Archive for January, 2012

Apollo 18

Popspotting #193: “Songs of 1992″ (Jan. 11, 2012)

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A high school reunion invitation prompts us to recall where we were and what we were listening to twenty years ago. This Wildcard Wednesday features five favorite songs each from 1992. That year, NASA’s space shuttle Endeavor saw its first flight, Apple released the the Newton PDA, and Disney’s “Aladdin” was tops at the box office. Jen’s picks include tracks by U2, Sade, and the Black Crowes, and Ryan highlights songs from the Indigo Girls, Sublime, and The Cure.

downton-abbey-bates

Popspotting #192: “Downton Abbey” (Jan. 10, 2012)

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Downton Abbey Wide

It’s a British period drama that’s one of the biggest hits on PBS. But don’t let that discourage you from visiting “Downton Abbey.” Recommended to us by several listeners, most passionately by Greg Marriotti of PixarTalk, we dove into the first season of this series and devoured every minute in time to catch the U.S. premiere of season two on Sunday. We were surprised at how compelling this super stylish and slightly soapy show turned out to be, following the lives of a noble family and the large staff that serves them.

The ensemble cast of”Downton Abbey” includes Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Jessica Brown-Findlay, Maggie Smith, Dan Stevens, Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan, Brendan Coyle, Siobhan Finneran, Rob James-Collier, Thomas Howes, Joanne Froggatt, and Sophie McShera.

Is this new affection for “Masterpiece” one of the biggest indicators yet of our advancing age? Are you a fan of the Earl and Countess of Grantham? Or put out by the sibling rivalry among Mary, Edith and Sybil? Who can’t be charmed by John Bates, or grandma Violet?

Mission Impossible 4

Popspotting #191: “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” (Jan. 9, 2012)

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Mission Impossible 4

We weren’t quite sure what to tackle for Movie Monday this week, but we picked up a strong signal from our listeners that the latest “Mission: Impossible” film was worth a look (including thumbs up from Matt on Facebook and Jeffrey on Twitter). So even though Tom Cruise and friends have been dominating the box office for more than four weeks, we headed out to the nearest multiplex to check out “Ghost Protocol.”

This fourth installment in the series finds IMF Agent Ethan Hunt in a dark place, as he’s joined by Benji (Simon Pegg), Jane (Paula Patton), and William (Jeremy Renner). The team must face off against Russian baddie Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist), without the considerable resources of the Impossible Missions Force.

“Ghost Protocol” was directed by Brad Bird, and is his first live-action film. It was produced by J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk, both “LOST” alums. Does this impressive pedigree deliver a worthwhile action spy caper?

Popspotting #190: “Sherlock Sedaris” (Jan. 6, 2012)

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The Help

The San Francisco Chronicle crowned “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” as the worst film of 2011. Would Jen have been more likely to agree were it not for her meddling husband? Also on the movie front, a thumbs up for “The Help,” up for several Golden Globe awards. This Feedback Friday also brings a few book reviews, from Bill Bryson to Stephanie Meyer. Then, the last word on musicals… for now.

Jason Grooms

Popspotting #189: “J.J. Midnight Tobolowsky” (Jan. 5, 2012)

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Jason GroomsToday’s PopTalk & Trivia guest is Jason, the other half of “The Forgotten Flix Podcast.” (His co-host Joel was our guest last month.)

A resident of Jen’s home state of Florida, Jason highlights hometown musician J.J. Grey, the independent thriller flick “Midnight Son,” and “The Tobolowsky Files.”

Jason’s day job is as a business trainer, a job that makes surprisingly effective use of his degrees in Anthropology and Primatology. But when at home and out and about, he blogs about his adventures with his family at DadQuest.com. He also writes the “Deep Fried Cheese” column.

You can find him on Twitter at @flixsidekick and @dadquest.

Drive

Popspotting #188: “Best of 2011” (Jan. 4, 2012)

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Game of Thrones

Before charging into the new year, we take a look back at the year that was. A “year in review” show is, perhaps, cliche, but 2011 was a good year for pop culture, and most certainly a special year for Popspotting. We saw more movies, watched more TV, tried more new music than ever before, as a result of having the pleasure of putting out this podcast, and the benefit of many wonderful and thoughtful listeners.

Today we recount the best movies and new television shows of 2011 (and touch on the upcoming Golden Globes), as well as share our favorite music, book, and app picks. And we’d really like to hear what you would crown as the “Best of 2011″!

American Horror Story

Popspotting #187: “Once Upon a Horror Story” (Jan. 3, 2011)

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Once Upon a Time on ABC

In November, we gave our first impressions of several new fantasy shows, including ABC’s fairytale drama “Once Upon a Time.” We liked it, but didn’t love it… but many of our listeners urged us to give it more time. We’re happy to say that we stuck with the series, and now, we’re pretty smitten. We update our review as we await the next new episode this Sunday.

Then, we discuss the season finale of “American Horror Story” on FX. The last time we checked in on the Harmons and the Murder House, we were looking forward to how the show would wrap up its deliciously dark first year. Did the last chapter, cut down from two hours to 90 minutes, bring a satisfying close as well as set the stage for season two?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Popspotting #186: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Jan. 2, 2012)

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Our first podcast of the New Year takes us back to Stieg Larsson’s tale of murder and intrigue with American director David Fincher’s remake of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” The story was already capably depicted by Larsson’s fellow Swedes, so can Fincher’s distinct style bring something new and compelling to the big screen? This time, Daniel Craig (Casino Royale) and Rooney Mara (The Social Network) portray the embattled journalist and mysterious hacker. The film also features Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, and Robin Wright.

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