If you still haven’t watched Tuesday night’s "Sons of Anarchy" season premiere then go do some naked pushups, get your canned stew aligned and catch up immediately or you might be angrier than a dude in a wheelchair being dragged down the street when you’re spoiled by this review.
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TORONTO — Get ready to hear a lot about Benedict Cumberbatch on the Oscar trail this season, as his performance as legendary computer science pioneer Alan Turing in Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game" joined an increasingly crowded Best Actor race when the film premiered in Telluride over the Labor Day weekend, and caught yet another stride with audiences at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
How “Sons of Anarchy” will probably end
With the final season kicking off tonight, Vanity Fair thinks it has all the answers. Option 1: “The Musical-Montage Ending.” Option 2: “The Mega-Happy Ending.” Option 3: “The Hamlet Ending.” Option 4: “The Real Hamlet Ending.” And Option 5: “The Time-Jump Ending.” PLUS: Why did “SOA” miss out on greatness?, Charlie Hunnam has been “having some pangs of sadness and also kind of panic,” and Malcolm-Jamal Warner on playing the villain this season.
NBC developing a “Pub Quiz” sitcom
The bar trivia comedy will revolve around a group of 20-something friends who team up once a week to compete in their neighborhood pub quiz.
“Gotham” named the “most promising show of the fall”
The TV Critics Association also named “Black-ish” the most promising comedy of the new season. PLUS: Study finds only 5 new shows are getting most of the online buzz.
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After Sunday night's premiere of FOX's "Utopia" much of the conversation was about embarrassingly alcoholic contestants, poorly concealed pregnancies and pixelated nudity.
But garnering nearly as much conversation as Huntress Hex, Drunken Buffoon Josh and Polyamorous Dedeker was the show's on-screen narrator, the immaculately dressed, carefully mustachioed Dan Piraro.
I chatted with Piraro on Sunday afternoon after seeing only a few early minutes of footage, which was enough to know that he could hardly be more different from FOX's legacy of reality hosts ranging from Ryan Seacrest to Mario Lopez to Monica Lewinsky to Cat Deeley.
It isn't just the infinitely twirlable facial hair or the fact that "Utopia" enlisted a frontman who has passed out of FOX's coveted 18-49 demographic.
Piraro arrives on "Utopia" with an established career in a field rarely mined for reality hosting gigs. Since 1985, Piraro's single-panel comic "Bizarro" has been syndicated in hundreds of newspapers, offering a wry, absurdist and often politicized glimpse at contemporary life. "Bizarro" has been reprinted in 16 collections, while Piraro has also written books of prose and traveled the country with a one-man comedy show. So even if aspects of "Utopia" feel like a marginally less raunchy "Paradise Hotel," Dan Piraro is no Amanda Byram.
In this Q&A, Piraro discusses the strange journey that brought him to "Utopia" and what he hopes to convey as the show's narrator and how he's different from Ryan Seacrest.
Click through before tonight's new "Utopia."
The aptly named “Songs of Innocence,” produced by Danger Mouse, with additional production by Ryan Tedder, Paul Epworth, Flood, and Declan Gaffney, is a song cycle that draws on the band members’ past— a time when they first met and everything was possible. It pays tribute to their influences (The Ramones, The Clash, The Beach Boys), first loves, growing up in the shadow of IRA violence, and the fallout of tough economic times. Bono’s vocals sound fresh and invigorated and the production sparkles. It’s a lovely album that is sentimental without ever losing its edge.
Below is a first-listen review: my take on each song by only listening to it once as I play the album straight through.
“The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)”: A chugging, mid-tempo track that recalls the moment that the members of U2 first heard and saw The Ramones and how it opened up the world to them. “I woke up at the moment the miracle occurred/I get so many things I don’t deserve,” Bono sings. It’s an intensely personal track. Musically, it’s not an homage to punk pioneers, but it captures the innocence of musical discovery. GRADE: B
“Every Breaking Wave”: Gentle, mid-tempo track anchored by Larry Mullen’s steady drum beat then breaks open to a more expansive tune about chasing things we know will beat up. The refrain echoes OneRepublic, which is not surprising given that Ryan Tedder produced the track with Danger Mouse. A very radio friendly effort. GRADE: B
“California (There is No End to Love)” The track opens with Bono chanting “Barbara Santa Barbara” in both a tribute to the city and the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann,” before giving way to a synth and beat-laden echo-y, propulsive track about how California/Hollywood dims your light if you let it. Written about the band’s first trip to SoCal, it sounds like it could have been on “No Line on the Horizon.” GRADE: B
“Song for Someone”: Sounds like another love letter from Bono to his wife, Ali, whom he met when he was 14. “You’re got eyes that can see right through me/You’re not afraid of anything they’ve seen…I don’t know how these cuts heal/but in you I found a rhyme.” The Edge gets some nice restrained solos in here. Deeply romantic. GRADE: B+
“Iris (Hold Me Close)”: Staccato, trademark playing by The Edge serves as the bed for this track about Iris, Bono’s mom, who died when he was 14. She collapsed at her own father's funeral, only to die herself a few days later. It’s extremely personal, yet the love expressed is universal in its appeal. GRADE: A
“Volcano”: One of the most distinctive tunes on the track starts with a wicked bass line from Adam Clayton. It turns into U2 crossed with Oingo Boingo as Bono’s voice bounces all over the place in the electronic-fueled cautionary tale. Fun and quirky, especially as the voices rise in the background like ghosts of tunes past. New Wave is alive and well. GRADE: B
“Raised By Wolves”: Driving track framed around a 1974 car bombing that killed 33 people in Dublin. “I’m in a white van as a red sea covers/metal crash I can’t tell what it is,” Bono sings. “The worst things in the world are justified by belief,” he adds, a very strong statement for someone who has always worn his religious convictions on his sleeve. The skittering track is propelled by sharp keyboards and Mullen’s relentless beat. GRADE: B+
“Cedarwood Road”: About as hard rock/metal an intro as U2 has ever recorded, “Cedarwood Road” then transforms into one of its more traditional mid-tempo tracks (it’s a shame…it would have been interesting to see where they’d gone with the song if they’d kept the metal edge consistently instead of referencing it only occasionally as the song proceeds). The song, dedicated to Bono's childhood friend, Guggi, is about the street he grew up on and the tumult both out in the open and behind closed doors. “And friendship once it’s won/It’s won…it’s one… A heart that is broken/is a heart that is open.” GRADE: B-
“Sleep Like A Baby Tonight”: U2 switches it up again on this slinky, electronic track that starts out with a hypnotic, programmed loop and benefits from a distorted, fuzzy switch up. “Tomorrow dawns like a suicide/ But you’re gonna sleep like a baby tonight,” Bono sings. Then he surprises again by going into a ragged falsetto. Probably the album’s most adventurous track musically. GRADE: B
“This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now”: Dedicated to The Clash’s Joe Strummer, the standout on the track is Edge’s piquant guitar work. Just as “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” pays homage to the Ramones, this track is a tribute to The Clash guitarist-- a soldier, in Bono's eyes-- and, more specifically, the group’s classic, “Sandinista!” GRADE: B
“The Troubles”: The title, of course, refers to what the fighting between the English and IRA was called, but this dreamy track refers to more than that. The lyrics address that issue obliquely but the song is more about how we give away our soul without even realizing it. Interesting choice to have backing vocals/refrain sung by a chorus reminiscent of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone.” GRADE: B
Zachary Quinto returning to NBC to star in “The Slap”
The former “Heroes” star has signed on to play the slapper in the Australian-inspired NBC miniseries about the ramifications of a parent slapping somebody else's misbehaving child.
‘Scandal” cast members are dressed to the nines in Season 4 cast shot
Are they getting ready for Fitz’s re-inauguration?
OWN orders food truck reality show “2 Fat 2 Fly”
Cameras will follow a food truck devoted to chicken wings.
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Happy Tuesday, boys and girls! Buckle up for a very long Firewall & Iceberg Podcast that runs the gamut, from our attempt to find anything redeeming in FOX's "Utopia," through some discussion of the "New Girl" & "Mindy Project" premieres, then into some important listener questions before we jump into "The Leftovers" finale and the start of the all-important "Friday Night Lights" volleyball arc. Only two episodes to go. Sigh.
As always, send questions to email@example.com. 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, subscribe on IHeartRadio or stream it on Dan's blog.
There's also now a complete archive of all the podcasts to date.
Happy Tuesday, Boys & Girls!
After a couple weeks of Wednesday podcasts, it's back to Tuesday with a busy show.
In this installment, we actually remembered to discuss the season's penultimate back of "Friday Night Lights" Season 2 episodes, we discussed the finale of HBO's "The Leftovers," we previewed next week's premieres of FOX's "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" and we spent as much time on FOX's "Utopia" as Alan could stand.
Here's today's breakdown:
"Utopia" (00:00:50 - 00:12:40)
"New Girl" Season 4 (00:12:45 - 00:22:40)
"Mindy Project" Season 3 (00:22:45 - 00:30:45)
Listener Mail: "Veronica Mars" viewing and TV paintball (00:30:50 - 00:41:30)
"The Leftovers" finale including Listener Mail (00:41:40 - 01:07:30)
"Friday Night Lights" Season 2 (01:07:55 - 01:44:20)
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 or subscribe on IHeartRadio.]
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
The Irish superstars, along with Apple CEO Tim Cook, made the announcement at the close of today’s Apple event in Cupertino, Calif.
The album, which features production by Danger Mouse, as well as Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Declan Gaffney and Flood, will be free to download to all iTunes account holders until mid-October, according to reports, in all 119 countries where iTunes is available.
“Songs of Innocence” will not be eligible to chart on the Billboard 200 because albums must be priced at no less than $3.49 in their first six weeks of release to be considered for chart inclusion.
In addition to download availability, the album is available for streaming on Beats music.
On Oct. 14, Interscope Records will make the album available to all retailers.
"Songs of Innocence" tracklisting
The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)
Every Breaking Wave
California (There Is No End To Love)
Song For Someone
Iris (Hold Me Close)
Raised By Wolves
Sleep Like A Baby Tonight
This Is Where You Can Reach Me Now
A deluxe edition will include acoustic versions of each song and four additional tracks, "Lucifer’s Hands," "The Crystal Ballroom," "The Troubles (Alternative version)," and "Sleep Like A Baby Tonight" (Alternative Perspective Mix by Tchad Blake).
HBO announces premiere date for “The Comeback,” “The Newsroom” and “Getting On”
All three return on Nov. 9.
Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake lend their voices to Apple’s iPhone ads
At today’s Apple event, the late-night pals were revealed to be singing iPhone 6 promos.
Donald Trump: Joan Rivers will appear on 2 “Celebrity Apprentice” episodes next season
"Joan plays my advisor in two episodes. She was great!” says Trump.
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Kriv Stenders is not a filmmaker whose name I knew before this, but "Kill Me Three Times" suggests he has both a slick sense of style and a wicked nasty sense of humor. The film stars Simon Pegg as a slimy hitman named Charlie Wolfe, and it is a sort of sun-drenched round robin of terrible people doing terrible things to one another to largely charming effect.
The script by James McFarland fractures the story into three overlapping chunks of time, doubling back on itself to illuminate why people are behaving certain ways, but it's actually a fairly simple story once it becomes untangled. Someone hires Charlie to kill someone else, and that someone may not be on the level. Charlie may not be on the level, either. Basically, it is a movie of double and triple crosses in which pretty much everyone deserves what they get, all set in the bright and beautiful sunshine of Australia.
While I'm always up for watching a new film by Noah Baumbach, I'm fairly sure I wouldn't want to spend any time in the real world with the characters in his movies.
Take "While We're Young," for example, his latest film which just premiered here at the Toronto Film Festival. In it, Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are a couple who have reached that point in life where all of their friends are having babies and they seem fairly sure that's not something they want. Josh is a documentary filmmaker who is coming up on his tenth year of tinkering with the same project, and Cornelia is a producer who works for her father (Charles Grodin), a successful older documentarian who used to be Josh's mentor. If they were the only three main characters in the film, there's still enough angst and tension and underlying pathology in the three of them to make me squirm for two full hours.