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The Walking Dead: Season Two First Impressions

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Zombies. They have been influencing my collective pop culture conscience for most of my life. From Night, Dawn, and Day of the Dead to Fulci’s Zombie and Return of the Living Dead. I love me some zombie mayhem. Now that you all know that very important information, it goes without saying I fell madly and deeply in love with the comic series The Walking Dead.

And then AMC made a little TV show based on it. And it was mind-blowing. Now while I wasn’t particularly a huge fan of the CDC end of the season arc, the rest of the show was so fantastic that I was highly anticipating Season Two.

I wasn’t let down.

Despite all the turmoil surrounding the production of this season, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” continues to kick much ass, and having only seen the first two episodes, it’s safe to say it’s already matching the previous season in quality.

I’ll try to continue this review with as little to no spoilers as possible, but here goes a plot synopsis of the first episode.

Rick and company are kissing Atlanta goodbye. The episode opens with a melancholic and strangely desperate speech by Rick to his ol’ pal Morgan on the walkie-talkie. Of course there is no response, and Rick must pack up and leave the godforsaken city.

Some of the camera work early on here is absolutely incredible. One of the things I’ve always loved about post-apocalyptic settings is the generally unnerving and ultimately beautiful view of things. A once crowded city completely empty, a freeway once clogged with vehicles now vacant. The production design on the show is incredible, as is the filmmakers’ eye for showing it off.

The story moves along briskly down the highway until Dale’s RV breaks down, and our heroes must go scavenger hunting in the car graveyard (again amazing production design) for spare parts.

And this is where we get our first glimpse at what one would call a “herd”. A traveling pack of undead numbering in hundreds begins roaming up the highway toward our characters.

Maybe it was the sound design, maybe it was the camera work, maybe it was my friend Annette Slomka screaming, “OH FUCK SHIT STICKS!” but for the first time in a long time, I felt fear from the walkers.

A single zombie just isn’t that frightening to me, but a hundred shuffling mindlessly forward to our unsuspecting heroes. Whoa, boy. That shit was intense. All the zombies this season seem to be a lot more imposing than previously. Somebody has been hittin’ the books at zombie school.

Because of this “herd” a character runs off into the nearby woods, and Rick must go in after them. This event seems to set things in motion for the rest of this episode and the next.

Prepare for some gut-wrenching (literally) drama in the second episode of the show.

I really do not want to reveal anything for it’s quite shocking when it happens. (Yes, even for those of us who have read the comic, the surprises keep coming. In a good way!)

With that being said, there is a character on the show that didn’t get to show off much last season but shines this year. Chandler Riggs (the kid that plays Carl) acts the hell out of a few scenes. I wish I could go into more detail, but I shall heed my own request! Spoiler free! Oh, and let me take this time to say I love Daryl. He’s been created entirely for the show (as in he’s not in the comics), and he just rocks. Easily my favorite character on the show. Also, I’m absolutely loving what they’re doing with Shane. He went from a one-note blueprint to a fully dimensional character.

Also, Herchel’s farm! It shows up a lot earlier than I thought it would. This of course is a great thing.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the first two episodes of “The Walking Dead”. The cinematography, editing, writing, and acting are all in top form. I cannot wait to see the rest of the season and hope against hope that it does not suffer from Darabont’s public firing from the show. If it continues on this path, though, we’re in for some great television. While it’s no “Breaking Bad”, it certainly holds a place being one of the best damn shows on TV.

To stay up-to-the-minute on all things walker related, follow @WalkingDead_AMC on Twitter and visit “The Walking Dead” on Facebook. For more be sure to hit up the official “The Walking Dead” page on AMC.com.

The Walking Dead: Season Two First Impressions

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Jesper Kyd Returning to Score Vermintide 2

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From the cover of Kyd's first Vermintide OST

Get your headphones ready, Warhammer fans because State of Decay and Darksiders 2 composer Jesper Kyd is back to score the upcoming Warhammer title Vermintide 2! The game will be coming to PC and consoles early this year.

Kyd was inspired by Norse mythology, utilizing ancient tribal music as well as dark fantastical elements to build upon the acoustic soundscapes he composed for the first Vermintide game. Channeling his own Scandinavian roots, Kyd will blend Viking and Norse-inspired vocals with ritualistic percussion styles to create a unique soundtrack experience.

Three tracks from the score can be heard below.

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Like Me – Will You Like This Dystopian Thriller?

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Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Robert Mockler


While Like Me is not dystopian in the classic science-fiction sense, it does aptly put the downer vibe across. If the present is abysmal, then the future is downright hopeless. We learn this as we follow an unhinged teenage loner called Kiya (Addison Timlin) on a hollow crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. At first the world “likes” her—with the exception of YouTube rival Burt (Ian Nelson), who disdainfully denounces her viral videos—but pride goes before the fall, and Kiya’s descent is spectacular.

If you’ve peeped the trailer for Like Me, then you’re probably expecting a horror movie. I mean, they’ve got the requisite menacing masked baddie and they’ve got genre icon Larry Fessenden in a major role—those are a couple of the key ingredients, right? Yes they are, but this simmering, shimmering stew of Natural Born Killers, Excision and King Kelly, it boils down to a whole lotta nothing. Like Me is sort of a drama, kind of a road trip flick, and almost a thriller. It succeeds at none yet does stand on its own as a compelling collection of cool visuals and pertinent performances. But is that enough?

While Kiya is a compelling character on the surface, there’s barebones beneath. Sure, she’s a Millennial mind-fed on random online clips and snappy soundbites—but what turned her into a psychopath? Was she born that way? Is social media to blame? We’ll never know, because not a hint is given. I don’t mind ambiguity, but even a morsel would have been welcome in this case. As Kiya ramps up her reckless exhibitionistic extremes, the stakes are never raised. In the end, who cares? Maybe that’s the point.

A word of warning: If you plan on watching this movie while chomping snacks…don’t. There is stomach-turning scene after vomit-inducing scene of orgiastic easting, binging, and the inevitable purging. I’m sure it’s all metaphorical mastication, a cutting comment on disposable consumption. I get it. But I don’t wanna look at it, again and again and again. Having said that, Like Me is an experimental film and in its presentation of such grotesquery, it’s quite accomplished. Montages, split-screens and jittered motions are scattered throughout, showing us all sorts of unpleasant things…Kudos to the editor.

I didn’t hate Like Me. But I do think one has to be in the mood for a movie such as this. It’s not an easy or entertaining watch, but it is a peculiar and thought-provoking one. There’s some style and mastery behind the camera, and I am curious to see what first-time writer-director Rob Mockler comes up with next.

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can

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It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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