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<p>Mmmmmmm... popcorn.</p>

Mmmmmmm... popcorn.

Credit: Wikipedia

One Thing I Love Today: Commander Future returns to Popcorn Fiction

Excuse me while I indulge in a little self-promotion

I have had a deep attraction to pulp fiction for most of my life, and in some ways, I wish I'd been able to work in an earlier era, where an author could develop a character and there were dozens of places where you could publish an ongoing series.  I envy guys like Lester Dent and Robert E. Howard because there was a market for the kind of work they did, one that I would argue doesn't really exist in the same way today.

However, I've been exceptionally lucky in the last year or so, because I was able to connect with Derek Haas and Popcorn Fiction, and I've been offered a home for my own pulp hero, Commander Future.  This morning, we published the third story about his adventures as chronicled by Peter Underhill, and it's my favorite of the series so far.

More than that, though, I'm just honored to be part of the Popcorn Fiction family.  Haas has been picking stories every week for a few years now, and he's proven to have great taste and a broad definition of what belongs on the site.  A few weeks ago, Film School Rejects editor/writer Cole Abaius published a story on the site under his alternate identity, Scott Beggs, but Haas has included a wide range of voices on the site.  Guys like Rian Johnson, Charlie Huston, Mark Wheaton, Eric Heisserer, Patton Oswalt, Larry Doyle, and Eric Red have all published stories on the site, and Haas has started to develop a stable of regular authors who contribute to the site.  I'm particularly taken with the work that Les Bohem has contributed.  Just knowing that I've shared an outlet with Lawrence Block is enough to make me feel like this is a milestone, something I should cherish.

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<p>Dave Grohl</p>

Dave Grohl

Credit: AP Photo

Nirvana today: Dave Grohl records with Krist Novoselic, plus... Kurt Cobain solo album

Hole reunites, weirdly; Courtney Love apologizes over asinine rumor-mongering

This past week, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Butch Vig, Hole, Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson and a whole swirl of Nirvana characters past ahve banded together in a milky way of news. 

First, Dave Grohl is reportedly in the studio with former Nirvana bandmate Krist Novoselic and "Nevermind" producer Butch Vig. Or so says Vig.

"The last 24 hours have been surreal! Had a great gig at the El Rey last night, and spent today recording with Dave, Krist and special guest!" Vig Tweeted late last week.

No more has been said about the "special guest," but here's some context: Grohl's forthcoming documentary "Sound City" is still filming, and promises some unique collaborations. Thus, replied the Sound City Twitter account to the legendary producer, "always a pleasure @butchvig." It appears the recording session will go in the film, which still awaits a release date.

The reunion of Grohl, Novoselic and Vig isn't totally new: the three came together for the Foo Fighters' last "Wasting Light" album last year, with the bassist guesting on the set. The Foos have said that they are planning to record a new album starting later this year.

On a related note, it seems that late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain had planned a solo album. Or so says Eric Erlandson.

The guitarist performed with Cobain's wife Courtney Love in Hole and was a longtime friend of the Nirvana singer. Erlander is currently promoting his newly released book "Letters to Kurt" and told Fuse that Cobain was writing new material for what could have been his solo debut.

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<p>Marvel's promising that they'll test Tony Stark on a deeply personal level in 'Iron Man 3,' and now it appears at least part of that will happen in China.</p>

Marvel's promising that they'll test Tony Stark on a deeply personal level in 'Iron Man 3,' and now it appears at least part of that will happen in China.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Does 'Iron Man 3' heading to China mean we'll see the Mandarin?

Disney starts to lay some long-term groundwork for the future

Dealing with China is one of the most difficult things for Hollywood to do at the moment.  It is a huge market, one that can add significant returns to a film's international box-office take, but in order to do so, there's a bit of a tap-dance that any film must do, and very few films ever get that official state-sanctioned release.

And while the first inclination of longtime "Iron Man" fans is going to be "Yay, they're using the Mandarin" because of the news that the upcoming "Iron Man 3" is not only going to shoot in China but actually be co-financed by the Chinese, I would think that's a dangerous assumption to make.  The Mandarin is a tough villain for the film series to introduce without flirting with the sort of "Yellow Peril" stereotypes that makes China nervous about Hollywood in the first place.

In general, Disney is busy laying down some groundwork for ongoing relationships with the Chinese film industry, and why not?  You're talking about a market that could conceivably add billions to a film's box-office if given a wide release there.  Billions.  With a b.  And in order to have access to that potential audience, involving the Chinese in the production of the film seems like a logical step.  You want to make sure that you're speaking to local tastes and interests and that you're creating something that is going to be allowed to play as widely as possible.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 124

Dan and Alan talk 'Veep,' 'Justified' and 25 Years of FOX

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls.
 
It's another busy installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
This week, we talk about the "Justified" finale and Sunday's busy "Mad Men." We also review HBO's excellent "Veep" and chat about 25 Years of FOX. 
 
And because that wasn't enough? Mail!
 
Next week's gonna be a bit lighter in terms of content, so mail is always appreciated. And maybe it'll be time for some sports talk...
 
Here's the podcast breakdown:
25 Years of FOX (00:00:40 - 00:22:00)
"Veep" (00:22:00 - 00:31:50)
Listener Mail - Ashley Judd's "puffy face" article (00:32:10 - 00:38:20)
Listener Mail - "The Office"/"Parks & Rec" (00:38:25 - 00:45:45)
Listener Mail - "Suburgatory" Emmy chances (00:46:00 - 00:50:30)
"Justified" finale (00:51:35 - 01:04:50)
Sunday's "Mad Men" (01:04:50 - 01:20:30)
 

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 124: 'Veep,' FOX's 25th anniversary, 'Mad Men' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 124: 'Veep,' FOX's 25th anniversary, 'Mad Men' & more

Dan and Alan also review the 'Justified' finale and answer your mail

The

On this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, Dan and I talk about 25 years of the FOX network, review the marvelous satire and profanity of HBO's "Veep," look back on the "Justified" finale and last night's "Mad Men," and answer some of your mail.

The line-up: 

25 Years of FOX (00:00:40 - 00:22:00)
"Veep" (00:22:00 - 00:31:50)
Listener Mail - Ashley Judd's "puffy face" article (00:32:10 - 00:38:20)
Listener Mail - "The Office"/"Parks & Rec" (00:38:25 - 00:45:45)
Listener Mail - "Suburgatory" Emmy chances (00:46:00 - 00:50:30)
"Justified" finale (00:51:35 - 01:04:50)
Sunday's "Mad Men" (01:04:50 - 01:20:30)
 
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, 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>Kanye West &quot;Way Too Cold&quot;</p>

Kanye West "Way Too Cold"

Kanye West makes 'creative decision' to change title of 'Theraflu'

The song will now be known as 'Way Too Cold'

Hey Kanye, Theraflu called and they want their name back, but Imma  let you say it was all your decision to change the name of “Theraflu” to “Way Too Cold.”  

As you know Kanye West dropped a new song last week, the one in which he declared his love for Kim Kardashian (can’t wait to see that reality show) called “Theraflu.”  Today comes word that he has made the “creative decision” to  change the title to “Way Too Cold.” Yeah, right...

It turns out the medicine makers weren’t quite so down with the song as West. Though they stopped short of threatening legal action, they told TMZ last week that the song, which also features DJ Khaled, that “We in no way endorse or approve of the references or use of the image and likeness of Theraflu in this manner.” What? They didn’t like the image of their medicine perched on top of a drawing of  nude female body? If that doesn’t represent cold, I don’t know what does?

And in case you want to buy “Way Too Cold,”  West is selling it directly through his website, www.kanyewest.com.

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<p>Linkin Park</p>

Linkin Park

Listen: Linkin Park's 'Burn It Down' from new album 'Living Things'

Band sets tour dates with Incubus and Mutemath

Linkin Park will release its latest album, “Living Things” on June 26.  The album, co-produced by Rick Rubin and LP’s Mike Shinoda, is preceded by first single, “Burn It Down,”  which went to radio today (16).

“Burn It Down” utilizes the now tried-and-true Linkin Park formula of starting with Chester Bennington singing, usually in some kind of psychic pain, and then the song escalates into a twisted metal mass and then Shinoda comes in with a rap at some point. If the band does its job right, there’s usually a great sense of catharsis that creep in by the end of the song.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Maroon 5's Adam Levine and Wiz Khalifa</p>
<br />

Maroon 5's Adam Levine and Wiz Khalifa


Credit: AP Photos

Listen: Maroon 5's new song 'Payphone' featuring Wiz Khalifa

Would you turn your chair around for it?

Mommy, what’s a pay phone? On new single, "Payphone," Maroon5 takes us back to the past, when things were good between lead singer Adam Levine and his girl, and he’d spend all of his money on a pay phone calling her and he still believed in “fairy tales.”

Bolstered by a rat-a-tat drum beat, “Payphone” is a straight-ahead pop ditty, that, like everything else these days, seems to take a page from Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” for its shiny, military-like precise beat that still manages to sound convincingly warm. As I've been writing about ad nauseum lately, we've entered a new pure pop period, and this song fits in perfectly. It's melodic and catchy, and but not overly aggressive.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>I think it's safe to say that when you're talking about 1982, few images loom quite as large in pop culture as this one from 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High'</p>

I think it's safe to say that when you're talking about 1982, few images loom quite as large in pop culture as this one from 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High'

Credit: Universal Home Video

Alamo's 'Summer of '82' adds 11 titles and sets ticket sale dates

Are you ready to pay tribute to the greatest genre summer ever?

Alamo Drafthouse's "Summer Of '82" was already set to be a great programming series, so of course, they went and made it better.

Today, they're announcing an expanded line-up that covers more than just the summer's programming, turning this entire summer into a tribute to 1982's stellar line-up of film releases across every genre.  I'm excited that I'll be there for the kick-off of the series, since HitFix is presenting "Conan The Barbarian."  Now I just need to figure out how I'm going to justify moving to Austin for four months.

In addition to adding more films to the schedule, the Alamo has also announced how ticketing is going to work and they've created a special badge that covers the original eight films they programmed.

I've decided that we'll be reviewing the films they're showing in this series, because I've never reviewed a number of them.  These are films I consider formative to my own sensibilities, and I would love to write real reviews of them.  It's going to make for a fun way to break up what should be a wildly hectic summer.

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<p>Carloto Cotta and Ana Moreira in &quot;Tabu.&quot;</p>

Carloto Cotta and Ana Moreira in "Tabu."

Credit: Adopt Films

First subtitled trailer for Berlinale festival hit 'Tabu'

Adopt Films will release the Portuguese film Stateside in late December

About a month ago, I posted  an early, subtitle-free trailer for Miguel Gomes's "Tabu," a woozy, wistful black-and-white Portuguese romance that I flipped for in Berlin, and which still stands as my favorite new film of 2012 so far.

Chances are some of you admired the glorious imagery and music of the two-minute taster without a clue as to what it was actually about; happily, a subtitled trailer has now been assembled, and Australian distributor Palace Films has kindly let us have the first crack at it. (They'll be backing the film's next international appearance, at the Sydney Film Festival in June.) Adopt Films, meanwhile, has the U.S. right, and has announced a limited release in late December; expect Toronto and perhaps New York fest dates in the fall.

Anyway, take a look after the jump and see if it makes any more sense to you now -- though I'd venture that at least half the film's storytelling lies in its more sensory aspects.

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<p>Johnny Depp in &quot;My Valentine&quot;</p>

Johnny Depp in "My Valentine"

Credit: VEVO

Watch: Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp star in Paul McCartney's 'My Valentine'

The famed Beatle directs this black and white clip himself, while Depp plays guitar

Who else but a Beatle could recruit two of Hollywood's biggest actors to sign-language one of their songs for a music video?

Paul McCartney tapped Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman to sign the lyrics to his sweet original song "My Valentine" for music videos that he directed himself. He comped the two performances together into one, all in black and white.

Each performance was fairly understated, with Depp boasting an unusually flat expression and his own interpretation of some of the signs. He also plays the McCartney-penned vinyl-stringed solo; being a guitarist in his own right, Depp slides right in. Portman looks deliciously sad.

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

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

Credit: Sony Pictures

Daniel Craig says Javier Bardem is forcing him to 'raise his game' in 'Skyfall'

Plus: 007 raves about Roger Deakins' work so far

LONDON –  Can you believe it’s been almost four years since the last James Bond movie hit theaters? Marc Forster's "Quantum of Solace" was released way back in Nov. of 2008, but the delay of Daniel Craig's third installment as 007 had many Bond fans puzzled.  Especially after "Quantum" pulled in a sweet $586 million worldwide. The reason for the long break was the unexpected financial issues that plagued distributor MGM beginning in 2010.  Eventually, the studio emerged with new ownership last year and production on "Skyfall," the 23rd Bond film, finally began in Nov. of 2011.  Last week, the stars of the latest 007 adventure spoke to journalists from around the globe at Pinewood Studios outside of London.  And of course, that means Bond himself, Craig was on hand to try and reveal as little as possible about the film.

"Skyfall" is being directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") and features the return of Judi Dench as Bond's boss, M; Javier Bardem as the new villain Silva; Ralph Fiennes as new Mi6 agent Gareth Mallory; Ben Winshaw as Q; Albert Finney in a role that's still unclear; and Naomi Harris and Bérénice Marlohe as new Bond girls Eve and Sévérine, respectively. The story is expected to put M in severe danger and the title refers to a Scottish location, "Skyfall Lodge," which has a explosive role in the picture.

For Craig, who has kept busy with roles in films such as "Cowboys & Aliens" and David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," the delay in getting "Skyfall" up and running   provided unexpected benefits.

"When the MGM thing [happened], I mean, it really was a silver lining situation where for the first time in my experience we kind of had a lot of time to work on the script and I just was constantly in e-mail communication with Sam talking about [different] scenes."

Longtime 007 producer Barbara Broccoli, also on hand, chimes in, "It helped you.  It’s driving us crazy."

"In a way, I had to quietly just get on with it," Craig says. "I mean, we weren’t publicly allowed to sort of really say that we were doing anything, but we were kind of secretly meeting and sort of.  But we just came on with the job.  We were just sort of discussing it and discussing.  Sam kind of came in to the mix.  The script was getting into shape and it wasn’t sort of full bore until everything was given the green light.  We didn’t give up.  We actually just got on with the job and were very optimistic that it would happen ‘cause we kind of knew it would."

"Well, we were also hoping that we’d have a film on the anniversary year because the fans were certainly looking forward to it," Broccoli says. "And it seemed like it would have been very disappointing if we didn’t have one in this year.  So, it was very frustrating."

And yes movie fans, if you wonder why Hollywood lifers tell you to ignore publicist denials, now you know.  "Skyfall" was secretly being worked on and Mendes was always expected to direct (something EON and MGM denied for months). 

Having visited Craig on the Chilean and Austrian sets of "Solace," it's obvious our man Bond is much more enthusiastic about "Skyfall" than its shaggy scripted predecessor. Moreover, it's the talent both in front of and behind the camera that Mendes has brought on board and the filmmaker's passion for the franchise which gives Craig hope Bond 23 will be something special.

"Sam’s a huge Bond fan," Craig reveals. "I mean, when I sat down with him one of the first things we did is just went off. I re-read the books. He re-read the books.  We watched the movies. We talked about the Roger Moore movies, the Connery movies, the whole [series] and there’s a sort of tone that’s in all of those movies that you can’t try and recreate.  If you do that then it’s [dated] and neither Sam nor I want to make an older movie.  Roger Deakins is [shooting] this movie which is like just insane.  His stamp on this movie has set a new benchmark."

Visiting the massive 007 soundstage during our Pinewood visit, Deakins' gorgeous lighting was apparent on a massive London Underground station set.  The legendary cinematographer for films such as "True Grit," "No Country For Old Men" and "The Shawshank Redemption," among others, is making sure this is the most beautiful Bond adventure yet.

It wouldn't be a 007 film without a Bond girl or two and Craig is impressed with his new co-stars this time around.  He notes, "Both Bérénice and Naomie?  They’re playing two very different characters, but I have a really good interaction with both of them.  And they’re very beautiful and it’s just that they’ve got very, very strong storylines and they kind of…"

Craig stop for a moment, catching himself and then continues, "It’s like throwing great characters that make the story interesting [into the mix] and I just don’t want to give anything away."

He might not want to, but we can tell you that Eve (Harris) is an Mi6 field agent and Sévérine (Marlohe) is connected to 007's adversary Sylvia (and not in a good way).

Oscar winner and critical favorite Bardem has also brought a new energy to the franchise.  And Craig thinks their scenes have upped his own performances this time around.

"[When} you play football you play with the best people then your game improves and I kind of feel that with working with Javier," Craig says. "He’s one of the best in the business and I’ve had to raise my game to work with him and that’s just to kind of to be on set.  He’s funny, he’s committed, he’s doing just wonderful things with his part and knows what he’s doing.  I mean, he knows he’s making a Bond movie and what’s required of him.  We have one of the most interesting Bond villains I think we’ve had in a long, long time."

Mendes' background is in stage and screen dramas such as the aforementioned "Beauty," "Revolutionary Road" and "Road to Perdition," where he first worked with Craig. Some 007 fans might be concerned whether Mednes can deliver the sort of iconic action pieces required for "Skyfall." Or, possibly more worrisome, that the filmmaker will spend a bit too much time having Bond "discover his feelings."  Craig says you needn't worry.

"It’s not that wildly different.  I haven’t changed his character.  He’s not in drag," Craig jokes. "He’s not doing anything that’s going to be surprising anybody completely, but we’ve got these great characters and he’s interacting with them and there’s a huge great story.  That’s the basic bare bones of it and where it fits into my kind of microscope.  But I’m very proud of what we have at the moment."

"Skyfall" opens nationwide on Nov. 9.

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