Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer #3

Story:

“Someone is murdering ghosts, a supernatural crime so impossible to solve that John Constantine is forced to return to London and seek help from the one person he hates more than any other; a magician above reproach, a darling of London high society, and a friend to superheroes everywhere. She is Georgiana Snow…the HECKBLAZER!”
Read more about it on Goodreads.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #3

Review:

So we delve more into Constantine’s past this issue but I really don’t like the art they use for it. It’s all very purple and I find it off putting. There’s also a change of artist for the non flashback bits as well and I’m not keen on that either. I really liked the other style in the first and second issue but I guess I’ll get used to this.

Constantine has gone back home to England and is looking up old friends but it appears he doesn’t have many. The only one alive is Georgie who is very competent and makes Constantine look like an arse. He rushes in without thinking and it’s very annoying. I don’t know the character well enough to tell if this is out of character behaviour, having only known him for two issues before this but he was over confident in the last issue so I guess that’s just what he does.

And he gets himself into a lot of trouble that Georgie has to save him from. She works for the supernatural division of MI5 or something like that. She knew Constantine back in the good old days and didn’t really like him then either.

I love the cover though. That really stands out and I love how Constantine is trying to smoke even while Georgie’s crushing him with her boot.

It didn’t really feel like much got accomplished this issue. Other than John annoying Georgie. We learn a bit about his past but none of it really gripped me. I think it must be because of how much I loved the previous issue that this is a bit of a let down.

We get to see how he interacts with others who know about demons and stuff. He’s a bit annoying but I like that the less nice parts of his personality are on show and get criticised. Things like that always make characters feel more human but then you can’t do it too much because the audience has still got to like the character and root for him. This almost crosses that line for me. He messes up and I found myself thinking that he should stay out of Georgie’s way but then he had a very humanising moment and you realise how alone he is and I’m back on his side.

While this issue wasn’t as good as the last issue it still develops the mystery of the ghost killer, if only a tiny bit. And I think John and Georgie are going to be a really good pair of characters to play off each other she’s all about studying, high society and being uptight. While he seems to wing stuff and have sex in clubs.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Previous Review Constantine: The Hellblazer #2                          Next Review Constantine: The Hellblazer #4

Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

10) Fantastic Beasts and where to find them

I love Harry Potter. These books were my childhood and I loved the movies but this feels like a cash in. Franchises are in at the moment and who ever owns the movie rights to Harry Potter has realised there’s lots more money to make here.

I have some hope because Rowling’s involved so it should be decent, but I don’t like Eddie Redmayne that much. I think he’s way over rated. Although I kind of liked him in Jupiter Ascending because his performance was so over the top and entertaining.

I want to like this so much and I just want more Harry Potter. There are so many stories to tell in that world and I’m disappointed that we are getting another lead who’s the typical lead for pretty much all Hollywood movies.

 

Batman v Superman

9)Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

This is another movie that I really want to like but I have a feeling that I won’t.

Mostly that’s down to Zac Snyder directing and the choices he makes. Like hiring an inexperienced actress to play Wonder Woman based on what she looks like rather than talent. I’ve got nothing against Gal Gadot, she’s an actress and this is her job, and I don’t like all the body shaming that went on when she was hired. I think the criticism should be on the choices Zak Snyder is making. Wonder woman is an icon and one of the most well known female super heroes ever. They should have got an actress who was really experienced to play her. Like they got Ben Affleck to play Batman. Instead they get a woman who’s not done a lot of acting and you know they hired her because she’s hot or pretty or sexy or what ever. When that shouldn’t be the basis for hiring the actress to play wonder woman.

And if they hadn’t made other sexist choices I probably wouldn’t be as sure about that but we still haven’t gotten a female led super hero movie where someone actually puts effort in to make a good movie. And that’s a criticism levelled at marvel as well.

But this is meant to be why I’m excited for this movie. Well all of the above is why this isn’t higher on my list. And this is only the second movie in the DC cinematic universe so they don’t have my trust yet.

What I’m excited for is Batman v Superman. I’m sceptical about how much I’ll like the movie but even the trailers are getting me excited. With Batman promising to make Superman bleed, and Superman destroying the bat-mobile just by letting it crash into him.

I’m hoping that even if I hate the overall movie there will be lots of awesome moments that I can get excited about. It doesn’t matter how many times I explain this movie to my dad, he still doesn’t believe Batman can fight Superman.

 

Suicide Squad

8)Suicide Squad

This is higher up my list than Batman v Superman because it’s not Zac Snyder directing but we still get Batman and the Joker. Add to that Harley Quinn and Will Smith playing one of them (I don’t know the DC universe that well). This looks exactly like my sort of movie. I’ve bought some of the comics so I’ve got a lot of reading to do.

 

Finding Dory

7)Finding Dory

I hope this won’t be one of those occasions where Dory was a good side character but only tolerable in small doses. A lot of people felt that way about Minions and while I liked the movie I get where they’re coming from.

I liked Finding Nemo but I don’t love it the way other people seem to and I’m pining all my hopes for this movie on one character. I love Ellen, and Pixar doesn’t usually make bad movies as long as you don’t count Cars.

 

Star Wars: Rogue One

6)Star Wars: Rogue One

After seeing The Force Awakens I’m fully on board with Star Wars in a way that I wasn’t before. Now I’m invested in these movies being good.

They’ve finally got characters I can relate to and care about. I don’t know all the details and things that happened in the other movies because I can’t remember and rewatching them isn’t a priority. But even I understand what stealing the Death Star plans means to the Star Wars universe.

I hope that some of the anthology movies explore different parts of the universe and get away from this one part.

There must be so many stories you could tell. I know they’ve decided to make all the books not canon anymore (as if it matters what they say, I’ve got my own head canon for most things I watch and get all fannish about so really that seems like a giant waste of time trying to dictate to me what is and isn’t canon) but there’s got to be some good stories in all those books.

I’m not that interested in a Han Solo movie, that’s exactly what we need, keep the Star Wars universe small and go back to it being about white straight cis gendered able bodied men. That list has a lot of adjectives they should choose to change at least one in their main characters.

 

Ghostbusters

5)Ghostbusters

A sci-fi movie with all female leads who are also really funny. I don’t know how they can screw this up to make me not like it.

All I can say is, it’s about time. About time that women were recognised as a legitimate part of the audience who have money they can spend. About time that a female lead is surrounded by other women and not just men. About time that all the whiny idiots get ignored and people realise that, like when women go see movies about men and can relate on some level to them because we are all human, so to can men go see movies about women and relate because women are also human.

All the controversy surrounding this movie is ridiculous and irrational but then no one ever said misogynists were rational.

The first Ghostbusters movie isn’t being taken away. You can still see it. And don’t worry the amount of male leads in the movies is still far ahead of the number of female leads. Just look at this list. I’d say most of them have male leads.

Although Finding Dory has Dory replacing Nemo so maybe they’ve got a point. Don’t worry though it’ll still be a few more years before we’ve replaced all the male parts with female ones.

 

Captain America: Civil War

4)Civil War

The last Captain America movie was so good and I want to like this one so much but the civil war story line in the comics was terrible. It was all over the place and inconsistent between different books. It was also when I stopped reading comics for a while.

I have mixed feelings about this because it can’t be the same story line as in the comics. None of them have secret identities so they’ve got to frame the issue a different way.

Also in the comics it was Iron man who was meant to be right. The pro registration side was the right side and cap was on the wrong side. But due to crappy management of the entire thing it didn’t across that way.

So it worries me that they’ve got the civil war story line in a Captain America movie. I’m not much of a fan of Steve Rogers. I hated Captain America: the first avenger and I didn’t much like him in Avengers Assemble either. He grew on me a little bit in the Winter Soldier. But now they’re pitting him against Tony Stark who’s one of my favourite super heroes and I don’t want to watch a movie where they make him the villain. He won’t be the main villain but he could be one of the bad guys.
Despite all that I love the marvel cinematic universe and I want to see what they’re going to do with it. I trust them enough to be fair to all the characters (unless it’s a female character then you’re screwed). And after seeing the trailer where Steve and Bucky fight Tony and Tony cradles a broken Rhodey I’ve got to admit I’m getting excited.

The directors are the same guys who did Winter Soldier and who are going to be doing Avengers: Infinity Wars part 1 and 2. So I have a lot invested in liking this movie.

 

The Conjuring 2

3)The conjuring 2

The first one was so good. A horror movie where I actually care about the characters shouldn’t be something different and new but so many horror movies have awful characters and I can’t wait for them to die. So there’s no tension and it just becomes a guessing game of who’s going to get it first.

The Conjuring actually had characters I liked and where as most horror movie franchises seem to be based on the villains (Freddie kruger, Jason, Michael Myers) these are based around the Warrens who are the heroes.

It’s a good basis for a franchise and I can’t think of any other horror movies that have done this. There’s scream but Sidney doesn’t go out looking for serial killers to fight. They find her.

Anabelle was a huge disappointment and a giant step back for the franchise but there were so many people in the cinema when I went to see it and that’s unusual for a horror movie.

 

X-men: Apocalypse

2)X-men: Apocalypse

Days of future past is one of the best super hero movies ever so I’ve got really high expectations, especially with Bryan Singer back as the Director. Jennifer Lawrence is back as Mystique and it’s Hugh Jackman’s last time as wolverine in an X-men movie.

I’m so excited for the apocalypse story line. X-men was what got me into comics. I used to watch the cartoon and then one day I saw an X-men comic in amongst the magazines. I didn’t buy them consistently until I was older and had a part time job but I was always on the lookout for X-men stuff.

Apocalypse is such a good villain and so far Bryan Singer hasn’t made a bad X-men movie for some inexplicable reason, despite making some really bad movies.

 

Deadpool

1)Deadpool

He’s one of my favourite super heroes and I didn’t think we’d ever get a movie about him because it’s Deadpool. He’s violent and a lot of what he says isn’t for kids so to get a good Deadpool movie you need it to be more adult and that cuts out all the kids they want to make money out of.

Blade is the only adult super hero movie I can think of and it’s a bit old now. So this will be refreshing to have a different sort of super hero movie for a change because I doubt the rest of them will be anything unique.

The director has also confirmed that Deadpool is pansexual so this will be the first super hero movie with a queer main character. At all. I’m not just talking about being the main title hero. I can’t think of any queer character in any super hero movies. Or science fiction movies. Or fantasy movies (I’m going to do some research. There’s got to be one). So it’s kind of a big deal.

Of course he’s got a girlfriend in the trailer so I don’t know how much he’ll be expressing his sexuality. I doubt we’ll get much, if anything that will make it impossible for other people to deny it. That’s how I judge representation now. If it’s only implied and can be denied by some bigot then it’s not good enough. We’re in 2016 it’s time to stop pandering to the bigots.

The only thing that’s making me apprehensive is if his sexuality is a joke. Because that seems to be the only time when sexuality, other than heterosexuality, is allowed to be expressed. To make the male straight audience uncomfortable and so they laugh.

Can this movie not be homophobic? Or biphobic? Or panphobic? It’s really not a lot to ask.

I’d like to come out the other side of this movie not feeling like shit. It can be a bad movie (I’ll probably still enjoy it) but can it not be homophobic. They’ve got my hopes up by actually being aware that other sexualities exist beyond straight. I so want to like this movie.

They’ve got the marketing for this movie so right. They obviously understand Deadpool in a way that the creators of X-men Origins: Wolverine didn’t.

Reading Challenges of 2016

So I read about Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge and got all excited. This resulted in a lot of googling and finding other challenges and then it got a bit out of hand and now I’ve committed myself to loads of them when I’ve never even bothered to do one before.

Hopefully some will double up. I’m also aiming to read 120 books on Goodreads. Last year I aimed to read 70 books and I read 114. The year before my goal was 60 and I forgot to track most of the books I read.

I’ll try to remember to link to them as I go along because most of the challenges have reviews as part of the challenge.

Book Riot: Read Harder Challenge 

  1. Read a horror book
  2. Read a non-fiction book about science
  3. Read a collection of essays
  4. Read out loud to someone else
  5. Read a middle grade novel
  6. Read a biography
  7. Read dystopian or post apocalyptic
  8. Read a book published the decade of your birth
  9. Listen to an audiobook that’s won an audie award
  10. Read a book that’s over 500 pages
  11. Read a book that’s under 100 pages
  12. Read a book written by a transgendered person
  13. Read a book set in the middle east
  14. Read a book wit an author from souteast Asia
  15. Read historical fiction set before 1900
  16. Read a first book in a series by a person of colour (recommendation: Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler)
  17. Read a non super hero comic that debuted in the last three years
  18. Read a book adapted into a movie then watch the movie and debate which is better
  19. Read a non-ficiton book about feminism or about feminist themes
  20. Read a book about religion
  21. Read a book about politics
  22. Read a food memoir
  23. Read a play
  24. Read a book where a main character has a mental illness

Classics challenge 

  1. A book from the 19th century
  2. A book from the 20th ccentury
  3. A book by a female author
  4. A translated book
  5. A book by a non-white author
  6. An adventure book
  7. A fantasy, science fiction or dystopian book
  8. A detective book
  9. A book that has a name of a place in the title
  10. A book that was banned or censored
  11. Re-read a book you read at school
  12. A volume of classic short stories

Worlds Without End: Roll your own reading challenge

Here’s where it got a bit out of hand because I signed up to 28 of their challenges, which ranges from 6 books to 100 books each, but it’s meant to be a challenge and I always get in over my head.

  1. 12 awards in 12 months: I chose the ‘master’ reading level of 12 books because I don’t usually pay attention to awards but with all the recent controversy I feel like I should start.
  2. LGBTQ speculative fiction (they have their own LGBTQ resource so that helps): I chose the ‘Oscar Wilde’ reading level of 12 books because despite wanting to read more diverse books I’ve barely read any LGBTQ books.
  3. Listomania – pick 12 books from any lists on their site: The ‘listomaniac’ reading level of 12 books because I love lists.
  4. Second best – any books nominated for awards but not winners: The ‘also ran’ reading level of 12 books.
  5. Published this year: the ‘nebula’ reading level of 12 books. 24 books at the ‘hugo’ level seemed a bit much.
  6. Unloved – neither won or nominated: The ‘heartbreak hotel’ reading level of 12 books.
  7. Women of genre fiction – (they have their own Women Authors page): The ‘apprentice’ level of 12 books
  8. Cat quest: The reading level of ‘lolcat’ which is 6 books. I love my cats but I don’t want to read loads of books about cats. I’d also like to note the other reading levels are ‘Cat-astrophe’, ‘cat fancier’ and ‘chairman meow’.
  9. Science fiction from Australia: The reading level of ‘cherry ripe’ which is 6 books
  10. Punk’s not dead: The reading level ‘Joey Ramone’ which is 12 books
  11. Read the sequel: The reading level ‘blue fish’ of 12 books
  12. Series A to Z: The ‘entire alphabet’ reading level of 24 books. For this challenge I only have to read one book from 24 series, not all of the books in a series for each letter.
  13. Science fiction masterworks: The ‘master’ reading level of 12 books.
  14. Space opera: The ‘shai hulud’ reading level of 12 books.
  15. Star wars: I picked the ‘obi wan ken-obi’ level of 6 books because there was no way I was picking the ‘Anakin Skywalker’ level (as stupid a reason as that sounds). The other levels are ‘Yoda’ and ‘emperor Palpatine’ but that was too many books considering my interest in star wars is minimal.
  16. Tie-ins: the ‘journeyman’ reading level of 9 books. I might have gone for the higher level but I’ve never read a tie-in that I thought was really good. They’re mostly quite bad.
  17. Author! Author!: the ‘virtuoso’ reading level of 20 books
  18. Big fun in a little package novella reading challenge: the ‘large’ reading level of 18 books
  19. Tor.com short stories: the ‘wizard’ reading level of 96 books
  20. Discoveries in genre: the ‘explorer’ reading level of 6 books
  21. Genre non fiction: the ‘savant’ reading level of 6 books. That’s the highest reading level for this challenge. Ihave loads of books of this type and I love reading them.
  22. In translation: the ‘linguist’ of 9 books. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a translated book so I figured I’d start off slow.
  23. Io9 best of 2015: the ‘master’ reading level of 36 books which I think is the entire list.
  24. The weirdness: I picked the ‘worshiper of Dagon’ reading level of 9 books. There’s also ‘resident of arkham’, ‘Student at Miskatonic U’ and ‘High Priest of Cthulhu’ reading levels but even I can only put up with so much weirdness.
  25. 2016 I have just have to read more of that author: the ‘completely obsessed’ leading level of 12 books.
  26. Triumvirate (trilogies): the ‘novem’ reading level of 9 books
  27. New books of 2015: the ‘halogen’ reading level of 13 books.
  28. 2016 books I’ve read this year: the ‘voracious’ reading level of 100 books. This one should be easy it’s just keeping track of all the books I’ve read. So as long as I remember to track them as I go and don’t have to do it all at once at the end of the year there won’t be a problem.

So that’s 313 books if I don’t double any of them of them up and don’t count the 96 short stories from Tor. There’s no way I could read that many books in a year because I have other things I’d like to do in 2016.

The last reading challenge is from Panels and is about comics so shouldn’t be a problem because I read a lot of comics.

Panels: Read Harder Challenge

  1. Read a self-published comic.
  2. Read a feminist comic.
  3. Read a comic featuring one or more teenage protagonists.
  4. Read a superhero comic whose race or gender has been swapped from the original or traditional hero.
  5. Read a complete run of a comic.
  6. Read a comic based on a book and the book it’s based on.
  7. Read a graphic biography.
  8. Read a comic that was originally published in a language different from your own.
  9. Read a comic set in space.
  10. Read a collected web-comic.
  11. Read a comic with at least one creator of colour.
  12. Read a comic set in Asia by an Asian creator.
  13. Read a superhero comic NOT by one of the Big Two.
  14. Read a slice-of-life comic not set in the U.S.
  15. Read a comic that has been adapted from a T.V. show or movie (not vice versa).
  16. Read a comic about a real-life historical event.
  17. Read a black-and-white comic.
  18. Read a watercolour comic.

This shall be my master post where I keep track of what I’ve done and how far I’ve got to go because I am notoriously bad at keeping track of these things. I even forgot to post this back in January.

Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

Story:

“Somebody is killing the only friends John has: the ghosts that haunt him! How can you kill what’s already dead? John is going to find out and make this adversary pay!”
Read more about this issue on Goodreads.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

Review:

I love it when magic and the occult are on the edge of society as feelings and actions you can’t explain and don’t want to delve too deeply into because you’re scared of what you might find. And I love it when you have that character who understands and jumps in anyway. Walks among the monsters. It’s all so creepy and I love it.

This issue we get some of the rules explained and they seem like pretty obvious stuff but you can’t take anything for granted when it comes to fantasy universes. So ghosts are echoes of the people who died and so they themselves as echoes can’t die. And this gets explained in a very entertaining way as the ghosts flee as a way of showing how much they trust Constantine (if they’re haunting him I guess he’s the one that got them killed or who they blame for it at least).

So he decides to force the issue and travels around the city collecting objects of power and walking through haunted places picking up a trail of ghosts as he goes. It’s a series of pages with very minimal dialogue. His narration tells the story of the people who died in these places and it’s genuinely creepy. The house at the beginning that he calls a thin place gives me shivers.

Gary who seems to be the main ghost that haunts him continually tells him that he should stop and it’s a bad idea. But Constantine is so confident by the end of his power and ghost collecting that you’re confident with him. The heroes always win and he won pretty effortlessly last issue. But there’s still that little bit of unease because the ghosts are scared of something. It makes what happens all the more powerful. And even if ghosts aren’t the actual person who died (as he insists) and only echoes they’ve still been with him for years.

The cover is again a symbol of what you’re getting inside which is always my favourite way they do covers. I never like art pulled straight from the panels. I always like it a little bit more symbolic.

This is such a good issue that I might buy it digitally so I can read it again and again without damaging my physical copy. I love how the magic works and the thin places and the horror of everything. The creepy characters he meets and his narration. It all works for me. I can’t think of a criticism. It sparks my imagination and that’s the best praise I can give it. I want to tell stories this good.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Previous: Constantine: The Hellblazer #1                                                     Next: Constantine: The Hellblazer #3

Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer #1

Story:

“The dark adventures of DC’s foremost occult detective continue in an all-new series as he investigates the cruelest case he’s ever come across—his own dark history!”

Read more about it on Goodreads.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #1

Review:

This is the first Constantine story I’ve ever read. The only things I know about the character are from that awful movie they made a few years ago and his appearance in The Sandman. I never got around to watching the TV show but I might have if they hadn’t decided to be bi-phobic and make the character straight.

So I know next to nothing about the character or the DC universe in general. I’ve only just started to read super hero comics other than Marvel because of their continued commitment to lie about diversifying their range and then remaining the same. At the moment DC is doing a lot better than Marvel but they can still do better.

I think this is quite a good jumping on point for new readers. I’ve read a few fist issues that had no business being called first issues but this isn’t that. I might not know entirely what’s going on but I don’t feel like I’m reading half a story. This feels like a beginning of something. And it’s a good beginning.

He appears covered in blood in a shop and has to use his magic to get a woman to not call the police and instead clothe him. Then he starts talking to a ghost and in the next few pages more appear and he tells them all to “sod off”. And I’m hooked. I want to know more about this character and this series is about exploring his dark past. I don’t know if I’ll read other runs between issues or just let the series tell the story with no research on my part. Probably the latter.

I really like the art and it suits the story very well. It’s the same as the cover which is Constantine stood alone in a dark alley somewhere. There are a few details that I didn’t notice at first and I enjoy art that does that.

There’s a lot of moral ambiguity in this comic and he even has the ghost calling him on it. He’s not a nice person but he is likable.

He’s also bisexual which is the one thing I did know about the character and the reason I decided to try the book. I want to read more genre stories with queer heroes.

His bisexuality gets explored here. Thankfully it’s not just implied. I hate it when they do that, as if that’s good enough. In one scene he flirts with a man and then goes to have sex with a woman. She’s some sort of demon called Blythe that needs his help. I love the page showing the nine levels of Inferno and the conversation they have as they descend to the bottom level.

There’s so much I love about this comic. He also has a ghostly entourage that only shows up when something’s about to go terribly wrong and it turns out it’s not Blythe that’s the trouble. His narration is entertaining and the last line is a good cliffhanger. I will definitely be reading the next issue.

And I now have a another favourite comic book character. I don’t think he’s really a super hero despite being part of the DC universe. He mentions super heroes but says he works in the shadows. Great first issue and I recommend it to anyone who likes dark fantasy.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Next Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

Review: The Walking Dead: Season 1

Story:

Rick wakes up from a coma to find the zombie apocalypse happened while he was unconscious and now he’s got to survive while finding his family. He meets other survivors and lots of people die.

Review:

The first season is not as good as I remember it being overall. There are only a few episodes that I actually like and that’s down to Daryl being insensitive or the horror is really good. The zombie apocalypse is my favourite apocalypse and it was the novelty of a zombie TV series that let me ignore all it’s flaws the first time around.

The Characters:

The characters are mostly annoying. Watching it the first time I think I found Daryl entertaining but because I didn’t know what he would become I didn’t like him that much. The same with Carol. I only appreciate the character now because I know where she’s going and that she becomes one of my favourite characters. Glen is the only one I think is likeable at this point. The rest of them are all awful and most only get worse.
There’s a problem with the female characters. Lori is presented as the villain in her marriage with Rick and I hated her the first time I watched this. Now though I’m blaming it on bad writing for making me feel that way.
Andrea is the most annoying though. She’s irrational (so is Lori) and hot headed. She’s presented as not knowing what she’s doing and is always complaining.

The Best Episode:

The first episode is the best not only of this season but I’d say one of the best in the entire show. It’s got the wonderfully creepy opening hospital scene with the walkers trapped inside the cafeteria and Rick leaving via pitch black stairway out, into the chaos of a war zone. Lots of dead bodies and wreckage.
There’s also not a lot of talking or moralising. Rick’s better when he’s not talking. And we get my favourite parent child duo. Morgan and Dwight.

The Worst Episode:

The worst episode is probably Wildfire. I’d say TS-19 but for some reason there is something compelling about it.
Wildfire is a whole lot of talking and burying people because it’s an aftermath of a big tragedy and features Dale and Andrea prominently. There’s no zombies and I’m not sure what they’re trying to do with Jim. The only good part is Daryl being insensitive and even he can’t save it.

The Best moment:

Glen saving Rick in the tank. I was going to put one of Daryl’s many insensitive moments but Glen calling Rick an idiot and then saving him was great. There’s a moment there when you wonder how he’s going to get out when he’s so surrounded.

The Worst Moment:

Dale convincing Andrea to live by bluffing about committing suicide with her. We were so close to getting rid of two of the most annoying characters and it didn’t happen. Biggest let down ever. Also this sets up a whole load of crap for season two that I could have done without.

Overall:

It was a good start to the show. Setting up the world and how the walkers work. Having them come across another group of survivors and showing how that can go wrong. The potential of where they can go with the horror and gore.
If you’re a zombie fan you won’t be disappointed because that’s what they do best. They put a lot of thought into the walkers.

You can buy the first season of The Walking Dead on Amazon. The Walking Dead – Season 1 [DVD]

Episode Recaps

Previous: The Walking Dead- TS-19                       Next: The Walking Dead- What Lies Ahead

Next Review: The Walking Dead Season 2

The Walking Dead: What Lies Ahead

Spoilers for the episode

The Story:

The group get stopped by a traffic jam and then have to hide from a hoard of walkers passing through. This causes problems the biggest of which is Sophia running off.

Thoughts:

The group are still in Atlanta and Rick is on a roof somewhere summing up last season by talking to Morgan on the radio. He says Jackie died because she lost faith then he explains what happened last season and that they’re going to fort Bennet that’s 125 miles away. It doesn’t seem that smart to talk on a radio about your plans because you don’t know who’s listening but I guess they haven’t come across other hostile people yet. Only the gang in Atlanta and they turned out to be nice.
In the car Rick and Lori are reminiscing while Carl and Sophia want to go see the grand canyon. Rick says they’ll never leave Carol and Sophia behind.
In the caravan Shane’s cleaning the guns and offers to teach Andrea to use the gun her dad gave her but didn’t teach her how to use it. Even though he wanted her and her sister to be able to defend themselves. You can see where Andrea gets her intelligence from. Also I’ve just noticed behind Andrea there’s a sign saying ‘how about a cup of shut the hell up’. There’s never been a more appropriate sign.
There’s a huge traffic jam ahead and then the Caravan breaks down but luckily they’ve got lots of parts to choose from.
Everyone wants to go scavenge but Lori says it’s a graveyard and she doesn’t know how to feel about it. Food and water for your child trumps people who are already dead. I love how everyone turns to look at her like she’s crazy.
Carol finds some clothes and Lori gives her a judgmental look.
Andrea decides to practice cleaning her gun while Shane finds water and has a mini shower.
Rick spots a walker and takes aim but there’s whole lot more. When they switch to a wide shot to of the road there are so many that you wonder how Dale didn’t see them considering he’s on top of the caravan.
Nobody tells Andrea though who’s in the caravan with the door open. She’s just sat there minding her own business and then realises she’s surrounded. She hides in the bathroom as one comes through the door. Then decides to fiddle with the gun she doesn’t know how to put back together properly so she makes noise and the walker tries to get her.
Dale passes her a screwdriver from the roof and she kills it but then she starts crying. I’ve lost all patience with her.
Everyone else is under cars and for some reason the adults don’t hide with the kids. T-Dog manages to slit his arm open and the blood attracts a walker but Daryl kills it and lies walkers on top of them so the others passing won’t see them.
They think the walkers have gone and Sophia goes to get up but a walker spots her and she runs into the woods. Lori gets hold of carol to stop her from following so the manly men can go be heroes but Rick doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to go save her.
Once in the woods he starts running and he finds her but he can’t shoot the two walkers because the ones on the road will hear.
He picks her up and they are way ahead of the walkers but for some reason he puts her down to lead them away. He says he can get winded but they can’t. But he could have easily lost them in the time it takes for the walkers to catch up.
Sophia being a stupid child leaves her hiding place and doesn’t give Rick a chance to come back. This would be the point where it would have been a good idea to let Carol look for Sophia as well. Instead of treating her like a child who’s going to get lost as well.
Rick kills the two walkers with a big rock then shows Daryl where he left Sophia. Daryl starts tracking her and she’s heading in the right direction towards the road but then veers off deeper into the woods. So Rick and Daryl continue to search while Shane goes back to the cars to keep everyone busy scavenging.
Back at the road everyone discusses what just happened with the walkers moving in a big group. They decide to call it a herd.
Carl does some looting on his own and finds an axe on a body and other weapons. The body falls but its not a walker. They’ve just lost Sophia but they’re letting Carl wander off on his own.
He takes it to Shane who tells him to take it to Dale. Lori gets angry at Shane for blowing off Carl but Shane says he’s doing what she wanted. He also says the CDC was a mistake. I’m assuming he means trying to rape her and not that going there was the mistake. He’s also decided he’s leaving the group and is fixing a car to take.
Back in the forest Daryl and Rick kill a walker that’s eaten recently so Daryl guts it to see what’s in its stomach. Rick looks queasy and then Daryl says here comes the bad part and he removes the stomach. Then they cut the stomach open and find that this walker didn’t eat Sophia. It was disgusting and worth it just to see Rick trying not to throw up.
On the road Dale has taken Andrea’s gun and she’s not happy about it. Shane says they all need training and Dale’s going to keep all the guns accounted for.
Rick and Daryl come back because the trail went cold but they’ll pick it up tomorrow. Carol’s not happy with her daughter spending the night in the woods and asks Rick why he left her. Rick tries to explain himself but Carol’s more focused on Sophia being left out there.
Next day and the search party lays out the weapons Carl found. Andrea still wants a gun and is really annoying about it. Shane tells her to get over it.
They let Carl go with them because they need another child lost in the woods. Lori refuses to be the one to say no because she doesn’t want to always be the bad guy. Rick agrees because of poor judgment and he always has to be the good guy. The fact that Dale doesn’t see a problem with it should be a warning sign.
Then Andrea picks another fight with Dale over the gun. She’s right he should leave her alone but she’s way too annoying for me to side with. Dale expects gratitude for stopping her from killing herself. That’s so stupid I don’t know where to begin.
Lori manages to keep an eye on Carl for probably the last time in the series and tells Carl Shane’s not mad at him.
They find a tent and Daryl investigates with his knife. The guy inside committed suicide. Rick gets Carol to call for Sophia and they hear church bells.
Back at the road and Dale had the caravan fixed yesterday but he wants to hold off on the needs of the one vs needs of the many arguments. He’s so not as smart as he thinks he is.
They find a church but no bells. Inside walkers are sat in the pews. It’s a recording on a timer and they turn it off.
Carol decides to go in instead of being useful and looking for Sophia. Andrea stays outside and hears a conversation between Shane and Lori about him leaving.
In the church Carol is praying to god because he got them from Atlanta and killed Ed for her.
While outside Andrea wants to go with Shane when he leaves. I don’t know how she thinks they’re the third wheels. He is because he’s having an affair with a married woman but she’s just got Dale following her around. That’s only two wheels.
Back in the church Rick says finding Sophia is the miracle they need and has his moment in the church talking to his god. He wants a sign.
Rick and Shane decide to keep searching and send the others back to the road. They let Carl stay with them to keep searching because Rick still can’t say no.
Rick gives Lori the gun to protect them on the way back because she knows how to use a gun and Andrea’s annoying about it. Lori gives it to her then gives a speech about Rick doing his best.
Elsewhere Carl gets entranced by a deer and gets shot. See this is why you can’t be happy in the walking dead. This time it’s Carl trying to make friends with a deer. Or maybe this is Rick’s sign from god telling him to look for the little girl lost in the woods instead of getting distracted and tat bringing your child along to help wasn’t a good idea.
This is a good start to the season. Reminding us of what came before and upping the stakes with the constant danger of being on the road.
We get introduced to the concept of walkers moving in herds that comes back to be a major problem later. The only bad parts of the episode are Andrea and Dale who continue to compete at who can be the most annoying.
Carl getting shot is a good way to end because I remember the first time I watched this I didn’t see it coming. We’d already had our bad thing happen for the episode which was Sophia going missing and that was enough of a cliffhanger. But this is the Walking dead and one bad thing happening isn’t good enough.
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Review: Insidious Chapter 3

Story:

Quinn’s trying to communicate with her dead mother and goes to a psychic Elise who is trying to stay away from the whole contacting the dead thing because it’s dangerous. Elise tells her not to make contact because when you talk to one of the dead all of them can hear you. Predictably she doesn’t listen and bad things start happening.

Review:

This is the third movie in the series and usually by this point in a series (horror movies in particular) the movies are terrible. It’s just a giant cash in and not much thought or effort goes in to making the movie it’s own unique thing.
Insidious Chapter three manages to escape that trend by being a prequel and showing the events leading to the first movie.
Before I saw this one I always got Insidious and Sinister mixed up. Both have one word titles that mean something bad and they were both pretty forgettable. Now I know which one is which because of Elise. The second Insidious was bad and even more forgettable than the first one.
Insidious Chapter three may not have the best story, I think it falls apart a bit at the end, but it’s a good horror movie. It’s much scarier than the first or second containing not just jump scares but terrifying moments with great tension.
A lot of these moments happen when Quinn is injured and confined to her bed. She’s unable to escape and has to wait for what this ghost, that you can see is in the room, is going to do next. They do the smart thing and keep the ghost out of sight for most of the movie. We mostly just see the ghost’s feet as she ends up on the floor a lot. When we do see the ghost clearly it’s still quite creepy and doesn’t diminish it as much as seeing other monsters usually do.
This time when they enter the further (it’s like the after life or where you go when you’re dreaming, it’s not clear exactly) it’s not as bad as the first movie where it stopped being scary. That’s probably because it’s Elise entering this time.
This is more Elise’s story and Quinn gets forgotten by the end of the movie. They should have just had her be the main character from the beginning. Her struggle to overcome her fears of what will happen if she’s goes back to the ghost hunting business are compelling. And while Quinn’s struggle with the death of her mother and letting go may be equally compelling she’s not in the other two movies.
By the end Quinn is relegated to damsel in distress and the only saving grace is that it’s a woman who’s doing the rescuing. She’s surrounded by a lot of men but she’s the one in charge.
Having the main character be injured for the majority of the movie and unable to move isn’t something we see a lot. It adds to the terror because she can’t get away even if she wants to.
The ghost is unseen until the end. There are a lot of shots of his feet and him being in darkness. Even when you do see him clearly he remains scary.
I hope they continue on from this movie for the next one, if they’re doing a next one, so we get to see more Elise and how they started their company.

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The Walking Dead: TS-19

Spoilers for the episode

The Story:

The virus is explained a bit and not a lot else happens until the end of the episode.

Thoughts:

This episode starts with a flashback to when Rick was in the coma. Shane’s trying to get someone to help but the soldiers are shooting civilians and walkers alike.

He grabs a gurney to get Rick out but all the machines beep at him when he tries to pick Rick up. A soldier comes in and he hides.

He begs Rick to wake up or give him a sign that he’ll live. The power goes out and Shane blocks the door when walkers turn up. This is a useful scene because it shows you Shane’s not a completely awful person and you need that with all the bad stuff he’s going to do.

Back to the present and Jenna tells them a blood test is the price of admission and once the door is closed it stays closed.

They go underground and Jenna tells them he’s the only one left. Andrea complains about the blood the test because of course she does.

Then they have a party to celebrate. They give Carl some wine and eat a lot but Shane brings them down by wanting to know where all the other scientists are. Lots of people left to be with their families, the others bolted when the military got overrun and the rest were suicides. Jenna’s kept working just trying to do some good. Glen calls Shane a buzz kill.

They all enjoy their showers again apart from Andrea. She starts throwing up and is all depressed because there’s nothing left. Every thing’s gone. Dale tells her they can make a new start.

Drunk Rick goes to thank Jenna and tells him he doesn’t know what it’s like out there. I hate to break it to you Rick but it gets so much worse after this. Rick kept all his doubts in to lead the group but is now unloading them on Jenna.

Shane creepily watches Lori browse the books. Lori is still angry that Shane told her Rick was dead. She’s being irrational and could probably do with being a bit more understanding about the awful position Shane was in but he needs to back off and let it go.

He then forces himself on her even though she tells him to stop and she has to scratch him to get him off her. I wonder if everyone would agree this would have been rape if he’d kept going because she tells him to stop or if we’d have a game of thrones situation where no one seems to know what rape is. It’s bad when an attempted rape is refreshing because you can point to it and say that’s bad behaviour.

The next morning everyone’s hung over. Glen doesn’t want to drink ever again. Shane says he scratched himself in his sleep and he says it wasn’t like him at all while looking at Lori. That sounds like it should be an apology. Like him saying he wasn’t himself but it comes off more like he’s blaming her for defending herself.

Jenna shows them the brain of test subject 19 after being bitten. The first event invades the brain like meningitis and causes death. The second event causes resurrection and the time varies (this is probably plot convenience so they can have walkers come to life when they need it). It restarts the brain stem to get them up and moving but with no memories or personality. It could be anything that causes it. Virus, microbe, wrath of god. He has no communication with anyone else on the planet.

Dale asks about a clock on the wall counting down. Jenna says that’s when the generators run out of power. They ask what happens then and the computer answers decontamination but doesn’t say that means they’re all going to get blown up.

They head down to look at the generators and the lights go out and air has stopped circulating.

Jenna looks at a photo of his wife telling her he did the best he could.

They ask him what’s happening and he tells them the building is prioritizing electricity because zone 5 is shutting itself down. Rick tells the others to get their stuff.

The French thought they were close to a solution but they ran out of power.

At the 30 minute point he seals them in. The CDC has a lot of nasty viruses so the building needs to be destroyed . The air is going to be set on fire and they’ll die painless deaths.

He points out he told them those doors wouldn’t open again. I think you need to be more explicit with what will happen and the consequences.

They attack the door with axes but don’t even make a dent.

Jenna says those doors could withstand a rocket launcher and Daryl comes back with ‘well your head ain’t’ and attacks him with an axe. It’s the best moment in the episode.

Jenna carries on rambling. ‘This is our extinction event’ and it’s an easier way to go.

Then it’s Shane’s turn to attack Jenna but he’s got a shot gun. Rick points out if he kills Jenna then they’re all dead. They start fighting and Rick wins.

Jenna says there’s no hope but Rick says he’s lying because he chose to stay. So then we get some Jenna back story. He made a promise to his wife who was test subject 19. She was way smarter than him. Wow I think we might have found that rare couple where the man loves his wife for her intelligence rather than the other way round. And I found it in the walking dead of all places.

They want a choice to keep trying for as long as they can. Jenna’s wife didn’t have a choice but he does. They just want a chance.

Jenna releases the door but the ones on the building above are still locked.

Rick’s grateful but Jenna says a time will come when Rick won’t be.

Jackie decides to stay and so does Andrea but Dale refuses to leave without her.

Up top they’re struggling to get out the bullet proof windows. Until Carol pulls a grenade out of her handbag that she found in Rick’s pocket when she washed his clothes. See I told you it was a plot point. Although she really shouldn’t be stealing other people’s weapons.

Andrea tells Dale to go. He says you don’t get to come into someone’s life and make them care and then check out. She can’t have Dale’s death on her conscience but would it really matter you’ve only got minutes to live. Just close you’re eyes and pretend he’s not there. I hate Dale for making her live.

If I was Jackie I’d be pissed no one cared enough about me to make an ultimatum like that. Why couldn’t she have survived and Andrea died.

The explosion rips through the building. That’s going to draw a lot of walkers.

This episode was again light on walkers and I think the money it cost for special effects to blow up the building was probably to blame. It really wasn’t worth it.

I find the whole CDC thing weird. It didn’t feel necessary, like they felt they had to explain the virus when they really didn’t.

Despite that it’s not a bad episode just a bit boring and there wasn’t enough Daryl attacking people and being insensitive to make it entertaining. The scene when they got sealed in was the best scene because so much was going on at once. It felt desperate.

As a season final I guess they wanted a big ending but they should have kept it focused on the walkers.

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The Walking Dead: Wildfire

Spoilers for the episode

The Story:

Andrea’s a moron, Dale’s annoying and everyone else is arguing over what to do. That leaves Daryl to save the episode by being insensitively entertaining.

Thoughts:

Rick’s talking to Morgan on the radio telling him not to enter the city and that he’s found his family. I hope he’s done this before because he should have warned Morgan when he came back from the city the first time. Also the group was just attacked and loads of people are dead maybe you should be helping with that.

Andrea’s still with Amy’s body who hasn’t turned yet even though it must be hours because the sun’s now up. Lori’s trying to convince her to let them take her because she’s going to turn soon.

Rick decides he’s going to tell Andrea ‘how it is’ but she pulls a gun on him and this time’s the safety’s off. He backs away apologising.

Daryl wants to shoot Amy from where they’re standing and gets annoyed when no one else agrees.

Glen then gets upset when Daryl starts burning the bodies of their friends with the walkers. He thinks they should be buried respectfully and stands up to Daryl making him put the body in the line to be buried.

Daryl gets more annoyed and tells them they had this coming because they left his brother to die. This all happens next to where Andrea is still sat with Amy’s body.

Jackie finds out Jim’s been bitten and alerts the others by shouting about it. They all overreact. He’s not turning into a walker this second. He’s got to die first. Amy’s been dead for hours and she hasn’t turned yet.

Daryl’s reaction is the best because he just wants to put a pickaxe through Jim’s head and Dale agrees (which is strange) but Rick says where do they draw the line.

They then start arguing over where they’re going to go. To the CDC ,which might be able to help Jim, or a military base but then Daryl runs at Jim with a pickaxe.

Rick pulls a gun and says ‘we don’t kill the living’ and Daryl points out Rick is pointing a gun at him. I think the situation is quite simple you ask him what he wants. If he wants to die now or die later and you kill him in the most painless way possible. It’s not that hard.

Dale goes to pay his respects to Amy and talks about how angry he was when his wife died. And she talks about how she always managed to miss Amy’s birthdays. Then she puts the necklace she looted on Amy. This scene isn’t too bad. Usually I hate both of them but nothing idiotic came out of either of their mouths so I guess it’s the writing that makes me hate them and not the actors.

Daryl is pickaxing dead bodies when he gets to Ed’s. Carol wants to do it because he was her husband. She pulverizes his head way past what was necessary. It’s cathartic for her and I really hope Sophia didn’t see that.

Amy starts twitching and making noises. I don’t know why you’d want your loved one to come back as a walker but Andrea has never been rational. The first time I saw this I thought Andrea was going to commit suicide by way of dead walker sister but I was disappointed. She apologises to Amy and shoots her.

Rick and Shane are digging graves. Shane thinks less would have died if he hadn’t gone to the city. Rick thinks more would have died without the guns.

Daryl’s driving the bodies up to the graves and still thinks they should be burnt. Lori says they need time to mourn and bury the dead.

Then we get a scene that should be sad but comes off more funny than anything else. Andrea refusing to let anyone help her put her sister in the grave. It’s the way Dale’s hovering and she’s such a moron.

Carl asks if they’re safe and Rick promises not to leave again then he asks Lori if she blames him for not being there but he did get the guns. She points out there’s now less people. She says they’re both right and that’s the best she can do.

Jim’s slowly dying in the caravan and he asks Rick if one of those graves is for him. Rick says nobody wants that but Jim says god’s laughing while you make plans and it’s not about what you want. Rick wants to get him help.

Shane goes to Lori to get her to talk some sense into Rick but he tells her nows not the time to play the dutiful wife. She says to leave her marriage out of it and people can decide for themselves. Then Rick comes out of the caravan and there’s more tension before they decide to do a sweep of the woods.

Rick and Shane have yet another conversation about where they should go. Rick doesn’t want to travel hundreds of miles through hostile territory and Shane would understand if it was his family. Shane gets angry because he protected them.

They separate to search and Shane aims a gun at Rick through the trees. He turns to find Dale watching him and makes a comment about how they should all wear reflective vests out here. Dale doesn’t believe him and that’s a storyline that only gets more annoying later.

Shane backs Rick in front of the group. Rick radios Morgan saying he’s left a note taped to a red car.

Shane lays out the rules of the caravan and one family decides to be morons and go their own way. So they get given some weapons which they’ll probably use to commit suicide when they all get bitten.

Then we get epic music as the road trip begins. And in the next scene the caravan has broken down.

Jim’s dying and wants to be left on the side of the road because the drive is killing him. I think I’d rather be shot.

Dale supports what Jim wants but Shane says he couldn’t live with himself and Lori points out it’s not his call.

They lean him against a tree and everyone says goodbye. Jim refuses a gun and they drive away. We don’t see the next scene where walkers find him and eat him alive. That’s what I think happened anyway.

Then we switch to a scientist going about his business doing science and living underground. A computer says wildfire is active and a disease has gone global. He accidentally knocks over a vial and decontamination happens so all the other samples are now gone as well. He goes a little crazy on his vlog but he knows no one is listening. Tomorrow he might blow his brains out but tonight he’s getting drunk.

The group pull up at the CDC. There are tanks and dead bodies everywhere. They can’t get in so panic happens because they can’t be this close to the city after dark.

The scientist watches them and just wants them to go away.

Rick sees the camera move and starts pleading and shouting about how he’s killing them. No you’re going to kill them by making all that noise and drawing walkers to you.

The others are trying to get Rick to leave as the doors open. I like how it’s a really bright light like the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re dying. And just how accurate that turns out to be.

I found this episode a bit boring. There was way too much talking and no zombie action. The only thing that saved it was Daryl being his normal entertaining self. The sad scenes weren’t sad and it’s worse now because I know how much more Andrea and Dale we have to put up with. It gets so much worse next season.

I like Carol’s little arc though. She starts by being the beaten wife and now she’s pickaxed her husband.

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