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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 168: 'Community,' 'Smash,' 'The Walking Dead' & more

Dan and Alan also review Super Bowl ads, TNT's 'Monday Mornings' and revisit the '30 Rock' finale

The

Another long Firewall & Iceberg Podcast this week, as Dan and I discuss various Super Bowl-related entertainment (or the lack thereof), the revamped returns of "Smash" And "Community," discuss TNT's "Monday Mornings," check in on the return of "The Walking Dead," and spend even more time extolling the virtues of "30 Rock." Oh, and we get to discuss Kareem Abdul-Jabar, TV critic. Always fun. The lineup: 

Super Bowl XLVII (00:00:55 - 23:20)
"Monday Mornings" (00:23:20 - 00:35:10)
"Smash" (00:35:10 - 00:46:40)
"Community" (00:46:40 - 00:56:15)
"The Walking Dead" (00:56:20 - 01:03:10)
Listener Mail - Kareem's Thoughts on "Girls" (01:03:30 - 01:09:45)
"30 Rock" finale (01:09:45 - 01:37:10)
 
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>Tim Burton on the set of &quot;Frankenweenie&quot;</p>

Tim Burton on the set of "Frankenweenie"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tim Burton on Ray Harryhausen, stop-motion and the personal touch of 'Frankenweenie'

The Oscar nominee discusses coming back to the property that got him fired

The last time Tim Burton made the awards press rounds, he was a nominee for 2005's "Corpse Bride." Interestingly enough, after a few decades in the live action trenches carving out his own identity and aesthetic on the screen, it's been only in the animation arena that Oscar has taken notice. He's back again this year as a nominee for his most personal film in some time, "Frankenweenie."

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<p>Local man starts from bottom</p>

Local man starts from bottom

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Drake drops new song 'Started from the Bottom' a week early

Rapper posts open letter to fans, hype machine revs up

Drake told the world he'd be dropping a new single on the weekend of the Grammys, but it appears "Started from the Bottom" wished to make itself known a few days early.

The Young Money MC and singer hatched the song on his OVO website, along with an open letter supporting the song's claims that he "started from the bottom."

"I feel sometimes that people don't have enough information about my beginnings and therefore they make up a life story for me that isn't consistent with actual events," Drake said. "My family and my second family (consisting of the best friends anybody could ever have) all struggled and worked extremely hard to make all this happen. I did not buy my way into this spot and it was the furthest thing from easy to achieve."

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<p>Michael Haneke and Emmanuelle Riva on the set of &quot;Amour&quot;</p>

Michael Haneke and Emmanuelle Riva on the set of "Amour"

Credit: Sony Classics

Stumping for Emmanuelle Riva

An impassioned plea to hold-out voters: Watch 'Amour'

There were precious few of us who thought Michael Haneke's brilliant "Amour" had the proper support to show up in the major categories at the Academy Awards. At the end of the day, it was faith well-placed, as the film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay (though I still wonder why Jean-Louis Trintignant was lost in the shuffle).

That is, in some ways, a win in and of itself. It's huge, really. But I'm troubled in my calls and conversations lately: many members, despite this strong showing, still haven't seen the film. And I would like to implore them now: watch the movie. It's not as much of a downer as you think it is. It's a beautiful exploration of its namesake. Actors in particular, it's a stunning display of your craft. And with a Best Actress race that has some excitement to it, it behooves you to make an educated pick.

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<p>&quot;Chasing Ice&quot;</p>

"Chasing Ice"

Credit: Submarine Deluxe

Oscar Guide 2013: Best Music - Original Song

'Chasing Ice,' 'Les Mis,' 'Life of Pi,' 'Skyfall' and 'Ted' square off

(Welcome to the Oscar Guide, your chaperone through the Academy’s 24 categories awarding excellence in film.  A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 24, with the Best Picture finale on Friday, February 22.)

FINALLY! The music branch smartened up about this category, changed its rules and put together five entirely respectable nominees. Two major Best Picture contenders with prominently placed songs managed to score, as did a haunting new tune for a documentary, the sultry and epic opening credits title song to a major franchise movie and the cute, somewhat tongue-in-cheek opening credits title song to a comedy about a potty-mouthed, pot-smoking teddy bear.

Old favorites such as Paul Williams (“Still Alive” from “Paul Williams: Still Alive”) and Dolly Parton (“From Here to the Moon and Back” from “Joyful Noise”) must be disappointed to miss the cut. Ditto for a big younger star like Keith Urban (“For You” from “Actor of Valor”). But perhaps the most obvious surprising omission is Ennio Morricone and Elisa for “Ancora Qui” from “Django Unchained”; who knows if there will be a chance to honor Morricone again? But this category has a heavy favorite, and justly so. An upset would be disconcerting to a lot of people, for a lot of reasons.

The nominees are…

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<p>The Postal Service's &quot;Give Up&quot;</p>

The Postal Service's "Give Up"

Credit: Sub Pop

The Postal Service delivers additional concert dates beyond Coachella

U.S. stops include Las Vegas and Brooklyn

As expected, The Postal Service has added more dates to its 10th anniversary tour. Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello have added 10 more concerts in addition to the pair’s previously announced stop at Coachella on April 13 and April 20.

Six of the 10 dates are in the U.S., while the other four additional dates are in Europe, among them Barcelona’s Primavera Soundwave festival.

As previously announced, the 10th anniversary of The Postal Service’s “Give Up,” comes out April 9 on Sub Pop. It includes the original 10-track album and 15 bonus tracks, including new songs, “Turn Around” and “A Tattered Line of String.”

The band will include Jenny Lewis and Laura Burhenn. Lewis appeared on the original recording of "Give Up." 

Looks like these dates are just the beginning, according to a press release  More dates will be announced as they are confirmed.

04/09/13 Tue - Reno NV @ Grand Sierra Theatre
04/10/13 Wed - Davis CA @ Mondavi Center
04/13/13 Sat - Indio CA @ Coachella
04/12/13 Fri - San Luis Obispo CA @ Madonna Expo Center
04/18/13 Thu - Phoenix AZ @ Comerica Theatre
04/19/13 Fri - Las Vegas NV @ Chelsea Ballroom at the Cosmopolitan
04/20/13 Sat - Indio CA @ Coachella
05/18/13 Sat - Manchester UK @ Academy 2
05/20/13 Mon - London UK @ Brixton Academy
05/21/13  Tues - Paris FR @ Trianon
05/23/13 Thu - Barcelona SP @ Primavera Soundwave
06/14/13 Fri - New York NY @ Barclay's
 

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Vampire Weekend announces new album title and tour dates
Credit: XL

Vampire Weekend announces new album title and tour dates

'Modern Vampires of the City' creeps in on May 7: Check out the album cover

Vampire Weekend have finally formally announced their new album, dubbed "Modern Vampires of the City." The NYC band remains with XL for this third full-length, which will get a touring launch starting at South By Southwest.

"Modern Vampires of the City" features 12 tracks, making it the most tracks of any VW album; as previously reported, the set was produced by member Rostam Batmanglij and Ariel Rechtshaid (Usher, Major Lazer, Charli XCX) and it will be released May 7.

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<p>Eddie Redmayne is competing for Best Actor for his work in &quot;Les Miserables.&quot;</p>

Eddie Redmayne is competing for Best Actor for his work in "Les Miserables."

Credit: Universal Pictures

Evening Standard nominees pit 'Skyfall' against UK indies

The British film awards take place tonight

The Evening Standard Film Awards -- among the most independent-minded stops on the UK awards scene -- have a rather circuitous way of revealing their nominees, first revealing a longlist too unruly to warrant a mention (this year's featured "The Dictator" up for Best Film, for example), before announcing a three-per-category shortlist a couple of weeks before the ceremony.

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<p>Beyonce</p>

Beyonce

Credit: AP Photo

Beyonce's new world tour kicks off April 15 in Serbia

The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour comes to the U.S. in June

Hot on the stiletto heels of her electrifying Super Bowl XLVII performance, Beyonce announced The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. 

Jay-Z’s Missus arrives in the U.S. on June 28 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. But before alighting stateside,  Beyonce, aka Mrs. Shawn Carter, will kick off the tour  April 15 in Belgrade, Serbia at Kombank Arena.

The tour travels through Europe and the U.K. until May 29, where it stops in Stockholm.

After a month-long hiatus, The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour picks back up in the United States on the West Coast and travels east, hitting arenas throughout North America, until the first leg ends at, conveniently enough, at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Aug. 3.  Jay-Z opened the New York arena last year with eight sold-out concerts. Jay-Z owns a tiny percentage of Barclays Center’s main tenant, the Brooklyn Nets, and is the public face of the venue.

Beyonce’s website offers no info on ticketing just yet.

Additionally, there’s no word on whether a new album will drop before the tour starts, but we bet it will. Or the month between the close of the European dates and the U.S. dates will be used for the new album’s promotion.

In the meantime, if you didn’t get enough of Bey at the Super Bowl, her HBO documentary, “Life is But A Dream,” premieres Feb. 16.

Click here for the European dates. The North American dates are below.

June 28: Los Angeles (BET Experience/Staples Center)
June 29: Las Vegas, NV (MGM Grand Garden Arena)?
July 2: San Jose, CA (HP Pavilion at San Jose)?
July 5: Oklahoma City, OK (Chesapeake Energy Arena)?
July 6: Dallas, TX (American Airlines Center)?
July 9: Ft. Lauderdale, FL (BB&T Center)?
July 10: Miami, FL (American Airlines Arena)?
July 12: Atlanta, GA (The Arena @ Gwinnett Center)?
July 13: Nashville, TN (Bridgestone Arena)?
July 15: Houston, TX (Toyota Center)
July 17: Chicago, IL (United Center)?
July 18: St. Paul, MN (Xcel Energy Center)?
July 20: Detroit, MI (The Palace of Auburn Hills)?
July 21: Toronto, ON (Air Canada Centre)?
July 22: Montreal, QC (Bell Centre)
July 23: Boston, MA (TD Garden)?
July 25: Philadelphia, PA (Wells Fargo Center)?
July 26: Atlantic City, NJ (Boardwalk Hall)?
July 27: Charlotte, NC (Time Warner Cable Arena)
July 29: Washington, DC (Verizon Center)
Aug. 2: Uncasville, CT (Mohegan Sun)?
Aug. 3: Brooklyn, NY (Barclays Center)

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<p>Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig on the set of &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig on the set of "Skyfall."

Credit: Sony Pictures

'Argo' and 'Skyfall' tops with UK Regional Critics

Meanwhile, Team Edward makes its vote count

"Argo" may have been ruling the awards roost in the US for a couple of weeks now, but only this week are we going to learn if the Brits are quite as enamored of Ben Affleck's political thriller. It lost all four of its bids at the London Critics' Circle Awards two weeks ago, but this weekend, we'll see if BAFTA adds to its laurels -- I increasingly suspect they will, though it's no sure thing.

Still, "Argo" has received at least one British vote of confidence from the UK Regional Film Awards, representing the country's non-London-based critics. It received their Film of the Year award, though Affleck was pipped by "Skyfall" helmer Sam Mendes to Director of the Year. In their one public-voted award, meanwhile, Robert Pattinson took British Performance of the Year for the last "Twilight" film, which must come as some consolation after being cruelly shut out all season. Winners after the jump, and at The Circuit.   

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<p>Sheila Vand in &quot;Argo.&quot;</p>

Sheila Vand in "Argo."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Roundup: On the humbler supporting stars of 2012

Also: Guessing the win tally for 'Argo,' and trailer trickery

One of the reasons I get more bothered than some over the admittedly nebulous issue of so-called category fraud is that for every Christoph Waltz or Helen Hunt who gets slotted into the supporting race for a major role, it's harder for lesser-known actors who stand out in far smaller parts to get the recognition they deserve. If Hunt is supporting in "The Sessions," for example, then what is the superb Moon Bloodgood? So I'm glad Lisa Rosen has written this LA Times piece celebrating a number of uncelebrated faces from assorted awards contenders, including Bloodgood, Sheila Vand in "Argo" (not included in SAG's ensemble listing, by the way) and Gina Montana in "Beasts of the Southern Wild." I'd add Jesse Plemons in "The Master" and Corinne Masiero in "Rust and Bone," among others. What lesser-spotted supporting stars stood out to you? [LA Times]   

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<p>Alfred Molina in &quot;Monday Mornings.&quot;</p>

Alfred Molina in "Monday Mornings."

Credit: TNT

Review: TNT's 'Monday Mornings's offers a refreshingly restrained David E. Kelley

'Harry's Law' creator dials back his usual quirks for new hospital drama
When you’re blessed with more natural talent in your chosen field than all but a handful of human beings in history, it’s easy to get bored and start goofing around. You see it with athletes all the time. Sometimes, they’ve already established their Hall of Fame bonafides by the time they start doing weird things, like that season when Wilt Chamberlain decided he was going to lead the league in assists (and did), just to prove he could, or when Michael Jordan quit the NBA to chase after curve balls in the baseball minors for two years.
 
A lot of the time, though, you’ll see a player decide that it’s all coming so easy to them that they don’t have to work as hard at the fundamentals, and that people would rather see something flashy than something effective. Everyone said Vince Carter had the tools to be the next Jordan, and Carter could dunk with anyone, but he never had Jordan’s focus, and never became as great as we thought he could be.
 
This isn’t limited to sports, of course. Many of the best writers in TV history have had trouble getting out of their own way, whether it’s David Milch disappearing down a metaphysical rabbit hole on “John From Cincinnati” or Aaron Sorkin writing women on “The Newsroom.”
 
But in terms of a disappointing Vince Carter-esque talent-to-production ratio, the champ may be David E. Kelley, whose new TNT medical drama “Monday Mornings” debuts tonight at 10.
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