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<p>Yvonne Strahovski from &quot;Chuck&quot;&nbsp;will be guest-starring on &quot;Dexter.&quot;</p>

Yvonne Strahovski from "Chuck" will be guest-starring on "Dexter."

Credit: NBC

'Dexter' casts 'Chuck 'alum Yvonne Strahovski for season 7 guest arc

The former spy will go to work helping out Miami Metro in several episodes next season

Credit to Showtime for casting one of the few guest actors who might convince me to give "Dexter" another try, as they've just announced that "Chuck" alum Yvonne Strahovski will be doing a multi-episode story arc in the upcoming seventh season.

Strahovski will play Hannah McKay, whom the press notes describe as "a strong, independent woman with a past that she's struggled to put behind her." Miami Metro recruits Hannah to help solve some old cases, Dexter works alongside her, begins to wonder if there's more to her than meets the eye, etc., etc., etc. It's "Dexter." You know how this works.

That said, loyalty to "Chuck" and admiration for Strahovski's work — along with some other interesting guest stars like Ray Stevenson and Jason Gedrick — might lead me to give the show one more look when it returns on September 30.

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<p>Larry Hagman returns as J.R. Ewing in the new &quot;Dallas.&quot;</p>

Larry Hagman returns as J.R. Ewing in the new "Dallas."

Credit: TNT

Review: TNT's 'Dallas' brings back Larry Hagman and friends

But old-school stars Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray upstage the next generation
Larry Hagman's eyebrows are a character unto themselves in TNT's new "Dallas" series. They are beautiful and terrifying, white and expansive and at once a sign of the frailty of old age and the endurance of one of the biggest television stars of all time.
 
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<p>Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise are just two of the celebrities who seem to be having a preposterous amount of the fun in the very silly 'Rock Of Ages'</p>

Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise are just two of the celebrities who seem to be having a preposterous amount of the fun in the very silly 'Rock Of Ages'

Credit: Warner Bros/New Line

Review: 'Rock Of Ages' is movie-star karaoke and oh-so-silly

Without the social weight of 'Hairspray,' Shankman serves up pure souffle

Musicals are one of the most unusual genres in all of film, and I am fascinated by any attempt to create one, especially in a modern age where filmgoers do not have them as part of their daily cinematic diet.

There is a moment early on in "Rock Of Ages" where Julianne Hough, playing Sherrie Christian, is on a bus on her way to the big city, ready to make her dreams of music stardom come true.  She begins to sing "Sister Christian," and while the song choice may have made '80s survivors smile, it wasn't until the rest of the passengers on the bus also begin to sing that the audience around me started to laugh.  It's that moment where any musical makes the leap from reality to the world of the movie, and if your audience is willing to go with you, you're gold.

Justin Theroux and Allan Loeb are credited with the adaptation here, along with Chris D'Arienzo who created the piece for the stage, and it's painting in big bright primary colors.  There is not a subtle moment in the movie.  The entire thing is pitched at this sort of full-volume level, everything spelled out with the most literal interpretation of song lyrics and the most exaggerated character types, so there's no chance you're going to miss anything.  "Prometheus," this is not.

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<p>Sutton Foster in her showgirl days on &quot;Bunheads.&quot;</p>

Sutton Foster in her showgirl days on "Bunheads."

Credit: ABC Family

Series premiere review: 'Bunheads' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new ABC Family drama?

I posted my review of ABC Family's "Bunheads" on Saturday morning, and now that the pilot has aired, I want to talk specifically about a couple of things, just as soon as I develop a dirty ventriliquist act...

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<p>Usher</p>

Usher

Credit: AP Photo

Album Review: Usher's 'Looking 4 Myself' shines

The singer shows off a diverse musical palette

Usher may be “Looking 4 Myself,” as his new album’s title indicates, but he certainly isn’t at a loss when he’s searching for musical styles. On his most adventurous album yet, Usher takes styles that have worked for him in the past, whether it was his smooth swagger or his dance leanings and turns them on their head.  “Looking 4 Myself” is not so much a reinvention as an exploration of different styles by a confident artist secure enough to abandon past formulas.

The result is an inventive, stylish album, out June 12, that could be heavily rewarded come Grammy time.

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<p>Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler sat down together for a joint interview about their new comedy 'That's My Boy'</p>

Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler sat down together for a joint interview about their new comedy 'That's My Boy'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Sandler and Samberg in a two-for-one 'That's My Boy' interview

Plus what happens when Adam Sandler meets Film Nerd 2.0?

My wife is in school these days, which means there are many moments where I am the only person available to take care of Toshi and Allen, even if I've got work that needs to get done.  It can make for some exciting schedules on certain days, and a recent Saturday was a perfect example of that.

We were up early for Toshi's final baseball game of the season, and then we had his end-of-the-season party at his coach's house with all the parents and players, a great group of folks.  And almost immediately after that wrapped up, we had to head down to the Four Seasons so I could do my interviews for "That's My Boy," Adam Sandler's new comedy.

Walking into a room with kids in tow totally changes the dynamic.  In the case of Sandler and Samberg, the last room we did that afternoon, as soon as we walked in, Sandler was up on his feet.

He stood in front of the boys, looking down at them.  "I'll bet I can guess your ages."  He pointed at Toshi and guessed correctly.  "Six, right?"  Then he pointed at Allen.  "And you're three."

"No," said, Allen.  "I'm four.  I turned four on my birthday!"

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 134
Credit: ABC Family

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 134

Dan and Alan talk 'Bunheads,' 'Dallas,' 'Falling Skies' and 'Mad Men' finale

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls. 
 
Seems like we haven't had a Monday installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast for a few weeks. So... Here!
 
In this week's podcast episode [only one this week], we discuss the "Mad Men" finale, the premiere of ABC Family's "Bunheads," TNT's "Dallas" and Falling Skies" and then this week's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Rewatch episode "Teacher's Pet."
 
Lots to talk about and I am, unfortunately, a bit brain-dead this week. Apologies.
 
Here's the breakdown:
"Bunheads" (00:00:40 - 00:16:45)
"Dallas" (00:16:45 - 00:29:55)
"Falling Skies" (00:30:00 - 00:38:50)
"Mad Men" finale (00:39:40 - 01:11:45)
Buffy: "Teacher's Pet" (01:11:45 - 01:22:00)
 

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.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 134: 'Mad Men' finale, 'Bunheads,' 'Dallas' & 'Falling Skies'
Credit: AMC

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 134: 'Mad Men' finale, 'Bunheads,' 'Dallas' & 'Falling Skies'

Dan and Alan also review the 'Teacher's Pet' episode of 'Buffy' season 1

The

Last week, we did two installments of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast: one where we went on at some length and depth about "Game of Thrones" and "Mad Men," the other with quick hit reviews of new and returning shows. This week's only podcast is a blend of the two, with brief-ish reviews of "Bunheads," "Dallas" and "Falling Skies," plus a longer discussion of the "Mad Men" finale and this week's "Buffy" chatter.

The line-up: 

"Bunheads" (00:00:40 - 00:16:45)
"Dallas" (00:16:45 - 00:29:55)
"Falling Skies" (00:30:00 - 00:38:50)
"Mad Men" finale (00:39:40 - 01:11:45)
Buffy: "Teacher's Pet" (01:11:45 - 01:22:00)
 
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>Justin Bieber's &quot;As Long as You Love Me&quot;</p>

Justin Bieber's "As Long as You Love Me"

Listen: Justin Bieber stays true on new song 'As Long As You Love Me'

Fourth tune from 'Believe' surfaces before album drops next week

All the Beliebers are watching their calendars, holding their collective breaths, for June 19: the date when “Believe,” the new album from Justin Bieber comes out.

As has occurred the past two weeks, today we get a new song from the album in advance of its release. This time, it’s “As Long As You Love Me,” featuring Big Sean, and it has nothing to do with the Backstreet Boys song of the same name. A 90-second snippet appeared on iTunes on Monday. Listen to it here.

No, on this one, which features a slow, stuttering, electro-clash chorus, Bieber seems to be in an Olympic frame of mind, as he warbles: As long as you love me, I’ll be your platinum, I’ll be your silver, I’ll be your gold.” He’s so crazy for the girl, that it doesn’t matter if they’re homeless or broke. Please he manages to work in Destiny’s Child into the lyrics.

Big Sean comes in with a rap that further backs up the “love is all that matters theme,” and he’s got it bad for his lady, who’s his “hallelujah.”

As with the three songs we’ve heard previously, Bieber is all about the love on this album. Each song, whether it’s “Boyfriend,” “Die in Your Arms,” or “All Around the World” featuring Ludacris, has celebrated love of some kind, whether it be romantic or universal.  What’s been missing, and we’ll know better when we hear the rest of the album next week, is something that feels like a stone-cold radio smash. As Billboard reported last week, after “Boyfriend’s” stellar start, it slipped back down the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, but Bieber’s label fought and pushed that rock back uphill to get radio to give it another chance.

As we’ve previously written, for all his success—including recently selling out his forthcoming arena tour—Bieber has not become a radio star. We’ll see if it happens with the tracks from “Believe.”

We’re holding off grading “As Long As You Love Me” until we get the full song on Tuesday.

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<p>Fiona Apple in &quot;Every Single Night&quot;</p>

Fiona Apple in "Every Single Night"

Watch Fiona Apple's unsettling 'Every Single Night' video: Stream album in full

June 19 release available for full stream

As I mentioned in my review of Fiona Apple's show at SXSW this year, part of her beauty is her ability to tread that line of perfect sanity and snapping into brambles of a nervous breakdown. Her single "Every Single Night" -- with its close-proximity vocal recording and its war-cry chorus -- has the same appeal.

And now its music video does too. Poor Fiona is half-consumed by a octopus and needs lay down with the buffalo-headed man every single night. She is followed and afraid at points, and then utterly alone at others, weaving those spindly arms through one bizarre nocturnal rite after another. The snails are cute... her rolling around in them is not.

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<p>&quot;Wait... you're telling me that all of this is just a movie and you've got CLIPS from it?&quot;</p>

"Wait... you're telling me that all of this is just a movie and you've got CLIPS from it?"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Three new 'Amazing Spider-Man' clips feature chemistry, web-swinging, and The Lizard

We're just a few weeks away, so Sony's pulling out all the stops

We're in the home stretch now, with only a few weeks left until "The Amazing Spider-Man" arrives in theaters.

The film screened late last week for people doing interviews at the New York press day, and I assume we'll see it here in LA in the very near future.  I'm looking forward to it, and to make sure I don't carry the Raimi movies into the theater with me, I've made sure not to re-watch them or refer to them at all.  The last time I saw any of them was when "Spider-Man 3" was released, and at this point, I've got my general impressions of them, but that's about it.  Whatever Marc Webb and his cast and crew have done here, I'm going to judge it as its own film.

This is, of course, a key moment for Sony Pictures.  They've got a lot riding on this film.  In order to remain in the Spider-Man business, they need to keep producing films at a certain pace, and they are gambling big here by rebooting.  They had a proven creative team and a well-liked cast in place, so scrubbing all of that and starting over is about as risky as making a Spider-Man movie can be at this point.  Sure, the character is well-known around the world, and ultimately, the character is what they're selling, but if this is going to work, all the moving pieces have to come together.

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<p>Jude Law and Keira Knightley in &quot;Anna Karenina&quot;</p>

Jude Law and Keira Knightley in "Anna Karenina"

Credit: Focus Features

Off the Carpet: Setting the table for the 2012-2013 film awards season

First set of predictions (that are as good as the next guy's)

It's that time of year. Well, no, not THAT time. Awards season is still a healthy ways off and anyone giving it overtly serious consideration right now is in for a hurtin'. But with 2012's midway point fast approaching, it's a valid time to take stock of the film year so far, and to take a glance ahead at the season to come.

And yes, I suppose it's as good a time as any (on the early side of things) to update the sidebar predictions with uneducated stabs in the dark so we don't go on looking like we're living in the past.

First, a quick recap. Very quick, actually, as the only Best Picture stories of the year so far have been made on the basis of admittedly impressive box office success. But to me, considerations of "The Hunger Games" and "The Avengers" for serious Oscar contention feel a bit like hot air in the hot months with little else to grease the awards conversation gears.

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