Latest Blog Posts

Watch: Wale previews Nicki Minaj and Jerry Seinfeld collaborations on video
Credit: Atlantic Records

Watch: Wale previews Nicki Minaj and Jerry Seinfeld collaborations on video

Check out the clip for 'LoveHate Thing' feat. Sam Drew

Wale's new album "The Gifted" -- out tomorrow -- is looking to be fairly eclectic. As evidenced by three recent videos, he's gone the ratchet route, the comedy route and the soulful route.

We'll start with the first, the loveable and articulately cross-bred "LoveHate Thing," featuring crooner Sam Drew. The singer is the anchor for this Wale's cool-headed sonics and personal reflections.

And check out the Bruno Marsian influence on that instrumental ensemble:

Read Full Post
Michelle Trachtenberg as Marina Oswald in "Killing Kennedy"

 Michelle Trachtenberg as Marina Oswald in "Killing Kennedy"

Credit: NatGeo

Photos: Michelle Trachtenberg, Rothhaar as Marina and Lee Harvey Oswald

How do they compare to Rob Lowe and Ginnifer Goodwin's Kennedys?

We've already seen early images of Rob Lowe as JFK and Ginnifer Goodwin as Jacqueline Kennedy in NatGeo's "Killing Kennedy" (currently filming), and now we have the other couple at the center of the story -- Michelle Trachtenberg as Marina Oswald and Will Rothhaar as Lee Harvey Oswald. Do you think they measure up? 

See the images below: 

Read Full Post
<p>'I Am Legend' may have been his most frequently-filmed story, but his legacy is so much richer and deeper than that.</p>

'I Am Legend' may have been his most frequently-filmed story, but his legacy is so much richer and deeper than that.

Credit: Warner Bros

Remembering the legacy of Richard Matheson, creator of 'I Am Legend'

It is sad to see him go, but he leaves behind an amazing body of work

Richard Matheson was a giant.

We don't have writers like him today because we don't have any idea what to do with them. Matheson was born in 1926, and as much as any author in any genre, his work defined and reflected the tumult of the 20th Century. He had a remarkable voice as a storyteller, and it should come as no shock to anyone to see the laundry list of authors who claim that he was their primary influence.

First published in 1950, Matheson was on fire from the moment he was introduced to a readership. I can't imagine how amazing it must have been to be part of the The Southern California Writing Group in those days, with members like Matheson, Charles Beaumont, William Nolan, Ray Bradbury, and George Clayton Johnson, all masters in their own right.

As much as Rod Serling, Matheson was responsible for what we think of today as the "Twilight Zone" style of storytelling. Short, effective pieces that immediately create a sense of time and place and voice, and which end with a punch of some kind. Matheson had a real gift for creating a fantastic scenario and then somehow finding the very identifiable reality within that.

Read Full Post
<p>Skillet's &quot;Rise&quot;</p>

Skillet's "Rise"

Credit: Atlantic Records

Album Review: Skillet's 'Rise' burns with intensity

From sin to salvation in 12 hard-churning songs

With “Rise,” platinum Christian hard rock bank Skillet has its eyes set on creating its own rock opera a la Green Day’s “American Idiot.”

Lead singer John Cooper, who comes off like a raspy Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, told Billboard  that the album, out Tuesday (25) is filtered through the eyes of a teenage “coming into adulthood and he’s faced by the horrors that we see every day — floods, bombings, earthquakes school shootings... It’s about his path to salvation and wanting to be significant in some way.”  Along the way, he is bombarded ceaselessly with images and feelings  of horror, cynicism, and despair.

The album opens with the title track, which serves as a call to arms: “The time to change it all... united and fight to make a better life,” Cooper screams.  “Tonight we rise,” he says in a clever take off on the more traditional “tonight we ride.” As he and drummer/vocalist Jen Ledger trade off vocals (as they do on several tunes), the song takes on a Paramore-like feel.

At the end of the song, we hear a 911 call from a teacher telling the operator “there’s a guy here with a gun,” as she tells the children to take cover, as well as news reports about economic failure. It’s meant to reflect the stress of the times (our protagonist’s father is also telling him he’ll never amount to anything), but the 911 call  just sounds exploitive.

The aggressive album vacillates between the full-throttled angst and anger that comes with being a teen, such as on the hardest-rocking song on the album, single “Sick of It,” and songs that double as traditional love songs or about one’s relationship with God or Jesus, such as on “Fire and Fury”:  “Destiny’s gotta hold on me/I guess I never knew love like love knows me/I need to feel you here with me/I will burn/I will die for you.” It’s to Skillet’s credit that the songs never sound watered down,when it comes to faith, but are universal enough in their appeal to speak to whomever is listening.

Skillet goes into overdrive on the  tremendously-busy “Not Gonna Die.” Strings are furiously played, drums stomp, all in service of trying to replicate the urgency of the “stand and fight forever” lyrics. Fans of Evanescence will appreciate the “Wake Me Up” feel of the tune.

The one-two punch continues with “Circus For a Psycho,” an unrelenting slab of angst that opens with an Yngwie Malmsteen-like guitar lightning round that threads its way through the song.

From there, the tension breaks into ballad, “American Noise,” one of the album’s strongest cuts, and a welcome relief from the bombast. If we were still in a vinyl era, “American Noise” would start side two.  After reaching a breakdown, the rocking isn’t over, but the desire to find some relief and take back some power starts to prevail.

On the swaggering “My Religion,” Cooper declares, “Who’s going to make me whole/nobody but you... you’re the only sanctuary that I know,” before declaring that he needs no steeple or priest or pew, in a song that some will see as heretic, while others will see as a direct profession of faith. The inclusion of “Amazing Grace” is a nice touch.

By the  time Cooper and Ledger are singing “Down on my knees, you are what I believe” on closing tune, “What I Believe,” there’s no doubt that one journey has ended, while another is just beginning.

Skillet, which hasn’t released an album since 2009’s platinum “Awake,” takes an all-in approach to “Rise,” and their level of commitment is admirable. Every note of the Howard Benson-production  feels like it is there to convey an emotion and there is a laudable sense of in-the-moment intensity that makes up for any of the overwrought moments.


Read Full Post
Jason Silva

 Jason Silva

Credit: NatGeo

'Brain Games' Jason Silva talks pot, porn, white lies and more

Season two might include an episode about 'altered states of consciousness'
If you haven't watched "Brain Games" on NatGeo yet, consider tonight's season finale (Mon. June 24 at 9:00 p.m.) a chance to have your mind blown. Dedicated to the fine art of lying, the show asks the question whether there's an upside to bending the truth -- and yes, you might be surprised. The show, hosted by Jason Silva, puts viewers to the test (don't worry if you flunk) and explains why our minds do the crazy things they do. I spoke to Silva about tonight's finale, and somehow we ended up talking about pot and porn, too. 
Read Full Post

'SNL' posts disastrous unaired Justin Bieber-Bill Hader sketch -- with commentary

"SNL" posts disastrous unaired Justin Bieber-Bill Hader sketch -- with commentary
"Greatest trainwreck ever," says Hader, whose "Song for Daddy" got no laughs from the mostly teenage Bieber fan audience.

"Mad Men's" Season 6 finale matches last year

About 2.7 million watched last night.

Chris Harrison blames "The Bachelorette's" low ratings on "The Voice," Memorial Day premiere
"They literally could not have picked a worse time!" says "The Bachelorette" host. 'We were also up against the final three weeks of The Voice. When I found out I was like, 'Great, I won't even be watching the premiere!'"

Watch rapper Wale in studio with Jerry Seinfeld
Check them out recording "The Outro About Nothing."

See Michelle Trachtenberg as Lee Harvey Oswald's wife

Here she is as Marina Oswald in "Killing Kennedy."

"Game of Thrones" will bring back a Season 1 character for Season 4
Alliser Thorne didn't appear at all in Seasons 2 and 3.

"Real Housewives of Miami" cast gets shaken up

Marysol Patton and Ana Quincoces have been demoted to recurring roles, while Karent Sierra isn't seen in Season 3.

Read Full Post

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 188

Dan and Alan talk James Gandolfini, 'Mad Me,' 'Hannibal,' 'Under the Dome' and more


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
It's a busy week, so expect two installments of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast this week.
In this regular Monday installment, we talk about finales for "Mad Men" and "Hannibal," review CBS' "Under the Dome" and we pay tribute to James Gandolfini and Gary David Goldberg.
Later in the week, we'll cover "Dexter" and "Ray Donovan" and we'll do this week's rewatch, which was "Mary Tyler Moore" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show."
Here's today's breakdown:
James Gandolfini & Gary David Goldberg (00:2:10 - 00:20:30)
"Under the Dome" (00:20:40 - 00:27:05)
"Hannibal" (00:27:10 - 00:47:50)
"Mad Men" (00:47:50 - 01:39:25)

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

Read Full Post
Watch: Yeah Yeah Yeahs first band ever to shoot music video atop Empire State Building

Watch: Yeah Yeah Yeahs first band ever to shoot music video atop Empire State Building

Watch: 'Despair' gets an aerial view

Apparently, no music video has ever been shot on the top of the Empire State Building. Until now.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the New York band, took to a New York icon for their new clip for "Despair," the second single from their latest album "Mosquito."

Patrick Daughters -- who's totally our favorite -- shot the clip, which has the band meeting at the peak of the 102-story building in parts, with Karen O's vocal track starting out a capella. It crescendos to the rising of the sun at the same time as O sings (you guessed it) "my sun is your sun."

Read Full Post

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 188: 'Mad Men,' 'Under the Dome,' 'Hannibal' & more

Dan and Alan also pay tribute to the late James Gandolfini and Gary David Goldberg


Even before the tragic deaths of James Gandolfini and Gary David Goldberg, Dan and I were looking at splitting this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast into two installments. Once we lost those two TV giants, the decision to split was easy. So you get tribute talk, an "Under the Dome" review and finale discussion of "Mad Men" and "Hannibal" today, and later in the week you'll get "Dexter," "Ray Donovan" and our pilot rewatch of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." 

The lineup:

James Gandolfini & Gary David Goldberg (00:2:10 - 00:20:30)
"Under the Dome" (00:20:40 - 00:27:05)
"Hannibal" (00:27:10 - 00:47:50)
"Mad Men" (00:47:50 - 01:39:25)
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.
Read Full Post
<p>Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd in &quot;Prince Avalanche&quot;</p>

Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd in "Prince Avalanche"

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

'Prince Avalanche' trailer puts Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch at each other's throats

Magnolia will release the film in theaters and on VOD August 9

The more I think back to David Gordon Green's "Prince Avalanche," which I saw at the Sundance Film Festival where it made its world premiere, the more charmed I am by its unexpected charisma, its personal flourishes and its central performances. It popped up as one of our under-the-radar films for the summer movie season, and indeed, when it hits theaters in August, it will be a nice change of pace for those looking for as much after the blockbusters have had their way.

Read Full Post
<p>Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz listen to Jeff Wadlow describe a shot for 'Kick-Ass 2'</p>

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz listen to Jeff Wadlow describe a shot for 'Kick-Ass 2'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Chloe Moretz talks about fighting Mother Russia and returning for 'Kick-Ass 2'

She was 11 the first time we spoke, but she's no kid this time around

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE - Chloe Grace Moretz is once again clad in purple and black leathers, just like the first time we met, but this time around, she seems far more confident and controlled.

On the set of the original "Kick-Ass," I was one of the very first interviews Moretz ever did, and part of what was evident on that set was how protective everyone was of her. Her mother, her brother, director Matthew Vaughn, screenwriter Jane Goldman… everyone was in that same mode, and for good reason. As we watch Amanda Bynes melt down in real time on Twitter these days, it is a potent reminder of just how much damage can be done to a young person when Hollywood gets hold of them, and no one wants to see that happen to Moretz.

Thankfully, it doesn't seem to be the case. Chloe seems level-headed and normal in every way, except perhaps for her obvious talents as a performer. She spends her time these days working with filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton, and it seems like she's being careful in terms of what projects she'll sign on to do. I have a feeling we're going to be talking about her work for a long time, so these interviews end up just being signposts along the way. Chloe at 12. Chloe at 16. Each time with a little more experience and a greater sense of self.

Read Full Post

Michael J. Fox on Gary David Goldberg: 'He changed my life profoundly'

Michael J. Fox on Gary David Goldberg: "He changed my life profoundly"

Fox says of the "Family Ties" creator and "Spin City" co-creator: "With a full heart I say goodbye to my mentor, benefactor, partner, second father and beloved friend, Gary David Goldberg."

CW announces fall premiere dates
The fall season kicks off in October on The CW, starting with "Hart of Dixie" on Oct. 7.

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski apologizes for her disastrous Russell Brand interview
"I didn't know Russell," said the "Morning Joe" star. "And I don't think Russell liked that. And I've never gotten more vitriol and anger and hatred than I have over this so I apologize for not knowing." PLUS: MSNBC sorry for live Trayvon Martin trial F-bomb.

See a new (spoilery) "Walking Dead" set pic

One character appears to be undergoing a dramatic life change.

Lacey Chabert signs on for Hallmark Channel movie

The "Party of Five" star is joining "Alphas" star Warren Christie in "The Color of Rain."

"Breaking Bad" launches a "Name Lab"

Ever wondered what your name would look like as the show's title?

Read Full Post