I can watch movies with totem but then I often get a sudden 'ASIC hang' after several minutes.
Need to check this with 11.12 though.
Is your card recent? if not and you have had it for a while, try cleaning the fan and applying good thermal paste. I had those "ASIC hang" errors but it's because the card was getting too hot. After i cleaned it and reapplied the paste, it's been running fantastic for the last couple of days.
Anyways, it's just a suggestion, bear in mind that YMMV.
lol yeah it's frustrating at this point. The open source radeon driver is so badass compared to fglrx in every way except for power management and glsl/opengl. I wouldn't have cared 2 years ago before Desura and the large number of native linux games these days.