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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 179: 'Family Tools,' 'Maron,' 'Game of Thrones' & more

Dan and Alan also review 'The Good Wife' finale and last night's 'Mad Men'

The

The network TV season is almost over, but this week's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast is a mix of finale and premiere talk, as we see how "The Good Wife" wrapped things up while looking at the debut of two new comedies, in addition to checking in on the midpoint of "Game of Thrones" season 3 and our usual "Mad Men" analysis.

The lineup:

"Family Tools" (00:01:25 - 00:16:25)
"Maron" (00:16:30 - 00:27:55)
Listener Mail - "Hannibal" & "The Following" (00:28:20 - 00:39:15)
"Good Wife" (00:39:20 - 00:54:45)
"Game of Thrones" (00:54:50 - 01:11:05)
"Mad Men" (01:11:10 - 01:33:25)

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.

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<p>I just noticed that Charlie Day's got tattoos on both arms. I&nbsp;have a feeling 'Pacific Rim' is going to be loaded with tiny details worth revisiting.</p>

I just noticed that Charlie Day's got tattoos on both arms. I have a feeling 'Pacific Rim' is going to be loaded with tiny details worth revisiting.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Amazing WonderCon footage from 'Pacific Rim' posted by Guillermo Del Toro

The director seems impatient to show off what he's done

In the days leading up to WonderCon, I had a link to an online screener of the "Pacific Rim" footage that Warner Bros. sent over so I'd get a chance to see the footage before the event. They told me it would play a grand total of three times before the link would expire, and I called both of my sons into the office to watch it with me.

Not even two seconds passed between the three screenings of the footage. As soon as it ended, both of my kids started demanding that I restart it. Then again. And when the link expired, they looked at me like it was "Lord Of The Flies" and I was about to get hunted. They were rabid about what they saw, and I figured their near-chemical reaction was because they are seven and five years old respectively.

Then at WonderCon, I watched an entire auditorium of people have the exact same reaction to the footage, and seeing it on a giant screen, I was struck by how impressive it is, how primal the reaction is when you're watching giant monsters and giant robots throw down like this. That last image, with the jaeger walking down the street dragging an oil tanker like a baseball bat, is completely thug. It's just absurd, and when you're making a movie about giant monster and giant robots, absurd seems like the way to go.

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<p>LL Cool J's Authentic</p>

LL Cool J's Authentic

Album Review: LL Cool's 'Authentic' shows rapper's true colors

Eddie Van Halen, Brad Paisley and Chuck D help bring the noise

In the last few years, LL Cool J has gained fame around the world as Special Agent Sam Hanna on the hit TV show “NCIS: Los Angeles,” as well as host of the Grammy Awards, but now he’s back to his roots with the rapper’s first album in five years, out April 30.

While the title is “Authentic,” it could just as easily be called “LL Cool J and Friends,” given how many guests he has stop by. The album plays like an aural variety show as different artists ranging from Snoop Dogg to Eddie Van Halen, Seal, and Brad Paisley drop by on various tracks with varying results. The one constant is that LL Cool J sounds like he’s having the time of his life, whether he’s spitting rhythms on in-your-face tracks or seducing the ladies with a number of love songs on the set.

If there’s any doubt that LL Cool J may have gone soft since 2008’s “Exit 13,” he lays any such notion to rest with aggressive opener “Bath Salt,” which serves also as a salute to Salt N Pepa. That aggression plays out well on a number of other tracks, including the genre-busting “Whaddup,” featuring Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Blink-182’s Travis Barker, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and Z-Trip (Enjoy the Beastie Boy-sounding homage in the middle).

As “Whaddup” and heavy tracks such as “We’re The Greatest,” featuring Eddie Van Halen and Barker,  rap and rock have a natural alliance here (although on the latter, his line about wondering why the Pope resigned is a bit of clunker in an otherwise compelling track).

He also embraces alternative music on “Not Leaving Here Tonight” featuring Fitz & the Tantrums. Fitz’s pop smoothness plays nicely against LL Cool J’s gruff vocals and Eddie Van Halen’s tasty guitar solo (even if you’ll swear it’s Enrique Iglesias singing here).

But LL Cool J doesn’t stand for Ladies Love Cool J for nothing and he is eager to show his romantic powers on so-smooth-you’ll-melt tracks like “Between The Sheetz” featuring Mickey Shiloh. He and R&B legend Charlie Wilson get a serious groove going on “New Love,” and his old-school jam “Something About You” featuring Earth Wind & Fire; Wilson, and Melanie Thornton could make you blush.

Unlike their well-meaning, if ham fisted, collaboration on Paisley’s “Accidental Racist,” their duet here,  “Live For You,”  works much better and Paisley stretches vocally in a way that renders him almost unrecognizable.

Is this cutting edge? Not in the slightest, but that’s not the purpose here. Instead, LL Cool J has made an album that, —as odd as it may sound to call it this—is Adult Contemporary Rap meant to appeal to fans who have grown up with LL Cool J and are happy to have him back. They want his sure-fire raps, but are happy to wrap the rap around gentler melodies. While this may strike some as a little defanged, it never feels like he’s pushing too hard.

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<p>Beyonce</p>

Beyonce

Which 'Great Gatsby' track is better: Sia or Beyonce and Andre 3000?

Check out Sia's new song for the impressive tracklist

More full tracks from “The Great Gatsby” soundtrack appeared over the weekend: Beyonce and Andre 300’s remake of Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black” and Sia’s original “Kill And Run.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Julianna Margulies,Josh Charlies and Christine Baranski in &quot;The Good Wife.&quot;</p>

Julianna Margulies,Josh Charlies and Christine Baranski in "The Good Wife."

Credit: CBS

Season finale review: 'The Good Wife' - 'What's in the Box?'

The Illinois voters make their choice, and so does Alicia

A review of "The Good Wife" season finale coming up just as soon as I watch "Hostel 3"...

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<p>Colin Firth, seen here in 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,' will play a very different type of agent for Matthew Vaughn in 'The Secret Service'</p>

Colin Firth, seen here in 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,' will play a very different type of agent for Matthew Vaughn in 'The Secret Service'

Credit: Focus Features

Colin Firth set to play super spy in Matthew Vaughn's 'The Secret Service'

Are you ready to see Mr. Darcy kick some ass?

I've been on enough sets with Matthew Vaughn to know how much he loves actors. One of the great pleasures for him during the making of a film is seeing how actors enhance and evolve the scenes that have been playing in his head since he decided to make the film.

I have yet to catch up with "The Secret Service," one of the 47,378 series that Mark Millar is currently publishing, but when I was in London in November to visit the set of "Kick-Ass 2," there was already a sense that Vaughn's next film would be "The Secret Service," and that he was in a hurry to get it started because he was worried someone would try to make a similar movie if he didn't do it soon.

According to a report tonight on Latino Review, Colin Firth is the first name cast in the film, and he'll be playing a superspy working for MI6 who becomes a mentor to his young slacker nephew. The spy, known as Uncle Jack, wants to usher his nephew into the same life that he leads, but he's not sure it's going to work. Mark Millar has described the series as "James Bond meets 'My Fair Lady,'" and that certainly seems like a high concept that could kickstart a series if done correctly.

Matthew and his longtime collaborator Jane Goldman co-wrote the script, and that is certainly reason to be optimistic. Looking at how Goldman and Vaughn handled "Kick-Ass," I trust them to take whatever liberties they have to while maintaining the flavor that drew them to the project in the first place.

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<p>On &quot;Mad Men,&quot;&nbsp;Don Draper (Jon Hamm)&nbsp;and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) go to an awards banquet.</p>

On "Mad Men," Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) go to an awards banquet.

Credit: AMC

Review: 'Mad Men' - 'The Flood'

Peggy goes apartment-hunting, Don competes for an award, and tragedy strikes

A review of tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I go to Harlem in a tuxedo...

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"Revenge"

"Revenge"

Credit: ABC

Who do you think will die on the season finale of 'Revenge'?

Creator Mike Kelley says a 'core cast member' will be offed, but who?

The two-hour season wrap-up of "Revenge" isn't upon us until May 12, but we already know one thing. ABC has promised that "someone will die," and show creator Mike Kelley has told TVLine that it will be "one of our core cast members" who won't make it to season three. Apparently this demise will come as a shock to Emily, but I'm not so sure it will be as much of a shock to us. After all, there are only so many "core" characters who could be sent packing without ruining the balance of the entire show. 

After tonight's episode, we seemed closer to narrowing the field of possibilities as well. Here's a totally uninformed look at who could go, how likely that might be, and what we'll do (or not do) without them.

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<p>Oona Chaplin and Richard Madden in &quot;Game of Thrones.&quot;</p>

Oona Chaplin and Richard Madden in "Game of Thrones."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Game of Thrones' - 'Kissed by Fire'

Oaths are tested, names are changed, and the Lord of Light intercedes

A review of tonight's "Game of Thrones" coming up just as soon as I offer to scream loudly...

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<p>Jen and Caroline flirt with Scottish poet Robert Burns</p>

Jen and Caroline flirt with Scottish poet Robert Burns

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Working Our Barrels Off'

Haggis, whiskey, kilts and bagpipes come into play in Scotland
I feel, and I'm sure that 18th Century Scottish poet Robert Burns would agree with me, that people who don't like haggis are fundamentally untrustworthy. 
 
Sure, you can hear what haggis is and get a little freaked out. If you're a wimp. I mean, haggis isn't anymore terrifying as a concept than most sausage products and it's a good deal less sketchy than most hot dogs that regular folks nosh on all the time. But if you want to hear "It's offal stuffed in a sheep's stomach and get freaked out? I guess that's fine.
 
But once you have bite of haggis, steaming, meaty and rich, if you make a face and call it "awful"? Sorry. You're just not entitled to the finer things in life. 
 
In that spirit, I'd like to say that leaving aside which team did or didn't actually get eliminated in Sunday's (April 28) "Amazing Race," Derby Moms Mona and Beth have been eliminated from my heart. And they were never actually in my heart, since through 10 Legs, I remain incapable of telling them apart or giving any minor differentiating detail about their personalities, either as individuals are a pair. 
 
No, I'm intolerant of haggis intolerance. 
 
[Full recap after the break.]
 
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<p>&quot;The&nbsp;Rocket&quot;</p>

"The Rocket"

Credit: Red Lamp Films

2013 Tribeca Film Festival award winners: 'The Rocket,' 'The Kill Team,' 'Bridegroom'

The 11th annual event draws to a close

The 11th annual Tribeca Film Festival has wrapped itself up with a special presentation of the new restoration of Martin Scorsese's "The King of Comedy" last night. If I hadn't been traveling so much the last few weeks, I'd have tried to make it to more events. There was some top-notch programming this year as the festival pivoted toward a new identity.

Friday and today, winners were announced across a wide variety of categories, and the big winner in the narrative jury and audience competitions was Kim Mordaunt's "The Rocket." The film also picked up a prize for actor Sitthiphon Disamoe.

Check out the full list of winners below.

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10 under-the-radar movies for summer 2013

10 under-the-radar movies for summer 2013

Seek out these counter-programming entries during the hot months

If you've been paying attention to HitFix's on-going 2013 Summer Movie Preview Countdown, you know what the site's staff is eagerly anticipating as we turn the corner into blockbuster season. High concept entertainment like the comic book stylings of "Iron Man 3," "Man of Steel" and "The Wolverine" have already been mentioned, as well as other genre fare, from westerns ("The Lone Ranger") to horror ("The Conjuring"), comedy ("The World's End") to sci-fi ("Star Trek Into Darkness"). How will the top five turn out next week? We'll know soon enough, but in the meantime, we've cooked up a list of under-the-radar goodies to check out in between all the big budget fun.

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