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<p>No episodic art for tonight's &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother&quot;&nbsp;means that, once again, you get the gang in suits.</p>

No episodic art for tonight's "How I Met Your Mother" means that, once again, you get the gang in suits.

Credit: CBS

Talkback: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Rehearsal Dinner'

Barney's laser tag obsession angers Robin, while Ted and Lily share secrets

Okay, kids, it's time once again to talk about a new "How I Met Your Mother." Like most of the recent episodes, "The Rehearsal Dinner" largely took place away from the Farhampton Inn (even the present-day material was set elsewhere in town). Like much of this season, and the entire Robin/Barney relationship, it dealt with Barney seeming to act like a sociopath, then gave us a twist suggesting all was not as it seemed. And it was among the most Canadian episodes the show has ever done. (More than the Canadian jokes, I enjoyed seeing the couple in the background of MacLaren's go through an entire lifetime — including birth of a child, that kid's graduation, and then the death of the husband in old age — while the gang were telling said jokes.)

Did those elements add up to a satisfying viewing experience for you? Did the twist at the end redeem earlier behavior by Barney and Ted? Were you pleased with the cameo and the musical performance?

Have at it.

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<p>Christian Bale's spirit animal is TOOOOOTALLY&nbsp;the honey badger, because he does not care.</p>

Christian Bale's spirit animal is TOOOOOTALLY the honey badger, because he does not care.

Credit: HitFix

Christian Bale on slowing down and finding great roles like 'Out Of The Furnace'

The former Batman talks about one of his new favorite roles he's played

Christian Bale has, somewhere along the line, picked up entirely the wrong reputation.

Sure, he throws himself into his work with an intensity that can be dizzying to watch, and he's still living down the infamous recording that leaked from the set of "Terminator: Salvation" when he had a meltdown at cinematographer Shane Hurlbut. But the Christian Bale that I've seen when I've interviewed him over the years and the Christian Bale that is spoken of by his collaborators is not the guy who we see in those few human moments that people tend to judge him by.

When we sat down to talk about "Out Of The Furnace," he was positively chatty about his work on this film, and he's obviously very proud of what they've made. He threw himself into his role as the "good" brother in a very sad and damaged story about the way we sometimes carry our family's burdens as our own. He and Casey Affleck are great together, and there's an enormous sadness to the work they do.

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<p>Could Spike Jonze's &quot;Her&quot;&nbsp;get a big boost from the critics groups in the next few days?</p>

Could Spike Jonze's "Her" get a big boost from the critics groups in the next few days?

Credit: Warner Bros.

Off the Carpet: With the table set, the critics are ready to have their say

How will the precursors affect this season?

Unless you were holding out hope that "A Madea Christmas" or "47 Ronin" would make an impact on the Oscar race, it's fair to say all the cards are on the table. "American Hustle" was shown to guilds and press last weekend and has been screening in earnest ever since. "The Wolf of Wall Street" was shown to guilds and HFPA over the last two days with further press screenings set for later this week. All the cats are out of the bag, and just in time, too. Because the critics are about to have their say.

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'The Blacklist' will be back in January


"The Blacklist" will be back in January
NBC has learned its lesson after giving "Revolution" a four-month break last season. So three new episodes will air in January, but without "The Voice."


"Sleepy Hollow" casts Victor Garber as Ichabod's dad
The "Alias" vet will appear in at least one episode.


Jimmy Kimmel's ratings soared in November amid controversy
Kimmel had his best week since moving timeslots the week of Nov. 18.


New Jersey town celebrates "James Gandolfini Day"
Park Ridge, Gandolfini's hometown, paid tribute over the weekend by naming a street after the late actor.


Is "HIMYM's" final season copying "The Office" and "Friday Night Lights"?
Are Marshall & Lily the new Jim & Pam and Coach and Mrs Taylor?


"I Love Lucy" in color: Watch a preview
Here's a glimpse of the CBS special, airing later this month.


Why "Grey's Anatomy" is no longer worth watching
The Mer-Der romance has lost its luster -- and those "interns" are either awful, boring or dead. PLUS: A "familiar face" returning on Thursday.


Stephen Moyer: Vince Gilligan sent "Breaking Bad" gifts after I praised the show

"I was a Breaking Bad fanatic," says the "True Blood" star. "In fact I spoke about it so much... I was such a big fan that Vince Gilligan started sending me gifts to say, 'Thank you.'"


"Hot in Cleveland" snags Tim Daly
He'll play Jane Leeves' boss in a multi-episode arc.


In defense of "Homeland"
Why this season has been pretty darn good, despite the naysayers.


Check out the balloon version of Guy Fieri
Complete with goatee.


Watch Conan O'Brien spend an hour chatting with a Woodrow Wilson historian
Conan has a "Serious Jibber-Jabber" conversation with A. Scott Berg, who also wrote a biography on Charles Lindbergh.


"Nikita's" Devon Sawa becoming a dad
The actor is expecting his first child with his wife.


Should ABC dump "Dancing"?

Every season, elements of the show change. Yet problems persist.

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'The Walking Dead' midseason finale attracts 12.1 million


"The Walking Dead" midseason finale attracts 12.1 million
That's up 15% from last year's midseason finale. PLUS: Robert Kirkman on what's next.


Report: "Glee's" Charice attempted suicide
The Filipino singing sensation was suffering from financial strain, according to her grandmother.


Marge Simpson to visit "Project Runway"

She'll enlist the "Project Runway: All Stars" for some fashion help.


Adult Swim crashes a spaceship in NYC to promote "Rick and Morty"
The crashed spaceship has ended up on Craigslist.


Coming to NBC: "The Wolfman"
The 2010 Benicio Del Toro-Anthony Hopkins movie, itself based on a 1941 film, is set for a TV remake.


"Sin City" and "Silver Linings Playbook" may get TV remakes
The Weinstein Company wants those movies, plus "The Mist," remade for the small screen.


"The Wire" alum Pablo Schreiber is returning to HBO in "The Brink"
He'll be joined by Geoff Pierson and Maribeth Monroe in the state department comedy.


6th "Doctor Who" isn't happy he wasn't invited to be in "The Day of the Doctor"
Colin Baker says not being invited "makes you feel like a second class citizen." PLUS: Is "Doctor Who" picking up a secondary companion?


"The Mindy Project" books Dan Hedaya

He'll play Danny's dad.

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"The Girl with Half A Face"

 "The Girl with Half A Face"

Credit: Discovery Fit & Health

Watch: 'The Girl with Half A Face' faces bullies, surgery

Girl faces intense teen bullying due to a massive facial tumor

High school isn't easy for most kids, but Sarah Atwell has had it considerably tougher than your average teen. She suffers from a rare disease called neurofibromatosis, which has caused a massive tumor to overtake half of her face. In the one-hour special "The Girl with Half A Face," (premieres Wed. Dec. 18 at 10:00 p.m. ET on Discovery Fit & Health with an encore Wed. Jan. 22 at 10:00 p.m. ET), Sarah invited cameras to follow her (get an idea of what they found in the clip). 

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<p>D'oh!</p>

D'oh!

Credit: Paramount Pictures

IPA does not see 'Wolf of Wall Street,' nominates it for five Satellite Awards anyway

Studio sources say the film did not screen for the group

FINAL UPDATE: After this, I'm done with it...as long as Ms. Van Blaricom is. The following is the last of an email exchange we had with the IPA president following her side of the story appearing in a report at Gold Derby (subsequently amended to further support our initial report):

"Much to my dismay, Mr. O’Neil misquoted my discussion with him. The International Press Academy members, who could attend the SAG-AFTRA Film Society 'The Wolf of Wall Street' screenings, did so, and subsequently submitted their votes for the film, resulting in enough votes for the film to be nominated."

This email was also sent to The Wrap following Steve Pond's coverage of the story. Pond conveyed O'Neil's response thusly:

"O’Neil told TheWrap that he did not misquote Van Blaricom, and that he 'took careful notes' while she twice repeated the specific numbers about how many IPA members attended the screenings."

Van Blaricom is now claiming to the studio that she saw the Sunday screening, not the Saturday screening, where she originally said she and 26 of her colleagues were in attendance.

You can make up your own mind, but we're done here. Read the rest below.

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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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