Latest Blog Posts

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 140

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 140

Dan and Alan talk TCA Press Tour, 'Breaking Bad' and more
Happy Whatever-Day-Today-Is, Boys & Girls!
 
It's time for our third straight mid-week installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
Two weeks ago, we were delayed by the start of Comic-Con. Last week, we were delayed for the Emmy nominations. And this week, we were delayed by the start of the Television Critics Association press tour and the challenging of finding the necessary pocket of recording time.
 
In this week's gabfast, we discuss the first four days of press tour, we answer a few pieces of Comic-Con-based mail and we offer this week's reviews of "Breaking Bad" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
 
Today's breakdown:
TCA Press Tour (00:00:00 - 00:40:30)
Comic-Con Listener Mail (00:41:25 - 00:49:40)
"Breaking Bad" (00:49:40 - 01:03:20)
"Buffy the Vampire slayer" (01:03:25 - 01:13:30)
Read Full Post
Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 140: Press tour, 'Breaking Bad' & 'Buffy'

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 140: Press tour, 'Breaking Bad' & 'Buffy'

Dan and Alan discuss the early doings for the Television Critics Association

The

Dan and I are at press tour together, which means it's time for an in-person installment of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. We're punchy enough that it took some prompting for Dan to remember what day it was, but we talked quite a bit about the tour so far, answered your mail and did the usual "Buffy" and "Breaking Bad" pieces.

The line-up: 

TCA Press Tour (00:00:00 - 00:40:30)
Comic-Con Listener Mail (00:41:25 - 00:49:40)
"Breaking Bad" (00:49:40 - 01:03:20)
"Buffy the Vampire slayer" (01:03:25 - 01:13:30)
 
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.
Read Full Post
<p>Ben Stiller took a moment at the press day for 'The Watch' to talk about the in-development sequel to his 2001 film, 'Zoolander'</p>

Ben Stiller took a moment at the press day for 'The Watch' to talk about the in-development sequel to his 2001 film, 'Zoolander'

Credit: HitFix

Ben Stiller talks about the progress on 'Zoolander 2'

It sounds like progress is being made on the long-anticipated sequel

When I sat down with the cast of "The Watch," they were all together as a group, which made it hard to ask people about their individual projects.

Even so, I was curious to see if Ben Stiller is any closer to kicking off production on "Zoolander 2," which he's been aggressively talking about on and off for the last few years.  The first film was a casualty of its post-9/11 release date, only finding an audience gradually once it came home.  That's not uncommon for comedies, especially comedies that are centered around big character choices.  Look at the way the "Austin Powers" films built in popularity, or the way "Macgruber" continues to gain in popularity over time.

"Zoolander" is one of the strangest characters that Stiller ever played, and it will be interesting to see if a second film can take all the things people liked about that first film and expand on them in smart and surprising ways.  He's been working with Justin Theroux on a script for a while now, and we've heard occasional updates from him about the progress.

Read Full Post
"All the Right Moves"

"All the Right Moves"

Credit: Oxygen

Exclusive: Preview 'SYTYCD' alum Travis Wall's new docu-series 'All the Right Moves'

'All the Right Moves' goes behind the scenes of the dance world

Who can resist watching skilled dancers do their thing? Oxygen is hoping the answer to that is no one, as they will be launching a new docu-series dedicated to the art on Tues. July 31 (9 p.m., 8 p.m. central). Here's your first taste of "All the Right Moves," which chronicles Emmy-nominated choreographer (and "So You Think You Can Dance" alum) Travis Wall's efforts to start a dance studio called Shaping Sound with his friends Teddy Forance (a "Dancing with the Stars" dancer), Nick Lazzarino ("SYTYCD" season 1) and Kyle Robinson (featured on "Dancing with the Stars"). I expect great dancing, tears and (given this clip) occasionally embarrassing full-body high fives. Works for me!

Read Full Post
<p>Carly Rae Jepsen at the Teen Choice Awards</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen at the Teen Choice Awards

Credit: AP Photo

Carly Rae Jepsen breaks Lady Gaga's record on the Billboard Hot 100

What watershed moment does she reach?

Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” spends its seventh week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, further sealing its status as the song of the summer.

By remaining in the pole position, “Call” once again locks Maroon 5’s “Payphone” featuring Wiz Khalifa out of the top spot. The tune stays at No. 2 for the sixth week, although it does remain No. 1 on the Radio Songs chart. 

Its continued strength at radio could mean that “Payphone” will finally ring in to the top slot next week, although it may have to fend off a charge from Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake,” which stays at No. 3.

Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” rises one spot to No. 4, swapping places with Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring Kimbra. Similarly, Flo Rida’s “Whistle” rises 7-6, switching spots with Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been.”  David Guetta’s “Titanium” featuring Sia stays at No. 8, while Usher’s “Scream” rises one spot to No. 9, trading positions with Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss).”

For folks who like to slice the chart pie finely, Jepsen’s seventh week at No. 1 means she has logged more time at No. 1 with a song than any other female solo artist in Interscope Records’ history. This week, “Maybe” surpasses Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which spent six weeks at No. 1, according to Billboard.

 

Read Full Post
<p>Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano co-star in the new romantic fable, 'Ruby Sparks'</p>

Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano co-star in the new romantic fable, 'Ruby Sparks'

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Review: 'Ruby Sparks' is charming and wise take on expectations and love

A big metaphor gives the cast and filmmakers room to explore ideas fully

"Ruby Sparks" does not exist in some vacuum of wholesale originality.  You could argue that the "Pygmalion" myth is just one of the many stories that have covered similar ground in the past, both narratively and thematically.  But the film takes a very grounded approach to its one big leap of fantasy, and the result is a film that offers up a warm and wise fable about the way we romanticize people at the start of a relationship, only to be disappointed as ugly, messy reality assures itself.

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris managed to earn a Best Picture Oscar nomination for their first film, but that was 2006, and this is their first film since then.  It's hard not to draw some parallel between them and Calvin Weir-Fields, played by Paul Dano, who was a successful novelist with an acclaimed first novel that was released before he was eighteen but who now finds himself crippled by writer's block.  He's been seeing Dr. Rosenthal (Elliott Gould) to try to figure out what's causing his block, but making no real progress.  Rosenthal asks him to try a writing exercise one day based on Calvin's confession that the main reason he got a dog was so that people would stop to play with the dog and give him a perfect excuse for conversation.  Rosenthal asks him to imagine someone stopping to play with the dog and write down the conversation, and when Calvin tries that, he imagines a girl.  No, he imagines "the" girl.  And once he starts, he suddenly can't stop.  He cranks out page after page, describing this girl in such detail that she starts to feel real to him.

And then, one morning, he wakes up and she's actually in his house.

Read Full Post
<p>Carly Rae Jepsen</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen talks collabs with Justin Bieber and LMFAO's Red Foo

She's definitely looking beyond 'Call Me Maybe'

Carly Rae Jepsen is still riding atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “Call Me Maybe,” but her fans are clamoring to hear more about another song from the burgeoning pop princess: her collaboration with Justin Bieber for her debut album in the U.S. out in September.

Jepsen is signed to the label Bieber started with his manager, Scooter Braun, so it makes sense that they would work together.  She confirmed to MTV that they worked together on a track, but she’s keeping mum for now on other details about the duet. “The Justin song, i’m kind of sworn to secrecy on because I think we want to release it together at one moment,” she told MTV.  Jepsen previously revealed that the Bieber and Toby Gad wrote the tune and brought it to her to perform.

She would, however, spill on some of the other tracks, including a song called “This Kiss,” which she wrote with Matthew Koma and LMFAO’s Red Foo, which she describes as a blending of both her and LMFAO’s wild style.  Overall, she says the album is pop and dance pop.

As you know, Jepsen is current climbing the charts with another collaboration: “Good Time,” her duet with Owl City. Watch the video here.



 

Read Full Post
<p>The &quot;New Girl&quot;&nbsp;roommates try to explain the rules of True American to Dermot Mulroney.</p>

The "New Girl" roommates try to explain the rules of True American to Dermot Mulroney.

Credit: FOX

Press Tour 2012: 'New Girl' producers lay down True American rules (sort of)

Do even Dave Finkel and Brett Baer know how to play the historical drinking game?

The rules and origins of True American, a drinking game glimpsed in a season 1 episode of FOX's "New Girl," are like shadows of a whisper of a rumor. Zooey Deschanel's Jess attempted to describe the game as "50 percent drinking game, 50 percent life-sized Candyland," but her roommates immediately disputed her math.

All fans of the show know for sure are the following:

Read Full Post
"The Glee Project"

"The Glee Project"

Credit: Oxygen

'The Glee Project' recap: 'Tenacity'

A one shot video goes the distance - sort of

This recap is coming to you a little late, as I was at the TCA party for NBC (and sister channels like Oxygen) where I got a chance to chat with four of "Glee Project" warblers -- Aylin, Shanna, Abraham and Ali. I'll be writing that up soon, but I have to say they're just cute as buttons in person. Abraham promised that tonight's episode was going to be must-see television, so fingers crossed we get some stand-out performances. With only seven of them left, these kids rarely belt out anything less than stellar numbers, so I'm pretty sure he didn't oversell it.

Read Full Post
<p>Rainn Wilson will likely switch from &quot;The Office&quot;&nbsp;to a Dwight-centric spin-off midway through this season.</p>

Rainn Wilson will likely switch from "The Office" to a Dwight-centric spin-off midway through this season.

Credit: NBC

Press Tour 2012: NBC president on 'The Office,' Dwight spin-off and more

Will any of the returning shows get advance warning to make a series finale?

Even though the bulk of yesterday's NBC executive session at press tour was spent discussing the network's comedy strategy — and the hope of finding shows with broader appeal than "Community," "30 Rock," etc. — there was still more to discuss about those comedies. So when I ran into new NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke at NBC's press tour party, I asked her about the current plans for an "Office" spin-off built around Dwight, the state of "The Office" itself, and what might happen with all the marginally-rated returning NBC series that have shorter-than-normal episode orders for this season.

Read Full Post
<p>Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey and Tye Sheridan in &quot;Mud.&quot;</p>

Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey and Tye Sheridan in "Mud."

Credit: Everest Entertainment

Are distributors letting 'Mud' slide?

Jeff Nichols's latest was a hit at Cannes, so why has no one bought it?

"Mud," the third feature to date from "Take Shelter" director Jeff Nichols, has been on my mind a fair bit recently -- more than I'd customarily expect for a film I only kinda-sorta liked when I saw it two months ago. But I'm wearing my pundit's hat rather than my critic's one as I write this, and as the first rumblings of the fall festival season are heard in the near distance, one question about the film seems rather pertinent: put plainly, where the hell is it?

Of the 22 films that unspooled in Competition at Cannes back in May, 16 have already secured US distribution. The exceptions are, by and large, understandable ones: Carlos Reygadas's "Post Tenebras Lux" is proudly impenetrable esoterica, with or without a Best Director award, "After the Battle" is politically remote and critically drubbed, while "Paradise: Love" is an explicit arthouse provocation that broaches touchy themes of race and female sexuality. Alain Resnais's "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" may have more name appeal than any of these, but its concentric theatricality makes it a mighty hard sell to non-French audiences.

Read Full Post
Toronto Film Festival 2012: First Selections A-Z

Toronto Film Festival 2012: First Selections A-Z

New images from some this year's most anticipated films

The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first 62 selections for the 2012 edition of the annual awards season kick-off Tuesday and critics are already salivating over the line up.  With new films from Terrence Malick ("To The Wonder"), Neil Jordan ("Byzantium"), Noah Baumbach ("Frances Ha"), Ben Affleck ("Argo"), the Wachowskis ("Cloud Atlas"), Joss Whedon ("Much Ado About Nothing"), Joe Wright ("Anna Karenina"), David O. Russell ("Silver Lining Playbook"), Mike Newell ("Great Expectations"), Andrew Adamson ("Mr. Pip"), Derek Cianfrance ("The Place Beyond the Pines"), Dustin Hoffman ("Quartet") and Rian Johnson ("Looper") this edition of the festival already appears to be substantially improved over last year's snorefest.  Of course, everyone needs to actually see the films in question, but in the meantime we have weeks to speculate (or pray).

Read Full Post
BLOGS BY NAME