Archive for May, 2011

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

Popspotting #60: Foo Fighters & Lady Gaga (June 1, 2011)

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Foo Fighters - Wasting LightFor our first music show (apparently confirming Wednesday as being our wildcard slot), we get Jen’s take on two big recent releases: “Wasting Light,” the seventh studio album from the Foo Fighters, and “Born This Way,” the omnipresent second album from Lady Gaga. Though new, both conjure up a healthy serving of nostalgia, the Foo Fighters for their rough-and-tumble early years, and Lady Gaga for the ’80s (and for Madonna).

Jen also shares two singles that have been getting heavy play on her iPod, both tied to the similarly omnipresent phenomenon known as “Glee.”

Next week brings back the book talk, which generated an impressive proportion of the feedback we’ve received here on Popspotting. But if you’d like to hear us talk about something you like hearing, please make your music recommendations today!

Hawaii Five-0

Popspotting #59: “Hawaii Five-0″ & “Chuck” (May 31, 2011)

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Hawaii Five-0Today we catch up on a couple of our weekly watches: “Hawaii Five-0,” the reboot of the classic cop show on CBS, and “Chuck” on NBC, one of the geekiest shows on television.

We harbor no illusions that “Five-0” is a gripping, original cop show, and Jen only watches when she’s in the mood for its particular brand of melodrama. Scott Caan is the standout star, and his chemistry with both Alex O’Loughlin and Claire van der Boom makes for some great scenes. We only wish Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park had more interesting things to do. Still, we’re having fun, and we loved the first season finale.

As for “Chuck,” once a reliable laugh-out-loud pop-savvy comedy, we lament the developments of the latest season, in which a colorful ensemble has taken a back seat to a fairly weak romantic pairing that was far more interesting before they were a couple. The series has fought for its life before, and we hope the writers fight to bring it back from the brink of boring.

Where will the second season of “Five-0” pick up? And what truly original plot twist could save “Chuck” next fall?

Kung Fu Panda 2

Popspotting #58: “Kung Fu Panda 2” & “Fast Five” (May 30, 2011)

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Kung Fu Panda 2It seems every summer is the summer of sequels, but both of today’s featured pair of films were a pleasant surprise.

“Kung Fu Panda 2” from Dreamworks delivers a surprisingly solid plot on top of kid-friendly fun and sharp animation, with more to offer than the first outing. While animated, the movie demonstrated a great sense of physics, and many of the visual pieces were as dazzling as anything conjured by “real” action movie directors. It almost made us wish we’d seen the movie in 3D.

And while “Fast Five” was a great big noisy ball of ridiculousness, it wore its big-budget blockbuster genes well. We loved and saw the first “The Fast and the Furious” film… then missed all the ones that followed. But this most recent outing was still a great ride, good enough to make us not mind early talk of a sixth sequel. I don’t know if you’d call what Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are doing in this movie “acting,” but it’s fun to watch.

Thanks to The Projection Room podcast for their support of Popspotting!

500 Days of Summer Poster

Popspotting #57: 500 Days, TV Picks Feedback (May 27, 2011)

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500 Days of Summer PosterFor our first Feedback Friday, Carl asks if we’ve seen “500 Days of Summer,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Next, Lauren suggests four TV shows she thinks we should watch, naming two we love and two we still have to check out.

As this is our first week, the Popspotting inbox is a bit bare, but hopefully that’ll change next time. Of course, that’s entirely up to you!

Burt Lum

Popspotting #56: PopTalk & Trivia with Burt Lum (May 26, 2011)

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Burt Lum

Ever since we first started planning Popspotting, we knew we wanted to have guests join us now and then… both to feature voices and ideas other than our own, and to try our hands as trivia game show hosts.

Of course, after years of recording as a couple, we knew it would be a bit of an adjustment to bring new people into the conversation. So for our first attempt at “PopTalk & Trivia,” we asked Burt Lum to be our guinea pig.

Burt is a friend and fellow media-maker in Honolulu, who (along with Ryan) co-hosts an old-fashioned weekly, live FM radio talk show on Hawaii Public Radio. He also blogs at Bytemarks.org. You can follow him on Twitter at @bytemarks.

We asked Burt to tell us about three things he was currently watching (we guarantee you’ve never heard of one of them), and then subjected him to a pop quiz. He did incredibly well… in the first round.

Not surprisingly, this inaugural outing was a little rough and awkward, but we thought it was a decent start. We hope you get a sense for what we’re doing, and hopefully consider volunteering to be a future guest!

Chelsea Handler

Popspotting #55: “Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me” (May 25, 2011)

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Chelsea HandlerJen has a husband, but she also has a boyfriend: her Amazon Kindle. She’s a voracious reader, and finally gets to share her love of the written word with the world. But her first pick isn’t exactly high-brow literature. It’s “Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me.”

Jen has read all of her books, and liked this one just as much as the rest, even though it’s told from the perspective of Handler’s friends (and other victims).

We also talk about “Catching Fire,” the second book in the “Hunger Games” trilogy, which Jen is still working on but which will soon be a major motion picture. Is Jennifer Lawrence, previously of “Winter’s Bone,” the right star to play Katniss Everdeen?

Are you a bookworm too? What are you reading? Jen is always looking for recommendations on what to read next!

Fringe Poster

Popspotting #54: “Fringe” on FOX (May 24, 2011)

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Fringe PosterIt’s no “LOST,” but after “LOST,” J.J. Abams’ “Fringe” was and remains our favorite network show. It brings unabashed sci-fi with decent plots, strong characters, and great actors. It even survived a move to a traditionally deadly Friday timeslot. With Season 3 just ended, we’ll probably talk more frequently about “Fringe” once Season 4 gets underway, but this is our introductory overview to hopefully encourage those who might be on the fence to dive in.

Do you love “Fringe”? What the heck do you think that season finale means, and where do you think we’ll go next season?

We’re aiming for short chats of ten minutes or so. But is that too short, even if we post an episode more often? Note that things might get more substantial as we have more feedback to incorporate. But as we’re still feeling our way, your early thoughts on how things are going is very important to us. Thank you for listening!

Pirates of the Carribean 4

Popspotting #53: “Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides” (May 23, 2011)

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Pirates of the Carribean 4The latest installment of Disney’s most lucrative franchise, “Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides,” is a bit of a mess. Frankly, so are we. After nine months off, we’re a bit rusty, a bit punchy, but still eager to get back to podcasting.

Johnny Depp and crew head off in search of the Fountain of Youth, barreling through the streets of London, storming across the sea, and heading deep into an oddly familiar tropical jungle. (Tikka tikka tikka…) The flick didn’t float Jen’s boat, but Ryan enjoyed the ride, for a Popspotting score of 5/10. If you saw it, and it seems like most of America did, we’d love to hear what you thought!

This episode is a beta test of a new format, switching from longer shows a few times a month to shorter, simpler episodes a few times a week. Will it work? Only time and our listeners will tell. So do let us know what you think, but please be gentle. It’s rough, but it’ll get better. Probably.

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