Sunday, October 9, 2011

'The Walking Dead' recap, 'Wildfire' - Season 1, Episode 5

A few months after the first season of "The Walking Dead" ended, I wrote up a recap/review of the season's fifth and penultimate episode that never left its file in Microsoft Word. I have decided to share it below. Enjoy:

When we last left Frank Darabont’s thrill ride “The Walking Dead,” a zombie ambush plagued the 20-plus survivors who were finally united near that big abandoned rock quarry outside Atlanta. This racks up the group’s body count, which now includes an abusive husband. The walkers bit both Ed in his tent and Andrea’s younger sister Amy, the worst bummer it being the night before the girl’s birthday. Andrea had been diligently looking for makeshift gift-wrap.

Around dawn, Rick, a sheriff’s deputy in civilized life, uses his walkie-talkie in the hopes that Morgan – a man whom Rick met after awaking from a coma in “Days Gone Bye” – can hear him, and urges him not to enter Atlanta, which is crawling with hungry walkers. When Morgan and his son Duane went elsewhere, Rick gave them a walkie-talkie to maintain contact everyday at dawn. Morgan once said the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta was allegedly working on a cure; he is since unreachable. These details from the pilot are big motivators for Rick in Season One’s penultimate episode.

Andrea leans over Amy’s body, still in frozen shock from the slaying. The clock ticks until Amy is to become a zombie, but Andrea threatens to shoot whoever approaches the corpse with intent to harm.

The group deals with death in different ways. Ruthless redneck Daryl Dixon moves Ed’s body to be burned, which upsets Korean 20-something Glenn, a former pizza delivery boy who believes all should be buried. Families come to terms with their respective losses – by doing the devastating deed of killing a loved one before they turn into a full-on zombie. Carol smashed in her husband Ed’s head with an axe, and Andrea shot Amy just in time. Everyone, the characters and the audience, knows that the bitten need to be killed, sooner rather than later. Then, there’s the guy who conceals it. Jim gets called out for concealing a stomach bite from the ambush. Rick tries to protect him from trigger-happy folks like Daryl in the precious hours before morphing into a bug-eyed stiff.

Meanwhile, Rick keeps his pipe dream of visiting CDC in his back pocket. Shane vehemently shoots it down and proposes relocating to the heavily armed, if not operational, military base in Fort Benning 100 miles south.

Lori is ambivalent about the two men in her life. Looking back, her husband Rick left camp looking for a bag of ammo almost as soon as he arrived, and his best friend Shane lied about Rick being dead while he was MIA post-coma. Shane dutifully looked after Rick’s family then, specifically shacking up with Lori, unbeknownst to Rick. (Hopefully, that secret won’t come to light for a while.) Needless to say, neither guy is Lori’s biggest fan right now. But she supports the voyage to CDC.

While hunting in the woods, Shane aims his rifle at Rick from a distance. Dale subtly notices, only strengthening the token old guy’s own paranoia, and Rick unconvincingly plays it off like “we need some damn reflective vests around here!” The pilot, “Days Gone Bye,” was the only episode that convinced me that Rick and Shane were best friends. Aside from a Tarantino-esque squad car chat over hamburgers, these police have yet to click in an apocalyptic setting.

In what amounts to a Jack Shephard speech, the de facto leader of the pack, Shane, concedes to pushing onward to CDC in the morning. “The most important thing here is we need to stay together,” he sermonizes, to the group at fireside. All but one family chooses to stay behind. Rick equips them with guns and ammo.

Again, Rick’s attempt to reach Morgan at dawn via walkie-talkie is to no avail. Our considerate hero leaves him a note and map. No sign of Morgan yet – will he show up in the finale for a “Shawshank”-style homecoming?

The crew departs in separate vehicles, which goes smoothly until Dale’s ancient RV burns out. Jim is, predictably, in bad shape, so they leave him by a tree to ideally die as far away from them as possible.

Then, we meet someone new, Dr. Jenner (played by Noah Emmerich), who records scrambled video transmissions as the last remaining CDC scientist. He is admittedly a suicidal wino, or in other words, an entertaining guest role. The gang arrives at the corpse-ridden concourse outside lab headquarters and immediately loses hope. Not Rick though! After detecting a slight shake of the security cam, he desperately pleads for CDC to open up. As Jenner programs the doors to unlock, a beam of light is cast on the survivors.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Barney's Version to win best picture at 83rd annual Academy Awards


Best Motion Picture of the Year

4 Black Swan

5 The Fighter

8 Inception

7 The Kids are All Right

1 The King's Speech

2 The Social Network

10 127 Hours

3 Toy Story 3

6 True Grit

9 Winter's Bone

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

2 Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right)

4 Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)

3 Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)

1 Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

5 Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

4 Javier Bardem (Biutiful)

2 Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)

1 Colin Firth (The King's Speech)

3 James Franco (127 Hours)

5 Jeff Bridges (True Grit)

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

1 Christian Bale (The Fighter)

4 John Hawkes (Winter's Bone)

5 Jeremy Renner (The Town)

3 Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are All Right)

2 Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech)

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

5 Amy Adams (The Fighter)

3 Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech)

1 Melissa Leo (The Fighter)

2 Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)

4 Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

3 How to Train Your Dragon

2 The Illusionist

1 Toy Story 3

Best Documentary Short Subject

2 Killing in the Name
4 Poster Girl

1 Strangers No More
5 Sun Come Up
3 The Warriors of Qiugang

Best Short Film (Animated)

1 Day & Night Teddy Newton

2 The Gruffalo Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
5 Let's Pollute Geefwee Boedoe
3 The Lost Thing Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
4 Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary) Bastien Dubois

Best Short Film (Live Action)

3 The Confession Tanel Toom
4 The Crush Michael Creagh
2 God of Love Luke Matheny
5 Na Wewe Ivan Goldschmidt
1 Wish 143 Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

Achievement in Art Direction

2 Alice in Wonderland

5 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

4 Inception

1 The King's Speech

3 True Grit

Achievement in Cinematography

4 Black Swan (Matthew Libatique)

1 Inception (Wally Pfister)

5 The King's Speech (Danny Cohen)

3 The Social Network (Jeff Cronenweth)

2 True Grit (Roger Deakins)

Achievement in Costume Design

2 Alice in Wonderland (Colleen Atwood)

3 I Am Love (Antonella Cannarozzi)

1 The King's Speech (Jenny Beaven)

5 The Tempest (Sandy Powell)

4 True Grit (Mary Zophres)

Achievement in Directing

3 Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)

4 David O. Russell (The Fighter)

2 Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)

1 David Fincher (The Social Network)

5 Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit)

Best Documentary Feature

2 Exit through the Gift Shop Banksy, director (Paranoid Pictures)

4 Gasland Josh Fox, director (Gasland Productions, LLC)

1 Inside Job Charles Ferguson, director (Representational Pictures)

3 Restrepo Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, directors (Outpost Films)

5 Waste Land Lucy Walker, director (Almega Projects)

Achievement in Makeup

2 Barney's Version

3 The Way Back

1 The Wolfman

Achievement in Film Editing

5 Black Swan (Andrew Weisblum)

3 The Fighter (Pamela Martin)

2 The King's Speech (Tariq Anwar)

4 127 Hours (Jon Harris)

1 The Social Network (Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall)

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

2 Biutiful (Mexico)

4 Dogtooth (Greece)

1 In a Better World (Denmark)

3 Incendies (Canada)

5 Hors la Loi (Algeria)

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)

5 How to Train Your Dragon (John Powell)

3 Inception (Hans Zimmer)

2 The King's Speech (Alexandre Desplat)

4 127 Hours (A.R. Rahman)

1 The Social Network (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

4 "Coming Home" from Country Strong Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey

1 "I See the Light" from Tangled Music and Lyric by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater

3 "If I Rise" from 127 Hours Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong

2 "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3 Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Achievement in Sound Editing

1 Inception

3 Toy Story 3

4 TRON: Legacy

2 True Grit

5 Unstoppable

Achievement in Sound Mixing

1 Inception

2 The King's Speech

5 Salt

3 The Social Network

4 True Grit

Achievement in Visual Effects

2 Alice in Wonderland

3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

5 Hereafter

1 Inception

4 Iron Man 2

Adapted Screenplay

5 127 Hours (Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle)

1 The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin)

2 Toy Story 3 (Michael Arndt, story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich)

3 True Grit (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)

4 Winter's Bone (Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini)

Original Screenplay

5 Another Year (Mike Leigh)

4 The Fighter (Paul Attanasio, Lewis Colich, Eric Johnson, Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy)

3 Inception (Christopher Nolan)

2 The Kids are All Right (Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko)

1 The King's Speech (David Seidler)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Best of 2010


1 The Social Network
2 Black Swan
3 The Kids are All Right
4 Inception
5 Animal Kingdom
6 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
7 Toy Story 3
8 Winter’s Bone
9 True Grit
10 127 Hours

Honorable Mention: The Fighter, The King’s Speech, Greenberg, Kick-Ass, Please Give, Life During Wartime, Cyrus, Solitary Man, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.

Did not see: Another Year, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Rabbit Hole.

Hot Tub Time Machine
Due Date
It’s Kind of a Funny Story


1 Community
2 Mad Men
3 Louie
4 Breaking Bad
5 Treme
6 Party Down
7 Men of a Certain Age
8 30 Rock
9 Parks and Recreation
10 The League


1 Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
2 LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening
3 Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
4 Bruce Springsteen – The Promise
5 Beach House – Teen Dream
6 The Black Keys - Brothers
7 Cee Lo Green – The Lady Killer
8 The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt
9 Das Racist - Shut Up, Dude
10 Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

Honorable Mentions:
Sleigh Bells – Treats
Yeasayer – Odd Blood
The National – High Violet
Ben Folds & Nick Hornby – Lonely Avenue

Best Single: "Rill Rill" by Sleigh Bells