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<p>Jack White, &quot;Blunderbuss&quot;</p>

Jack White, "Blunderbuss"

Credit: Third Man/Warner Bros.

Review: Jack White's solo debut 'Blunderbuss'

What it sounds like to fight

It’s a struggle to evaluate Jack White’s album output independent of what he’s done with his storied music career thus far. His former flame The White Stripes have now dissolved, evidently from bandmate/ex-wife Meg White’s reluctance of the lifestyle. He continues playing in on- and off-again brotherhood in the Raconteurs, and barks back at The Kills’ Alison Mosshart in Dead Weather. Aside from his bands, he’s built a Nashville-based vinyl/singles mini-empire and produced for a bevy of new and veteran artists – from Loretta Lynn to the Black Belles, Wanda Jackson to another ex-, Karen Elson. Of his contemporaries in influence and confluence of skill, White champions more women than most, and to electrifying effect.

One could even say that White’s output has been dependent or at least informed by whom he’s working with -- or against. White explained in the guitarist doc “It Might Get Loud” that he opts to play difficult guitars he has to fight.
White in solo debut “Blunderbuss,” however, opts more for piano/Wurlitzer (played by Brooke Waggoner) than guitar to fill in spaces or take the lead on lines. So, instead, he has-it-out in his lyrics and with his voice. White battles an invisible “other” in many circumstances, most frequently the lovers that burn him or whom he likes to burn in his songs. And it’s worth noting that he sings like a woman some of the time.
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<p>Brad Pitt in &quot;Killing Them&nbsp;Softly&quot;</p>

Brad Pitt in "Killing Them Softly"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

The Lists: Top 10 most anticipated films of Cannes 2012

From 'The Paperboy' to 'Amour,' the films I can't wait to see on the Croisette

With the rosters for both Critics' Week and the Directors' Fortnight both having been unveiled this week -- more on those later -- the lineup for this year's Cannes Film Festival is essentially complete, though festival director Thierry Fremaux has promised that there are one or two additions still to come. (Don't hold your breath for Malick or Paul Thomas Anderson -- a title like Cate Shortland's well-buzzed "Lore," on the other hand, may be a more realistic wish.)

When people ask me if I'm excited about this year's Cannes crop, the only sensible answer is yes: what cinephile worth his salt would feign indifference to the prospect of seeing new films from Jacques Audiard, David Cronenberg, Michael Haneke, Michel Gondry, Raul Ruiz and so on? Cannes is never not exciting in that respect, as this week's list makes pretty clear. Yet I still think this year's lineup, and the Competition strand in particular, falls short in some respects. Not for lack of big names, but rather for lack of smaller, more surprising ones. With no female directors or debut features in the running for the Palme, the Competition also isn't as global as it might be: Asia gets just two of the 22 slots, Africa one, South America zero.

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<p>Cassie Steele in &quot;The L.A. Complex.&quot;</p>

Cassie Steele in "The L.A. Complex."

Credit: CW

Review: 'The L.A. Complex' moves from Canada to the CW

Import drama about showbiz wannabes feels retro, yet better than many real CW shows
Watching "The L.A. Complex," the Canadian drama that the CW will begin airing tonight at 9, reminded me of an exchange from the classic "How I Met Your Mother" episode "Slap Bet." The gang has just discovered that Robin was a one-hit wonder as a teenager in Canada, and as they watch the video for "Let's Go To The Mall," Marshall observes, "This is the '90s. Why does it look like 1986?"
Robin, sheepish about the whole thing already, shrugs and explains, "The '80s didn't come to Canada 'til, like, '93."
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<p>General Aladeen loves competitive sports, especially when his opponents end up dead.</p>

General Aladeen loves competitive sports, especially when his opponents end up dead.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Sacha Baron Cohen brings special 'Dictator' screening to Las Vegas

The first screening of the film proves to be shockingly dirty and very funny

LAS VEGAS, NV - I drove four-and-a-half hours today to see a 75 minute movie.

I regret nothing.

The 11:00 PM screening of "The Dictator" started late, but the capacity audience seemed happy about it when Sacha Baron Cohen arrived in character as General Aladeen, the dictator of the small country of Wadiya, flanked by two armed guards and some preposterously hot bodyguards.

Evidently, Cohen made a similar appearance at the Caesars Palace Colliseum during the Paramount presentation earlier in the evening.  I wasn't there to see that, and I'm leaving Vegas again fairly early tomorrow morning.  I've got a lot to do this week in Los Angeles, and I figure we'll see much of this material soon anyway.  But the chance to see the first finished screening of the latest collaboration between director Larry Charles and Cohen as a new outrageous, larger-than-life character seemed to justify a quick overnight trip.

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<p>Jewel Staite of &quot;L.A. Complex&quot;</p>
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Jewel Staite of "L.A. Complex"

Credit: The CW

HitFix Interview: Jewel Staite talks 'L.A. Complex'

'Firefly' vet explains why her new character is ruthless, not evil
In the new Canadian-transplanted CW drama "L.A. Complex," Jewel Staite plays actress Raquel Westbrook.
A decade earlier, Raquel was the star of "Teenage Wasteland," a cult drama that she has to keep telling adoring fans "had a bad time slot." Now, she's living in an apartment complex populated by fresh-faced Hollywood wannabes doing anything in her power to prove that her best days aren't behind her.
It was only nearly a decade ago that Staite was the star of a cult drama that "had a bad time slot" and that still has fans eagerly approaching her to express their support. 
In real life, "Teenage Wasteland" is no "Firefly" and Raquel Westbrook is no Jewel Staite, whose pre-Whedon resume included shows like "Higher Ground" and "Da Vinci's Inquest" and who has been seen guest-starring on FOX's "Wonderfalls," as a regular on "Stargate: Atlantis" and in the recent Sundance Midnight Movie, "The Pact." Yes, Staite is Kaylee Frye, but she's many other characters as well.
Perhaps that's why Raquel is scheming, manipulative and occasionally desperate, while Staite is entirely grounded, good-humored and comfortable with her professional life. Staite's also a really good interview. I'd be scared to interview Raquel.
I chatted with Staite last week about "L.A. Complex," playing an "aging" actress and about why Raquel absolutely, positively isn't evil.
Click through for the full interview...
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<p>If I told Gina Carano she is the cutest killing machine around, would she slap me silly?&nbsp; More importantly, would I mind?</p>

If I told Gina Carano she is the cutest killing machine around, would she slap me silly?  More importantly, would I mind?

Credit: Relativity Media

Gina Carano in talks to join the team for 'Fast Six' in 2013

Is Vin Diesel prepared to have his butt kicked by a girl?

Gina Carano may be joining Dwayne Johnson's team for "Fast Six."

In related news, "Fast Six" is going to be awwwwwwwwesome.

Perhaps the single thing I most regret about missing this year's ActionFest in Asheville, North Carolina, aside from not getting to spend time with my parents who live in Asheville, was that Gina Carano attended this year to pick up the "Chick" Norris award.  I really dug "Haywire" when it came out earlier this year, and I just rewatched it when the Blu-ray was sent for review.

I also really liked "Fast Five," which I think is the single best distillation of what they've tried to do with the "Fast and the Furious" franchise overall.  In particular, adding Dwayne Johnson in the Tommy Lee Jones/"Fugitive" role was a stroke of genius, and it brought a brand-new energy to the fifth film in the series.

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<p>Charlie Kaufman's going to help bring the 'Chaos Walking' series to the screen.</p>

Charlie Kaufman's going to help bring the 'Chaos Walking' series to the screen.

Credit: Walker Books

Charlie Kaufman set to script 'Chaos Walking' adaptation for Lionsgate

Could the 'Being John Malkovich' writer be part of the next 'Hunger Games' style hit?

When you're kicking off a new franchise, calling Charlie Kaufman seems to be as outside-the-box as Hollywood thinking could possibly be.

However, if you're a studio looking for underlying material to support a new franchise, buying a young-adult series set in a dystopian future is pretty much as by-the-book as Hollywood thinking gets.

So when Lionsgate buys the "Chaos Walking" series of books by Patrick Ness, it makes perfect sense.  I'm sure as soon as they're done with "The Hunger Games," they're going to want another series to be ready and waiting.  Now it looks like they've hired Kaufman to adapt at least the first book in the series, "The Knife Of Never Letting Go."  While Kaufman doesn't immediately leap to mind as the sort of guy who writes big studio mainstream films, this might actually turn out to be a very canny fit of filmmaker and material.

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<p>&quot;The Wanted&quot;</p>
<br />

"The Wanted"

Credit: Universal

Album Review: Will you be glad you came to hear The Wanted's album debut?

British boy band hits high notes on self-titled debut, but never totally entrances

Unlike the other boy bands currently part of a new teen idol resurgence, The Wanted’s solid brand of electro-pop transcends much of the typical boy band material to ensure its appeal beyond a teen demographic.

For example, the crunchy “Glad You Came,” which has reached into the top 4 of the Billboard Hot 100, fits in perfectly beside LMFAO or Maroon 5. It’s also the strongest track on “The Wanted,” out Tuesday, April 24. The 10-song set (in the deluxe edition; the standard is seven tracks) combines selected songs from the group’s first two albums released in their native U.K. Both  “Glad You Came,” and Maroon 5-like “All Time Low” topped the British charts.

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<p>Snoop Dogg with Tupac at Coachella weekend one</p>

Snoop Dogg with Tupac at Coachella weekend one

Credit: AP Photo

Can we let Tupac Shakur rest in peace again now?

What kind of can of worms did Coachella unleash?

Dr. Dre’s non-denial denial yesterday that the Tupac Shakur hologram (or 2D image) was created solely for Coachella and not for a tour continues to bring lingering thoughts on what technology means when it comes to raising the dead.

As you know, the legendary rapper, who died in 1996, made projected appearances at both Snoop Dogg/Dr. Dre shows at the festival--on April 15 and April 22. The April 15 appearance, which started with Tupac greeting the Coachella attendees, was the resounding water cooler moment at the fest this year.

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<p>You think you're surprised, Mr. Bond? Me, too, because I&nbsp;used to rank 'Thunderball' among the series' early highlights, but I really don't think it holds up.</p>

You think you're surprised, Mr. Bond? Me, too, because I used to rank 'Thunderball' among the series' early highlights, but I really don't think it holds up.

Credit: MGM/UA Home Video

James Bond Declassified: File #4 - 'Thunderball' is the first series stumble

The most legally controversial film in the series was also its first big misstep

File #4: "Thunderball"

This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.

Directed by Terence Young
Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins and Jack Whittingham
Story by Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming
Produced by Kevin McClory and Stanley Sopel


James Bond / Sean Connery
Domino Derval / Claudine Auger
Largo / Adolfo Celi
Fiona / Luciana Paluzzi
Felix Leiter / Rik Van Nutter
Count Lippe / Guy Doleman
Patricia / Molly Peters
Paula / Martine Beswick
"M" / Bernard Lee
"Q" / Desmond Llewelyn
Moneypenny / Lois Maxwell
Foreign Secretary / Roland Culver
Francois Derval/Angelo Palazzi / Paul Stassino
Pinder / Earl Cameron


Starting with that monogrammed "JB" on the side of a casket is a nice touch.

Bond's at the funeral of a man he wanted to kill, and he's upset he missed his opportunity.  He watches the family drive away.  But… wait… turns out the dude is posing as his own widow, and James follows him to the family home, then beats the ever-lovin' snot out of him.  It's a vicious fight, ending with Bond strangling the guy to death with a fireplace poker.  Bond makes his escape via jetpack in one of the great practical gags from the film series, and, using a car that appears to have been through Q branch, sprays down the guards chasing him, which leads into the underwater opening credit sequence, complete with Tom Jones theme song.

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Listen: Beck releases ‘Corrina, Corrina’ cover for 'mothers'

Check out Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros' contribution to 'Every Mother Counts," too

Mother’s Day may not be for another three weeks, but Beck’s got a nice, soft gift for non-profit organization Every Mother Counts.

The songwriter goes the ballad-slow route in this oft-covered folk classic, though no telling when exactly he recorded this one – perhaps about the same time as “Sea Change?”

Listen to the song here.

Regardless, Beck shares a tracklist with other big-named artists who contributed previously unreleased songs and song versions, like Eddie Vedder, David Bowie, Coldplay, U2 and Dave Matthews. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros loaned “Mother,” which you can stream here.

“Every Mother Counts” will be available for purchase at Starbucks starting on May 1.

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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 125

Dan and Alan talk 'L.A. Complex,' reality TV, 'Game of Thrones,' 'Girls' and more


Happy Monday, Boys and Girls!
In this week's installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, we've got a correction, a review of The CW's "L.A. Complex," Dan's Reality Roundup, discussion of "Mad Men" and "Game of Thrones" and a pile of Listener Mail, including two questions about "Girls" and the controversy therein. 
That seems probably like enough for a full podcast, eh?
Here's Monday's podcast breakdown:
NFL on FOX (00:00:50 - 00:04:20)
"L.A. Complex" (00:04:15 - 00:13:05)
Dan's Reality Roundup (00:13:00 - 00:26:20)
Listener Mail - Two "Girls" Queries (00:26:35 - 00:39:10)
Listener Mail - Twitter Etiquette (00:39:20 - 00:43:15)
Listener Mail - "Arrested Development" on Netflix (00:43:20 - 00:50:10)
"Game of Thrones" (00:50:20 - 00:59:55)
Sunday's "Mad Men" (01:00:00 - 01:15:20)

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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