<p>Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright of &quot;House of Cards&quot;</p>

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright of "House of Cards"

Credit: Netflix

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 167

Dan and Alan talk 'House of Cards,' 'The Americans' and much more


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
After taking last week off, we're back for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
We didn't miss any new shows in our absence, but we did miss the series finale of "Fringe" and the season (hopefully not series) finale of "Parenthood." So we talked about those. We also reviewed FX's "The Americans," NBC's "Do No Harm" and the first two episodes of Netflix's "House of Cards." We also pre-eulogize NBC's "30 Rock" on the eve of its series finale. We may check back in on "30 Rock" next week after Thursday's finale, so if there's anything retrospective you want from us, feel free to ask.
It's a full podcast and next week's podcast also seems likely to be busy!
Today's breakdown:
Sundance (00:00:50 - 00:4:30)
"The Americans" (00:04:40 - 00:15:55)
"Do No Harm" (00:15:55 - 00:29:20)
"House of Cards" (00:29:25 - 00:51:30)
"30 Rock" Pre-Finale Retrospective (00:51:35 - 01:10:25)
"Fringe" Finale (01:10:50 - 01:21:20)
"Parenthood" Finale" (01:21:25 - 01:35:25)
"The Office" (01:35:30 - 01:41:50)


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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<p>Jennifer Lawrence</p>

Jennifer Lawrence

Screen Actors Guild Awards 2013 Live-Blog

Will the actors help clarify the Oscars picture?

Welcome to Sunday (January 27) night's Screen Actors Guild Awards, one of the only 10 or 20 times per year that Hollywood gathers together to salute itself. 

On the TV side, we're just anticipated yet another "Modern Family"/"Homeland" celebration. 

But on the movies side, this remains one of the most wide-open Oscars races in years and it maybe up to the SAG voters to led some clarity. Click through for the full live-blog and join the conversation!

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<p>&quot;Bullet to the Head&quot;</p>

"Bullet to the Head"

Credit: Warner Brothers

Notes from a 'Bullet to the Head' set visit in New Orleans

Sarah Shahi and Jason Momoa discuss star Sylvester Stallone
NEW ORLEANS - Sylvester Stallone can't talk.
That's not exactly right. Actually, Sylvester Stallone is an exceptionally good talker and prolific writer. 
However, the "Bullet to the Head" star is unable to talk to the group of journalists gathered in the August 2011 heat in the Crescent City to visit the set of his new Walter Hill thriller. 
Stallone is busy trying to avoid an explosion, which puts the need or desire to speak with a motley assortment of bloggers in perspective. Dodging this explosion requires quick reactions, strong swimming and powerful lungs.
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"American Idol"

 "American Idol"

Credit: Fox

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 12 Live-Blog - Baton Rouge Auditions

The show travels to Louisiana to search for more talent

After the not-very-explosive on-air edit of the Nicki Minaj/Mariah Carey dust-up last night, the search for talent (instead of judges' panel drama) continues tonight in Baton Rouge. However, that doesn't mean there won't be more squabbling, more fake British accents and more big hats. For the record, I am loving the big hats. 

Also, if you're not seeing this, having massive technical difficulties. I am live blogging away, but the Interwebs are refusing to let me share. Stoopid Interwebs. 

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<p>&quot;Narco Cultura&quot;</p>

"Narco Cultura"

Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: 'Narco Cultura' tackles the drug war with a keen eye

Shaul Schwarz's cinematography is a Festival standout
Subject Repetition Fatigue is always a Sundance Film Festival struggle. 
For several years now, it's been tough on any documentary about post-9/11 terrorism or the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan because the subject had been covered so frequently and, often, so well. How are you gonna keep them on the farm after they've seen "Restrepo" or "Hell and Back"? 
Just this week, I watched Jacob Kornbluth's "Inequality For All" and then, two days later, I found it difficult to stomach the economic flimsiness and sloppy anger of "99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film." Would I have liked the "Occupy" doc more if I hadn't enjoyed those 90 minutes being lectured by Robert Reich? Perhaps.
Heck, Subject Repetition Fatigue is such a serious issue that I've already discussed it previously when reviewing "Manhunt" in the context of the year's various Osama Bin Laden projects.
We've already moved into Subject Repetition Fatigue Repetition Fatigue, wherein I've grown tired of mentioning the repeated topics that I've grown tired of mentioning. [Yes, it's been a long time since I last had a full night's sleep.]
Or maybe I just need a different name for it? Docu-Deja Vu? That sensation that you're hearing a fact or figure that you've heard in previous films? Or that moment you realize you've seen the same talking head discuss the same subject matter in multiple documentaries?
Just as I praised "Manhunt" for finding a different point-of-entry into the OBL field, I was pleased that Shaul Schwarz's "Narco Cultura"   is able to stake its own position within the recent spate of terror-in-Mexico documentaries. While some of the claims and statistics in the documentary are definitely familiar, Schwarz builds his documentary around several fresh and interesting characters and anchors the film with superlative cinematography. "Narco Cultura," ends up being one of the better features in Sundance's US Documentary Competition and its originality ends up being one of my greatest reliefs. 
More after the break...
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<p>Sylvester Stallone and Jason Momoa of &quot;Bullet to the Head&quot;</p>

Sylvester Stallone and Jason Momoa of "Bullet to the Head"

Credit: Warner Brothers

Set Visit: Walter Hill is back with 'Bullet to the Head'

'Warriors' director discusses his return to filmmaking
NEW ORLEANS. It's late August, 2011. The Big Easy. Outside, it's hot. Inside, things are heating up.
A gangster played by Jason Momoa walks into a grungy brown office, highlighted by peeling wallpaper and mold stains. He steps back out. He steps in again. He raises a gun and points it at the camera, raising and lowering the firearm, trying to get the proper eye-line. The gun is fitted with a silencer, but it's all for show. hitmen require silence to escape detection, but movie sets require noise for proper audio synching. As a result, a PA is walking around passing out earplugs and assuring a small group of reporters that things are about to get loud.
Unflappable, Momoa's character reenters the room and demands that a safe be opened. It's Day 40 of 43 on the set of a film the clap-boards call "Headshot," but which will be released as "Bullet to the Head." The titles, temp and future, mean the same thing and Momoa, wearing a suit and a ponytail, much more dapper than in his role on "Game of Thrones" or the recently released "Conan," lives up to the title by opening fire on the reticent hoodlums. He's vicious, efficient and deadly. And the PA was not wrong about the noise.
Moments later, extras exit the stage clutching blood-drenched paper towels.
Walter Hill is back.
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January Jones promises 'a bit more' Betty Draper in 'Mad Men' Season 6

January Jones promises 'a bit more' Betty Draper in 'Mad Men' Season 6

'Sweetwater' star also discusses last season's prosthetics
PARK CITY, UTAH - On one hand, the Sundance Film Festival is among the most connected, finger-on-the-pulse events anywhere. On the other hand, for all its surplus of information and buzz in some areas, Sundance can feel like you've entered a black hole in others.
I suspect it's the latter hand that explains why January Jones didn't know yet that AMC had announced a Sunday, April 7 premiere for the sixth season of "Mad Men." In Park City to promote her revenge-themed kinda-Western "Sweetwater," Jones was pleased to hear the premiere date, she wasn't able to give much information about the secretive AMC drama.
"Betty will be in it a bit more," Jones teased. 
That won't be difficult, since Season 5 found Betty struggling with her weight and other insecurities, but also found the character MIA for long stretches, in part due to Jones' new baby. 
While Jones wasn't eager to spoil any details at all about the new season, she was quite comfortable talking about her reaction to Betty's arc and transition last season.
Check out this conversation and stay tuned for the first half of my "Sweetwater" interview with January Jones.
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<p>Adam Scott of &quot;A.C.O.D.&quot;</p>

Adam Scott of "A.C.O.D."

Credit: Sundance

Sundance Review: 'A.C.O.D.' has a silly title, but Adam Scott yields some laughs

Richard Jenkins and Catherine O'Hara shine in divorce comedy
As a critic, I've been known to call certain films "sitcom-y" and probably nine times out of 10, I mean it as a pejorative. 
I'm not sure why that is. There are good sitcoms out there. Lots of good sitcoms. In fact, for my money, there are more good TV sitcoms than there are good motion picture comedies and that's by a wide margin. 
"Sitcom-y" usually refers to a certain broadness that many TV comedies have, but it could just as easily refer to the rhythm and structure that TV comedies have to develop in order to work in a 22-minute window.
I'm not saying that I'd ever call a comedy that I out-and-out loved "sitcom-y." Judd Apatow has definitely made movies that owe everything to a style he developed working on TV, though I'm not sure I'd always call his movies "sitcom-y," but sometimes they are. "In the Loop" is basically "The Thick of It" in feature form, but I probably wouldn't call Armando Ianucci's film "sitcom-y."
So it's a matter of situation.
Stu Zicherman's dreadfully titled "A.C.O.D." premiered on Wednesday (January 23) night at the Sundance Film Festival and... it's sitcom-y. But it isn't sitcom-y in a way that I consider necessarily negative. Zicherman is making his feature directing debut, but most of his recent writing credits have been on the small screen, including FX's very fine "Lights Out." He wrote the script with "The Daily Show" veteran Ben Karlin. His "A.C.O.D." cast includes the stars of "Parks and Recreation," plus actors currently appearing on "30 Rock" and "The Office."
So, in this instance, when I say that "A.C.O.D." is sitcom-y, it means that it's a neatly arced comedy with a steady stream of jokes, delivered by a professional troupe of performers who know how to efficiently hit every punchline. "A.C.O.D." is very rarely surprising and Zicherman's directing M.O. is mostly to get out of the way of his cast, but that's just smart business.
And speaking of business, while I don't consider it my business to speculate on future commercial fortunes, even at film market like Sundance, "A.C.O.D." is an ultra-accessible, easy-to-laugh-at comedy with some brains, so it may end up looking even better outside of Park City.
[Full review after the break...]
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Amy Poehler will direct another 'Parks and Recreation' episode this spring

Amy Poehler will direct another 'Parks and Recreation' episode this spring

Star earned raves for last season's 'The Debate' episode
PARK CITY, UTAH - Amy Poehler's new big screen comedy "A.C.O.D." premiered on Wednesday (January 23) night at the Sundance Film Festival.
HitFix was on the red carpet for the dysfunctional family comedy, which also features Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara and Jessica Alba.
At the end of the interview, I asked Poehler if her work on last season's acclaimed "Parks and Recreation" episode "The Debate" had changed her perspective on all manner of work going forward. The episode, which Poehler wrote and directed, was one of the show's most acclaimed episodes.
In her answer, Poehler said that she would be directing on "Parks and Recreation" again this season. That got my ears tingling, because while Poehler has said repeatedly that she *wanted* to direct again -- and why wouldn't she, given how well that first episode turned out -- this was the first time I'd heard her say that she was locked in to return behind the camera.
Sources close to the show confirm that Poehler is, indeed, formally set to direct the season's 19th episode. Story details are still pending. I'm pretty sure nobody else has this info, but I'm hesitant to call it an "exclusive," even if it is.
Stick around for the full interview, in which Poehler talks about "A.C.O.D." and her Golden Globes experience in the next couple days.
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"American Idol"

 "American Idol"

Credit: Fox

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 12 Live-Blog - Charlotte Auditions

Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj really get into it in North Carolina - sort of

So the promos (and the beginning of the show) promise that things are going to get ugly on this episode of "American Idol" as the tensions between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj reach the boiling point. I'm sure Dan Fienberg would much rather be recapping this than watching movies at Sundance (and he'll be back next week, don't worry), but we can still have fun, right? 

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