Latest Blog Posts

<p>Connie Britton of &quot;American Horror Story&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Connie Britton of "American Horror Story"

Credit: FX

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 97

Dan and Alan review 'American Horror Story,' ' The League' and more


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls. It's Firewall & Iceberg Podcasting time.
In this week's installment, Sepinwall and I say mean things about "American Horror Story," lament Martin Scorsese's failure to recognize George Harrison's true masterpiece, answer a bunch of listener mail and then I talk about "Breaking Bad" and Alan cringes because he's already seen the finale and doesn't want to admit what he knows.
Here's the breakdown:
"American Horror Story" - 00:40 - 17:25
"The League" -- 28:45 - 36:00
Listener Mail - "Arrested Development" movie -- 36:15 - 42:00
Listener Mail - Future "Louie"s -- 42:00 - 49:45
Listener Mail - Crippling implausibilities -- 49:45 - 54:35
"Breaking Bad" - 54:40 - 01:08:00

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 here's the podcast...
Read Full Post
Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 97: 'American Horror Story,' 'The League,' 'Breaking Bad' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 97: 'American Horror Story,' 'The League,' 'Breaking Bad' & more

Dan and Alan also review Martin Scorsese's George Harrison documentary and talk 'Arrested Development' rumors


It's finally time for the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast to answer the most important question about fall TV: how awesome is the "American Horror Story" font? And should we even call it a font? Dan and I answer those questions and many more as we discuss: 

"American Horror Story" - 00:40 - 17:25
"George Harrison: Living in the Material World" -- 17:25 - 28:45
"The League" -- 28:45 - 36:00
Listener Mail - "Arrested Development" movie -- 36:15 - 42:00
Listener Mail - Future "Louie"s -- 42:00 - 49:45
Listener Mail - Crippling implausibilities -- 49:45 - 54:35
"Breaking Bad" - 54:40 - 01:08:00
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 at and/or if you have questions you want answered on the show. Please put the word "podcast" in your subject line to make it easy to track them down amid the hundreds of random press releases we get every day.
Read Full Post
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>


Credit: Peter Kramer/AP

Is Madonna headed to the Super Bowl half-time show?

What her representative told us

Is Madonna headed to the Super Bowl to perform the halftime show? Super Bowl site is reporting the Material Girl’s participation as fact.

Super Bowl XLVI will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Feb. 5.

The NFL declined to comment. Madonna’s representative told us there is “nothing to confirm” at this point.  That’s not a “no,” folks...

SBNation reports that Madonna has been asked to the big show before, including in 1998 and in 2000, but both gigs fell through.  Given that she’s working on a new album, the time could be right to tie in the release date with the game. Our last update about the album came in September with word that Madge was in New York working on the set with a planned Spring release. The first single could come as early as February. We’re betting it definitely does now.


Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;The cover of Scotty McCreery's &quot;Clear as Day&quot;</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

 The cover of Scotty McCreery's "Clear as Day"

Album Review: 'American Idol' Scotty McCreery's 'Clear As Day'

Set is so wholesome it should come with apple pie

Season 10 “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery is already showing signs of having a very healthy career at country radio. His first single, “I Love You This Big,” was a top 15 radio hit, and peppy, lightweight “The Trouble With Girls” is shaping up as a nice follow-up.

If you’re fans of those two songs, you’ll love his full debut, “Clear As Day,” out Oct. 4.

McCreery gathered tunes from many of Nashville’s finest songwriters here. While every tune is well crafted, like the first two singles, they are so generic in their embrace of a small town America and country “values” that the album could have come with a calendar from the ‘50s and a slice of apple pie. There’s even a mom who thanks God for “dirty dishes.” Calling June Cleaver.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender in "A Dangerous Method," a gala selection at the New York Film Festival
Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender in "A Dangerous Method," a gala selection at the New York Film Festival
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviewing NYFF across space and time

Rounding up the New York fest titles we've already discussed

Like the upcoming London Film Festival (which I will be covering first-hand from next week), the New York Film Festival is one of those greatest-hits affairs consisting mainly of cherry-picked successes from previous fests -- with just enough new content to keep it from becoming a residents-only deal.

This year, for example, securing the world premiere of "My Week With Marilyn" (which will be unveiled on Sunday) has attracted enough eyeballs to the NYFF that even its repeats of already-reviewed hits from Cannes, Venice, Toronto and the like prompt flutters of Twitter activity.

I'd love to be in New York to bring you festival views directly -- actually, I'd love to be in New York for many reasons -- but obviously, I am not. Happily, however, Kris and I have seen enough of the NYFF selections between us that we could reasonably fake a festival report if required. It needn't come to that, of course, but for those of you following the festival coverage, what follows is a quick round-up of the NYFF titles we've already reviewed and/or discussed here at In Contention.

Read Full Post
<p>Corey&nbsp;Stoll's performance as&nbsp;Ernest Hemingway in the well-liked &quot;Midnight in&nbsp;Paris&quot;&nbsp;is the kind of thing that could find traction in a wide open field.</p>

Corey Stoll's performance as Ernest Hemingway in the well-liked "Midnight in Paris" is the kind of thing that could find traction in a wide open field.

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Off the Carpet: Wide open supporting actor race could be headlined by vets

Chrisopher Plummer, Albert Brooks, Max Von Sydow and Nick Nolte lead early talk

Last week -- out of pure laziness because there frankly isn't much about the season worth discussing without assigning dubious meaning to this and that -- I shined a light on the lead actor category in this space. Today, for the same reasons, let's move on to Best Supporting Actor.

Anne and I took a stab at the supporting categories in Friday's Oscar Talk, but digging in a bit on the fellows, it's exciting how wide open the field appears to be. When your best bet is a player in a fringe indie hopeful that isn't likely to stir much discussion in other arenas, you know it's a fluid line-up. Still, Christopher Plummer is a delight and makes it look so easy in "Beginners," so, fittingly, he's already having flags planted on his behalf by early kudo committees. But after that, it's anyone's game.

I placed a bet on Max Von Sydow last week after hearing multiple accounts of his work in "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" being something special and the most viable option from the cast. But it's still a largely unseen film, as is "My Week with Marilyn" and Kenneth Branagh's supporting turn as Laurence Olivier. But those who have caught a look are quick to mention the two.

Read Full Post
<p>Margot Robbie in &quot;Pan Am.&quot;</p>

Margot Robbie in "Pan Am."

Credit: ABC

'Pan Am' - 'We'll Always Have Paris': Stick a fork in him

The second episode largely follows up on stories from the pilot

A review of last night's "Pan Am" coming up just as soon as I let you drive...

Read Full Post
<p>Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga</p>

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

Credit: Vevo

Watch: Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett have fun in 'Tramp' video

Mother Monster tries a showtune on for size

Lady Gaga is used to putting her paws up, but now she's a babe in arms.

The pop superstar joined forces with Tony Bennett on his "Duets II" album for "The Lady Is a Tramp," an upbeat number from '30s musical "Babes in Arms." And while I don't this this Lady is always well-suited for showtunes (particularly up against the undefeatable Bennett), the pair seem to have a really fun time, in that weirdly I-just-met-you sort of way. Gaga is fun as a filly and Tony just kind of eggs her on.

As previously reported, Bennett earned his very first No. 1 album at the age of 85 last week with the duets set.

Gaga was on hand on Saturday night -- along with other musical stars like Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder -- to celebrate Sting's 60th birthday at the Beacon Theater in New York.

Read Full Post
<p>Jeremy&nbsp;Irvine (left)&nbsp;and Steven&nbsp;Spielberg on the set of &quot;War Horse&quot;</p>

Jeremy Irvine (left) and Steven Spielberg on the set of "War Horse"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Oscarweb Round-up: 'But we haven't seen it!'

Also: Gold Derby heads off on its own again and Charlie Kaufman's latest is unfortunately spoiled publicly

Linked in today's round-up is a piece from Nathaniel Rogers about the fact that there are simply no locks for Oscar in the earliest stages, certainly not for films that are still unseen. Though it wasn't his point, it nevertheless got me thinking of two spats I got into last week with people who were flabbergasted at the idea of considering "War Horse" at the top of a list of Oscar guesses. "It hasn't been seen!" No kidding. But the fact is, if you're asking me to take wild stabs, I'll take an unseen Steven Spielberg movie based on a hit play set during World War I over an Alexander Payne comedy that has played well at festivals -- all day long. It's like saying it's silly in week one to bet on the Packers to make it to the Super Bowl because they play on Monday night and we haven't seen what they're made of, while the Lions killed in the early game on Sunday. Or something like that. It's fair to bank it on pedigree because the fact is it's all a bunch of nonsense guessing until voters -- the people who matter in the equation -- actually see the film, and that's not usually until the holidays, anyway. So spare me the indignant, "But we haven't seen it yet!" It's okay if things change. Anyway, let's see what's going on in the Oscarweb today...

Read Full Post
<p>Will (Josh Charles)&nbsp;and Alicia (Julianna Margulies)&nbsp;took on the British legal system on &quot;The Good Wife.&quot;</p>

Will (Josh Charles) and Alicia (Julianna Margulies) took on the British legal system on "The Good Wife."

Credit: CBS

'The Good Wife' - 'The Death Zone': Axis of awesome

Eli and Kalinda finally meet, and some other things happen

A quick review of last night's "The Good Wife" coming up just as soon as I invoice it...

Read Full Post
<p>Walt (Bryan Cranston)&nbsp;has a plan on &quot;Breaking Bad.&quot;</p>

Walt (Bryan Cranston) has a plan on "Breaking Bad."

Credit: AMC

'Breaking Bad' - 'End Times': An appropriate reponse?

The murder plots mount in a fantastically tense episode

A review of tonight's "Breaking Bad" coming up just as soon as I have a dollar for every time I hear about Nazi Germany...

Read Full Post
<p>Bryan Greenberg and Victor Rasuk in &quot;How to Make It in America.&quot;</p>

Bryan Greenberg and Victor Rasuk in "How to Make It in America."

Credit: HBO

'How to Make It in America' - 'I'm Good': Big in Japan

Ben and Cam are back for more harmless adventures in the New York fashion scene

"How to Make It in America" is back for a second season, and I have a quick review of the premiere, and thoughts on the series as a whole, coming up just as soon as I get into a proper men's haberdashery...

Read Full Post