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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 151: 'Last Resort,' 'Elementary,' 'Homeland,' 'Dexter' & more
Credit: CBS

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 151: 'Last Resort,' 'Elementary,' 'Homeland,' 'Dexter' & more

Dan and Alan also review 'Made in Jersey' and '666 Park Avenue'

The

The TV season is (still) here! The TV season is (still) here! Premiere week's not over yet, which means it's time for more reviews of new shows, plus thoughts on a couple of notable Showtime dramas — one coming off an Emmy-winning season nearly everyone liked, and one coming off a season almost nobody liked.

The line-up: 

"Last Resort" (00:00:50 - 00:17:35)
"Elementary" (00:17:35 - 00:28:00)
"Made in Jersey" (00:28:00 - 00:39:00)
"666 Park Avenue" (00:39:00 - 00:46:05)
"Dexter" (00:46:10 - 00:58:15)
"Homeland" (00:58:15 - 01:12:40)
 
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
 
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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<p>From Grizzly Bear's &quot;Yet Again&quot;</p>

From Grizzly Bear's "Yet Again"

Watch: Grizzly Bear's 'Yet Again' is the crisis of a figure skater

Creator's Project sends us through the ice

I'd never be that age again.

Grizzly Bear have debuted their new music video for "Yet Again," one of my favorites from their new album "Shields." In it, a teenaged girl who is a struggling figure skater is put through perilous trials of loneliness, drowning, fear and exhaustion, only to get up in the morning and try to put the skates back on again. It ends with an unexpected blast of emotion, amidst flying sports medals, pages from a tabloid mag and other girlish high school debris.

The New York-based troupe walks that line of noise and easy-listening when it comes to their brand of rock; as I said in my review of "Yet Again," it's the best example of how they flex their pop muscles when they've got a few guitars in the background just dying to make a cacophony. The clip's dark visuals now reflect that aesthetic, of something cold and challenging bubbling just below the four-part harmonies.

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<p>This one's just for you, ladies.</p>

This one's just for you, ladies.

Credit: HitFix

Joseph Gordon-Levitt talks about make-up and young co-stars in 'Looper'

Becoming young Bruce Willis seems like it was a tremendous challenge

I am 100% convinced that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is going to be one of the biggest working movie stars of his generation.

He may not be there quite yet, but he's been acting since a very young age, and by now, it's clear that he's got charisma in spades and that he makes really great choices as an actor.  That's both onscreen and offscreen, as it doesn't matter if you're giving the best performance in the world if it's in a movie that no one ends up seeing.  He's certainly bet on some very small films like "Hesher" and "Mysterious Skin" and, of course, "Brick," but he's also been able to work in films that made much larger commercial splashes like "Inception" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra" and, of course, "The Dark Knight Rises."

It feels to me like "Looper" lands right in the middle between those two extremes.  It's a studio release, but it's a film that feels intensely personal.  It's a science-fiction film with some really remarkable moments of effects flourishes, but only in very specific moments and in service to the stories.  It's a huge film in terms of ideas, but it's also very small-scale in terms of how many characters are involved.  Much of the success (or failure, I suppose, depending on how you react to it) of the film is due to the confident and controlled lead performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

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Jonathan Moore and Elizabeth Banks

 Jonathan Moore and Elizabeth Banks

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Elizabeth Banks and Ester Dean talk 'Pitch Perfect'

The two stars struck a common chord with this musical comedy

If "The Sing-Off" didn't sell you on a cappella, "Pitch Perfect" should do the trick. A charming, often screamingly funny mix-up of "Bridesmaids" girl power and "Say Anything" romance, this is the story of a "Bad News Bears"-esque group of girls who try to take their college singing group to the top of the cutthroat world of a cappella. Best of all, there's lots of singing and dancing between the punchlines. 

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Taking questions for 9/28 Oscar Talk

Offer up your burning queries

You know the drill. Oscar Talk is back tomorrow with a new installment so if you have any burning questions, offer them here. We'll be talking NYFF and "Life of Pi," the weekend's releases and this and that. Rifle off your need-to-knows and we'll try to address a few in the podcast.

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<p>HitFix Awards</p>

HitFix Awards

Credit: HitFix

Introducing HitFix's Awards Channel

Your awards hub for film, TV and music

The move to HitFix has put us right at the center of some exciting developments on the film awards coverage side of things, and one of those elements was revealed yesterday. We've established a separate Awards Channel that will serve as your hub for all of HitFix's awards coverage, whether it's music, TV or film. We've got your Grammy, Emmy and Oscar fix.

In addition to circulating all of our content in this spectrum, the channel also offers the usual bells and whistles of HitFix: calendar reminders, links to our Contenders section, video interviews and more. There is also easy access to all of the site's festival coverage. So add a new bookmark!

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<p>Damian Lewis as Nick Brody in &quot;Homeland.&quot;</p>

Damian Lewis as Nick Brody in "Homeland."

Credit: Showtime

'Homeland' producers Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon talk season 2

What now for Carrie, Brody, Saul and company?
"Homeland" was the best new show of 2011, and one of the best shows on TV, period, that year. (And was named the best drama on television by Emmy voters on Sunday night.) Now the show's lead producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon have to follow up on that high-wire act. I'll have a review of the start of the season later today or tomorrow (hint: I was pleased), but I spoke with Gansa and Gordon last month about the transition from one season to the next, and how they intend to deal with what happened at the end of last year. Note that I cut a few spoiler-y passages out of the interview and will run them after the season premiere airs on Sunday night.
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<p>Joaquin Phoenix in 'The Master.'</p>

Joaquin Phoenix in 'The Master.'

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Roundup: Are we getting too precious about 'The Master?'

Plus: Parsing the Bat's Oscar hopes, and 'Won't Back Down' pushback

As with most works of high-reaching ambition that critics can't quite agree on -- even those that like it -- "The Master" continues to inspire some of the knottiest film writing of the year. For her part, Stephanie Zacharek admires the film, but suggests a lot of her colleagues feel it's entitled to more thought and attention than it really is. She spins that into an observation of lofty, anti-mainstream festival titles in general: "There’s a danger in erecting false walls around different corners of the culture, of claiming some movies deserve our respect by virtue of who made them and of how they’re made, regardless of whether they arouse any passion in us." [The AV Club]

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<p>Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem in Sam Mendes' &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem in Sam Mendes' "Skyfall."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Contender Countdown: Could 'Skyfall' land James Bond a best picture nomination?

Plus: Who drops out of the top 10?

When is an Oscar Bait picture not an Oscar bait picture?  Or, if it meets the qualifications of an Oscar Bait picture should it always be considered one?

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<p>Malcolm and Angie of &quot;Survivor: Philippines&quot;</p>

Malcolm and Angie of "Survivor: Philippines"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Philippines' - 'Don't Be Blinded by the Headlights'

Nocturnal cuddling leads to tribal tensions
Pre-credit sequence. Team Russell returns to camp after booting Zany Zane. "I know it might sound trite, but thanks guys," Russell's determined not to fall back into the Tribal Chief thing again. He's going to step back and let somebody else go on the chopping block in they fail. On cue, it's chilly in the Philippines and Angie and Malcolm are cuddling up at night, limbs intertwined. She insists there's nothing going on, but Malcolm is already instructing himself not to get "booty blind." "With Angie, literally it's a booby trap and Malcolm is falling for it," says Roxy, who worries that Angie and Malcolm could be dangerous together. Oh heck no. Don't take my Angie away, Team Russell!
 
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<p>Meryl&nbsp;Streep in &quot;Hope Springs&quot;</p>

Meryl Streep in "Hope Springs"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

The Long Shot: The drawbacks of being a wallflower

Why everyman stories get short shrift with the Academy

On Monday, a colleague pointed out to me that the next Academy Awards were, to the day, five months away. Strangely, he said it in the panicked tone of someone on whom Christmas has too swiftly crept up, whereas all I could think of was how dauntingly far away it sounded. Five months is a long time to parse the possibility of a third consecutive Best Picture from the Weinstein stable, to debate Philip Seymour Hoffman’s category placement, and for Jeff Wells to denigrate Daniel Day-Lewis’s Abe Lincoln accent; this weekly column, meanwhile, will have mulled over more than enough unseen variables before the season is out. Welcome.

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<p>Sophie Simmons auditions for &quot;The X Factor.&quot; Oh and her parents are Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed.</p>

Sophie Simmons auditions for "The X Factor." Oh and her parents are Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed.

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Wednesday - Auditions #5

Some day, 'The Voice' and 'X Factor' will move beyond auditions

"X Factor" time!

Sorry I couldn't do my normal Eastern Time live-blog of the auditions, but I was fasting and atoning for me sins.

But now it's time for an evening of recapping, so let's get back to "X Factor" auditions, which seem to be lasting forever, just like the auditions on "The Voice." Between the two shows, we're up to 12 singing audition episodes and the 2012-2013 season is three nights old.

That's crazy.

More after the break...

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