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<p>Would Tom Cruise really be willing to go up against another alien invasion so soon after the back to back experience of 'Oblivion' (seen here)&nbsp;and 'All You Need Is Kill'</p>

Would Tom Cruise really be willing to go up against another alien invasion so soon after the back to back experience of 'Oblivion' (seen here) and 'All You Need Is Kill'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Tom Cruise may go 'Top Gun' against alien forces in 'Yukikaze'

Will the actor really sign on for a fourth alien invasion film?

If I didn't know better, I'd say Tom Cruise is a nerd.

Sure, sure, he's been Captain Awesome since I was a young teenager, and he somehow looks better at his age than I've looked in my single best day ever, and he continues to somehow elude the same sort of career pitfalls that have sidelined even the most talented of his peers. So calling him a "nerd" may not be the traditional application of the word, but it seems to apply when you look at his taste in projects over the last few years.

It's one thing to do a couple of science-fiction movies in a row because Steven Spielberg calls, and "War Of The Worlds" and "Minority Report" are very different approaches to the same genre. With "Oblivion," "All You Need Is Kill," and the just-announced "Yukizake," Cruise seems to be almost single-handedly helping keep original science-fiction alive on the bigscreen. And, yes, I know he's not the filmmaker in each of these cases, but it's incredibly hard to get these films made, and when Cruise signs on, he can be the deciding factor for the financiers behind the films.

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<p>An Italian fantasy with Marshall (Jason Segel)&nbsp;on &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

An Italian fantasy with Marshall (Jason Segel) on "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Romeward Bound'

Lily gets a job offer she tries to refuse, while Ted and Barney fixate on a woman in a big coat

A quick review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as my life turns into an angsty, existential Italian black-and-white movie...

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"The Real Housewives of Orange County"

 "The Real Housewives of Orange County"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Orange County': What do you think of Lydia?

A new housewife joins the cast, but doesn't make much of an impression

On last night's episode of "The Real Housewives of Orange County," many significant things occurred. Tamra and Vicki made up (that was quick, right?), we learned Heather has a problem child (which totally messes with her perfect facade), and we met the new Housewife. On paper, Lydia McLaughlin appears to be a perfect fit for "The Real Housewives" franchise. Her family came from money, she describes herself as a princess, and her husband takes her out for date night on their private boat. Sounds just right, doesn't she?

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars': Were 4 dancers on the floor 2 too many?

The gimmick of adding two pros to each dance made for a crowded night

I think we can all agree that tonight was an unfortunate night for "Dancing with the Stars" to test drive a new gimmick. By plopping a second pair of dancers -- polished professionals -- into each routine, the floor seemed crowded at a time when most people were likely distracted by thoughts of what had happened in Boston, of what they'd seen on the news moments earlier. Sorting out which couple was the one to watch and which couple was simply good was a little more effort than maybe some of us wanted to dedicate to reality TV tonight.

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<p>Warren Kole of &quot;The Following&quot;</p>

Warren Kole of "The Following"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The Following' - 'Havenport'

Roderick has to play both sides, while Ryan gets closer or whatever
Well, I'd like to start off this discussion of "Havenport" by discussing what I think has been haunting me since the very first episode of "The Following" -- What was James Purefoy thinking, signing up for this show?
 
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<p>Elisabeth Moss in &quot;Top of the Lake.&quot;</p>

Elisabeth Moss in "Top of the Lake."

Credit: Sundance

Series finale review: 'Top of the Lake'

In the mystery's conclusion, Robin gets answers but also more questions

Sundance just concluded its airing of "Top of the Lake," which I reviewed back in March. Now that it's all over, I have some spoiler-iffic thoughts on how everything resolved, coming up just as soon as there is no match for the tremendous intelligence of the body...

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Watch: Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding steam up 'I Need Your Love' video
Credit: Polydor Records

Watch: Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding steam up 'I Need Your Love' video

Sweet, sexy video fits perfectly with upbeat tune

First she was dating Skrillex for real, now Ellie Goulding is romantically paired with another DJ, Calvin Harris, for pretend in the video for “I Need Your Love.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>When we started discussing his long in-development adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's classic science-fiction novel, Morgan Freeman seemed very excited.</p>

When we started discussing his long in-development adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's classic science-fiction novel, Morgan Freeman seemed very excited.

Credit: HitFix

Morgan Freeman discusses why he keeps trying to get 'Rendezvous With Rama' made

The actor is also a producer, and one dream project has proven elusive so far

Everybody likes Morgan Freeman.

There aren't many actors you can say that about, but I honestly don't think I've ever had a conversation with someone where Freeman's name came up and someone said, "Oh, I can't stand him." That's kind of amazing. It's a testament to the fundamental honesty of what Freeman does on-camera, and the way he's picked and chosen roles over the last twenty-plus years.

He's one of those guys who worked for a long time in what must have felt like relative obscurity, one of his best-known roles being an ensemble part on "The Electric Company." All of that changed when "Street Smart" hit, and suddenly Hollywood figured out how great he was. Suddenly, he started getting the types of roles he deserved. Suddenly he was front and center in a number of big films, including the Oscar-winning smash hit "Driving Miss Daisy" and the Oscar-winning genre-defining Clint Eastwood film "Unforgiven."

Thanks to his distinctive voice and his warm, authoritative diction, Freeman's become the king of the voice-over work, and no one has made better use of that than Frank Darabont did in "The Shawshank Redemption," a film that seems to become more beloved with each passing year. I've spoken with him once or twice in the past, and he's always been cordial and engaging.

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<p>Fergie</p>

Fergie

Credit: Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP

Listen: Fergie, Q-Tip and GoonRock on 'A Little Party...' from The Great Gatsby

Upbeat track combines the old and new

Nothing screams “The Great Gatsby” like electro-clash. Various songs from the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming remake of the F. Scott Fitzgerald have been surfacing prior to the film’s May 10 release, but perhaps none are as jarring as The Black-eyed Peas' Fergie, Q-Tip and GoonRock’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got).”

The upbeat tune has plenty of promise, especially with the ‘20s, Flapper-era jazziness and Fergie’s strong vocals at the beginning and the retro horns (which sound very “Thrift Shop”). The theme of living in the moment and good times never ending also fits in with the post-WW1/pre-Depression era,  but if it hasn’t lost you by the time Fergie starts rapping (check out her pronunciation of “moonlight”),  you will most definitely want to check out when she cheerily calls out “What do you think Goonrock? Are you ready?”

It’s a shame because it’s quite infectious; the song just has some parts that stick out like a sore thumb in an otherwise engaging track, especially the “It Don’t Mean A Thing” refrain.

Luhrmann likes to mix contemporary music with period movies, as he did with “Moulin Rouge” and “Romeo + Juliet.” Any move that risky is sure to fail as often as it hits. Oddly, “A Little Party” falls somewhere right in the middle.

The soundtrack comes out May 7. For a full track listing, go here. Among the other artists on the Jay-Z-curated soundtrack are Beyonce & Andre 3000, Florence and the Machine, and Lana Del Rey. We’ll see if it spawns another “Lady Marmalade”-type smash as “Moulin Rouge” did.

Listen to the track here:

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 177

Dan and Alan talk 'Defiance,' 'Hemlock Grove,' Roger Ebert and more

The

Greetings, Boys & Girls. It's Monday, but as those watching coverage of the deadly blasts in Boston know, it's not a happy one. My/our thoughts go out to all of my friends and family in Boston, but really to the whole city.
 
The news of the blasts broke really within seconds of us completing what inexplicably ended up being a ridiculously long podcast, apparently our longest podcast ever. 
 
Most/Many of our listeners will have zero interest in a nearly two-hour podcast on this day of all days, but for those looking for distraction, here it is. It'll still be there tomorrow or Wednesday or whenever. And my apologies for my over-chipper "Happy Monday," which sounds pretty jarring as I listen to it now.
 
Today's times:
"Defiance" (00:00:50 - 00:15:10)
"Hemlock Grove" (00:15:15 - 00:31:45)
"Mary & Martha" (00:31:45 - 00:39:00)
Roger Ebert (00:39:05 - 00:50:00)
Listener Mail - Lead-Ins (00:50:15 - 00:59:35)
Listener Mail - "Game of Thrones" aging (00:59:45 - 01:07:50)
"Cougar Town" finale (01:08:00 - 01:14:55)
"Go On" finale (01:15:00 - 01:27:45)
"Mad Men" (01:27:50 - 01:52:50)

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 177: 'Defiance,' 'Hemlock Grove,' 'Mad Men' & more

Dan and Alan also review HBO's 'Mary and Martha,' discus Roger Ebert's legacy and break down 'Cougar Town' and 'Go On' finales

The

In what we believe is our longest Firewall & Iceberg Podcast episode ever, Dan and I got busy with a mix of premieres (Syfy's "Defiance," Netflix's "Hemlock Grove"), looks back (last night's "Mad Men" plus the "Cougar Town" and "Go On" finales), mail, plus an overdue retrospective on the career and influence of the late, great Roger Ebert.

Please note: We recorded this earlier today, and were literally saying our goodbyes when I first saw news of the tragedy in Boston. Our usual banter reflects that ignorance. If you're not in the mood to hear us bicker right now, we understand.

The lineup:

"Defiance" (00:00:50 - 00:15:10)
"Hemlock Grove" (00:15:15 - 00:31:45)
"Mary & Martha" (00:31:45 - 00:39:00)
Roger Ebert (00:39:05 - 00:50:00)
Listener Mail - Lead-Ins (00:50:15 - 00:59:35)
Listener Mail - "Game of Thrones" aging (00:59:45 - 01:07:50)
"Cougar Town" finale (01:08:00 - 01:14:55)
"Go On" finale (01:15:00 - 01:27:45)
"Mad Men" (01:27:50 - 01:52:50)

 

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>Brady Corbet in &quot;Simon Killer.&quot;</p>

Brady Corbet in "Simon Killer."

Credit: IFC Films

Brady Corbet and Antonio Campos on the violence between the lines in 'Simon Killer'

The controversial indie is out in theaters and on VOD

(PLEASE NOTE: The following interview mentions plot developments in "Simon Killer" that may be considered spoilers.) 

As 'American in Paris' movies go, “Simon Killer” is one of the less romantic you're ever likely to see. Formally immaculate and profoundly unnerving, Antonio Campos's second feature – following 2008's equally striking and eerie “Afterschool” – sent shockwaves through the Sundance Film Festival last year: with the film finally on limited release and available on VOD, audiences can make their minds up about a film that's still proving excitingly divisive. 

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