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<p>A&nbsp;scene from Steven&nbsp;Spielberg's &quot;War Horse&quot;</p>

A scene from Steven Spielberg's "War Horse"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'War Horse'

The film hits theaters today

The road for "War Horse" to the screen has been an interesting one this season. Highly anticipated, the film screened for public before most press via pop-up showings in the heartland. When critics finally did get a look, reactions seemed to fly in all directions. I had my say, the film being of a piece with a year that has me kind of in the middle on so much. We talked to the film's famed cinematographer and have interviews with other elements of the cast and crew to come, but for now, you can finally give us your thoughts on the film as it hits theaters nationwide. If/when you make it out to a screening this holiday weekend, come back and give us your take.

 

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"Survivor"

 "Survivor"

Credit: CBS

Reality TV Roundup: 'Survivor' and 'X Factor' pick winners, 'Real Housewives' pick fights

It's been a busy week, so get all your reality news here, now

Welcome to Reality TV Roundup -- a quick look at some of the reality TV-centric stories that have recently popped up across the fine, old Interwebs. Click away, my couch potato friends. But before you do...

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! One more time: SPOILER ALERT. If you watch "The X Factor," "Survivor," "Top Chef," "Project Accessory" or "America's Next Top Model," the latest elimination for each show is revealed in the text below. The hope is that, if you missed this week's program and would rather clear out your DVR than watch the episode, you can get a quick hit here. But don't come crying to me if you find out something you didn't want to know. You've been warned. Also note: lots of non-competition reality info lurks below, too. 

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<p>Emmy Rossum and Justin Chatwin of &quot;Shameless&quot;</p>
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Emmy Rossum and Justin Chatwin of "Shameless"

Credit: Showtime

The Fien Print's TV Second 10 of 2011

Which shows just missed the cut for our critic's Top 10?
In case you've forgotten, here was my list of TV's Top 10 for 2011.
 
1) "Friday Night Lights"
2) "Breaking Bad"
3) "Downton Abbey"
4) "Parks & Recreation"
5) "Game of Thrones"
6) "Louie"
7) "Justified"
8) "Homeland"
9) "The Vampire Diaries"
10) "The Hour"
 
 
As I said when I posted my Top 10, after the Top 9, there were myriad shows that could have rounded out my list. 
 
Click through for my Second 10. As promised, after keeping my Top 10 to a sacred and unembellished 10, my Second 10 is full of cheats, including one thematic tie, one production block and one limited segment of a year that was otherwise kinda dismal.
 
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<p>What are all of these people looking at?&nbsp; Chances are, better movies than they appeared in during 2011.</p>

What are all of these people looking at?  Chances are, better movies than they appeared in during 2011.

Credit: Warner/A View Askew/Disney

Watch: Gay-baiting crazies and floundering franchises all part of the 10 Worst Films Of 2011

Some well-liked voices hit sour notes this year

Just as 2011 delivered some delirious highs, there were also some moments of jaw-dropping wrong-headedness, movies that aimed high and failed completely, and ineptitude on a level that is almost infuriating.  If we're passionate enough to pick the ten films that did everything right, you can bet we're passionate enough to pick the ten that got it all wrong.

I considered titles like "Jack and Jill," but the Happy Madison stuff is such a uniform sort of terrible that I find it hard to work up the energy to truly hate them.  I may think the "Twilight" films are terrible, but "Breaking Dawn" is so well-made that even if I don't like the text, I can respect the wrapping paper they've put it in.

No, to make this list, a film had to really spectacularly fumble it all, and if you throw in some truly nasty subtext, you've got a winning combination.  I dislike every single one of these films in an active and engaged way, and I have no interest in ever sitting through any of them again.  The great part about the end of the year is that you can put awful movies like this in your rearview mirror and move on.

But not without one more kick to the ribs...

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<p>&nbsp;Michael Buble</p>
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 Michael Buble

Who will have the No. 1 album over the holiday? Michael Buble or Adele?

Who will be the only artist to debut in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 next week?

As seems only fitting, Michael Buble’s “Christmas” album looks like a sure shot to continue to be No. 1 over the  holidays as the No. 1 stocking stuffer is projected to sell up to 450,000 to top next week’s Billboard 200.

That means that his album of seasonal standards now pushes past Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” to be the second best-selling album of all of 2011 after Adele’s “21.” That’s some handsome feat, considering the album didn’t come out until Oct. 15 (compared with Adele’s February release and Lady Gaga’s May street date).

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<p>Jeremy Irvine in &quot;War Horse.&quot;</p>

Jeremy Irvine in "War Horse."

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Round-up: 'Tis the season to be... snarky?

Also: Craig on switching from Bond to Blomkvist, and 'Moneyball' tech talk

One more sleep until Christmas, a day when the usual social restrictions on kitsch, sentimentality and sugar of all forms are lifted, as we all revel in shiny objects, soft lighting and Frank Capra movies. Not coincidentally, it's also the day Steven Spielberg's unabashedly saccharine "War Horse" is opening -- but many displeased critics aren't affording it the customary seasonal leeway, taking the film to task for its chocolate-box styling and blatant emotional manipulation. But is it the film that's too cynical, or the critics? Taking into account other schmaltzy recent releases, including "We Bought a Zoo" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Sasha Stone ponders the challenges of selling sentimentality in the 21st century. [Awards Daily]   

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Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist"
Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist"
Credit: The Weinstein Company

'The Artist' leads with 9 Alliance of Women Journalists nominations

'The Help' and 'Shame' also do quite well

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists have released their nominations which heavily favor Oscar frontrunners such as “The Artist” and the “The Help” but also honors some lesser served films, such as “Shame” and oddly enough “Melancholia” (which was selected as having The Worst Female Images In A Movie by the Women Film Critics Circle earlier this week). Though I agree with the large majority of their selections, I also find myself feeling as though several of the categories undercut rather than support the overall goals.

I know Actress Most In Need Of A New Agent is meant to be in good fun, but it feels petty and out of sync with the tone of the nominations. Movie You Wanted To Love But Couldn’t is a bit muddied. “Drive,” “Sucker Punch” and ”Young Adult” do not belong in the same category as far as I’m concerned. More to the point, is the criteria that you wanted to love it but when you saw it you realized it was a well intentioned but overstretched, convoluted mess of a thing taken on by someone without the emotional maturity to handle the cinematic endeavor ("Sucker Punch"); or that you wanted to love it but it just isn’t your cup of tea?

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<p>Chuck (Zachary Levi)&nbsp;and General Beckman (Bonita Friedericy)&nbsp;team up.</p>

Chuck (Zachary Levi) and General Beckman (Bonita Friedericy) team up.

Credit: NBC

'Chuck' - 'Chuck vs. the Santa Suit': Super man, too

A familiar face returns for a fantastic Christmas episode

A review of tonight's "Chuck" coming up just as soon as I record a message of love on an electronic bear...

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<p>Michelle Williams won yet another Best Actress prize for her performance in &quot;My&nbsp;Week with&nbsp;Marilyn.&quot;</p>

Michelle Williams won yet another Best Actress prize for her performance in "My Week with Marilyn."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Oklahoma critics march in step, spring for 'The Artist,' Clooney and Williams

And 'Transformers' isn't THAT bad

The Oklahoma Film Critics Circle has spoken up and added nothing to the precursor conversation, going with a slate of typical winners. Most annoying, they totally got their "Obviously Worst Film" and "Not-So-Obviously-Worst-Film" awards mixed, but whatever. Check out the full list of winners below.

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Brian Burkhardt of "Project Accessory"

 Brian Burkhardt of "Project Accessory"

Credit: Lifetime Television

HitFix Interview: 'Project Accessory' winner talks Kenneth Cole, sleep deprivation and shoes

Brian Burkhardt has big plans for life post show

Okay, I still think Brian Burkhardt's swimwear-look necklace in the final challenge of "Project Accessory" looked like cotton balls on a chain (hey, judge Ariel Foxman thought the thing looked like it was going to hatch, so I'm not alone). Still, Brian took home the grand prize of $100,000 and bragging rights that his unicorn horn handbag will soon be carried in Kenneth Cole stores everywhere. Having had the chance to rest up from five grueling weeks of competition, the Florida-based sculptor-turned-designer was a lot more fun on the phone than I expected (on the show, he seemed more serious and focused, which might be why he won the whole shebang). Here's what the big winner had to say about his stint on reality TV.

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<p>Beyonce made Melinda Newman's top singles list twice.&nbsp; Who else made the list?</p>

Beyonce made Melinda Newman's top singles list twice.  Who else made the list?

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

My Top 20 Singles of 2011: Adele, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga and much more

Newcomers and veterans make the list

This year was a decent year for singles. We can't say there were that many songs that consumed us; instead, there was a nice consistency where a broader number of artists, from all genres, supplied us with a steady ration of tunes that made it fun to turn on the car radio and wonder what ear candy would come on.

As you can see, my list also touches on many different genres. Like most folks, music comes at me from all different directions and I long ago stopped listening (or dismissing) music from any one specific format.

As disparate as these songs are, what they all have in common is that there was something compelling in each of them; something that kept me listening to them over and over and drawing me to them, whether it was the beat or a riff or a vocal performance or a lyric. Plus, my criteria is that they all had to be released to radio as singles.

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Top Ten of 2011: A year of Los Angeles films and superb style

Top Ten of 2011: A year of Los Angeles films and superb style

Which franchise surprisingly made the list?

Aren't you glad that's over?  Yes, 2011 was clearly one of the more mediocre and likely unmemorable years in cinema in quite awhile.  Sure, there were some amazing films released over the last 12 months, but it was much easier picking the top five pictures on my year end list than the second five.  It was just one of those years.

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