1. A CNN poll names President Bush both the hero and the villain of the year. No mention of who won Best Sidekick.
["Bush won the villain sweepstakes by a landslide, with one in four respondents putting him at the top of that bad-guy list. When people were asked to name the candidate for villain that first came to mind, Bush far outdistanced even Osama bin Laden, the terrorist leader in hiding; and former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who is scheduled for execution. The president was picked as hero of the year by a much smaller margin. In the poll, 13 percent named him as their favorite while 6 percent cited the troops in Iraq."]
2. The results of The LA Weekly Film Poll (formerly at the Village Voice, which also spawned a version at Indiewire—if this keeps up, awards junkies will need a flowchart). LA Weekly's chief critic Scott Foundas pens an introduction.
["Of the more than 500 new feature-length motion pictures released in Los Angeles (and reviewed in these pages) over the past 12 months, among the very best of them—at least according to this paper's two house critics and the results of the L.A. Weekly's First Annual Film Poll—were a 37-year-old French wartime drama (Army of Shadows) never before distributed in the U.S. and a three-hour-long Romanian gallows comedy (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu) that grossed all of $80,000 during its North American theatrical run. Such statistics will, I fear, do little to disabuse people of the idea that movie critics are elitist scum fatally out of touch with the concerns of the general moviegoing public. But remember that these same critics have rallied en masse behind Martin Scorsese's The Departed and a little comedy called Borat—both of which rank among the most commercially successful studio releases of the year."]
3. At The Nerve Film Lounge, Bilge Ebiri on The Good Shepherd.
["Many of us have been waiting for an American spy movie that does for the genre what John Le Carre and Graham Greene's novels did for British espionage narratives: bring a refreshing dose of realism and somehow convey the mundane, often dysfunctional lives of international spies, shadowy individuals who have to subsume their identities for what they believe (often halfheartedly) is a greater cause. Despite the advance billing, and some admirable intentions, Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd is not that movie."]
4. The Chicago Film Critics announce their 2006 picks. Best picture: The Departed.
5. The Toronto Film Critics' picks are summarized here. Best Picture: The Queen.
"Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged.