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<p>I love the single tease we've had so far of this new Superman in action, but there are huge expectations pinned to the performance of 'Man Of Steel'</p>

I love the single tease we've had so far of this new Superman in action, but there are huge expectations pinned to the performance of 'Man Of Steel'

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

Zack Snyder confirms 'Man Of Steel' as one step towards 'Justice League'

Now let's hope it's going to be Warner's best foot forward

If I had to pick one movie in 2013 that I hope works, it would be Zack Snyder's "Man Of Steel."

I think it is beyond comprehension that Warner has taken this long to get Superman back on track.  He is not just DC's single most important and iconic superhero character, he is also the single most iconic superhero owned by anyone.  Superman is, for many people, the definition of what a superhero is in pop culture, known pretty much everywhere.  And while almost everyone has some idea of what Superman is, it seems like it has been insanely difficult for the studio to figure out exactly which version of the character they want to see onscreen.

There has been a ton of speculation about how Warner Bros would start to build their way towards "Justice League," and most of the scrutiny is now focused on whether or not we'll see our first steps towards that with "Man Of Steel" next summer.  One of the questions involved has to do with tone.  You look at how Marvel handled their build-up to "The Avengers," and the most important thing they did was set a certain tone that meant you would be able to accept it when Tony Stark and Bruce Banner and Thor and Steve Rogers all ended up in a frame together, no matter how different their individual stories. 

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<p>Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch are Dr. Watson and &quot;Sherlock.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch are Dr. Watson and "Sherlock." 

Credit: BBC

The game is delayed - 'Sherlock' won't return until late 2013/early 2014

Producer Steven Moffat and stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have very busy schedules

By making only three stories per season, "Sherlockproducer Steven Moffat has already turned the 21st century Sherlock Holmes series (not to be confused with the one on CBS) into a rare enough treat that we have to wait long intervals to consume. And now it sounds like the wait for the next batch is even longer. 

EW is reporting that because of the busy schedules of Moffat (who also runs "Doctor Who") and stars Benedict Cumberbatch (who's the villain in the next "Star Trek" movie) and Martin Freeman (who is appearing in the 57 films that are being adapted from the 300-odd pages of "The Hobbit"), production on the next trio of "Sherlock" episodes has been pushed back from January to March, which will in turn delay when those episodes will air, first on the BBC (likely late 2013 now) and then PBS (possibly early 2014).

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<p>Quvenzhan&eacute; Wallis in &quot;Beasts of the Southern Wild&quot;</p>

Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Bringing 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' back into the Oscar fray

Fox Searchlight kicks it into gear for a little film that could

NEW YORK -- How do you bring an indie darling back around when the season is filling up with quality work of the "Oscar" sort? Well, you do whatever you can, and for Fox Searchlight and "Beasts of the Southern Wild," it started with an intimate luncheon at Tomate Rouge this afternoon on 60th Street.

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Album Review: Alicia Keys hits the right notes on 'Girl On Fire'
Credit: RCA

Album Review: Alicia Keys hits the right notes on 'Girl On Fire'

Bruno Mars, Maxwell, Nicki Minaj pitch in on Grammy winner's fifth album

There’s a new girl in town and her name is Alicia Keys.  Sure, she arrived on the scene as a fully-formed artist with 2001‘s “Songs In A Minor,”  but it’s clear on “Girl On Fire,” her first album in three years, that reinvention and rediscovery are the main courses on the Grammy winner’s menu.

“I found a brand new kind of free,” she sings on “Brand New Me,” her current single co-written with Emeli Sande.  “It took a long, long road to get here. It took a brave, brave girl to try,” Keys states on the piano ballad.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>One Direction at German's Bambi awards</p>

One Direction at German's Bambi awards

Credit: AP Photo

One Direction wish they were 'cool' enough for a Jay-Z collaboration

Hey, we hear Snoop Dogg's always available

After bowing at No. 1 with their new album "Take Me Home," One Direction are now busily preparing for 101 touring dates for 2013. But a packed schedule isn't keeping the boy band from dreaming a little.

Speaking with MTV, Liam Payne revealed it'd be a dream for the troupe to lay down a some track work with Jay-Z.

"I would love to do a hip-hop collaboration with Jay-Z," Payne said. "I don't know how to talk to him, though. I think he's wicked. I love Jay-Z. It upsets me that we're not cool enough, but I wish we could."

Define "upset" there, young pup. The group is obviously not doing so bad for itself: does the admission of uncoolness also imply the crew has already tried approaching the "Blueprint"-maker? Because Jay-Z may not work with just anybody, but he's the same man who's shown up with lesser-knowns like Santigold and on pop tracks with Mariah Carey (OK, OK, OK and isn't above still working with nerds like Diddy. There. I said it.).

Payne, adorably, snapped a pic of himself with Hov backstage at Justin Bieber's concert in Brooklyn this fall. He called Jay-Z one of his idols.

"Imagine going on tour with Jay-Z," Zayn Malik also said in the interview. I imagine him saying this while his hands clinch tightly and shake excitedly.

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<p>The &quot;Lost&quot; cast waaaay back in the pilot.</p>

The "Lost" cast waaaay back in the pilot.

Credit: ABC

Podcast, blog and book notes

Previewing the next week of coverage, plus a 'Revolution Was Televised' excerpt

A few bits of housekeeping and book pluggery while I ponder what Chuck Lorre might write in a vanity card about Angus T. Jones...

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<p>50 Cent and Eminem perform together at SXSW in March</p>

50 Cent and Eminem perform together at SXSW in March

Listen and Watch: 50 Cent's new 'My Life' with Eminem and Adam Levine

'I almost wish that I would have never made 'Recovery,' kid': Performance tonight on 'The Voice'

50 Cent's had a few failed re-starts on his music career, where he's struggled at stoking his own interest in rapping as well as getting fans invested again. "My Life" may be the necessary element to get the next round off the ground, however.

Eminem and Maroon 5's Adam Levine guest on this rap track with a hum-worthy chorus, with both rappers expressing some melancholy and confusion of their lives as the singer touts the whole reason this may be a hit.

Among the curiousities of the verses is Em's admission that he feels like he may be unspooling again. The Detroit-bred MC has been sober for three years, and yet is pre-occupied with "revenge" and "Feels like I'mma snap in a minute, yeah it's happening again." He poses some regrets on that "Recovery" album, too, though that's no new news.

50 Cent also does his business of reminding listeners he sold millions of albums back in the day. Will this track -- purportedly a promo single for his album "Street King Immortal" -- be enough to propel big sales in February?

"My Life" will be available on iTunes tomorrow (Nov. 27) and is set to be performed on Levine's reality talent show "The Voice" tonight. The trailer to the epic-looking music video is also below, release pending.

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<p>Russell Crowe in &quot;Les Mis&eacute;rables&quot;</p>

Russell Crowe in "Les Misérables"

Credit: Universal Pictures

Off the Carpet: The Oscar bait got good

They looked great on paper AND the screen in 2012

I never much cared for the term "Oscar bait," at least the consistency with which it's tossed around and the connotation it carries. (Though I'm well aware we launched a feature recently called just that.) Maybe I'm naive, but I don't believe anyone sits down to map out an Oscar movie. It's turning evening, you're chasing the light, the crew's tired, you have tomorrow's schedule to iron out…the last thing you're thinking about are the awards prospects of your project. And I think anyone who feels differently hasn't spent much time on film sets.

Beyond that, it just seems to me a disdainful way to diminish or discredit films of a certain ilk. Biopics, "issue" films, projects shrouded in the prestige of respected and/or previously awarded source material or high-caliber acting ensembles, they signal something for many -- a red flag. Which is odd, but maybe that speaks to the track record of such projects more than the inherent thing of it all. So it's with hesitation that I even begin to say this, but 2012 seems to be the year the "Oscar bait" got good.

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' recap: 'Unmoved'

Kenya begs for a baby, Phaedra terrifies hers and Kim gets angry

 Do you remember last season? You know, when Kim seemed to have blossomed into a semi-decent person, thanking God every few minutes for all her good fortune, getting all mushy about life with Kroy and their new baby? Yes, she fired Sweetie (and rehired her this season – I smell producer-suggested plot twist), but mostly she just seemed her happy, foul-mouthed self, tossing back her wig-hair and rising above her fellow housewives' silly squabbles. Yeah. That was last season. This season? Kim takes all that Zen reserve, wads it up into a ball, and hurls it out the window while screaming four-letter words at it until it shrivels and dies. 

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<p>Madonna's &quot;W.E.&quot; was the victim of more than a few 'exuberant pans' last year.</p>

Madonna's "W.E." was the victim of more than a few 'exuberant pans' last year.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Roundup: On the power of the critical pan

Also: 'Silver Linings' vs. the heavier contenders, and 'Sugar Man' wins again

I had never heard of Guy Fieri until a few days ago, so I have no dog this fight, but I'm interested in how the media kerfuffle over a single scathing restaurant review has opened up a conversation on critical boundaries and responsibilities in all fields. The New York Times, who ran the offending review to begin with, has fed back into it with a piece by Margaret Sullivan on the necessity of what she terms the "exuberant pan" -- the review that zestily takes no prisoners in shooting down a creative endeavor, whether it's a film or a diner. Having written a few such pans myself -- I'm likely never going to be on Madonna's Christmas card list, nor Julie Taymor's -- I side with Sullivan: criticism is an artform itself, with no place for bland prose or tempered honesty, but the harshest words should be, in her words, "an arrow reached for only rarely." [New York Times]  

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<p>Jessica Chastain does a tremendous job as a CIA analyst at the heart of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in 'Zero Dark Thirty'</p>

Jessica Chastain does a tremendous job as a CIA analyst at the heart of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Review: Jessica Chastain anchors the stark, uncompromising 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Kathryn Bigelow bests her Oscar-winning 'Hurt Locker' with her new film

I think two directors this year are following up the movies where they won Best Picture with films that I think are clearly superior to the films they won the awards for.  This is one of the reasons I think this entire season is so strange.  Politics are so clearly part of the process of what gets picked and what gets ignored that if you try to apply the filter of "deserves" or "fair" to the films you watch, you'll go crazy.  In a perfect world, it shouldn't matter what film Kathryn Bigelow made last, or what awards it won.  But because "The Hurt Locker" was the little film that could, and it did, the scrutiny this time around is on a whole new level.  Of course, she's also collaborating again with Mark Boal, the screenwriter of "The Hurt Locker," and this is also a military themed film, so they're basically setting themselves up for the comparison.

I would love for the Kathryn Bigelow who directed "The Loveless" and "Near Dark" to sit down and watch "Zero Dark Thirty," because the huge dissonance between the voices of those works would make her head explode, "Scanners"-style.  She started her career as a filmmaker whose work existed in an entirely artificial movie universe, and with "Zero Dark Thirty," it feels like she has finally reached a place where she has stripped all artifice from her approach, and she's made a film that is pure procedural, the "Zodiac" approach to the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.  I can't tell you for sure that the film has anything to do with the unvarnished truth, but I can tell you that this feels accurate.  It has an integrity to it that is bracing and adult, and it manages to deliver a major visceral experience without ever once bending to Hollywood convention.  This is a film that knows exactly what it's doing, and does it without compromise.

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<p>The Tooth Fairy is intrigued by Jack Frost's teeth in &quot;Rise of the Guardians.&quot;</p>

The Tooth Fairy is intrigued by Jack Frost's teeth in "Rise of the Guardians."

Credit: Dreamworks Animation

Why isn't 'Rise of the Guardians' a box office hit?

A rare stumble from DreamWorks Animation

There is something very disheartening about the box office performance of "Rise of the Guardians" this past holiday weekend.  When Paramount and DreamWorks Animation first previewed footage from "Guardians" early this year there was genuine excitement in the media and animation circles. After surprising moviegoers with an unexpectedly adult-friendly "Puss and Boots" and somehow improving critically with "Kung Fu Panda 2," DWA seemed intent on continuing to break the mold with their upcoming slate. Principally, "Guardians" was executive produced by Guillermo Del Toro (who seemed to work wonders for "Boots") and was their first property acquisition since "Shrek" back in the day.  And that was just the beginning of its impressive creative credentials.

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