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"The Adventures of Tintin," one of my top 10 films of the year, hits theaters today.
"The Adventures of Tintin," one of my top 10 films of the year, hits theaters today.
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'The Adventures of Tintin'

The film hits theaters today

The other big release mid-week is Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin." By now, I think I've made it clear that I'm an enthusiastic fan of the experience this movie is. I went so far as to include it on my top 10 list, after all. But there are certainly detractors, and I imagine our readership is full of plenty opinions from both sides. So now that the film has made its way to domestic theaters, it's time to solicit those opinions. If/when you get around to the film, come on back here and give us your take on The Beard's latest.

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"Drugs, Inc."

 "Drugs, Inc." 

Credit: Photo by Steve Lidgerwood / Wall to Wall

Watch: A look at the worlds of crack and hash on season 2 of Nat Geo's 'Drugs, Inc.'

The series returns on Jan. 1

Psst, want crack? Hash? At least you can learn all about both on 'Drugs, Inc.' when its second season returns on Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. on Nat Geo (a second episode airs at 9 p.m.). The show will offer firsthand testimonies from drug producers, traffickers, dealers, users, doctors and cops and look into the worlds of well-known substances (crack, hashish, hallucinogens and Ecstacy) as well as 21st century additions to the illicit drug trade like Oxycontin and Ketamine (an animal tranquilizer). 

Here's a look at harvester “Diego” operating a clandestine cocaine kitchen where he produces high-grade cocaine for trafficking to Europe and America -- and uses toxic chemicals which will later be dumped into the Amazon River. 

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<p>The &quot;X Factor&quot; Top 3</p>
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The "X Factor" Top 3

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Finale Live-Blog: Top 3 Performances

Chris Rene, Melanie Amaro and Burrito Josh sing for their millions

Wow. It's the start of the "X Factor" finale. It seems like only 20 or 30 years ago that we started hearing all of the hype about "X Factor" traveling across the Atlantic and like only three or four years ago that FOX premiered the first audition episodes and now it's down to three. 

Tomorrow night, FOX and Simon Cowell are going to give a $5 million recording contract to one of three artists who haven't a chance on God's Green Earth of justifying a deal that big based on any empirical standards. Nobody in their right mind would suggest that Chris Rene, Burrito Josh or Melanie Amaro could possibly sell as many albums as Scotty McCreery, but will any of them sell as many albums as "The Voice" winner Javier Colon? Because go check out his sales figures. Or check out the sales figures for Dia Frampton. 

Anyway, though...

FINALE PERFORMANCES! After the break...

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<p>Putting the &quot;Santa&quot;&nbsp;in Santana: from &quot;Glee&quot;</p>

Putting the "Santa" in Santana: from "Glee"

Today in Christmas: My Morning Jacket, JoJo, Glee and Sondre Lerche

Swedish crooner takes on Beyonce

That's right. My Morning Jacket played Madison Square Garden. Not just in your dreams.

And on Dec. 14, Jim James brought a little Bing Crosby with him. The lead singer performed a slow, cokey version of "I'll Be Home For Christmas." Check it below, and see the band's cover of Gil Scott-Heron (RIP) while you're at it.

Sondre Lerche didn't cover a Christmas carol, per se, but his gift to the world this 2011 holiday season is a cover of Beyonce. The pop-loving crooner does a take of "Countdown," which is by no coincidence made a lot of critics' top singles lists this year, and made the top of the musicians'.

"This year, it’s officially a tradition: for the third time my annual Christmas gift to you is my humble solo acoustic version of someone else’s song; my favorite of the year, no less," Lerche told Stereogum. "That being said, the trick is to get passed the novelty-factor and just sing a beautiful song at the best of your abilities. Obviously, a significant part of this song’s appeal and ecstatic energy comes from the dizzying vocal performance and the mind-blowingly cool production work — elements and talents useless to even attempt replicating (especially not in my father in-law’s basement). But as long as there’s a song underneath, there’s a way.

Lerche's previous Christmas covers were Animal Collective’s “Bluish” and Owen Pallett’s “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt.” But now... who wants black diamonds under the tree?

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The Fien Print's TV Top 10 of 2011

Where do 'Game of Thrones,' 'Justified' and other favorites fit in?
If you're a regular podcast listener, I already revealed my Top 10 of 2011 in this week's Firewall & Iceberg. If you're not... This'll be new for you. And even if you already know the listing, you haven't seen my Top 10 with studio-recorded voiceover and superior editing from our video guru Alex Dorn.
 
As I discussed on the podcast, my Top 9 was pretty easy to put together. Other than specific placement between No.6 and No.9, there was almost no deliberation at all. 
 
The issue arose at No.10, where I had five or six shows that I wanted to place in that position. If you're going to cheat -- SEPINWALL!!! -- it's easy to find an extra place for an extra show and I could have come up with thematic reasons to pair, for example, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "Archer." If I'd had the chance to see the "Boardwalk Empire" finale before the list was locked, it might have also made a stronger case than it did when the season was unresolved still.
 
But no matter. I'm happy with the show that rounds out my Top 10 list and many of the shows I regretted excluding will appear in my Second 10 blog post later this week and darned if I'm not going to cheat to find a way to get 13 or 14 shows into that Second 10. 
 
This list has what I think is a good mixture of the various types of shows that made 2011 such a solid year on the small screen. I've got a couple comedies, a couple costume dramas, a couple thrillers, a fantasy, a sports drama and TV's *best* show about vampires and werewolves [Suck it, "True Blood"].
 
Anyway, sound off on my Top 10 below. I'll post my Second 10 on Friday, I think.
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<p>Game</p>

Game

Watch: Game and Tyler The Creator in Lil Wayne-featured 'Martian vs. Goblin'

An insane asylum, just in time for Christmas

If you missed Game's "The R.E.D." album release in August, that's OK: the set's release date was bumped almost a dozen times. However, if you missed the rapper's collaboration with Tyler the Creator, here's another chance.

The two play a couple of nutter-butter's locked up in the ugliest insane asylum this side of "Session 9," with the pair punting gibes back-and-forth through the glass. The Odd Future member dangles a cat and gives us his best crazy eye as he returns to his seemingly endless well of making fun of Bruno Mars and gay-baiting, this time linking homosexuals to Log Cabin (Republicans) and the original definition of "faggot." Still, while Game continues to hold his guns up for Chris Brown and throws Rihanna in front of a train with his rhymes, at least Tyler brings thunder about that highlighter hair.

There's also the LeBron James diss, with a hilarious "he lost" at the end of his verse. Game takes up that baller and runs with him in the last, as he's about to get punctures with a needle containing that gravy you're about to eat at Christmas. But fanboys beware: watch your blood pressure rise as Game makes this statement, "Mad that DC comics overlooked me / Cause Captain America's straight pussy." Marvel-ous.

How do you like this crazy creepy clip for Christmas? Bummed Lil Wayne couldn't come to the party?

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Interview: Sir Ben Kingsley on male vulnerability and the limitless vision of Georges Méliès

How the actor used the former joy of the man to inform a sense of loss in 'Hugo'

Actor Ben Kingsley first got his taste of collaboration with filmmaker Martin Scorsese in 2010 on the thriller "Shutter Island." It was a long time coming, but for Kingsley, who says he always appreciated Scorsese's work as a filmmaker, it was a unique characteristic of the director's process that really spoke to the actor.

"I haven’t quite realized until working with him that he films male vulnerability in a very special and gifted way," Kingsley says over tea at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills. "He actually directs like a lover more than a tyrant, with tenderness rather than insistence. He’s a perfectionist, but he gets it through extraordinary virile tenderness as a man. And he can guide an actor through vulnerability superbly well."

In "Shutter Island," Kingsley starred as a psychiatrist desperately, it turns out, trying to guide a patient (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) out of the twisted, fragmented shards of his own mind. His vulnerability in that film was his unconditional love for his patient, but in "Hugo," his latest collaboration with Scorsese, it comes from a different place of personal anguish.

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<p>&quot;The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King&quot; won all 11 Oscars for which it was nominated in the 2003 race.</p>

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" won all 11 Oscars for which it was nominated in the 2003 race.

Credit: New Line Cinema

With 'The Hobbit' looming, we revisit the record-tying Oscar haul for 'Return of the King'

How many of the 2003 juggernaut's 11 statuettes did it deserve to win?

Yesterday's unveiling of the trailer for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" was greeted with feverish enthusiasm not just by the legions of "Lord of the Rings" and Peter Jackson fanboys (and girls), but by the equally excitable clan of Oscar pundits too.

That's hardly surprising: as Kris wrote yesterday, when one is talking about the follow-up (or, shall we say, prequel) to a blockbuster trilogy that amassed 17 Academy Awards and 30 nominations, it's fair to guess the new film will at least be in the conversation next year. Particularly when most of the original creative team is involved: production designer Grant Major has been replaced with Dan Hennah, while Ann Maskrey fills in for Ngila Dickson on costumes, but otherwise, we're partying like it's 2003 here.

True to form, I haven't watched the trailer, but my own blind prognosis for the new film's awards performance has little to do with how good it turns out to be: there was such an aura of finality to the 2003 Oscar race's crowning of "The Return of the King," a sense of dues paid and collective achievement recognized, that I'd be surprised if the Academy feels obliged to go there again, outside the likely slew of technical citations.

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<p>Kristen Wiig and &quot;Bridesmaids&quot;&nbsp;gets some Oscar love in this new TV spot.</p>

Kristen Wiig and "Bridesmaids" gets some Oscar love in this new TV spot.

Watch: The Oscar race is no laughing matter for 'Bridesmaids' anymore

Universal puts serious money in TV spots for a best picture nod

Do you remember way back in September when "Bridesmaids" star Melissa McCarthy stunned TV fans with her Emmy win in the best actress in a comedy series category?  At the time the scuttlebutt was whether the industry love for McCarthy's breakout role in one of the biggest hits of the summer count translate into a legitimate Oscar campaign for best supporting actress.  Oh, how times have changed.

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<p>Rooney Mara in &quot;The Girl with the Dragon&nbsp;Tattoo&quot;</p>

Rooney Mara in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'

The film hits theaters today

After all the behind-the-scenes drama on embargoes and what not, David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" finally opens nationwide today and you'll be able to see it and gauge for yourself. If you heard last week's podcast, you heard pretty much all I have to say on the matter, but in brief, I find it to be Fincher's least compelling film to date, a waste of resources on a property that wasn't enlivened or elevated at all by the presence of all the talent involved. I do, however, believe that Rooney Mara's performance is something special. But enough about what I think, what do you think? Tell us here when/if you get around to the film this week.

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<p>Joseph Gordon-Levitt won Best Actor for his performance in &quot;50/50.&quot;</p>

Joseph Gordon-Levitt won Best Actor for his performance in "50/50."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Utah critics award 'Drive,' '50/50'

Unique set of winners includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Amy Ryan

The Utah Film Critics Association has chosen "Drive" as the Best Picture of the year. The film also won Best Supporting Actor for Albert Brooks and Best Cinematography. The group handed two awards to Jonathan Levine's "50/50," Best Actor for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Best Original Screenplay. Check out the full list of winners below.

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<p>&quot;The Tree of Life&quot; and director Terrence Malick came first in Indiewire's poll of over 150 critics.</p>

"The Tree of Life" and director Terrence Malick came first in Indiewire's poll of over 150 critics.

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Round-up: indieWIRE survey plants 'Tree of Life' at the top

Also: Brad Bird's winter playlist and Kim Jong-il on film

With travel and near-terminal laptop trouble consuming the last two days for me, I was late getting to Indiewire's 2011 critics' poll, the most comprehensive collective of its type, and one in which Kris and I both participated. The results are unsurprising, but no less gratifying for it -- I'm particularly pleased to see "Margaret" scoring in the Top 10, while Anna Paquin, Jeannie Berlin and Kenneth Lonergan's screenplay all place in the top three of their respective fields. Additionally, they collected some observations from participants about the year in film: I muse on the British auteur revival, Mike D'Angelo celebrates the Team Margaret hashtag phenomenon and Richard Brody tackles the distribution racket. Fun reading all round. [Indiewire]

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