<p>NaOnka gets her 'Survivor: Nicaragua' torch extinguished.</p>

NaOnka gets her 'Survivor: Nicaragua' torch extinguished.

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: NaOnka Mixon and Kelly Shinn talk 'Survivor: Nicaragua'

The 'Survivor' quitters discuss their decision and their experiences
If you had told me two weeks ago that I'd be interviewing "Survivor: Nicaragua" castaway NaOnka Mixon and that she would have done something so wacky that I wouldn't even have time to discuss debacles like stealing food, wrestling with the one-legged girl for an Immunity Idol clue and betraying her best friend... I guess I probably would have believed it. Reality TV seasons need drama and NaOnka was certainly drama. 
 
On last Wednesday's episode, NaOnka found a way to top herself, electing to quit the game along with Kelly Shinn. In one unprecedented move, as members of the Jury swore and cried, the season's most vocal player and the season's least vocal player decided that being 10 days from a million bucks just wasn't good enough.
 
I was out of town and missed my normally scheduled post-elimination interview, but I caught up with Kelly and NaOnka this afternoon to talk about regrets, apologies and the way they were portrayed on "Survivor."
 
[Note: Obviously if I'd had a 1:1 call with NaOnka, the food stealing and Idol wrestling would have come up...]
 
The full interview is after the break...
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<p>Donal Logue of 'Terriers'</p>

Donal Logue of 'Terriers'

Credit: FX

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 49

Dan and Alan talk 'Terriers,' 'Sons of Anarchy,' 'Walking Dead' and 'Boardwalk Empire' finales

The

 

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls. It's time for a finale-filled Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
Sepinwall and I were moments away from podcasting when FX made the official announcement that "Terriers" had been cancelled. We were already planning on building this podcast around discussions of the finales for "Terriers," "Sons of Anarchy," "Boardwalk Empire" and "The Walking Dead," but the FX news moved "Terriers" to our front-burner.
 
In addition to the four finales, we also discussed the return of TNT's "Men of a Certain Age."
 
Here's the breakdown. Pay close attention because we're spoiler-filled:
"Terriers" -- 00:00 - 14:55
"Men of a Certain Age" -- 15:00 - 23:35
"Sons of Anarchy" -- 23:40 - 37:15
"Walking Dead" -- 37:20 - 48:00
"Boardwalk Empire" -- 48:52 - 01:04:20

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 here's the podcast...
<p>Natalie Portman of 'Black Swan'</p>

Natalie Portman of 'Black Swan'

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Movie Review: 'Black Swan'

Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis shine in Darren Aronofsky's horror-ballet-thriller
With only five features to his credit, Darren Aronofsky has pretty much cemented his place as Hollywood's most fascinatingly unpredictable predictable filmmaker. 
 
Aronofsky's portraits of insatiable obsessives are so aesthetically and topically varied that he'll never be accused of repeating himself, even if there's an easy and compelling argument to be made that the Aronofsky-ian hero or heroine is invariably cut from the same cloth.
 
That's one of those things that sounds like a criticism, but that's not my intent. Aronofsky's latest film, "Black Swan," is one of 2010's most dazzling and effective films and I derived great pleasure from its unlikely similarities to "The Wrestler," one of my favorite films of 2008.
 
Like "The Wrestler," "Black Swan" is a story of artistic commitment and the dangers of dedicating yourself so totally to a performance that you become untethered from real life. Both films also find Aronofsky playing off of very familiar genre tropes, with very different results. While "The Wrestler" was a reconciliation narrative, with Mickey Rourke's character seeking solace through his relationships with two archetypal women in his life, "Black Swan" spikes the traditional backstage drama with the highlights of a psychological thriller and even a horror film. So if you thought "The Wrestler" was bleak and distressing, "Black Swan" is sure to throw you for a loop.
 
Even vulnerable viewers wary of going through Aronofsky's wringer once again, though, should check out "Black Swan" for the wholly consumed lead performance by Natalie Portman, career-best work from Mila Kunis and some of the best music and dancing of any film in recent memory.
 
[More on "Black Swan" after the break...]
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<p>Marcel of 'Top Chef All-Stars'</p>

Marcel of 'Top Chef All-Stars'

Credit: Bravo

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 48

Dan and Alan talk Leslie Nielsen, Oscar hosts, 'Restrepo,' 'Top Chef All Stars' and more...

The

 

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls. Time for another installment of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
Initially, this looked like it was going to be a light podcast, but Leslie Nielsen's passing and the announcement of Anne Hathaway and James Franco as Oscar hosts added fodder.
 
We also reviewed NatGeo's "Restrepo," celebrated the premiere of "Top Chef: All-Stars" and discussed the state of "Parenthood" and "Fringe."
 
Here's the breakdown:
Leslie Nielsen -- 00:45 - 10:45
Oscar hosts -- 10:50 - 19:45
"Restrepo" -- 19:50 - 25:55
"Top Chef All-Stars" -- 26:00 - 35:30
Reader Mail featuring "Parenthood" and "The Paul Reiser Show" -- 36:00 - 46:00
"Fringe" - 46:00 - 55:20 

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 here's the podcast...
<p>'Restrepo'</p>

'Restrepo'

Credit: National Geographic Channel

TV Review: 'Restrepo' comes to National Geographic Channel

NatGeo lands the TV premiere of this year's Sundance favorite

"Restrepo," which has its small screen premiere on Monday (Nov. 29) night represents a major programming coup for National Geographic Channel. 

I missed "Restrepo" multiple times at Sundance back in January and never found the right time to catch it during its brief, limited theatrical run this summer. Normally when documentaries slip through those respective cracks, your best chance to watch them would come on HBO or PBS (or just via Netflix). But here's NatGeo giving a small screen home to a probable Oscar nominee for Outstanding Documentary. And "Restrepo" is an unflinching, intense, occasionally horrifying portrait of war, which makes a statement for NatGeo, still better known for pretty nature docs like "Great Migrations" than its many hard-hitting specials.
 
I can't actually say what form "Restrepo" will be in when NatGeo airs it. The network promises a premiere "with limited commercial interruption," but even limited interruption will doubtlessly break the film's grim momentum. It's also unclear if NatGeo is going to maintain the language in the film, which is every bit as salty and unguarded as you would expect from 20-something soldiers in combat.
 
Directed by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, "Restrepo" has a fly-on-the-wall immediacy that's difficult to deny, even if its journalistic approach to the subject matter makes it occasionally feel like a companion piece to both directors' respective books, rather than a piece of art in its own right.
 
More thoughts on "Restrepo" after the break...
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<p>Colin Firth of 'The King's Speech'</p>

Colin Firth of 'The King's Speech'

Credit: Weinstein Company

Movie Review: 'The King's Speech'

Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush topline a solid-but-limited prestige pic
My grandmother is well into her 90s, but scarcely a week goes by when her schedule isn't packed with symphony concerts, plays and trips to the cinema and scarcely a phone conversation goes by where I don't hang up convinced that her social life is vastly fuller than my own.
 
We also never speak without her asking me if there are any movies out that she should see. It's been a while since I've been able to give her anything good to seek out. It's not that I haven't liked movies this year, but I wouldn't immediately think to subject my Bubie to the thick mountain accents of "Winter's Bone" or the technobabble of "The Social Network" or much of anything in "Let Me In."
 
But when I called her for Thanksgiving -- confusing, since she's Canadian and doesn't celebrate our oddball November Thanksgiving unless she's in The States with us -- I eagerly anticipated her request for recommendations, knowing that I had an answer.
 
"Go see 'The King's Speech,'" I told her, without hesitation. 
 
It's handsome. It's clever. It's well-acted. And the entire darned movie is about clarity of diction, which is a valuable attribute if you happen to be selectively hard of hearing. 
 
The Weinstein Company is welcome to use my pull quote: "The King's Speech" -- Finally a movie you can suggest to grandma. [Alternatively, "'The King's Speech' - A grand movie for grandparents."]
 
I wouldn't shy away from recommending "King's Speech" to my parents or to my 20-something brother, but I confess that with each youthful generation, my recommendation would become a little less enthusiastic. 
 
The Weinstein Company is welcome to use my pull quote: "The King's Speech" -- Perfect for the whole family, albeit perfection in inverse proportion to age."
 
All of the nice things I said about "The King's Speech" just four paragraphs ago are true. Also true? "The King's Speech" is old-fashioned, a little aesthetically claustrophobic and occasionally intellectually superficial in ways that left me yearning for more depth from screenwriter David Seidler and director Tom Hooper. Some of those things that are deficiencies in my book will contribute to making "The King's Speech" an Oscar front-runner and an overall crowd-pleaser.
 
More on "The King's Speech" after the break...
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<p>Martin Sheen of 'The West Wing'</p>

Martin Sheen of 'The West Wing'

Credit: NBC

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 47

Dan and Alan answer reader questions for an hour. Woot!

The

 

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls. It's Firewall & Iceberg Podcast time!
 
Since there were no new shows premiering this week and we didn't have an immediate ongoing show that seemed right for a catch-up, we decided to dedicate this week entirely to going through a pile of reader mail. 
 
Usually the podcast is us talking about TV in a specific way. This week is a lot of general chatter. 
 
Sepinwall breaks it down like this:
Mid-season scheduling changes at NBC & FOX: 1:40 - 15:38
The power of TV critics (or lack thereof): 15:38 - 18:40
The lack of fidelity to foreign languages on American TV: 18:40 - 23:51
TV show episodes that tower over the rest of their respective series: 23:51 - 30:19
Shows with storylines that go off the rail: 30:19 - 36:10
Thoughts on "Sports Night" and "The West Wing": 36:10 - 46:00
HDTV versus standard-def: 46:00 - 52:30
"Dexter" and the dangers of predictability: 52:30 - 1:01:36

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 here's the podcast...
<p>Brenda meets her 'Survivor: Nicaragua' fate</p>

Brenda meets her 'Survivor: Nicaragua' fate

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Brenda Lowe talks 'Survivor: Nicaragua'

Latest 'Survivor' bootee talks about going from royalty to peasant
Two minutes into Wednesday (Nov. 17) night's "Survivor: Nicaragua," Brenda Lowe declared herself the king of the game, confident that her alliance was unbreakable and unstoppable.
 
Less than an hour later, Jeff Probst was snuffing out Brenda's torch.
 
Falls from grace are not uncommon in "Survivor," but Brenda wasn't the victim of a Tribal Council blindside. No, Brenda was blindsided earlier in the episode when she discovered that NaOnka, one of the centerpieces of the alliance, was the a key part of the upcoming coup.
 
HitFix caught up with the deposed King to talk about her fall from grace, why she didn't demand Sash give her the Immunity Idol and why she bothered trusting NaOnka at all.
 
Click through...
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<p>Chi McBride</p>

Chi McBride

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Chi McBride talks 'Human Target'

'Pushing Daisies' star says what viewers can look forward to this season

[WARNING: Chi McBride sorta kinda spoils the ending of "Lost" in this interview.]

Ever do a long, detailed interview that was rendered mostly irrelevant by factors beyond your control?

Take, for example, the conversation I had with Chi McBride back in August on the set of FOX's "Human Target." I vividly remembered McBride's discomfort with doing our interview on the inclined from lawn of the mansion being used for the day. What I forgot was the amount of time we spent discussion how he figured "Human Target" would do airing on Friday nights and the wisdom of network TV programmers.
 
The short version: He thought "Human Target" would do well on Fridays, but he's been doing this long enough to know the decision is out of his hands.
 
The issue is moot now, since FOX moved "Human Target" off of Friday nights, just days before it was set to premiere, pushing the show to Wednesdays, starting tonight (Nov. 17).
 
Fortunately, just two weeks after that Vancouver interview, I talked to McBride on camera and tried to cover different terrain, meaning no Friday questions and the viability of this video interview.
 
Check it out...
 
<p>Jackie Earle Haley of 'Human Target'</p>

Jackie Earle Haley of 'Human Target'

Credit: FOX

HitFix Interview: Jackie Earle Haley talks 'Human Target'

The 'Watchmen' and 'Little Children' star teases what's in store for Guerrero
Perhaps due to the decade-plus that he spent away from the industry, Jackie Earle Haley has packed a lot of achievements into the delayed second act of his career.
 
He's been nominated for an Oscar, starred in an adaptation of the most revered comic book ever, worked with multiple award-winning filmmakers and helped to reinvent one of the horror's most feared characters. He's currently working as a regular on a network TV show.
 
I've talked to Haley at Comic-Cons, TCA press tours, in full "Nightmare on Elm Street" makeup and on the luxurious lawn of a suburban Vancouver mansion and the "Breaking Away" and "Watchmen" star has never been less than humble, accommodating and friendly, which isn't as easy as it sounds under some of those conditions.
 
The aforementioned Vancouver mansion was the scene for the season's second episode of "Human Target" and Haley caught me up on his hopes for Season 2, the changes to the show and the importance of keeping his character, Guerrero, mysterious.
 
Full interview after the break...
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