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<p>Ben&nbsp;Affleck</p>

Ben Affleck

Credit: Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP

Ben Affleck sets the record straight on 'Justice League'

The 'Argo' director recently praised Marvel's 'Avengers' build and welcomed smart genre projects

The internet was abuzz a few months back when what turned out to be an overzealous report put Ben Affleck in the driver's seat of the planned Warner Bros. team-up film "Justice League." The report was soon enough shot down and everyone went about their business, but in a recent interview about his work on "Argo," Affleck said he hated talking about it in the media at all because the eventual stories shed a negative light on the project.

"I just want to make it clear because it’s not like I had something to even pass on," he said. "Because someone will eventually do 'Justice League' and they'll go, like, 'Ben Affleck passed on it,' and it won't be true. So I don’t mind setting the record straight. It's one of those things where the closest I came was some people talked to me about it like at a meeting. They were like, 'Here's the stuff we’re doing,' you know? 'Here’s what we're looking at.' That kind of thing. And they suggested it. But I don’t think there’s a script. I don’t think there’s anything."

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<p>Leonardo Di Caprio would like to share a drink with you... IN&nbsp;3D!!!</p>

Leonardo Di Caprio would like to share a drink with you... IN 3D!!!

Credit: Warner Bros

Di Caprio goes dark in the decadent second trailer for Luhrmann's 'Great Gatsby'

Will Warner's pricey Jazz Age gamble pay off?

"The Great Gatsby" may well be the most artificial-looking film I've ever seen, even in this condensed two minute form.

That's not a criticism, necessarily, because it looks like that's exactly what Baz Luhrmann intended.  They've had a difficult post-production process on this one, but part of that has been creating this incredibly stylized world that Luhrmann has chosen as the setting for his take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's most famous book.  Luhrmann has never been the sort of guy to shy away from a heightened reality.  That's why I loved his take on "Romeo + Juliet" and "Moulin Rouge."  Those movies are patently fake, impressionistic from start to finish, and it looks like he's doing that again, but on a much larger scale than ever before.

The real challenge of "Gatsby" is that the book is all about inner landscapes and the feel of a time and place, and previous film versions that have focused just on the story have felt empty because they haven't found a way to create a visual language that manages to somehow suggest the gorgeous, emotional prose that is so much a part of the appeal of Fitzgerald's novel.

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Hugh Jackman says training for 'Les Miserables' was as hard as any 'Wolverine' film

Hugh Jackman says training for 'Les Miserables' was as hard as any 'Wolverine' film

Aussie talks about his SAG Awards and Golden Globes nominated performance

NEW YORK - We've been waiting a long time for Hugh Jackman to sing on the big screen.  From his Tony Award-winning turn in "The Boy From Oz" to his three stints hosting Broadway's annual awards show to his lauded turn as Academy Awards host (arguably the best Oscars show over the past decade), Jackman has teased us with his impressive voice, sly dance moves and old school showmanship. Granted, producers have tried to get him to commit to a number of movie musical projects, but most of them have been stuck in development hell for years leaving fans to wonder if we'd ever see Jackman sing in his prime. That's all changed with the actor's SAG and Golden Globes Awards nominated turn as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables."  And, in something of a surprise, it turns out that he had to campaign to get the role.

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<p>Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann share a laugh as we discuss their new film 'This Is 40'</p>

Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann share a laugh as we discuss their new film 'This Is 40'

Credit: HitFix

Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd debate 'likable' and 'relatable' as we discuss 'This Is 40'

Plus Mann gets emotional talking about working with her daughters

I think it's pretty safe to say that no one writes for Leslie Mann the way Judd Apatow does, and it's been fascinating to see the evolution of that from "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" until "This Is 40." 

The thing I love in the characters she plays in his films is the way she mixes this remarkable frankness with an intense vulnerability.  She's great all the way through "Knocked Up," but the moment where I fell for the character completely came about 2/3 of the way through.  I'm going to bet most fans of that film think of the same moment first when they think of Debbie, that great scene when she is trying to get into a club and Craig Robinson plays the bouncer that has to explain why he can't let her in.

It's amazing, profane and well-observed, and what starts as a joke gets very real, then completely surreal, all in the space of about two minutes.  Her rant manages to do it all, and the reaction from Robinson is solid gold.

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A makeshift news studio in Newtown, Conn.

A makeshift television news studio is seen along the Housatonic River in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. 

Credit: AP Photo/Julio Cortez

TV news can't stop a mass murderer, but it could make a difference

There's no easy fix, but newscasters could take away one 'reward'

This Saturday, PBS will be airing "What Next After Newtown: What Our Country and Communities Can Do" at 3:00 p.m. (check local listings). I'm curious to see this, as I'm sure I share the same sense of powerlessness and frustration a lot of people have had following the events in Newtown last week. Even though I think the problems that lead to mass murder are many, complex and thorny, if there's something I can do, I'd like to know. 

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<p>Fifth Harmony</p>

Fifth Harmony

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Season 2 Finale - Performances

Demi Lovato, LeAnn Rimes and Little Big Town join the finalists

If you can measure a reality show's clout or buzz by the acts clamoring to be involved with its finale, FOX has to be absolutely terrified by how chilly "The X Factor" is. 

It was previously announced that Thursday's whopping two-hour finale would feature performances by One Direction, who have already performed two songs on "X Factor" this season and owe their entire career to Simon Cowell and the show, and Pitbull, an artist so desperate for exposure that he'd probably appear at a well-attended bar mitzvah.

That was a bad sign.

Then came Wednesday's (December 19) announcement that finalists Carly Rose Sonenclar, Tate Stevens and Fifth Harmony would duet on tonight's show with LeAnn Rimes, Little Big Town and Demi Lovato, respectively.

That's right. Tonight's big guests are an "X Factor" judge who didn't have anything else to do, a country singer more notorious for tabloid exploits than anything in her recent music output and a reasonably successful country act with only moderate crossover appeal. That's... weak.

Why is Carly Rose Sonenclar being asked to sing with a less vocally gifted singer in a genre she's never displayed any interest in? Is Demi singing with Fifth Harmony because they did one of her songs once? And are they keeping Tate from doing a duet with a female artist because they don't want to alienate voters who think Tate only has chemistry with his wife? 

I'm very confused. 

On to tonight's recap!

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 162: Best TV of 2012

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 162: Best TV of 2012

Dan and Alan go back and forth on their top 10 shows of the year, and then some

The

It's Top 10 time on the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, as Dan and I go back and forth (in, for some reason, snake draft order) on our respective favorite shows of 2012. You've already seen my list, and the HitFix Television Critics' Poll has Dan's Top 10, but this is us discussing how much we liked various shows, arguing about how high or low they should be ranked, etc. And we even go a bit past the top 10.

There's no rundown this week, because Dan didn't want to individually code segments that overlap anyway, and there really aren't spoilers of note (I think we mention who won the Pawnee City Council election and a few other minor comedy things, but were very careful with regards to the big dramas).

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.

 
 
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 162 - Best of 2012

Dan and Alan discuss their favorite TV shows of the year

The

Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls!
 
With the end of the year rapidly approaching, it's time for The Firewall & Iceberg's Best of 2012 Podcast.
 
You may already know our respective Top 10s either from HitFix's TV Critics' Poll or from Sepinwall's Top 10 and Top 20 lists, but you haven't heard us chatter about them.
 
And yes, we're planning on doing a Worst of 2012 Podcast. It'll probably record this week and then post on Monday as a pre-Christmas treat for those who like that sort of thing!
 
Please note that I'm not doing a time breakdown for this podcast because it's more than 20 back-and-forth segments on various shows and I'm not eager to go insane. However, we were both fairly conscious of not spoiling plotpoints, particularly when discussing our favorite dramas (we spoil some comedy stuff, but that's probably OK...). I can't guarantee that you can listen to this podcast and remain 100% pure on spoilers on shows like "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" and "Homeland," but I think we're close to 98 percent pure. Maybe 99 percent?

 

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>Ben Affleck and Chris Terrio on the set of &quot;Argo&quot;</p>

Ben Affleck and Chris Terrio on the set of "Argo"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Ben Affleck and Chris Terrio on 'Argo,' the Middle East and the root of all drama

The director and writer of one of the season's biggest hits discuss their process

NEW YORK -- When he made his way into the director's chair for a new phase in his career, Ben Affleck always assumed that if he came across an existing script, he would likely just take over and re-write it. And of course, he has the credentials: an Oscar for co-writing "Good Will Hunting" with Matt Damon goes a long way toward legitimizing his talent as a writer. But when "Argo" was fired across his bow by Smoke House honchos Grant Heslov and George Clooney, that wasn't the case.

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<p>Ed Burns at the world premiere of &quot;Man on a Ledge&quot; last January.</p>

Ed Burns at the world premiere of "Man on a Ledge" last January.

Credit: AP Photo

Ed Burns and Tom Rothman topline Sundance Film Festival's 2013 Dramatic Jury

Davis Guggenheim will participate on the U.S. documentary jury

The 2013 Sundance Film Festival is a little under a month a way and while the festival's complete slate is now known, the juries had remained a mystery until today.  

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<p>Bruno Mars</p>

Bruno Mars

Credit: FOX

Bruno Mars' 'Locked Out Of Heaven' continues its lock on Billboard Hot 100

Rihanna's 'Diamonds' remains at No. 2

Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” locks up the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for the second week in a row.

The move makes him one of only nine male soloists to spent at least two weeks with his first four singles, according to Billboard (Billboard counts his feature on B.o.B.’s “Nothing On You” in its tally).

“Heaven” reigns over former chart topper, Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” which is No. 2 for the second consecutive week. The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey”  climbs 4-3, switching places with Ke$ha’s “Die Young.” As Billboard notes, part of “Die Young’s” drop-off comes from a number of stations’ decisions to decrease airplay of the song following the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings.

Maroon 5’s “One More Night” stays at No. 5, while Flo Rida’s “I Cry” also remains in the same spot at last week, at No. 6.

Rounding out the Top 10, Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and a Beat,” featuring Nicki Minaj rises 9-7, Phillip Phillips’ “Home” falls 7-8, fun.‘s “Some Nights” drops 8-9 and Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” zooms five places to No. 10.

As the Christmas freeze goes into effect with few new singles going to radio through the holidays, the highest debut belongs to newly-crowned “The Voice” victor, Cassadee Pope, whose version of Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy” bows at No. 40.



 

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"Cheer Perfection"

 "Cheer Perfection"

Credit: TLC

Exclusive: Like 'Honey Boo Boo'? Catch this 'Cheer Perfection' preview

The producers of 'Toddlers & Tiaras' bring us more little kids and mean moms

The producers of "Toddlers & Tiaras" and "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" are bringing us another series bubbling over with tarted up little girls and mean moms, and HitFix is bringing you an exclusive clip right here, right now. "Cheer Perfection" (premiering Wed. Dec. 19 at 10:00 p.m.) follows tiny cheerleaders as they compete for a shot at a big, national competition. Or something. Since a one-off episode aired to 1.1 million viewers in July, we're betting this show will follow in the footsteps of its can't-look-away, ratings-snaring predecessors. 

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