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<p>Reunited, and it feels so good.</p>

Reunited, and it feels so good.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum get a handful of trouble in red-band '22 Jump Street' trailer

Can the sequel surprise audiences like the first film did?

One of the things that made "21 Jump Street" such a pleasant surprise as a movie was the way everyone bet against it the moment it was announced. After all, it's not like the show was a beloved classic. Under the creative guidance of Chris Miller and Phil Lord, though, it became something much stranger and funnier than anyone could have guessed.

Now they've got to beat the sequel curse. Comedies especially seem to have a terrible time with sequels, and I think part of that is because we laugh at things that we don't see coming. Surprise is certainly part of the equation when it comes to what makes audiences laugh, and with a sequel, that gets exponentially harder, especially if you bring back things from the first film that worked. The script for "22 Jump Street," though, is a very clever riff on sequels in much the same way that the first film was a riff on the idea of rebooting old TV shows, and you can hear a little bit of that from Nick Offerman in the first red-band trailer for the film, which just went up this morning.

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<p>A moment from Britney's 'Work B**ch'</p>

A moment from Britney's 'Work B**ch'

Credit: RCA Records

5 Ways Britney Spears' 'Britney Jean' went awry

How did the album go south so quickly?

Only two weeks after its Dec. 3 release, Britney Spears’ eighth studio album, “Britney Jean,” will fall out of the Top 15 of the Billboard 200 this week. The only person who could possibly be happy about this is Lady Gaga, since Spears’ disaster took the media’s eyes off of Momma Monster’s own poor performance with “Artpop.”

“Britney Jean” debuted at No. 4 on last week’s Billboard 200 with the lowest sales tally in the pop star’s career, barely skimming past the six figure mark at 107,000. Her last album, 2011’s “Femme Fatale,” sold 276,000 copies in its opening frame.

Here are five things that went wrong with “Britney Jean”:

*Too much build up: For months in advance of the album, Spears and her manager, Larry Rudolph, insisted that “Britney Jean”  was her most personal album ever, but first single, “Work Bitch” couldn’t have been more impersonal, leading fans to question the premise. Though there were hints of her life in the lyrics, they were so veiled as to be indecipherable.

*Too Many Cooks: You can’t blame Spears for wanting to switch things up in an effort to grow: She throws aside her usual collaborators such as Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Shellback, for a new bunch of contributors overseen by, the album’s executive producer; David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia’s Ingrosso and Anthony Preston. Their credentials are, of course, impeccable, but if it wasn’t broke...?

*Too little Britney: Yes, she is listed as co-writer on all 10 of songs, but that means precious little in this day and age when a superstar can demand a co-write credit for contributing a phrase or for telling the writers how she feels sad that day and then they go craft a song around that. She shouldn’t sound like a guest artist on a record that is supposed to be her most personal.

*No promotion: Other than a middle-of-the-night conclave in the desert, which was more to tout her upcoming Planet Hollywood Las Vegas residency than the new album and a few other things, there was little promotion for “Britney Jean.” E! News will air a two-hour “documentary” called “I Am Britney Jean” on Dec. 22 that covers the “Piece of Me” Vegas show and the making of the album, but that will more likely boost ticket sales than album sales.

*Britney herself: Though she seems much more stable —thankfully— than she did following her 2007 breakdown, there seems to be no there there. Yes, she gives good face and works the camera well in videos, but it just seems like she’s a facade now, kept going by a phalanx of producers, songwriters, etc... all of whom have a financial stake in continuing to prop her up. Maybe she really loves recording and performing, but it feels more like a puppet being told which way to turn and bend and sing and which camera to look into, despite the protestations from everyone that “Britney calls all the shots.”

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<p>Bilbo becomes a hero and yet some what seems absent in &quot;The Hobbit:&nbsp;The Desolation of Smaug.&quot;</p>

Bilbo becomes a hero and yet some what seems absent in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Best and Worst of 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

Dragons, CG, Evangeline Lilly and more

The second chapter of Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Hobbit," "The Desolation of Smaug," hit theaters this past weekend with mixed results. On one hand, critics thought it was an improvement than "An Unexpected Journey" (58 rating on Metacritic for the original vs. a 66 rating for pt. 2).  The box office, on the other hand, showed signs of audience fatigue.  "Smaug" earned $73.6 million domestic over its first three days which was a significantly smaller haul than "Unexpected's" $84.6 million last December.  Don't cry for Warner Bros. and MGM as "Smaug" is still expected to make a killing overseas.  That being said, just scroll throw your twitter or facebook feed and you'll probably find a lot more snarky and negative remarks about the series than you did after "Journey." HitFix's own Drew McWeeny thought Jackson delivered a much better movie this time around. This writer thought it was a marginal improvement at best.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Philomena&quot;</p>

A scene from "Philomena"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'Philomena' and 'Before Midnight' top Women Film Critics Circle awards

Don't forget to dig into the passionate 'Hall of Shame' sidebar

After a colorful list of nominations last week (check them out here if you missed them), the Women Film Critics Circle has deemed "Philomena" the best film of 2013…about women. The film picked up two other awards as well (the only other two for which it was nominated, in fact, making it a sweeper). "Before Midnight" also scored a hat trick.

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Damian Lewis recalls filming that 'terrifying' scene for the 'Homeland' season finale

Damian Lewis recalls filming that "terrifying" scene for the "Homeland" season finale
Lewis he greeted the events of last night's episode with a "mixture of emotions."

Adrianne Palicki joins "From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series"
The "Friday Night Lights" alum is joining Robert Rodriguez's El Rey Network reboot of his film, along with Lane Garrison and Gary Busey's son Jake.

Rosie Perez is headed to ABC
She'll play the vice principal in "An American Education," in Jack Whitehall's remake of his BBC comedy "Bad Education."

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<p>Michael Fassbender in &quot;12 Years a Slave.&quot;</p>

Michael Fassbender in "12 Years a Slave."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'12 Years a Slave' rules Online critics awards, nabs three acting wins

Alfonso Cuarón lands another directing honor

The Online Film Critics' Society had some unique choices among their nominees -- with Johnnie To's "Drug War" up for Best Picture, for example -- but consensus favorites ruled when it came to picking the winners. Most notable here is that the predictably dominant haul for "12 Years a Slave" included three of the four acting categories, including a win for Michael Fassbender -- who has largely played bridesmaid to Jared Leto so far this season, but recently got on the scoreboard thanks to Kansas City. "Gravity," however, once more interrupted the streak by taking Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón. This is becoming a bit of a pattern in the critics' awards; might the Oscars follow suit? Full list of winners after the cut, with all the season's awards so far at The Circuit.

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<p>Brad Pitt in &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;</p>

Brad Pitt in "12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight

'12 Years a Slave' wins seven from St. Louis film critics

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Cate Blanchett again take top acting honors

You didn't think "12 Years a Slave" was done winning awards today, did you? Another group, the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association, has singled it out as the year's best after the film dominated the group's list of nominations last week. Steve McQueen's drama picked up seven awards in total. There isn't much unique intrigue to be found throughout the list of winners, which you can check out for yourself below. Read through the nominees here. And remember to follow the ups and downs of the season at The Circuit.

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Jay Leno and Julia Louis-Dreyfus named TV Hall of Famers

Jay Leno and Julia Louis-Dreyfus named TV Hall of Famers
Also joining the TV Hall of Fame are David E. Kelley and Rupert Murdoch.

Brian's return boosts "Family Guy's" ratings
Last night's episode was up 11%. Meanwhile, Seth MacFarlane tweeted: "I mean, you didn't really think we'd kill off Brian, did you? Jesus, we'd have to be f*cking high." PLUS: Not everybody was happy to see Brian return.

A "Good Will Hunting" TV show could become a reality as part of Weinstein-Miramax deal
The Weinstein Company's new partnership with Miramax could also result in a "Flirting with Disaster" series.

"Survivor" finale hits an all-time low

Season 27 was slightly down from last spring's edition.

Jay Thomas is breaking his 14-year tradition of going on Letterman for Christmas

The "Late Show" tradition, which began in 1998, isn't happening this year.

Cartoon Network announces a "Powerpuff Girls" special -- featuring Ringo Starr
The former Beatle will play Fibonacci Sequins, Townsville’s most famous flamboyant mathematician, in the "I Wish I Was a Powerpuff Girl" special, airing Jan. 20.

Bravo orders "The People's Couch," the show about people watching TV

In October, Bravo tested the show that puts cameras on people watching television.

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<p>Ad&egrave;le Exarchopoulos won the group's Best Actress prize.</p>

Adèle Exarchopoulos won the group's Best Actress prize.

Credit: Sundance Selects

Indiana film critics board the '12 Years' bandwagon

Some added intrigue in the acting categories mixes things up...a little

The Indiana Film Journalists Association has hopped onto the runaway "12 Years a Slave" train, ticking the film off for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Musical Score awards today. But they provided a little more intrigue in other acting categories, giving prizes to Adèle Exarchopoulos and Barkhad Abdi, and a runner-up tip of the cap to "American Hustle" star Jeremy Renner (his first mention of the season). Check out the full list of winners below, and keep track of the season's madness at The Circuit.

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<p>Matthew McConaughey in &quot;Dallas Buyers Club.&quot;</p>

Matthew McConaughey in "Dallas Buyers Club."

Credit: Focus Features

'12 Years a Slave,' 'Gravity' tops with Dallas-Fort Worth critics

'Dallas Buyers Club,' of course, gets some hometown love

Do you remember a time way back when -- maybe a week or so ago -- when people were worried that "12 Years a Slave" wasn't winning enough critics' awards? Well, the regional critics sure are rectifying that situation. Steve McQueen's film has nailed down another Best Picture win, this time from the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics' Association, also taking Best Supporting Actress and Screenplay. "Gravity" was well-served too, taking Best Director, Cinematography and Score. Naturally, local son Matthew McConaughey wasn't going to be denied Best Actor. Nothing particularly new in this list, then, though the ranked listing of the top five vote-getters is a bit unusual. Full list after the jump; everything else at The Circuit.

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<p>Jeff Nichols won his second-ever Gene Wyatt Award &quot;for best capturing the spirit of the South&quot; with &quot;Mud.&quot;</p>

Jeff Nichols won his second-ever Gene Wyatt Award "for best capturing the spirit of the South" with "Mud."

Credit: Roadside Attractions

'12 Years a Slave' leads Southeastern film critics winners

Jeff Nichols wins his second-ever prize for capturing the spirit of the south

"12 Years a Slave" has dominated a number of regional critics awards announcements today, bringing its tally of Best Picture prizes into the double digits. So expect a number of posts reflecting that in the next hour or so. The Southeastern Film Critics Association went for the film in a big way, handing it prizes for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay in addition to Best Picture. Jeff Nichols, though, took the group's Gene Wyatt Award (for best capturing the spirit of the south) for the second time in his career. He previously won for "Shotgun Stories." Check out the full list of winners below and keep track of it all at The Circuit.

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<p>Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers</p>

Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Steelers-Bengals game, 'Family Guy' lead Sunday split

'Once' drops, while 'Survivor' finale puts CBS in third
Fast National ratings for Sunday, December 15, 2013.
NBC's Sunday Night Football showdown between the Steelers and Bengals helped the network to an overall win on Sunday night, but NFL overrun and a strong showing by "Family Guy" helped FOX eke out a slim win among young viewers.
There was a lot of competition on Sunday night, with CBS' "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" finale doing OK numbers and leading to a drop for "Once Upon a Time." We'll have to stay tuned for cable numbers as well, particularly the drama finales on Showtime.
Note, of course, that FOX had NFL overrun and CBS also had chunks of NFL overrun in several markets, so nearly all of these numbers are likely to shift a bit.
On to those preliminary numbers...
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