Archive for January, 2012

An Education

Popspotting #203: “An Education at the End” (Feb. 1, 2012)

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John Dies at the End

As we roll into February, we figured it was time we went back to the books. Today Jen reviews “An Education,” a memoir by Lynn Barber, and “John Dies at the End,” a web serial by John Wong of Cracked.com fame that became a book (and has now become a movie).

“An Education” was the inspiration for the 2009 film starring Carey Mulligan, but the story told on screen was but one chapter in Barber’s life. As the memoir explains, that naive young girl would go on to work for Penthouse magazine. As for “John Dies at the End,” it’s a story that defies categorization, but overflows with colorful, pop culture-savvy storytelling (and the occasional poop joke).

Alcatraz on FOX

Popspotting #202: “Touch of Alcatraz” (Jan. 31, 2012)

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Alcatraz on FOX

Today for TV Tuesday we focus on FOX, starting with the preview broadcast of “Touch” starring Kiefer Sutherland, and moving on to the long-awaited broadcast premiere of “Alcatraz” starring Sam Neill, Jorge Garcia and Sarah Jones.

“Touch” was created by Tim Kring, he of “Heroes” fame (or infamy), and stars Kiefer Sutherland as Martin, single dad to troubled son Jacob, played by David Mazouz. In last week’s “preview event,” airing well ahead of the show’s official premiere on March 19, we also met Danny Glover as all-knowing professor Arthur and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as skeptical social worker Clea. It was an ambitious pilot, but can the conceit be sustained over an entire series?

Also, while we saw the first hour of “Alcatraz” at Comic-Con last July, it was a long wait before it finally hit the airwaves two weeks ago. Created by former “LOST” scribe Elizabeth Sarnoff (along with Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt) and backed by executive producers J.J. Abrams, Jack Bender and Bryan Burk, the show follows the history and new misdeeds of escaped Alcatraz inmates. What’s the real reason for their return? And do we have the patience to wait for the next big reveal?

Attack the Block

Popspotting #201: “Attack the Block” (Jan. 30, 2012)

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Attack The Block

This British sci-fi flick charmed nearly everyone who saw it. Alas, too few people saw it. “Attack the Block” came out last May, but apart from making a small splash at SXSW in Austin and getting a very limited North American release, it has relied on word of mouth and DVD/Blu-Ray rentals and sales to find an audience. Thanks to Matt and other Popspotting listeners, you can count us among its fans as well. Written and directed by Joe Cornish, “Attack the Block” stars John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones, Simon Howard and Nick Frost.

Popspotting #200: “2011 and 1912” (Jan. 20, 2012)

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Downton Abbey

Our 200th show is a completely arbitrary milestone (since we didn’t relaunch with our daily format until Episode #53), but it feels good, nonetheless. And fittingly, it’s you that provide today’s conversation topics, from your own “Best of 2011” picks for movies, TV, music and books, to the brilliance of “Downton Abbey.”

Popspotting wouldn’t exist without your suggestions, reactions, and conversations, so we again thank you for sticking with us. And we hope you’ll never hesitate to reach out and speak out on anything under the vast pop culture umbrella.

“Downton Abbey” fans shouldn’t miss “Uptown Downstairs Abbey” on YouTube, as mentioned on this week’s show. You can find both Part 1 and Part 2 online, courtesy the BBC.

TheRealMsWright

Popspotting #199: “Wars Love Once” (Jan. 19, 2012)

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LOST Mirror Moments

Today’s PopTalk & Trivia Guest is Ms. Wright (@TheRealMsWright) from behind the “Lost Mirror Moments” podcast. She grew up and still lives in the Austin, Texas area. She’s a cubicle slave during the week and a photographer on the weekend, She loves reality TV and sci-fi, and is perfectly capable of being into “So You Think You Can Dance” and “LOST” at the same time.

Geek Plate

Popspotting #198: “Hawaii 101” (Jan. 18, 2012)

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Bellows Panorama

We’ve covered Hawaiian music and local food. We’ve given virtual tours of the Big Island and Hilo Town. And we’ve got other Hawaii shows in the works. But today, we focused on your questions about the Aloha State.

What are the different islands? How do people travel among them? What are the best places to visit with kids? It’s “Hawaii 101,” a general introduction to the 50th state, plus travel advice for first-time visitors. And it’s just the start. We have more listener questions to get to, and we welcome new ones, should you find us to be reasonably amusing guides to the islands.

Terriers on FX

Popspotting #197: “Terriers” (Jan. 17, 2012)

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Terriers on FX

For TV Tuesday, it’s another single series showcase, as we explore the short-lived “Terriers.” It lasted only one season on FX, and for all its brilliance, it was the network’s lowest-rated new show ever. So even though it made dozens of “Best Show of 2010” lists, almost nobody saw it, and that’s a crime. Now “Terriers” can be found on Netflix, and we explain why it’s worth checking out.

“Terriers” was created by Ted Griffin and starred Donal Logue as ex-cop and recovering alcoholic Hank Dolworth and Michael Raymond-James as former criminal Britt Pollack. The pair are partners in an unlicensed private investigation firm in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California.

Midnight in Paris

Popspotting #196: “Midnight In Paris” (Jan. 16, 2012)

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Midnight In Paris

It’s not a new film, but it’s one we missed and really wanted to see. “Midnight In Paris” is Woody Allen’s 41st film, and by some accounts, one of his best. Even Quentin Tarantino picked it as his favorite film of 2011. It stars Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, along with Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, and Michael Sheen.

We also got to see the re-release of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” in 3-D, which includes a new animated short, “Tangled Ever After.” More than 20 years later, does the animated classic hold up? And does 3-D add anything to the experience?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Popspotting #195: “Once Upon the Dragon Tattoo” (Jan. 13, 2012)

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Most of today’s show focuses on David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” We get thumbs up almost all the way around, whether from newcomers to the story or from people who’ve read and seen the rest. But we’ve also got a little bit of TV talk, from “Once Upon a Time” to “Homeland.” And Geoff chimes in with another music pick, covering a genre we most definitely don’t know very well.

Dave Nelson

Popspotting #194: “Five Prophets a Day” (Jan. 12, 2012)

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Dave NelsonToday’s guest is radio DJ, blogger, and podcaster Dave “The InterDave” Nelson. Originally from Minneapolis/St. Paul, he now lives in Wausau, Wisconsin. You can find him on Twitter as @TheInterDave and on Google+.

He runs the Galactic Netcasts podcast network, which is home tothree shows: the Alien Invasion Podcast, the Sci-Fi Film School podcast, and the Time-Traveling Robots in Space podcast.

Today he shares his love of the “Prophets of Science Fiction” series on the Science Channel, the “Top Five Podcast,” and the “Life In A Day” documentary project on YouTube.

Got your own picks to share? Want to be a guest on Popspotting? Just drop us a line!

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