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<p>Gael Garcia Bernal (left) in &quot;No.&quot;</p>

Gael Garcia Bernal (left) in "No."

Credit: Fabula/Canana Films

Review: 'No' and 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'

Chilean auteur Pablo Larrain delivers the film of the fest so far

CANNES - With this year's Competition still searching for that unifying critical and audience hit -- though the two biggest hitters thus far, Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone" and Cristian Mungiu's "Beyond the Hills," have proven excitingly and necessarily divisive -- the longest and loudest rounds of applause appear to have been heard in the sidebars. Two of the four films I saw today elicited that kind of response, with audience members cheering and reprise-clapping at odd points in the closing credits in the manner that comfortably exceeds required festival politeness and firmly establishes that they like you, they really like you.

One of these successes, an Un Certain Regard selection that had already slayed the Sundance crowds a few months back, was to be expected; the other, from the lower-profile Directors' Fortnight selection, was more of a surprise. Chilean director Pablo Larrain hasn't, until now, been the kind of filmmaker to court such all-round approval: his cold-blooded political comedies "Tony Manero" and "Post Mortem" are something of an acquired taste even to those not alienated by their contextually non-transferrable Pinochet-rule milieu. Indeed, following its Venice premiere two years ago, I remember the closing credits of "Post Mortem" being greeted by nothing noisier than the stunned shuffle of footsteps as viewers made a beeline for the nearest stiff drink.

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<p>Afghan Whigs</p>

Afghan Whigs

Afghan Whigs debut first new song in five years, 'See and Don't See'

Download the track for free: worth waiting for a cover?

"The only way I can get through the day..." is to check out this new song from the reunited Afghan Whigs.

"See and Don't See" is a damned bummer of a cover, but great news for fans of the band -- which hasn't performed together live in 13 years. This track is their first new one in five, after in 2007 they dropped "Unbreakable: A Retrospective 1990-2006" which contained two new tracks recorded when the Greg Dulli-led band reunited temporarily to record "I'm a Soldier" and "Magazine."

The band officially split in 2001 and last released their album "1965" in 1998. Next week, though, they'll take the stage once again on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" on May 22 and will play New York's Bowery Ballroom on May 23. They have 28 dates on slate; stops include Lollapalooza, plus at All Tomorrow's Parties' New Jersey edition, which Dulli is curating for a night.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 129
Credit: NBC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 129

Dan and Alan talk CBS and CW upfronts, plus spring finales

The

Happy Friday, Boys & Girls.
 
As promised, it's a bonus installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
We start with CBS & The CW's upfronts and the news associated with that, then we answered a pilot of upfronts-related mail and then delved into a slew of finales, including "How I Met Your Mother" and "Smash."
 
In order to fit the "House" finale into our next podcast, we'll be waiting til Tuesday. But with two podcasts this week, we're sure you can wait that extra day. 
 
Oh and we didn't mention it on this week's podcast, but next week we're going to announce our Summer Rewatch. So GET EXCITED!!!!
 
Friday's breakdown:
Upfronts - CBS and The CW (00:00:50 - 00:25:30)
Upfronts-themed Letters (00:25:50 - 00:39:40)
"Parks and Recreation" finale (00:39:45 - 00:46:15)
"How I Met Your Mother" finale (00:46:20 - 00:54:00)
"Smash" finale (00:54:00 - 01:03:00)
"Suburgatory" (01:03:00 - 01:14:30)

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.] 

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

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 128: Upfronts 2012, Part 2: CBS/CW

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 128: Upfronts 2012, Part 2: CBS/CW

Dan and Alan also start reviewing season finales with 'Parks and Rec,' 'Smash' and more

The

It's Upfront Week, part 2, which means you get a bonus podcast from us in which we break down the CBS and CW schedules and answer a few upfront-related letters before we start moving on to discussing some notable season finales. More of that to come next week (likely on Tuesday instead of Monday), along with the announcement of this summer's rewatch.

The line-up: 

Upfronts - CBS and The CW (00:00:50 - 00:25:30)
Upfronts-themed Letters (00:25:50 - 00:39:40)
"Parks and Recreation" finale (00:39:45 - 00:46:15)
"How I Met Your Mother" finale (00:46:20 - 00:54:00)
"Smash" finale (00:54:00 - 01:03:00)
"Suburgatory" finale (01:03:00 - 01:14:30)
 
As we discuss towards the end of the show, we will likely have two podcasts next week, but also probably not on Monday. It will be catch as catch can. Follow our blogs, iTunes, the RSS feed, Twitter, etc., to have some sense of when a new podcast has been published.

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>Sacha Baron Cohen in&nbsp;&quot;The&nbsp;Dictator&quot;</p>

Sacha Baron Cohen in "The Dictator"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'The Dictator'

Sacha Baron Cohen's latest hits theaters today

I haven't caught up with Sacha Baron Cohen's latest shenanigans in "The Dictator" yet but the wife thinks it looks funny so maybe we'll make it out this weekend. I do get the sense that things are running a bit thin and hope Cohen can jump into this Freddy Mercury thing ASAP for a nice shift (not that collaborations with Tim Burton and Martin Scorsese haven't been refreshing). Anyway, I imagine many of you will be seeing it, too, so when/if you do, head on back here with your thoughts.

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<p>Bill Murray as FDR in &quot;Hyde Park on&nbsp;Hudson&quot;</p>

Bill Murray as FDR in "Hyde Park on Hudson"

Credit: Focus Features

Bill Murray takes on FDR in the trailer for 'Hyde Park on Hudson'

Could the esteemed cast garner awards consideration at year's end?

Focus Features has an interesting little slate of films to pitch this season. There's Wes Anderson's latest, "Moonrise Kingdom," which opened Cannes earlier this week to mostly favorable reviews. Indeed, I found it to be one of his best, a charming mark of maturation for the filmmaker. There's also Joe Wright's big adaptation "Anna Karenina," which looks to be the heavyweight in the stable.

Then there's "Hyde Park on Hudson," director Roger Michell's latest. From the official synopsis: "In June 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor host the King and Queen of England for a weekend at the Roosevelt home at Hyde Park on Hudson, in upstate New York – the first-ever visit of a reigning English monarch to America. With Britain facing imminent war with Germany, the Royals are desperately looking to FDR for support.

"But international affairs must be juggled with the complexities of FDR’s domestic establishment, as wife, mother, and mistresses all conspire to make the royal weekend an unforgettable one. Seen through the eyes of Daisy, Franklin’s neighbor and intimate, the weekend will produce not only a special relationship between two great nations, but, for Daisy – and through her, for us all – a deeper understanding of the mysteries of love and friendship."

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<p>Reggie Watts</p>

Reggie Watts

Interview: Reggie Watts talks 'Central Park,' Adele, Jon Hamm and Radiohead

'Comedy Bang! Bang!', touring and... Steel Dan is an ugly band

Reggie Watts kicked off a headlining tour this week, but it wouldn’t be fair to say that the stint is in support of one single thing.

The musician/comedian/musical comedian dropped “Reggie Watts: A Live In Central Park” on CD/DVD on Tuesday, with airings having ramped up the week before on Comedy Central. He’ll be featured in each episode of new IFC show “Comedy Bang! Bang,” which debuts on June 8 (you can get a taste of him collaborating with Jon Hamm on the theme of “Taxi” here). He’s warming up for festival season with stop-offs like Bonnaroo and Electric Forest this summer, and he’s dropped off everywhere from SF Sketchfest to Sasquatch! to Fun Fun Fun. He continues to work with Louis C.K. on his show “Louie,” writing incidental music, and made his own score to Ridley Scott's "Legend."

The Williamsburg, Brooklyn resident opened for Conan O’Brien on his “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour” last year and gained rep online through the word-of-mouth success of “Why Sh*t So Crazy?” from 2010 (featuring “F*ck Sh*t Stack”) and his CollegeHumor “Blowjobs” bit. He also held down a high-profile gig singing with LCD Soundsystem at their last show at Madison Square Garden in 2011, a performance captured in “Shut Up and Play the Hits.”

Watts is mesmerizing to watch, as he blends pre-planned comedy bits and banter with himself in with improvised music composition, beat boxing, experimental motifs and rapping. He looks like a crazy person. He can make himself sound like Chaka Khan and Fred Rogers in the same breath.  

Below, we talk about “Central Park,” Jack White, lazy pop production, All Tomorrow’s Parties and just how ugly Steely Dan are.

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Princess Merida, the heroine of Disney/Pixar's "Brave," voiced by Kelly Macdonald
Princess Merida, the heroine of Disney/Pixar's "Brave," voiced by Kelly Macdonald
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Pixar's 'Brave' to premiere at grand opening of Dolby Theatre

The event will be held in conjunction with the 2012 LA Film Festival

On the heels of the recent news that Dolby Laboratories has wrangled naming rights to the Hollywood & Highland theatre (formerly known as the Kodak) that has played host to concerts, performance events and, of course, the annual Academy Awards ceremony, Walt Disney Pictures has announced that the "grand opening" of the venue will coincide with the world premiere of Disney/Pixar's "Brave." The June 17 event will take place in conjunction with the Los Angeles Film Festival.

"This is the first of many exclusive and exciting events—from movie premieres to awards ceremonies—in which Dolby and our technologies will play a featured role," said Dolby executive VP of sales and marketing via press release.

As part of the naming rights announcement earlier this month, it was noted that Dolby "will continue to update the theatre with innovative, world-class technologies to ensure that the theatre remains state-of-the-art, beginning with the immediate installation of its recently released Dolby® Atmos™ sound technology." The "Brave" screening will be presented in Dolby 3D.

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<p>Kerry Washington and Jeff Perry in &quot;Scandal.&quot;</p>

Kerry Washington and Jeff Perry in "Scandal."

Credit: ABC

The Morning Round-Up: 'Grey's Anatomy' & 'Scandal' finale reviews

Shonda Rhimes' two Thursday shows go out with explosive episodes

It's a Shonda Rhimes-themed edition of the Morning Round-Up, with thoughts on last night's season finales of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal," coming up just as soon as I ask you to stab me in the face...

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<p>Tina Fey, Mary Steenburgen and Elizabeth Banks in &quot;30 Rock.&quot;</p>

Tina Fey, Mary Steenburgen and Elizabeth Banks in "30 Rock."

Credit: NBC

Season finale review: '30 Rock' - 'What Will Happen to the Gang Next Year?'

Avery and Jack head back to the altar, Criss won't let Liz bail, and Kenneth gets a roommate

A review of the "30 Rock" season finale coming up just as soon as I'm living in a Bill O'Reilly erotic novel...

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<p>Aniella Arena is the star of Matteo Garrone's biting look at the madness of our modern media age, 'Reality'</p>

Aniella Arena is the star of Matteo Garrone's biting look at the madness of our modern media age, 'Reality'

Credit: Fandango Portobello

Review: Garrone's 'Reality' a biting satiricial Job story for the age of reality TV

Another strong entry from the director of the acclaimed 'Gomorrah'

CANNES - Matteo Garrone made an international splash with his film "Gomorrah" in 2008, an unblinking look at the modern Mafia in Italy, and deservedly so.  The film had a remarkable sense of time and place, and there was an unvarnished honesty to it that stripped away decades of cinema's romanticism of organized crime.  This morning, his new film "Reality" made its debut, and it is a wildly different type of film, a biting social satire about the modern age and its media-driven obsession with fame.  It is a Job story, at times quite funny, at other times painful, but always shot with a precise, masterful eye, and impeccably performed by the entire ensemble.

"Big Brother" is a global phenomenon at this point, and it seems based on the reading I've done that it is bigger in several countries than it is in the US.  Domestically, it's a solid ratings performer, but in some places, it seems like it is a pop culture juggernaut.  In "Reality," Garrone looks at the pervasive influence of the show and the way it drives one poor bastard in particular completely mad, and the way the film is structured, it makes its points clearly and with a brute force wit.  It helps that Aniello Arena, who stars as Luciano, has a great movie face and a lovely soulful quality that shines through even in the film's strangest or darkest moments.  Garrone makes this an experiential movie, almost all of it absorbed from Luciano's perspective, and he is a captivating lead.

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<p>Kodi Smit-McPhee voices Norman in Laika Studios' new stop-motion animated feature &quot;ParaNorman&quot;</p>

Kodi Smit-McPhee voices Norman in Laika Studios' new stop-motion animated feature "ParaNorman"

Credit: Focus Features

'ParaNorman' hopes to take stop-motion animation to scary new heights

A visit to Laika studios and the magic of a 3D printer

PORTLAND, OR - In just a few weeks, Focus Features and Laika Studios' "Paranorman" will finally be finished.  Directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell will turn in a final print and mix and then anxiously wait for audience and critical reaction on Aug. 17.

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