance on "Who's the Boss?"


"The Good Wife" 100th-episode shocker, explained
Says co-creator Robert King: "It's meant to be comic and worrisome at the same time."


Google has begun its Festivus celebration

The "Seinfeld" holiday includes a traditional aluminum pole in Google search results.


Lady Gaga's Muppets Thanksgiving special draws few viewers

"Lady Gaga & The Muppets Holiday Spectacular" was especially down from her previous holiday special from two years ago, "A Very Gaga Thanksgiving."


"Girls" unveils its Season 3 poster
"Happily Whatever After."


"Cheers" reunion: Kirstie Alley hooks up "Carla" and "Norm"
Here's a preview of George Wendt's guest appearance on "Kirstie," as Rhea Perlman's old flame.


CNN's Erin Burnett welcomes a baby boy
The anchor gave birth to her first child on Friday.


Maria Bello reveals she has a girlfriend
The former "ER" and "Prime Suspect" star discussed her long-term relationship with her best female friend in a NY Times column.


"The Honeymooners'" other Trixie dies
Jane Kean, 90, played Trixie in the '60s revival of the classic sitcom.

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