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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 173: 'Bates Motel,' 'Top of the Lake,' 'Veronica Mars' movie & more

Dan and Alan also review HBO's 'Phil Spector' and talk about the 'Girls' season finale

The

Back to roughly standard length for this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, including reviews of a series, a miniseries and a movie all with murder as the backdrop, plus lots of talk about the "Veronica Mars" Kickstarter initiative and the "Girls" season finale. The lineup:

"Top of the Lake" (00:00:50 - 00:13:40)
"Bates Motel" (00:13:40 - 00:27:20)
"Phil Spector" (00:27:20 - 00:39:50)
"Veronica Mars" Kickstarter (00:39:50 - 01:04:20)
"Girls" finale (01:04:55 - 01:24:00)
 
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>Simon Baker, Anna Faris, Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall have got some serious issues to work out in the deconstructionist romantic comedy 'I Give It A Year'</p>

Simon Baker, Anna Faris, Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall have got some serious issues to work out in the deconstructionist romantic comedy 'I Give It A Year'

Credit: Working Title

Review: Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne headline fresh and funny anti-romantic comedy 'I Give It A Year'

Supporting players score big laughs in a sly deconstruction of a genre

AUSTIN - Dan Mazer has built a career based on a very particular type of humor. As a writer/producer, he's been involved in "Da Ali G Show," "Borat," "Bruno," and "The Dictator," and he's helped define Sacha Baron Cohen's public persona in the process. Now with his first feature film as a writer/director, he's turned his attention to the Working Title romantic comedy formula, and "I Give It A Year" manages to parody the structure of those films while playing as an actual one at the same time. No easy feat, that, and I was surprised by how well Mazer manages the balancing act.

Josh (Rafe Spall) and Nat (Rose Byrne) meet, fall in love, and tie the knot all within seven months of meeting one another, and from the very start, their marriage seems like a bad fit. It would be easy to make one of them the bad guy in this film to make it clear whose fault things are, but Mazer instead paints both of them as decent people who simply might not be suited for each other. The weakest element in the film is a structure that involves both of them talking to a marriage counsellor played by the great Olivia Colman, and those scenes play like they're cut in from another movie. The actual day-to-day struggle between Josh and Nat is written well, and it's only gradually that Mazer starts to bring in Chloe (Anna Faris) and Guy (Simon Baker), who seem like far better-suited partners to Josh and Nat.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 173

Dan and Alan talk 'Bates Motel,' 'Veronica Mars,' 'Top of the Lake' and more

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls
 
Time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
We went a little short last week, due to a total absence of new programming to review. But this week? Lots of new stuff. We've got reviews of "Top of the Lake" and "Bates Motel," which both premiere tonight. We also review HBO's upcoming Phil Spector movie.
 
We talk for a while about the "Veronica Mars" Kickstarter triumph.
 
And we also discussed the finale of HBO's "Girls."
 
Next week? Lots more new stuff!
 
Here's the breakdown:
"Top of the Lake" (00:00:50 - 00:13:40)
"Bates Motel" (00:13:40 - 00:27:20)
"Phil Spector" (00:27:20 - 00:39:50)
"Veronica Mars" Kickstarter (00:39:50 - 01:04:20)

"Girls" finale (01:04:55 - 01:24:00) 

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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<p>Eleven-year-old me spent all of Halloween night 1981 trying to explain to the adults in the neighborhood who Snake Plissken is. It did not end well.</p>

Eleven-year-old me spent all of Halloween night 1981 trying to explain to the adults in the neighborhood who Snake Plissken is. It did not end well.

Credit: MGM/UA Home Entertainment

Will Joel Silver finally 'Escape From New York'?

The long-in-development remake gets another shot at life

Even in an age where horror remakes seem to arrive every other week, the work of John Carpenter seems to be particularly picked over. Small wonder, though. Carpenter was a writer before he was a director, and he had a knack for creating films based around smart, easy to understand hooks. And of all of his films, one of the best loglines was for "Escape From New York." Talk about easy. New York is a prison now, and the President's plane crashes on it. One man is sent in to find the President and rescue him, and if he fails, he will die.

It would be accurate to say that the film has been unofficially remade any number of times now, including last year's "Space Jail" with Guy Pearce, or whatever the heck it was called. Neil Marshall's "Doomsday" went so far in its homage as to even use Carpenter's signature font for the film's credits.

There have been several attempts to remake "Escape From New York" in recent years. Ken Nolan, one of the "Black Hawk Down" writers, wrote a fairly faithful version of the movie that almost happened in 2007 with Gerard Butler attached to play Snake Plissken. What Nolan's script tried to do was flesh out the world around New York, while also delving slightly into the back story for Plissken that was suggested with a few key lines in Carpenter's script.

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<p>Ben Stiller in &quot;Zoolander.&quot;</p>

Ben Stiller in "Zoolander."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Terrence Malick turns film curator for Oklahoma museum

His diverse choices range from 'Zoolander' to 'The Lady Eve'

By his admittedly scarce standards, Terrence Malick is a positive ball of energy these days. I admit I've lost track of his three projects currently in various stages of production -- a sentence that would once have been only slightly less absurd than calling the sky green -- but his US devotees still have "To the Wonder" to look forward to next month. (Unusually, it opened in the UK a month ago.) The director has fewer critics on his side than usual with this one, but I was a fan at Venice, and remain one.

If you're in the group left disappointed or even dismayed by "Wonder," however, you may have more time for Malick's latest gig: a guest curator at the Philbrook Museum of Art in his current home state of Oklahoma.

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<p>Justin Timberlake</p>

Justin Timberlake

Questlove reveals another Justin Timberlake album coming in 2013

Does the Roots drummer have the inside track on 'The 20/20 Experience: Vol. 2?"

Could Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience,” out Tuesday, be just half of his 2013 output?

Yes,  if we are to believe Roots drummer Questlove. In a chat board posting on okayplayer.com  over the weekend, he said that we’ve only heard half of the story:  “Spoiler alert. 20/20 Vol 2 comes out in nov. (10 songs now...10 songs later = 20 vision).”

Furthermore, Questlove has heard the tunes: “He played me songs out of order and off both records so I don’t know what made the final cut.

It’s one of those things that just makes sense, doesn’t it? Regardless, we’ve contacted Timberlake’s representative to see if we can get any confirmation.

Questlove may be spilling the beans inappropriately, but it’s also possible that he got the news straight from JT’s mouth since they were hanging together last week while Timberlake performed nightly on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and he DJ’d before Timberlake’s well-received SXSW set on Saturday night.

As far s Questlove’s review of the album? He calls it “overly ambitious," in response to the New York Times' middling review.  He also gives JT credit for sticking with Timbaland. “I admire the balls it took to make this record. cause he coulda easily urshurd [cq] his work in and made diplo his teddy riley to 20/20’s dangerous instead of sticking with Timb’s Quincy.”  Lots of different references there to follow...

But he’s not done, Questlove also reveals that Timberlake figured that “Suit & Tie” would  not appeal to those under 35. Says Questlove, after he told JT that his 25-year old assistant wasn’t a “Suit & Tie” fan, Timberlake  “was like, ‘why do we put all of our power in the hands of 18 year olds... I wanted to make a joint that 40 year olds would love too.”

Sadly, Questlove came back a few hours later and was made that he couldn’t post on Okeyplayer (“I thought okayplayer was a place I could trust) about Timberlake and not have bloggers pick up on it.

Here's my  review of "The 20/20 Experience." 


 

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Watch: 2 Chainz's new video for 'Crack'

Watch: 2 Chainz's new video for 'Crack'

Rapper has all he needs, including a car with a stripper pole

I have a new goal in life: I want to be the girl in the 2 Chainz video whose entire performance is relegated to seeing her high-heeled legs from the knees down moving sexily from the backseat of a convertible in a garage. That’s a credit that’s going to be hard to prove. We guess she’s the stripper since he notes that his car is so big it has a stripper pole. What will they think of next?

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Thom Yorke</p>

Thom Yorke

Atoms for Peace set U.S. tour dates

Band led by Radiohead's Thom Yorke plans fall outing

Atoms for Peace will start a U.S. fall tour in September at Philadelphia’s Liacouras Center.

Individually known as Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, producer Nigel Godrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, drummer Joey Waronker and percussionist Mauro Refosco, Atoms For Peace released its debut set, “Amok,”  in February. The album entered the Billboard charts at No. 2.

It was uncertain that the collective would actually tour; instead, in February and March, Yorke and Godrich hosted Atoms for Peace DJ sets in London, Berlin and New York.

The good news is that it looks like the six dates are just the start, not the tour in full, as the press release calls them “the first dates of a U.S. tour.”   Tickets go on sale March 23.  Prior to the U.S. tour, the group will play continental  Europe and the U.K. in July.

ATOMS FOR PEACE
U.S. Tour 2013
 
Sept. 24           Philadelphia PA                    Liacouras Center
Sept. 27           Brooklyn NY                         Barclays Center
Sept. 30           Fairfax, VA                           Patriot Center
Oct. 2              Chicago IL                             UIC Pavilion
Oct. 16            Los Angeles CA                     Hollywood Bowl
Oct. 17            Santa Barbara CA                Santa Barbara Bowl
 

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Lily Rabe at PaleyFest

 Lily Rabe at PaleyFest

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Lily Rabe talks to HitFix about being evil for 'American Horror Story'

She explains why she'd gladly do an action movie - and her own stunts

 Let no one say Lily Rabe isn't one hell of an actress. Literally. As Sister Mary Eunice in the second season of "American Horror Story," she played an innocent nun who is taken over by the devil. At PaleyFest, she talked to HitFix about getting into character and why she wants to play an action hero.

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<p>Rihanna</p>

Rihanna

Credit: Markus Schreiber/AP

Rihanna's 777 tour documentary set to fly on FOX

Superstar's diary of seven shows in seven countries will air May 6

Rihanna 777,” an hour-long concert film about Rihanna’s November promotional tour where she performed seven shows in seven days in seven countries, will air on Fox May 6 at 8 p.m.

As one of the 150 journalists from 32 countries on the tour, I love this description from Fox: “The film also provides an inside look at the singer’s ambitious and often turbulent tour, from the sound of popping champagne corks on the plane to the backstage chaos to the singer’s special worldwide appearances.” I wonder if the footage will include the journalists’ on-plane riot after we had no access for Rihanna for five days and were on our third red-eye in five days? What about the streaker? Or how she kept audiences in Stockholm and Berlin waiting for more than two hours? For my thoughts on the tour, read here.

The concert film chronicles Ri-ri’s travels from Los Angeles to Mexico, Toronto, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, London and New York to promote “Unapologetic,” which came in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and has spawned the hits “Diamonds” and “Stay.”  Rihanna is now on a U.S. tour.


 

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<p>Elisabeth Moss as a cop in &quot;Top of the Lake.&quot;</p>

Elisabeth Moss as a cop in "Top of the Lake."

Credit: Sundance

Review: Jane Campion's 'Top of the Lake' a riveting long-form mystery

Elisabeth Moss is showcased brilliantly in Sundance miniseries

I have no idea if Jane Campion, co-director and co-creator of Sundance's "Top of the Lake," has ever seen "The Killing," or the Danish series that inspired it. But the mystery miniseries certainly plays like she watched a few hours of the AMC version, leaned back in her chair and said, "Let me show you how it's done, kid."

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Watch: Dave Grohl talks digital vs. analog for next Foo Fighters album
Credit: HitFix

Watch: Dave Grohl talks digital vs. analog for next Foo Fighters album

SXSW red carpet interview for 'Sound City': Will Foos work with Butch Vig again?

AUSTIN -- It appears that Dave Grohl's Sound City Players gig at the South By Southwest music conference may have been its last. The all-star concerts have run concurrently with the promotion of the Foo Fighters frontman's film "Sound City," which has completed its rounds at winter and spring film festivals.

The show at Stubb's late last week was three-and-a-half hours long, with long performances from artists like Stevie Nicks and John Fogerty with the backing of Foos like Taylor Hawkins and Pat Smear and Nirvana member Krist Novoselic. The setlist to the rock show ran from old to new, and for those who have seen "Sound City," a reminder of rock 'n' roll history of laying down tape and getting performances right in the moment of recording, instead of going back and correcting it later with a piece of software.

That was the point, Grohl told me during our interview on the SXSW red carpet for the "Sound City" screener. The California rock studio couldn't survive in a world of accessible digital technology, because of the restrictions of analog.

And it's just that Grohl doesn't mind the restrictions.

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