Thursday, October 31, 2013

Walking Dead "Days Gone Bye" Review

Today is Halloween and what better thing to review than a show about zombies?

Thoughts: The Walking Dead is a critically acclaimed and immensely popular zombie survival series on AMC. Virtually everyone has heard about it and millions of people watch it, making it the highest rated series on cable TV. Can a series with that much hype actually live up to the expectations?
While "Days Gone Bye," the first episode of the series, is not the most impressive thing I have ever seen on television, it was certainly a solid start and setup episode that got me intrigued enough to watch three more episodes before the day was done. Since many of the readers have yet watch the series, I will provide ample warning before any spoilers, although there is not a lot to spoiler about the first episode.
The episode starts by introducing the star of the series, Sheriff  Rick Grimes, and his backstory and how he ended up of his situation. As usual with most stories taking place in a world different than our own, there is a character that is new to this situation and he is used as a narrative device so that the audience will know what is happening. Rick is a likable and noble character in a world without laws. The only other character to note is Morgan Jones, however he has yet to reappear in the series and may be just a one time appearance like the comic. The pacing the episode is a tad slow, on the other hand the pacing is necessary since the show has a lot to setup for future episodes.
Even though the ending with Jones trying to kill his zombified wife was good, that scene tried a little too hard to "tug at heartstrings" and ended up a little overly dramatic, however the rest of the episode was done very well.
My favorite part of the entire episode though was when Rick traveled to Atlanta and ran into the huge wave of zombies.
*End Spoiler*

Another surprising part about the episode is that it was less gory than I was led to believe, although the series is certainly not recommended for the squeamish. There is obviously a lot of violence and gore in general because this is a show about zombies of course, but I really do not care either way about violence and gore. However, I do stress that the show is not recommended for younger audiences.

Something interesting to note, is that the series is filmed in my home state of Georgia, and while I have never seen the crew actually film, they have filmed in many places that I recognize and I have been, which is cool. Also few movies or TV series actually take place in Georgia and the setting, thus far, is represented fairly accurately.

Genre: Zombie, Survival, Drama, Horror,
Premiere Date: October 31, 2010
Running Time: 67 minutes
TV rating: TV14-TVMA

Action: Even though there was not a ton of zombie killing in "Days Gone Bye," there was enough to keep me entertained and the filming of it was done well.

Acting: Andrew Lincoln as Rick gave a fine performance in a very likeable role. Lennie James as Morgan Jones was excellent as well. Other than those two actors, there were not many others to note.

Production Value/Special Effects: The Walking Dead has a very cinematic feel to the episode and the effects for the zombies were mostly believable. Every Walker (zombie) had a unique look and personality. The only weak aspect from a technical perspective are a few backgrounds that are obviously computer generated.

Soundtrack: While the song at the end was slightly annoying and the rest of the actual soundtrack was forgettable, the main theme is great and perfectly compliments the series.

Overall: 8.2/10- Even though the pilot episode is not the best thing I have ever seen, "Days Gone Bye" introduces the main character and sets up an intriguing zombie apocalypse world.

Closing comments: Having now seen all of season one and part of season two, I have to say that I am hooked and will most certainly continue watching the Walking Dead because it is great thus far.

Note: I have several things to say about the series as a whole, however those thoughts will be reserved to my review of season one.

Recommended for: Zombie fans, Drama fans, Horror fans,

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Captain America: Winter Soldier Trailer Review

Here is my review of the  Captain America: Winter Soldier trailer. Find thing I have to say is just wow, the movie is entirely different than I was expecting. Among the Marvel Phase 2 (post-Avengers) films The Winter Soldier was the one that I was dreading most because Captain America is the most difficult character to bright to screen in a post-WWII setting and since he is my favorite comic book character, I have the most concern that his movie will be screwed up. However, the movie might just be the best of Marvel's Phase 2 if the movie is as good as the trailer. First off, Cap's new uniform is awesome, a big improvement over his previous costume, especially since he is essentially a SHIELD Agent. The part about him always working with SHIELD is actually incredibly similar to the comics and the fact that he would rather work than try to adjust to the modern world is a key part of that. What I like most about the trailer is the social commentary about Cap's old fashioned American values of Freedom versus the new world controlling organization of SHIELD, which is a big factor of a majorly important event in the Marvel Universe. Another thing that I am happy to see is a lot of Black Widow/Natasha/Scar-Jo because I love the character and the actress and seeing more of her is never a bad thing. Hopefully she will be as great a character as she was in the Avengers. Robert Redford, as a senior leader within SHIELD as well as a member World Security Council, adds great legitimacy and gravitas to the cast since he is such a great and respected actor. Anthony Mackie, as Sam Wilson / Falcon, is the dude with wigs in the trailer and I am very happy about the casting choice since Mackie is one of the better actors around. In the comics Falcon was Cap's sidekick of sorts with the two even having their own comic series together for a time. Even though I did not notice this initially, since I know about the comics and know who the Winter Soldier is, the identity of the Winter Soldier is not clearly defined in the trailer. At no point does the trailer say who the Winter Soldier is, and make it clear for anyone who does not know. To clarify, he is the guy with the metal arm. Although I have already spoiled his identity in a post a couple of years ago, I will not spoiler it any further. If you do not already know, who do you think the Winter Soldier is? As a whole, the trailer makes the movie look like it will be awesome. The Winter Soldier also appears to be tonally and visually similar to the Avengers, which is great.

James: Steve's new uniform looks great and I like that humor is still present in the film.

James: While I do not normally care about an actor's hairstyle and such, I have to say that I do not like Scar-Jo's new hair in the movie compared to the Avengers. She does not look as attractive (she is still amazing though) with it that way; she looked so much better in the Avengers.

James: Real men don't need parachutes!

James: Are Cap and Widow discovering some secret base or something? Because why else would Cap be carrying his shield around.

James: Robert Redford in this movie reminds of Three Days of the Condor, which is probably fitting since it was also a political/spy thriller.

James: I love Scar-Jo and more of her is never a bad thing.

James: This is our first look at Mackie's Falcon.

James: This place looks like a Helicarrier factory and since the last Helicarrier was severely damaged Fury probably needs a few spares.

James: Fury looks to be in some trouble and the cause is shown in a later clip.

James: The Helicarrier factory's location looks a lot like SHIELD New York in the comics.

James: One of the best parts of the trailer: "Does anyone want to get out?"

James: However, the most awesome part of the trailer is probably Cap's shield flip, pure awesomeness.

James: The Winter Soldier's robotic left arm, which I am still not sure as to whether it looks cool or not. However, the costume as a whole looks a lot like the comics.

James: This is how Fury ended up in such a bad spot earlier in the trailer obviously.

James: Can you tell who that is yet? I know.

James: Falcon's costume and suit is a lot cooler than I had expected.

James: I really like the Winter Soldier's fighting style. Seeing him face off against Cap will be epic.

James: This shoot is one of the more interesting ones from the trailer since it is obviously showing Cap in his original WWII costume. Maybe later in the film he decides to wear it since he has no other options.

James: Another Helicarrier gets taken down.

James: The Winter Soldier appears to be an awesome villain, kind of like Boba Fett being a strong silent type guy.

Something else to note is that Agents of SHIELD did not have a new episode this week, therefore there will obviously be no review.

What did you think of the trailer? Please comment below and check back tomorrow for my special Halloween review of the Walking Dead: Episode 1.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

X-Men: Days of Future Past Full Trailer

The X-Men: Days of Future full trailer is here and I could never be more excited for the film than I am right now. While it is not the best trailer I have ever seen, it certainly makes me excited for the upcoming film. It is probably my most anticipated film of the summer or at least tied with the Winter Soldier. As expected, the movie is apparently going to stray from the original comic story and we do get a brief look at several of the new characters including Blink (Asia girl), Warpath, Bishop, and a few others. Even though I knew Halle Barry would be in the film, I really wish she was not in it since she was the worst cast character of the main X-Men. Also the new costumes are still not that great, but they are better than the old ones. Other than that, the movie looks like it is going to be great. On a side note, I have heard the music in the trailer before but I cannot place it, does anyone else recognize it? What do you think of the trailer? Please comment below.

X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer Teaser

The full trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past is here! Click on this link to watch it. The X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer is going to be released later today! As with the Captain America trailer, Days of Future Past has a short teaser for the trailer, which I have posted above. Days of Future Past is set for a May 23 release. Since the movie is a time travel story, the film will feature the cast of the original X-Men trilogy as well as the First Class cast. Basically, I am majorly excited for the film because the story it is based on is a classic and one of my favorites from the 80s. Watch the teaser and check back later for the full trailer when it is released.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Agents of SHIELD: Girl in the Flower Dress Review

Thoughts: Yes, I know I say this every week, but Agents of SHIELD yet again improves upon the previous episodes with the "Girl in the Flower Dress" being the best episode the series has to offer. The episode was darker, intriguing, and had excellent action scenes, if only the pilot episode started with a tone like the one in this episode, less people would have been discouraged from watching the series.
As for "Girl in the Flower Dress," yeah, it was awesome again. Skye is proving to be one of the best original characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with an intriguing back-story and with newly discovered motivations being that information about her parents was redacted by SHIELD.
One of my favorite parts about the entire episode is how the series avoided the common cliché about the inside person never getting caught until the last episode making all of the others characters look like idiots. However, SHIELD took an entirely different approach when Skye was caught helping her, now former, boyfriend escape SHIELD since Coulson was smart enough to have Agent May follow Skye. Plus it added a fantastic humorous moment to the series when May was standing at the door when Skye was leaving.
Aside from Skye's betrayal and subsequently being caught, the part about the character newly introduced, and subsequently killed off, Chan Ho Yin, aka Scorch, was a great addition to the series. Having some of the episode take place in China was great, although I doubt any of it was actually filmed there, and considering Whedon's affinity for the Chinese language (watch Firefly), it is not surprising. Louis Ozawa Changchien as Scorch did an excellent job in his limited role. The darkness of the character itself was great. When he continued to use his power after he was no longer impervious to flames was a great effect and turned the show towards a darker tone. However, two things that really made the episode for me was the brutal incinerate of Centipede scientist Debbie and Coulson and May killing Scorch. The effects used to burn Debbie alive were rather impressive considering that it is on TV budget and I really liked how the show did not shy away from the violence. Also Coulson ordering Scorch to be put down was almost surprising, but in a good way, because that shows again that Coulson's intentions are always for the greater good unlike some other supposedly "dark" hero. Another great Coulson moment is when he is genuinely pissed off at Skye, and Gregg's serious performance was perfect in that scene. Plus, there was no humor in the scene, which made it much more effective.

"Girl in the Flower Dress" marked two other characters from the comics being introduced, albeit incredibly obscure ones at that. There is a comic book version of Scorch, although he is a mutant and only lasted a couple of issues as a very minor character (picture below). However, he did posses basically the same powers. Raina on the other hand is a bit of an enigma since her character is also mutant but the character looks more like a reptile and is from the Savage Land (picture below). The character bears little resemblance to her comic book counterpart, however that may be subject to change when we discover if Raina has actual powers from the altered Extremis.

Above are both version of Scorch and there are obviously large differences, including the character's real name. However, their powers are basically the same, the only difference being that the comic version is a mutant, which has been confirmed to not exist in this universe.

While I doubt naming the character Raina is a coincidence, but I find naming her after the character above is a bit odd, especially since she has very little significance, other than being featured in the Age of Ultron story in the comics, which the next Avengers film is named after.

Action: Again, the action has improved over previous episodes, featuring some great kills by Scorch.

Production Value/Special Effects: For the record, the fire effects looked a lot better than the Hunger Games, just saying. Considering how difficult making believable flame effects in CGI is, the series did an admirable job. Sure, the effects were not mind blowing but they get the job done.

Comedy: While more serious that earlier episodes, the episode had several humorous moments.

Overall: 9.5/10- "Girl in the Flower Dress" is the best episode Agents of SHIELD has had yet balancing a new character, Skye's betrayal and Coulson's solution to the problem perfectly. Hopefully the series will continue to improve!

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Weeping Angel Cat and Posting Schedule

Because I have nothing better to post today, here is a hilarious video of a Weeping Angel Cat with the Doctor's "Don't Blink" speech. Along with this video I have the upcoming posting schedule. Also, the posts you voted for in the Reader's Choice will be coming soon, however recent events such as new trailers, and Halloween have slowed that progress.

Monday: Agents of SHIELD: Girl in the Flower Dress Review
Tuesday: X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer
Wednesday: Captain America: Winter Soldier Trailer Review (and Agents of SHIELD Full Episode)
Thursday: Walking Dead: "Days Gone Bye" Review
Friday: Coming Soon: November (by Jordan)

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Walking Dead Reviews Are Coming!

At the recommendation of virtually everyone that has seen it, including several readers and my friends, I watched the critically acclaimed TV series The Walking Dead. Providing the readers are interested, I will start reviewing some episodes of the series as I watch them. My review of the first episode will come on Halloween, which is Thursday, and providing people are interested enough, I will continue to review the other episodes of the series, as well as season one as a whole. Thus far I have seen the first four episodes and I plan to finish season one by next week. How many fans of the series are interested in hearing my opinion of the show and is anyone that has not seen the show interested in reading my reviews of the series? Also, if you are a fan, do you have a favorite episode or character? Please comment below and let me know.

Also to clarify, this was the surprise announcement that I was referring to in Wednesday post.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Batman: Arkham Origins Releases Today!

Batman: Arkham Origins releases today! The third game in the Batman: Arkham video game series is out today. The Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games are the closest thing you will ever get to actually becoming the Dark Knight. If you are a Batman fan, you own it to yourself to play the Arkham games because they are awesome. Seriously, they would at least make my Top 10 Video games of all-time. Since the game has just been released, I have decided that I will review the other two Batman games and then Origins after I finish it. Also I have already pre-ordered Origins and it will hopefully arrive in a few days. My main concern about the game is that Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are not back to reprise their roles as Batman and the Joker, and Rocksteady is not making the game, but instead are handing it over to Warner Bros. Games Montréal. Despite this, the multiplayer is intriguing and reason to play the game's awesome combat system is a good one. Do you plan to buy the game? Are you a fan of the other Arkham games? Please comment below.

Note: Due to the massive amount of spam comments, comments on this post have been disabled.

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