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<p>Lana Del Rey's &quot;Born to Die&quot;</p>

Lana Del Rey's "Born to Die"

Review: Lana Del Rey's 'Born to Die' slumps on impact

Is she gangster, gay, campy, sexy or slouchy?

I don’t have a problem with Lana Del Rey’s scarlet-harlot-starlet get-up. I don't mind a little peril. My hope was that she wore it well.

The issue of “wearing,” too, is apt in that female pop stars frequently face the demand to “put it on” or risk derision, more so than their male peers. But, no, in this case she wears it out – thins, shrinks -- on “Born to Die,” her debut album.
The 12-song set is like a prism through which we view the same dour, half-lidded persona, masochistically bed-bound for her flawed-but-handsome lover to the tune of some very silly rhyming schemes. Each production boldly attempts the same arc and faithful malaise of “Video Games,” her breakout single from 2011, but Del Rey’s vocals and words frequently fail her.
She experiments with a variety of vocal affectations, like the squeak toy on “Off to the Races,” pooling her “tiring’” coo behind the beat on “Carmen” and blum-drumming her “standing oh-vay-sha-ah-ahn” on unbearable “National Anthem.” The easy vibrato on “Blue Jeans” warps into a heaving toddler-trill when she’s forced into her higher register. Her pretty lower-middle range is where she should revel, like on “Dark Paradise,” “Video Games” and “Summertime Sadness" (give me a dub remix of this any day). Instead, she often sounds bored, like she could just as easily be asking for directions to the closest subway station as she could be crawling across dirty bedsheets.
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<p>Martin&nbsp;Scorsese tells one of a number of stories to the SBIFF&nbsp;audience as Leonard Maltin watches on.</p>

Martin Scorsese tells one of a number of stories to the SBIFF audience as Leonard Maltin watches on.

Credit: Ventura County Star/Karen Quincy Loberg

Martin Scorsese talks 'Mean Streets,' 'Taxi Driver' and rediscovering that childlike spark with 'Hugo'

The iconic director charts his evolution for a captivated SBIFF audience

SANTA BARBARA - Last night the big tributes wrapped up here at the Santa Barbara fest with the presentation of the American Riviera Award to "Hugo" director Martin Scorsese. Leonard Maltin conducted the on-stage interview, which got started nearly a half hour late and still blew past the usual two-hour time frame as a captivated, capacity audience at the Arlington Theatre never budged and delighted in hearing the director's tales of 50 years at work in the film industry.

Scorsese reflected first on the severity of awards season these days, which he said is "very arduous, in a way. But it's a very high class problem to have." Even the process of opening a film is much different, he noted, thinking back on his work in the early 1970s. "When the film opened, there was really no red carpet unless it was 'Cleopatra' or 'Ben-Hur,'" he said. "We'd go in on a Sunday to see if anyone was in line to see the movie, then we'd go get Chinese food or whatever and that was it."

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<p>Director Michael Mann on the &quot;Luck&quot;&nbsp;set with star Nick Nolte. </p>

Director Michael Mann on the "Luck" set with star Nick Nolte.

Credit: HBO

HBO renews 'Luck' for season 2

Milch/Mann horse racing drama continues pay cable's recent pattern of quick renewals

HBO has renewed "Luck" for a second season, only two days after the series premiere of the horse racing drama, created by David Milch, directed by Michael Mann and starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, among others. The new season will be 10 episodes — up 1 from the 9-episode debut season — and will premiere in January 2013.

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<p>Madonna on the set of &quot;W.E.&quot;</p>

Madonna on the set of "W.E."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Round-up: Madge's vote for Malick

Also: In praise of Viola Davis, and J.Lo and Uggie added to Oscar bill

I have a special place in my heart for Academy members who spill the beans on who they're voting for -- who isn't curious to know what their favorite director or actor's ballot looks like? Every year, there are always a few voters who anonymously share their choices with certain outlets, but since when has anonymity ever suited Madonna? Yep, the auteur, actress and sometime singer is an Academy member, and her Best Picture vote is going to "The Tree of Life" -- a noble choice, though I'm disappointed she's not even trying a write-in for "W.E." Where's her fighting spirit? This proves why we shouldn't be so quick to pass judgement on who is admitted to the Academy: for all we know, the Madonnas and Beyoncés and Brands are voting more adventurously than the establishment. [24 Frames]

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<p>Jordan Peele as President Obama and Keegan-Michael Key as &quot;anger translator&quot;&nbsp;Luther in &quot;Key &amp;&nbsp;Peele.&quot;</p>

Jordan Peele as President Obama and Keegan-Michael Key as "anger translator" Luther in "Key & Peele."

Credit: Comedy Central

Review: Comedy Central's very funny 'Key & Peele'

Sketch comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele deal with biracial and non-racial humor
Early in the premiere episode of Comedy Central's new sketch comedy series "Key & Peele," the show's two stars, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, talk about the challenges of of being biracial in 21st century America.
"We find ourselves particularly adept at lying," Key explains, "because on a daily basis we have to adjust our blackness."
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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

Recap: 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' - 'Reunion Pt. 1'

After a lovey dovey finale, the gloves come out for the first of a three part wrap-up

Oh, oh my. I knew the second season reunion for "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" would be chock full of drama. I mean, this season had the usual infighting, plus two new cast members (though only Brandi shows any sign of lasting into season three -- buh-bye, Dana. Don't forget your $25,000 sunglasses!). Add to that Russell Armstrong's suicide, and the reunion was sure to have some tears, some laughs, and possibly some grumbling, right? Well, that's only the first few minutes. This reunion show so overflows with drama that it's been split into three parts. This is a good thing, as the first part actually made my head hurt. So much strife! So little time!

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"The Bachelor"

 "The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

Recap: 'The Bachelor' gives the girls a (baseball) diamond

A former favorite gets the boot and another doesn't play fair

 So, things are getting hot and  heavy on "The Bachelor." Or at least they're getting hot, because the girls and Ben are headed for Puerto Rico. It's all very exotic and exciting and this means we'll get lots and lots of shots of lizards and frogs and random natural things, because the producers need to justify the cost of shipping everyone and a camera crew out to Puerto Rico. Look, hibiscus! This isn't like Florida at all! Except it is!

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<p>Justine Waddell wearing one of Eiko Ishioka's designs in &quot;The Fall.&quot;</p>

Justine Waddell wearing one of Eiko Ishioka's designs in "The Fall."

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Remembering Eiko Ishioka

The designer's work graced such films as 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' and 'Immortals'

I'm occasionally struck by the word-economizing way some people refer to the Best Costume Design Oscar as, simply, Best Costume: a minor, grammatically sound abbreviation that nonetheless skimps on a rather telling word. Almost any film, from studiously researched period pieces to Target-clothed contemporary works, is costumed -- but not every film is designed, its every shred of fabric selected and shaped to serve interdependent demands of character, atmosphere and directorial sensibility, while affording the designer a visible creative identity too.

Though chameleonic flexibility is prized, indeed required, of those who dress films across any number of genres, periods and guiding aesthetics, cinema's greatest costume designers are those whose artistic signature -- no less than that of a revered fashion designer -- is present in idiosyncratic stylistic details that connect otherwise vastly disparate projects. Eiko Ishioka, the gleefully cracked design genius who passed away last week at the age of 73, was one such artist: whether applied to a lavish Gothic period nightmare or a sleekly futuristic psycho-fantasy, her film costume work is bound by common forms, features and fetishes that build up to their own kind of auteur watermark.

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<p>Feist in &quot;The Bad In Each Other&quot;</p>

Feist in "The Bad In Each Other"

Watch: Feist warns of 'The Bad in Each Other' in heartbroken new video

Canadian songwriter finally paired up with Danish James Blake collaborator

Man, nothing breaks your heart like seeing somebody bury their dead dog.

That's how Feist's "The Bad In Each Other" starts out. Celebrations situations go sour, family relationships are hurt by jealousy, a one-night-stand gets to the sad part: examples of people bringing out "the worst in each other." This high-tension song pairs sweetness with noise, and God love that bari sax because it feels like everything is crumbling by the end.

Quoth Leslie Feist, via her website:

This video captures glimpses of something human, we get a peek inside something real between people - could be loss, longing and love. A lot of things which is about being a human being.... It is told in a way where it opens up more aspects than it concludes. Maybe something we can't grasp, but it points at it or touches it and leaves us with different kinds of emotions. You could think about the video like a song or a poem, and different people will connect to different things- and those connections might be different from time to time when they watch it.

Yup, will repeat this viewing tomorrow when I won't feel so badly for the little girl with the recorder.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 113

Dan and Alan talk 'Chuck,' but also 'Luck' and 'Key & Peele'


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls. After a one-week Sundance hiatus, The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast is BACK!
The bulk of this week's extra-long podcast is dedicated to remembering and celebrating "Chuck" (and my quibbles about the finale, I suppose). That's nearly an hour of podcasting time. But we also did a full review of HBO's "Luck" -- we chatted a bit about it last month after the tease, but this is longer -- and a review of Comedy Central's very good "Key & Peele." Oh and we teased the Super Bowl a bit, since it pits Alan's Giants against my Patriots.
But here's the breakdown:
Dan's Sundance (02:00 - 07:00)
"Key & Peele" (07:00 - 14:30)
"Luck" (14:30 - 33:40)
"Chuck" (33:40 - 01:25:20)
Super Bowl Preview (01:25:30 - 01:34:45)

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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Garbage sets release date for 'Not Your Kind of People'

Shirley Manson-fronted band adds tour dates

Garbage may have last released an album before the advent of Facebook and Twitter, but the band has certainly caught on to leaking out news about its new set bit by bit by bit via the world wide webs.

Last week came news of the launch of Garbage's own label and a Spring release date. Now, we get the release date and more tour dates.

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 113: 'Chuck' finale, 'Luck' & 'Key & Peele'

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 113: 'Chuck' finale, 'Luck' & 'Key & Peele'

Dan's back from Sundance in time to say goodbye to a podcast favorite


I am back from California. Dan is back from Sundance. We are both back where we need to be, which is to record a new episode of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, in which we belatedly review HBO's "Luck," praise the debut of Comedy Central's "Key & Peele," then spend a whole lot of time saying goodbye to podcast favorite "Chuck" before doing a brief Super Bowl preview in which we failed to come up with a decent podcast bet.

The line-up: 

Dan's Sundance (02:00 - 07:00)
"Key & Peele" (07:00 - 14:30)
"Luck" (14:30 - 33:40)
"Chuck" (33:40 - 01:25:20)
Super Bowl Preview (01:25:30 - 01:34:45)
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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