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<p>Idina Menzel voices Elsa in &quot;Frozen.&quot;</p>

Idina Menzel voices Elsa in "Frozen."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Frozen'

Disney's throwback adaptation of 'The Snow Queen' opened yesterday

I went into "Frozen" with tempered expectations -- Disney's last couple of attempts to revive the princess formula ("Tangled," "The Princess and the Frog") were, for me, pleasant but characterless, and this musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" looked to be in the same mold. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised: after a rushed, muddled first act, it settles into a touching, visually textured work of authentic Disney classicism, with a welcome feminist twist on the original fairytale and a pleasing lack of the smarmy, adult-targeted irony that permeates so many kids' films these days. I wouldn't go quite as far as Drew McWeeny did in hisA-grade rave, but I might just call it my favourite Disney animated feature since the studio's brief 1990s golden age.

But enough from me -- what do you think? Is it on-form Disney? And is it Oscar-worthy? I'm sure many of you will be checking it out over the holiday weekend, so when you do, be sure to share your thoughts here, and vote in the poll below.

 

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<p>Ted Danson of &quot;CSI&quot;</p>

Ted Danson of "CSI"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Criminal Minds,' 'CSI' help CBS dominate Pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday

'Survivor' also wins its hour, thumping 'The X Factor'
Fast National ratings for Wednesday, November 27, 2013.
 
With much of the competition taking the night off, CBS dominated Thanksgiving Eve in all measures with new episodes of "Survivor," "Criminal Minds" and "CSI."
 
Among the limited competition, FOX's "X Factor" and NBC's "Making of 'The Sound of Music'" special drew only limited audience as well.
 
And for whatever it's worth, The CW's airing of the holiday classic "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" did the same key demo rating as ABC's repeat of "Nashville."
 
On to the numbers...
 
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<p>&quot;The Wind Rises&quot;</p>

"The Wind Rises"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Roundup: Is it time for the animated Oscar to grow up?

Also: 'Wolf' clocks in at three hours, and Philomena on 'Philomena'

With "Frozen" opening today, the received wisdom that it's the film to beat for the Best Animated Feature Oscar will be further concretized. And while a win for the film would be a first for Disney, it'd follow very much in the tradition of past champions in the 13-year-old category. Jen Chaney writes how the Academy's choices for the award -- however deserving -- have reinforced the commonly held notion of animation as chiefly a kids' medium, and how Miyazaki's more adult-focused "The Wind Rises" presents an opportunity for the award to come of age. "An animated film that deals with complicated, non-child-friendly themes, or visuals that don’t match the playful picture-book aesthetic... [may be viewed] as a negative instead of a potentially refreshing, groundbreaking departure," she writes, before going on to suggest that the Academy's new, more inclusive voting system in the category means "that unintentional bias could become even more of an issue." [The Dissolve]

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<p>Gervase and Tyson scheme on &quot;Survivor: Blood vs. Water&quot;</p>

Gervase and Tyson scheme on "Survivor: Blood vs. Water"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water' - 'Gloves Come Off'

Alliances splinter with Tyson at the center
Pre-credit sequence. It's Night 26 at Kasama and Ciera is reassuring the rest of her tribe that it's OK that she voted her mother out and it had to happen. "I'm surprised that Ciera chose water over blood, but Ciera has a plan and I don't think her mother is really a part of it," Katie reflects. Ciera, meanwhile, thinks this means that she'll be viewed as strong and trustworthy. And, indeed, Tyson respects her for the move, but she also now viewers Ciera as dangerous, which he presumably did not before.
 
The Eyes of Laura M. Tina and Vytas are on Redemption Island waiting to see who comes next. Hilariously, Laura approaches them whispering "Mom," faking out Tina, who had dreaded her daughter's arrival. Well-played, Laura. "I'm having a hard time defining how I'm feeling about Ciera writing my name down," says Laura, who is proud of her daughter, but not necessarily happy. Vytas, Tina and Laura all agree that, under the radar, Tyson is running everything. "Why isn't anybody voting him out?" Vytas asks. CREDITS!
 
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<p>Little known fact... Jason Voorhees gives awesome piggy-back rides.</p>

Little known fact... Jason Voorhees gives awesome piggy-back rides.

Credit: Warner Bros.

This potentially terrible 'Friday The 13th' remake has a release date

Is this really all that horror films can do at this point?

When Paramount announced yesterday that they would be releasing "Friday The 13th" on March 13, 2015, it took most people by surprise.

There have been a number of rumors swirling about what approach they're taking, and while they now have a release date, they're a long way from having a script or even a director. HitFix can confirm that this is indeed the found footage film that has been mentioned, and that it is once again going to reboot the series from the start, which is a very confusing approach considering the 2009 film was also a remake of sorts.

The thing I liked most about Marcus Nispel's "Friday The 13th" was the way screenwriters Mark Swift and Damian Shannon managed to condense the first three films of the franchise into one movie. We got the death of Jason's mother in the opening scenes of the movie, we got a long stretch with deformed hillbilly baghead Jason, and we eventually got the hockey-mask wearing icon version. The film was the first time anyone actually tried to explain the way Jason would get around Camp Crystal Lake so quickly as well as the reason he seems to always know where everyone is. It seemed like a really interesting way to restart things without throwing out the entire franchise.

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<p>The new trailer for Laika's 'The Boxtrolls' offers a peek at just how gorgeous the art of stop-motion animation really is.</p>

The new trailer for Laika's 'The Boxtrolls' offers a peek at just how gorgeous the art of stop-motion animation really is.

Credit: Focus Features

'The Boxtrolls' trailer is an ode to the magic of stop-motion animation

The studio that made 'Corlaine' and 'ParaNorman' is keeping the art form alive

At this point, I've visited enough sets that there is a sameness to it that has managed to rob the experience of some of its magic. Not all, but some. Sure, I can appreciate amazing craftsmanship and I love watching actors work, especially when something wonderful is happening between them, but there's no real mystery to it at this point.

On the other hand, when I visited the London sets for "The Corpse Bride" and got to spend a few days wandering around the amazing sets they built for the film, it was remarkable. Looking at the way they built everything by hand, looking at the amazing builds they did for the characters, I felt like I was looking at real magic. Watching these things come to life, one frame at a time, I learned once again to believe that there is a miracle that happens in animation. The same was true when I went up to Seattle to visit Laika Studios when they were working on "Coraline." Every single item, every single costume, every single thing that appeared in every single frame, all of it made right there in-house, all of it extraordinary.

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<p>Julianne Moore in Legendary Pictures' &quot;Seventh Son&quot; which Universal will now release in 2015.</p>

Julianne Moore in Legendary Pictures' "Seventh Son" which Universal will now release in 2015.

Credit: Legendary Pictures

Universal moves 'Warcraft' to 2016 as 'Seventh Son' goes on the shelf

Don't pay attention to these dates, really

Any publicity expert will tell you that if you need to announce bad news, the best day to do it is when no one is paying attention.  That's often why Hollywood studios and networks time cancellations, firings, er, "transitions" and negative news late Friday afternoon or evening Los Angeles time. East Coast media and investors are out partying the night away and their West Coast equivalents are likely on their way out of the office. It's no surprise then, that Universal Pictures revealed some big release date changes on the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving when most people are traveling home for the holiday weekend.

Shocker.

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<p>Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner in &quot;Frances Ha.&quot;</p>

Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner in "Frances Ha."

Credit: IFC Films

The Long Shot: Independents' day

Have the Indie Spirit Awards outgrown their own purpose?

The avalanche of advance speculation, live Twitterage and post-game analysis that surrounded yesterday's announcement of the Independent Spirit Award nominees was indicative, perhaps, of the way the internet has amped up every stop on the ever-expanding awards trail -- however minor its real-world presence -- to event status. But it also proved that the Spirits are no longer as small, nor as off-the-beaten-track, as their calculatedly modest presentation would have you believe.They haven't been for a while: for better or worse, they're now considered as valuable (if, by their very nature, not as all-encompassing) an Oscar bellwether as any of the glitzier Globe or Guild events on the circuit.

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Discovery Channel will celebrate Thanksgiving with Punkin Chunkin'


Discovery Channel will celebrate Thanksgiving with "Punkin Chunkin'"

"MythBusters" stars Kari Byron, Grant Imahara and Tory Belleci will host a competition in which engineers chunk pumpkins.


Why Brian Griffin was so valuable to "Family Guy"
The family dog was "the most three-dimensional, complex character – the only character whose humor was self-deprecating," says Kevin Wong, adding he was "the only character whose humor called attention to small, human hypocrisies rather than settling for broad, easy laughs. Brian specialized in guilt-ridden 'cringe' humor, and he pushed the show into its most interesting comedic territory."


Kirk Acevedo joins "12 Monkeys"
The "Fringe" vet will play Aaron Stanford's closest friend in the apocalyptic future.


"Homeland's" Brody storyline was inspired by "The French Connection II"
"We looked at Gene Hackman's performance in the second French Connection movie, which was incredible and somehow very personal — that's what we wanted Brody to go through," says exec producer Alex Gansa.


Carrie Underwood is getting hate tweets over "The Sound of Music"
"I get hate tweets and stuff like, 'You're not Julie Andrews!'" she tells Entertainment Weekly. "I know I'm not Julie. Nobody is and I would never pretend that I was … I know my place."


"Walking Dead" boss: This year's conflict is different from last year
Scott M. Gimple defends the Rick vs. The Governor storyline.


BBC America picks up Season 2 of "Atlantis"

The cable channel had just begun airing Season 1 of the BBC co-production.


Presenting TV's worst-ever Thanksgivings
From "Dexter" to "HIMYM," here's a reminder of how miserable Thanksgiving could be. PLUS: Ranking the "Friends" Thanksgivings.


"Breaking Bad's" Saul Goodman creator: "I've been hanging around in courtrooms lately"
How much will "Better Call Saul" take place in a courtroom? Peter Gould won't say, but he's been spending time lately in courtrooms. PLUS: Giant "Breaking Bad" graffiti wall unveiled in Britain to promote the DVDs.


Marge Simpson models history's most iconic dresses
Check out Marge in outfits worn by Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.


Lea Michele unveils her solo album cover

Check out "Cannonball."


Seth Meyers and his "MADtv" brother Josh "conquer" Amsterdam
The Meyers brothers are featured on tonight's episode of "The Getaway."


"Treme" returns for its 5-episode final run
The HBO series sticks to the same formula for its final season. PLUS: Did striving for authenticity hurt "Treme"?

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Best and Worst of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

Best and Worst of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

It's great, but not let's get crazy here

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" torched the box office last weekend and has already grossed over $186 million. That was pretty much expected based on the franchise's fan base and the strength of the first film in the franchise, 2012's "The Hunger Games."  What had to be a happy surprise to Lionsgate and director Francis Lawrence were some of the glowing reviews the film has received.  Some pundits even throwing out that "Catching Fire" is so good it's the best sequel since "Empire Strikes Back."  OK, the HitFix team thinks it's a really good flick, but let's not get crazy here people.  "Catching Fire" isn't destined to make most critic's best of year lists.  Obviously, "Catching Fire" isn't aiming for Oscars (or maybe it is?), but as pure old-fashioned cinematic entertainment it features more than enough obvious highlights and lowlights to wax on. And, yes, we can't wait for "Mockingjay, Pt. 1" either.

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<p>Forest Whitaker plays the patriarch of a broken family in the new Kasi Lemmons adaptation of the Langston Hughes classic 'Black Nativity'</p>

Forest Whitaker plays the patriarch of a broken family in the new Kasi Lemmons adaptation of the Langston Hughes classic 'Black Nativity'

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Review: 'Black Nativity' turns a traditional pageant into a holiday family drama

As adaptations go, this one's a complete reinvention

Langston Hughes is a modern giant, a significant artist who worked as a poet and a playwright and whose work was an important part of this country's understanding of the black experience. One of his most enduring creations was "The Black Nativity," a re-imagined musical take on the traditional Nativity pageant, complete with music and dance, and it is still being performed all over the world today. Adapting it to film would seem like a strange proposition, but writer/director Kasi Lemmons approached it as an opportunity, not a challenge, and the result is an earnest, heartfelt family drama that is overwrought at times, deeply felt at others, but which certainly feels like one of the more unique things I've seen in a theater this year.

Watching no trailers for something can create the most interesting reactions in a theater. While I was aware of the basic background of the Langston Hughes production, I didn't realize Lemmons had built an entirely new story around it, or that she had made a full-blown musical. The moment the main character, Langston (Jacob Latimore), begins to sing about his experience as a young black man growing up without a father in Baltimore, I realized this wasn't going to be what I expected. Instead, Lemmons built a story that she sets the Nativity into as a sort of central point, an event that brings her characters to an epiphany. Her film is much more about the way people either do or don't live the message of the Nativity in their own lives and their own communities.

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<p>Lorde</p>

Lorde

Credit: Universal Music Group

Lorde's 'Royals' remains the No. 1 song in the country

But Eminem's 'Monster' is gaining speed

What do Lorde, Debby Boone, Ashanti, Carly Rae Jepsen and Ke$ha have in common?

All five females took their debut single to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for at least nine weeks. Lorde accomplishes the feat with “Royals” this week, keeping Eminem’s “Monster” at bay, narrowly, for at least one more week. The New Zealander’s breakthrough hit also logs its 13th week atop Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart.

Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” holds at No. 3, while OneRepublic scoots up two to No. 4 with “Counting Stars” to give the Ryan Tedder-led band its second Top 5 hit. “Stars” pushes Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” 4-5.

Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” rises 7-6, Katy Perry’s “Roar” falls 5-7 as follow-up single “Unconditionally” hold at No. 16, according to Billboard.

Following their performance of the song on Sunday night’s “American Music Awards,” Pitbull’s “Timber,” featuring Ke$ha climbs 10-8. Drake’s “Hold On, Were Going Home,” featuring Majid Jordan, falls 8-9. The only newbie in the top 10 belongs to Passenger, whose sensitive ballad “Let Her Go” moves 11-10.

Just below the Top 10, two tracks from One Direction’s “Midnight Memories” strike big: “Diana” bows at No. 11, while the title track comes in at No. 12.
 

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