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    Crosstawk Comics: Episode 4

    Welcome back to Crosstawk Comics! This episode, Karl and Gus return to finish up their discussion on The Life and Times of Jean Grey. Listen in as they talk about impractical Avengers uniforms, mysterious coccoons, time babies and even a clone or two!

    Can't get enough? Well, you're in luck, because Crosstawk Comics is going to DOUBLE-PUBLISH in December. Since we've got five Fridays this month, we'll be back again on December 31st to bring you the very best of comics in 2010!

    As always, you can contact us via email (, Twitter (@crosstawk) or by commenting on the article on the site.

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    Rough Draught: Episode 5

    It's true that we had some bad news, but we'd never leave you high and dry, so instead of jibber-jabber on the Great American Pastimes, we'll be talking nonsense about some serious brews via the magic of Rough Draught!

    On this episode, oddly enough, our good buddy Jesse Laier (from Crosstawk Sports) joins us to gab about:

    Rogue's Morimoto Soba Ale (4.8% ABV):

    Werewolf (8.2% ABV):

    Dogfish Head Pangaea (7% ABV):

    Saison Dupont (6.5% ABV):

    As always, you can contact us via email (, Twitter (@crosstawk) or by commenting on the article on the site.

    Having said that, see you on Friday for a brand new Crosstawk Comics!

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    Editor's Note: Photo credit to Doug.


    The Bad News

    Hey, guys, just a couple things I want to address.

    First off, there will be no Crosstawk Sports this week. The crew recorded an episode, but due to an unfortunate crash, it was lost. It's too bad, because I know the guys worked hard on it, but there's really nothing that could be done. CS will return in two weeks for the December 14th show. As usual, next Tuesday will see the debut of another episode of Discover Music Project.

    Speaking of DMP, that brings me to my next point. You may have noticed that Episode 5 (Ben Folds) is not currently available for download. This is a result of a mistake on the part of our hosting service, I'm working with them to get this matter resolved as soon as possible, and with some luck, you should be able to download it again soon.

    It sucks to have to deliver the bad news, but it is what it is. Be sure to come back on Friday for a new episode of Crosstawk Comics. It's already edited and ready to go, so barring a hurricane/snowstorm/Cthulhu, it'll be up and available at the usual time.

    Thanks, folks.


    Thoroughly Manly Musicals: Mamma Mia!

    After an all-too-long wait, Thoroughly Manly Musicals is back with a brand new episode. This month, Stan takes Mamma Mia! to task. I won't pretend to know much about this flick - I know there's ABBA, a mystery of Who-The-Daddy and some godawful singing. Truly, Stan's going to have fun here. Let's get to it:


    Come back on Tuesday for Crosstawk Sports!


    Box Office Poison: Episode 5

    Stuffed with turkey? Digging into those leftover yams? Well, BOP's here to keep you company! It's a brand new month, and we've got a lot to talk about, starting with a long discussion on the new Harry Potter, and continuing on with I'm Not There, Winter's Bone, Jackass 3D, a defense of Bill Shatner's acting skills and even a love letter to the Disney classic, Captain EO!

    Once we wrap that up, we get to our Movie of the Month: The Third Man. We all really dug the flick, and we had a great conversation about what makes it an awesome European noir film. Next month, we'll be watching Synecdoche, New York.

    As always, you can contact us via email (, Twitter (@crosstawk) or by commenting on the article on the site.

    Also, we mentioned the upcoming RFN: Doin' It Live... For the Kids! You can see all of the details here:

    See you on Tuesday for a new Crosstawk Sports, and again on Friday for a new Crosstawk Comics!

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    Discover Music Project: Episode 6

    DMP returns for yet another romp into the realm of music you might not be familiar with. The NWR Newscast's own Andy Goergen returns, but this time it's Jonny's pick, and who else could they be talking about than Bob Dylan, an artist Jonny admires above all others, save perhaps Phish. And as always, here's the complete set list for your convenience:

    Don't Think Twice, It's Alright (Freewheelin') - 3:40
    Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You (Nashville Skyline) - 3:24
    Positively 4th Street (Greatest Hits) - 3:54
    I Don't Believe You (Another Side) - 4:23
    Mr. Tambourine Man (Rolling Thunder Revue) - 5:39
    You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome (Blood on the Tracks) - 2:52
    Ring Them Bells (Oh Mercy) - 2:59
    Corrina, Corrina (Freewheelin') - 2:44
    Dear Landlord (John Wesley Harding) - 3:16
    Desolation Row (Highway 61) - 11:21

    Encore: Last Thoughts on Woodie Guthrie (Bootleg Series 1-3) - 7:08

    Further Listening:

    The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
    Highway 61 Revisited
    Blood on the Tracks
    The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5: Rolling Thunder Revue

    As always, you can contact us via email (, Twitter (@crosstawk) and via the website. Once you're done there, please rate and review us on iTunes - we'd surely appreciate it! Having said that, have a good one, folks! We'll see you on Friday for a brand new episode of Box Office Poison!

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    Film Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

    After seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and walking out of the theater, there was one thought that I just couldn't shake:

    This is the kind of entertainment that you can only get with serialized content.

    Whether it's television or books or a series of movies or comics, there's just something about a story that can avoid all of the pitfalls of getting its audience up to speed, skip all of the character motivation set-up and get right to the good stuff. We know these characters, we know what they're after and we know where they're going. All that's left is getting there.

    Folks, Deathly Hallows gets there.

    After six movies, the Harry Potter film franchise has done a lot of growing, from its kid-flick beginnings under Chris Columbus to the dark action/thriller that's become under David Yates. After seeing this movie, however, you can't help but feel like all of that was just a prologue - a very long, very specific lead-in to the story we're being told now. These past films, while (mostly) pretty good in their own right, are completely and utterly obliterated by Deathly Hallows. Everything, from the story to the performances to the cinematography, feels like someone rolled up their sleeves, breathed in deeply and said, "Okay, let's get to work."

    So let's actually get into it, starting with the aforementioned story. At this point, Harry knows that he's got to destroy the Horcruxes (items that hold the shattered soul of You-Know-Who) if he's going to be rid of Voldemort once and for all, and the latter knows that he's got to take Potter out if he's got any hope of sustaining his reign over the wizarding world long-term. There's a great scene near the beginning of the film where Voldemort's got his cabal of Death Eaters all sitting down in this dining hall, and they're plotting on how to kill Harry. It's downright dastardly and you can practically cut the tension with a knife.

    Meanwhile, the Dark Lord's forces have also infiltrated the Ministry of Magic and eventually assert full control, launching a witch hunt (pardon the pun) on everyone they find to be "undesirable," including anyone of mixed or muggle blood. The Nazi overtones are a bit pronounced (with Ministry-backed "snatchers" playing the role of the Gestapo), but luckily, they never get too in-your-face about it. Dolores Umbridge resurfaces are a top official in this new regime and, yet again, I can't help but want to kick her right in the vagina every time I see her. She's just such a bitch.

    Harry's quest takes a turn when he's able to find a Horcrux but is unable to destroy it. Taking the form of a locket, it seems to have serious negative effects on whoever's wearing it for an extended period, usually resulting in them losing their temper or focusing on their inner demons. This leads to some great character interaction between Harry, Ron and Hermione, who've all struck out on their own at this point (aside from a short scene involving the train and a short mention on the radio, Hogwarts is all but ignored in this film).

    The plot thickens after the trio find out about the Deathly Hallows, three fabled items bestowed upon the wizarding world by Death himself, including a master wand, stronger than any other, a stone that can bring loved ones back from the dead and an all-too-familiar cloak of invisibility. It's revealed that Voldemort's after the wand, and it's up our heroes to shut him down. Throughout their journey, they pretty much run into the entire supporting cast up to this point, from Remus Lupin to Hagrid to Draco Malfoy to the all-too-adorable Dobby the (Now Free) House Elf.

    This film covers a lot of ground, but what makes it great is the pathos evoked by the cast's performances. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have all known each other for years at this point and it shows. Having built up that kind of rapport, their friendship comes off as genuine, and when there's infighting or fear or love within the group, you feel it too. These actors have literally grown up before our eyes, and there's a tremendous sense of catharsis in seeing them mature.

    On the other side of the table, the baddies don't stand out quite as much, but they're all still suitably great. Ralph Fiennes is frightening and imposing as Voldemort and Helena Bonham Carter plays the part of an evil witch as best as anyone could as Bellatrix Lestrange. I wish we could've seen more of Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, but I suppose that's being saved for Part 2. I would like to highlight Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy. He doesn't get a lot of room to show off, but he puts in a really great performance as the conflicted Junior Death Eater. He clearly doesn't agree with the kind of crap his sniveling father, Lucius is supporting, but he doesn't know how to break away from it. We saw a little of that in Half-Blood Prince, and I'm glad it's being revisited here.

    What kicks Deathly Hallows up into the upper echelon, though, is the flat-out amazing cinematography by Eduardo Serra. I was a bit worried going in, since Bruno Delbonnel wasn't returning from Half-Blood Prince (which also looked amazing) and the only film I know Serra from was M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable, a movie whose look I was totally bored by. Within a few minutes, that fear evaporated - not only did Serra keep up with Delbonnel's look, he surpassed him. With David Yates at the helm, Deathly Hallows still fits, stylistically, with Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, but it also has a much rougher, handheld feel. There are still plenty of gorgeous establishing shots and the kind of tender hand we've become familiar with in regards to the series, but with its darker tones and feeling of helplessness, Serra's done quite a bit in lending weight and tension. When you combine that with Alexandre Desplat and Conrad Pope's take on themes by John Williams, you've got a movie that looks and sounds and feels like an epic.

    If I had any criticism for Deathly Hallows, it's that, while everything I saw was thoroughly entertaining and engrossing, it's still half of a movie. There's a tiny bit of resolution and reflection towards the end, but the larger conflict (which takes center stage in Deathly Hallows rather than being a looming threat in the previous entries) is marching on into Part 2. So while I walked out of the theater satisfied, I did feel a bit like I was yanked out just as things were getting good. It was like the end of Back to the Future II, only there wasn't an awesome montage of stuff to expect next time.

    At 146 minutes, Deathly Hallows is a tremendously stuffed movie, and with next to no time being devoted to bringing new people up to speed, this is truly a film made for people who've put the time in. Having put said time in, I was blown away, and I can't wait for Part 2.

    This is the kind of entertainment that you can only get with serialized content.

    If you want to hear more about Deathly Hallows, listen in next Friday when Jonny, Stan, Mike and I discuss it in greater detail on Box Office Poison.

    See you then, folks!


    TAWK Rewind: TAWK-112 Episode 9's taking Friday off this week, but that doesn't mean we're not going to leave you with something to listen to! It's been quite a while since our last break, so it seems as good a time as any to give you another taste of the show that started it all, TAWK-112.

    On this episode, Karl, Jon and Casper are joined by Tyler to talk about malleable matter, electric cars, weird simulation devices, and close things down with a discussion on our favorite websites.

    As always, you can get in touch with us via email (, Twitter (@crosstawk) and via the comment section of the website (tell us your favorite sites!).

    Okie doke, folks. See you again on Tuesday for a brand new episode of Discover Music Project, and then again on Friday for Box Office Poison!

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    Check it Out: The Following Special Presentation (NEW)

    Our good buddy Stan Ferguson (Box Office Poison, Thoroughly Manly Musicals) put together a new video with the fine folks at, continuing the TFSP series with a brand new iteration on The Horror at 37,000 Feet, starring none other than Bill Shatner. If you're a fan of Stan's offbeat sense of humor (and who isn't?), then you don't want to miss this!

    See it at!


    Crosstawk Sports: Episode 2

    Crosstawk Sports returns with the latest and greatest in the world on the field! This week, Spencer and Ben are joined by an old voice from TAWK-112: Jesse Laier! After so long, it's positively awesome to see Jesse make his return to podcasting.

    This episode, the boys are talking about some recent happenings in the NBA, some good ol' football (both NCAA and NFL) and close things down with a quick MLB postmortem.

    As always send us your thoughts/concerns/whatever at, follow us on Twitter (@crosstawk) and rate/review us on iTunes. And tell the guys what you want them to talk about next in the comments on-site.

    Having said all of that, see you on Friday, folks!

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