Star Wars: A New Hope ended in just 60 seconds? Totally could’ve happened

(image via YouTube (c) Dorkly)

 

Don’t get wrong – I love Star Wars: A New Hope (or as it was known when I was kid and saw it in a one-screen cinema in Ballina, NSW, Australia, Star Wars).

I could quite happily watch it again and again and again and have done just that many times over the years.

But this hilarious animated video from Dorkly, which comes complete with some killer lines and one hell of a considerably shortened new ending for the film, makes me wonder if a truncated version of the film might not be just a little fun to watch.

After all, OB-Wan Kenobi really knocks it out of the park. Or the Death Star. Same same.

Pity about the daycare level though …

(source: Laughing Squid)

 

Like Brothers – Mark and Jay Duplass have a book … and a very funny book trailer

(image via EW)

 

I don’t care who you are – getting a book published is a pretty damn big, ridiculously-exciting, thrilling and amazingly good thing to happen!

Even if you’re the famed Duplass Brothers, who have given us films like Safety Not Guaranteed and Skeleton Twins, and TV shows like Togetherness and Room 104, and can rightly feel as if they accomplished quite a lot in their lives so far.

They’re excited, as you’d rightly expect them to be, about their book, the appropriately-named Like Brothers, hitting bookstores and the hands of hopefully-eager readers and their hilariously on-point book trailer (which restores your faith in the fact that book trailers can be very good and well-made things) has a ball showing all that excitement off.

According to Mindy Kaling’s forward to the book, shared via, EW, all this excitement is not for nothing, with lots to look forward to:

 “Wright. Ringling. Jonas. I’m sure you could name a bunch of famous brother teams. They’re all garbage compared to Mark and Jay. I can’t wait for you to read this book.”

See? Joyous excitement well and truly justified for the Duplass Brothers and an upcoming good read for pop culture lovers everywhere when Like Brothers is released on 8 May this year.

 

Who are you Christopher Robin? Winnie the Pooh to the rescue! (film photos)

(image via EW)

 

SNAPSHOT
In the heartwarming live-action adventure Disney’s Christopher Robin, the young boy who loved embarking on adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood with a band of spirited and loveable stuff animals, has grown up and lost his way. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin remember the loving and playful boy who is still inside.

Joining Ewan McGregor [as Christopher Robin] in the film is Hayley Atwell (Marvel’s Agent Carter, Captain America: The First Avenger) as Robin’s wife Evelyn, Bronte Carmichael as his daughter Madelin, and Mark Gatiss as Keith Winslow, Robin’s boss. Voicing the characters from the hundred acre wood include Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh, Chris O’Dowd as Tigger, Brad Garrett as Eeyore, Toby Jones as Owl, Nick Mohammed as Piglet, Peter Capaldi as Rabbit, and Sophie Okonedo as Kanga. (synopsis via Coming Soon)

Life isn’t heart to to the expansive tenderhearted fantasies of childhood.

Try as we might to hang onto the wonder and the magic, whether real or imagined, adulthood has a way of curdling all the innocent joy that came before.

 

 

That’s not to say it doesn’t come with rewards of its own, but rushing to catch trains, pay bills and be there for friends and family does tend to cloud the unfettered wisdom of childhood as Ewan McGregor explains to EW, who exclusively previewed some still-shots from the film:

“In those older stories, [Christopher Robin] purveys a lot of wisdom through the way he deals with Pooh. Pooh and Eeyore run through a lot of philosophical questions, and Christopher Robin is there to answer them somehow. And I think, largely, he’s just lost any of that childish wisdom and he’s a bit stuck. He’s just very work-minded and doesn’t have any time for play. I suppose that’s what the film is about: finding his relationship with his younger self again.”

While everyone else sees Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore as stuffed toys, Christopher Robin, who in real life had his own complicated relationship with his father’s much-loved literary creations, sees them as the real, wise friends of old, and this being a Disney film, no doubt finds his way back to the childhood bliss he once knew.

That’s very rarely the case for the rest of us but I’m happy to spend the time I’m watching Christopher Robin believing you can go back to the giddy hope and unvarnished eagerness of childhood and maybe, just maybe, bring some of it back into your sadly-depleted adult present.

Christopher Robin opens 3 August USA and 20 September Australia.

Mamma Mia here we go again! ABBA set to release two new songs

(image via ABBApics)

 

Ever wonder as an older adult, and yes that is where I find myself these days, wondering if it is ever possible to recapture the thrill and excitement of youth?

Well, it is possible I have recently discovered, very recently in fact with news that ABBA have recorded and plan to release two new songs as part of their new virtual world tour where ABBAtars – yep, it’s a groan-worthy dad joke but I’m willing to let it pass – will recreate the Swedish supergroup in their heyday.

The two new numbers,  a ballad “I Still Have Faith in You” and a more uptempo number “Shut Me Down”, which the hope-springs-eternal among us are hoping presages an entire album of brand spanking new material, something that might happen given how positive the experience of being in the studio for the first time since 1982 was for the group:

“It was wonderful. It was magical. It was a very warm, relaxed, happy atmosphere, no hard feelings, no stress… it was like 35 years hadn’t passed. Like back in the old days. It was very emotional.” (Görel Hanser, long-time ABBA business partner and confidante, The Sydney Morning Herald)

And from ABBA’s official announcement on Instagram:

“It was like time had stood still and that we had only been away on a short holiday. An extremely joyous experience!”

 

❤ #abbaofficial #abba

A post shared by @ abbaofficial on

 

The exciting thing that these are two songs written specifically for the ABBAtar project (not, I trust, its real name) and not revived, dust-covered songs that never made the grade back in the day.

Görel Hanser, in an exclusive interview with Australia’s Fairfax media – a deal driven no doubt the band’s long association with and love for Australia; “‘Australia is a dear, dear country to ABBA, absolutely,’ Hanser said – talked about the songs and the writing process that gave rise to them:

“The first song is more of a ballad, the second song is more of an up-tempo song … I think you do it the same way as you have always done it – the best you possibly can. They have always done it their own way. They did it today the way they always did. The way Benny writes music. And the lyrics are more mature… the way they are today … You will recognise ABBA, no problem – but it is ABBA 2018.”

Other groups such as Duran Duran and the Pet Shop Boys have managed to keep their trademark sound and yet sound indisputably of the moment with their recent albums, all of which are excellent, so there’s every reason to expect that consummate pop songwriters like Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, and gorgeously harmonous singers like Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog can do the same.

 

 

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, there will be a bit of a gap between this announcement and actually hearing the songs:

“The band has recorded two new songs: ‘I Still Have Faith In You’, which the world will hear for the first time when the avatar show is revealed in a TV special in December, and another song, ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’, that is likely to follow as a single release when it premieres on the avatar tour.”

But honestly that’s fine (well, mostly).

It will make for one hell of a Christmas present and if ABBA’s last unreleased track from their heyday, “I Am the City”, which came out on More ABBA Gold in 1992, is any indication, it will be more than worth the wait.

 

 

Movie review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

(image courtesy IMP Awards)

 

The past is something you never really escape.

It embeds itself in you, shapes you, moulds you and lodges itself irretrievably and irrevocably in your memories, with forgetting, true forgetting, never really on the cards.

That’s not always a bad thing since our past are usually a mix of good and bad, but in the immediate wake of traumatic events like World War Two, which is where The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is set, it’s a complicated witches brew of innumerable things that no one wants to particularly recall, much less, relive.

And yet when successful writer Juliet Ashton (Lily James) comes to the island, in search of a place to belong (though she doesn’t know that yet) as much as a story for a promised The Times article, and meets the members of the longest-named literary society in the world, the past can’t help but make its presence felt, with far-reaching consequences for everyone concerned.

Based on the international bestseller of the same name by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, Guernsey, as it shall henceforth be known in the interest of keeping this review below 2000 words, is a film about the past meeting the present not too long after the former was the latter.

Everyone that Juliet meets on the island from the man she initially corresponds with by letter after he gets her name out of a second-hand book she once owned, pig farmer and book lover Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman) to post master Eben Ramsey (Tom Courtenay), gin maker and psychic Isola Pribby (Katherine Parkinson), and fiercely private matriarch Amelia Maugery (Penelope Wilton), is stricken to greater or lesser degrees by their experiences under German occupation during the war.

Unlike the rest of their English compatriots who escaped the Nazi tyranny that enveloped the greater part of the European continent – although thanks to endless bombing raids across English cities not the resulting death and destruction, with Juliet losing her parents to blitzkrieg fire from the sky – the people of the Channel Islands, which includes Guernsey, felt the full force of the murderous curtailing of their rights and freedoms, separating them in some degree from the wartime experiences of their countrymen.

 

(image courtesy Blueprint Pictures / Mazur/Kaplan Company)

 

Unaware of how the war has affected Dawsey, Amelia and the others, and thinking she is simply pursuing a story about an unusually-named literary society, Juliet heads to the island for what she promises her best friend and publisher Sidney Stark (Matthew Goode) and fiancé American diplomat Mark Reynolds (Glen Powell), who you know from the very beginning is a romantic placeholder for the handsome, literate Dawsey, will be a weekend away from promoting her new book.

It is, of course, a far longer stint than that, and as Juliet begins to understand that the creation of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, borne one night during the occupation as a way of escaping arrest by the Nazis, is the least interesting part of what defines its members, her short stay grows longer and longer, only ending when Mark arrives in search of his fiancée and coerces her to return to London.

Naturally enough she doesn’t want to go and while she eventually returns under great duress, you don’t need to be a narrative Einstein to work out that she won’t be back for long in a place that’s no longer home for with someone she wasn’t never meant to spend the rest of her life with.

In that, and many other respects, Guernsey is not an experiment film by some out-of-the-box inclined Danish collective.

It is, purely and simply, a nice warm blanket with a soothing cup of cocoa, type of story that doesn’t push any envelopes and isn’t interested in redefining cinema as we know it.

And you know what? That’s an entirely okay thing because what Guernsey does is own its derivative set-up and execution, lock, stock and hand-hewed barrel, using to dazzling heartwarming effect to help us believe that the past can be bettered by the present if only everyone is open to moving on from where they were.

As Juliet digs deeper and deeper into what happened to the missing member of the Society, Elizabeth McKenna (Jessica Brown Findlay), whose daughter Kit (Florence Keen) is being looked after by Dawsey who loves her like his own daughter, and everyone begins to open up about what happened to them during the war – far too easily you’ll think more than once but that’s okay, searing, drawn-out drama this is not – not only does Juliet get the story she’s after (though it quickly ceases to be about that as she becomes emotionally involved with the islanders) but she gets the man )Dawsey), the close friend (Isola) and the life she’s always wanted.

 

(image courtesy Blueprint Pictures / Mazur/Kaplan Company)

 

More importantly, for the islanders, at least, they get some form of closure as Juliet’s sleuthing, aided by Mark and his extensive diplomatic contacts, gives them the answers they’ve been seeking about Elizabeth, who risked her life more than once for others before she was arrested and sent off the island.

Granted the past, which is present in almost sepia-toned comicality at times with the real brutality of Nazi occupation not really seriously presented (again not that kind of movie and that’s all right), seems to be all-too-easily disentangled and sorted through, but there’s enough raw emotion and painful memory, especially for Amelia for whom Elizabeth was a second daughter, to make an emotional impact.

You comes to understand, in some small way at least, what it was like, for the residents of Guernsey to have to grapple with the loss of rights and freedoms, with the endless spectre of starvation and imprisonment, and the loss of everything that had come to define their distinctive lifestyle.

You also appreciate too, thanks to James’ ability to invest her character with as much pensive solemnity as joyous openness, that Juliet has a great deal more going on beneath the surface, and why the coming together of traumatised but close islanders with an existentially-unmoored writer, comes to mean so much.

Guernsey is a joy in just about every respect, offering up hope, healing from the past, a restored present and the sense that for all the evil awfulness that life can throw at you, that there is also great joy and reward waiting too.

The film is unapologetically cosy and warmhearted, with plenty of gorgeous shots of the island courtesy of cinematographer Zac Nicholson’s to whet the visual appetite, but its feel good emotionality comes with more substance that other films of its ilk, with the inevitable coming together of Dawsey and Juliet – not even remotely a spoiler if you’re paying even the slightest bit of attention to the trailer – the healing that precedes it, allowing you to leave the cinema reassured that no matter how searingly nightmarish the past can be, the present, and by definition, the future, can be redeemed more fulsomely and profoundly than anyone has a right to expect.

The cynics will no doubt carp that there isn’t how life plays out, that it’s all too neat, sweet and perfect, but whether it’s 1946 Guernsey or 2018 Sydney Australia, being able to believe, even for the two hours that Guernsey has you in its soft embrace, that a dark past can beget a lighter present, isn’t such a bad thing, and might just be what our current blighted age, all scoffing and scornfulness aside, needs to hold onto a little more firmly, now more than ever.

 

The short and the short of it: The whimsical vivacity of Deux Escargots S’ent Vont (Two Snails Set Off)

(image via Vimeo (c) Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Romain Segaud / Tapioca Films)

 

Oh, this film is a whimsical joy!

Based on a classic children’s poem by Jacques Prévert entitled “Chanson des escargots qui vont à l’enterrement (Song of the snails who are on their way to a funeral)”, this short film, Deux Escargots S’ent Vont (Two Snails Set Off), by Romain Segaud and Jean-Pierre Jeunet celebrates re-embracing the colour of life after the enervating loss and sadness of grief.

The message alone is an upbeat pleasure, but what elevates this delightful film even further, which shares some pleasingly idiosyncratic storytelling DNA with French series Minuscule, are the stop-motion animated animals that seem to have conjured themselves out of the leaf litter of the forest floor.

They’re beautiful, the message is good for the soul and honestly, it’s damn near impossible to watch this gently-spirited short film and not rush out and see what life has to offer once you’re done.

So get going — but oh watch this first!

 

 

Here’s the English translation of the poem courtesy of Laughing Squid:

And the sun says to them
Take, take the trouble
The trouble to sit down
Take a glass of beer
If that’s what you fancy
Take, if you’d like to
The coach up to Paris
It’s leaving tonight
You’ll see the world
But don’t wear mourning
You mark my words
It makes you look ugly
And blacks out your eyes
All this coffin business
Is grim and not nice
Take back your colours
The colours of life

Book review: The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

(cover image courtesy Hachette Australia)

 

Alex Woods is a quirky guy. A very quirky guy.

But then that’s what makes the protagonist of The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence such an endearing, affecting delight.

Struck by a 2kg meteorite at the age of 10 when it comes hurtling, rather destructively, through the bathroom roof of the home he shares with his mother Rowena – who herself is the queen of idiosyncratic unusualness – Alex finds himself not simply missing an intact skull and some of his hair, but the subject of media fame, even in the non-viral days of 2004.

While he mostly recovers, the accident leaves him with recurrent epilepsy, a condition that he learns to control in time with the help of his neurologist Dr Enderby and disciplined meditation every morning – Alex is the kind of kid that sees a problem, works out a solution and follows through; see, unusual but you love every strange, weird moment, trust me – but which defines his life in a number of key ways, not least the fact that it makes his tarot card-reading mum, who runs a New Age shop in Glastonbury, even more clingy than before.

“Even though my head was patched up and healing itself underneath the special absorbable bone plates, I still had to stay in hospital for another week so that they could keep an eye on me and make sure that I was getting the proper amount of rest and protein. I saw about a million different doctors, and twice as many nurses, and I had to go for X-rays so that they could check how my skull was doing, and then I had to answer questions and perform all these strange little tasks that had been designed to make sure that my brain was functioning correctly.” (P. 25)

The joy of Alex is that he is both wise beyond his years, a result of a prodigious love of learning, an old soul and only child syndrome, but also typically, gloriously a kid, and then a teenager – the book takes us from age ten to seventeen – who doesn’t get everything in life right.

So in other words, a typical kid fumbling his way towards adulthood and oft times, quite definitely not.

One thing he does get right, up to the very end of the book which is profoundly moving and uplifting at once, grappling with some weighty ideas about life, death and how we choose to leave the former for the latter, is his friendship with the irascible Isaac Peterson.

An aging American Vietnam vet with a deep and abiding love of Kurt Vonnegut, which he imparts to Alex to the extent that the young man creates a book club just to read and discuss the author’s satirically-odd work, he is mourning the loss of his English wife three years previously to a terminal disease, and while not a recluse and still reasonably engaged with life, is none too inclined to make new friends or get-out-and-about.

Through a set of circumstances that owe a great deal to Alex, his persistent, mindless bullies from school and a broken glass greenhouse, the two meet, and what starts out as errands of restitution for the damage caused – in typical Alex fashion, he’s not even directly responsible for the damage but figures confessing the truth will only create more trouble – soon becomes much, much more.

 

(image courtesy Hodder)

 

This most unusual of rewarding and decidedly non-mawkish of relationships – Issac is too gruff an old man to get too sentimental and Alex, while in touch with his emotions, is also winningly practical – becomes the centrepiece of this delightful book which balances some heavyweight ideas with some engaging quirkiness in the most exquisitely appealing of ways.

It’s central idea is that weird stuff happens in life, and sometimes really sad and distressing stuff, but it’s how you respond to it that matters.

Unlike movies of the week or some trashy novel intent only on manipulatively reducing you to tears, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is rich with insight, truthfulness and the kinds of relationships which demonstrate again and again that you cannot judge a book by its cover.

Many of the characters, and most particularly Alex, who you will come to love like few protagonists before him simply because he is honest, loyal, heartfelt and real, are socially awkward, a step too many outside of the mainstream for the great seething masses of conformist humanity to pay attention to.

But beneath their odd exteriors are people with big hearts and open minds and a willingness to accept life on its terms, especially if it means being there, I mean really being there, for someone else.

“I looked out across the open-plan living room through the patio doors. ‘I’m doing the right thing,’ I said.
And I knew that this thought and this thought alone had the power to carry me through the next twenty-four hours. Without it, I would have broken down.” (P. 385)

It’s the big heart of Alex that this will attract you, drawn you in and love him deeply.

This unusual boy-then-man who loves Kurt Vonnegut, who diligently practises his meditative techniques and is more at ease talking to adults than kids his own age like emo-goth Ellie, who may like him and works at his mum’s shop, has a heart so big that he commits to a great many things in the name of his friendship with Mr Peterson that would make less robust and kindly souls quake with trepidation.

It’s not that being there in some pretty major ways doesn’t affect Alex – he’s as nervous, and emotionally wrung out as the next person – but if life has taught him one thing, it’s that life is defined by the choices you make, and as someone forced to make some pretty big choices very early on in life, he knows what he’s talking about.

As the friend between he and Isaac grows, and some fairly big sacrificial issues come into play, Extence does a beautiful, heart-rending job of showing us what true friendship, true selfless friendship, is like and how powerfully it can affect you.

These truths, delivered through the earnest and quirky mind of our utterly endearing protagonist, imbue The Universe Versus Alex Woods with a beguiling mix of humourous lightness, observational truthfulness and soul-defining profundity, making it one of those rare books that will have you laughing and crying and thinking hard about what it all means.

Just like life really, and if anyone knows what that’s really like, it’s your new best friend, Alex Woods, a character you will long remember and love, well after the final page is turned.

 

 

The Weatherman: The Future’s Only Hope … Has A Zero Percent Chance

(cover image via io9 (c) Image Comics)

 

Memories are fallible things.

We forget where we put the keys. What day our niece’s birthday falls. Where we hid that present that would be perfect for Aunty Jean?

But being responsible for genocide? Yeah, no, that, THAT, is something you’d definitely remember.

Unless you’re Martian weatherman, Nathan Bright, who finds himself accused of masterminding a terrorist attack on Earth that all but wipes out the human race and has to flee across the stars to escape the inevitable retribution.

Thing is – he can’t remember a thing. Not one bit of it – so is he not guilty or just really, horrifically forgetful?

 

 

Alas The Weatheman of the title, the one with the great girlfriend, crazy fun presenting style and a Golden Retriever can’t remember whether he did or didn’t do it, a problem when you’re being fingered for what is essentially the crime to end all crimes.

So on the run he goes but when you’re a feelgood, zany weatherman are you really ready to be James Bond among the others.

It seems not, and that, according to writer Jody LeHeup is where things get really interesting:

“Nathan’s of course completely ill-equipped for life as the most wanted man in the solar system but he’s forced on the run anyway, on a journey to find the truth and the key to stopping a second extinction level attack. And that’s just the starting point. Things get extremely crazy once we start to fill in the blanks.” (io9)

The Weatherman sounds like a clever, funny, deadly serious, amazing series that will be well worth reading if only to feel better about those momentary slip-ups of memory we all go through.

Issue #1 will be available at your favourite comic book store on 13 June.

Read a fascinating interview with Jody LeHeup.

 

(cover image via io9 (c) Image Comics)

Fear the Walking Dead: “Another Day in the Diamond” (S4, E2 review)

Another fun night on the town in the zombie apocalypse for Alicia and the gang (image (c) AMC via Spoiler TV)

 

  • SPOILERS, MUCH LIKE ZOMBIES, ABOUND …

Do zombies like to meditate?

Likely not, what with all that constant rambling and shambling and stumbling aimlessly going on; but Fear the Walking Dead? Oh, it likes it a great deal.

After a worrying first episode, where the main cast of Fear were mostly absent as the show devoted an entire episode to introducing Morgan (Lennie James) aka a cynical attempt to get rusted-on The Walking Dead fans to sample the slow-paced, more-reflective spinoff, we were back with Madison (Kim Dickens), Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Nick (Frank Dillane) & Luciana (Danay Garcia) and, rather surprisingly, traitorous Victor (Colman Domingo) in their new idyllically bucolic home in a baseball stadium (hence the title).

Given the rampant violence and The Walking Dead-ness of the introductory episode, you could have been forgiven for thinking that new showrunners, Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, who also wrote “Another Day in the Diamond”, had tried some weird Frankenstein-ish experiment to mash together the thoughtful humanity of Fear with the blood-and-guts violence of Walking.

That may still come to pass, of course, since the Steven Moffatt of The Walking Dead universe, and yes I mostly mean that in a pejorative sense, Scott M. Gimple, is an executive producer of Fear, with a very real chance of influencing its DNA with his bloodily unthinking, clumsily-written approach to things.

Episode 2 though looked blessedly free of some narrative botches, with the episode introducing us to the peaceful community, Madison has constructed, replete with running water electricity, cows, sheep and chickens, crops and even showers and eggs for breakfast.

So pretty much everything Rick and the gang never quite managed to pull off.

Madison being Madison has taken in all the strays that crossed her path, going out on trips to save Viv’s (Rhonda Griffis) husband from the apocalyptic wilds, and giving sanctuary to orphan girl Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) who is understandably too traumatised to give much away about her past.

 

The Neighbourhood Watch Committee were not as alert and self-aware as they used to be (image (c) AMC via Spoiler TV)

 

What happened to her? What happened to camp of people and is there anyone left to save that matters to her?

No one is sure, not even “big brother” who’s taken a protective role with Charlie, but nonetheless, Madison, Luciana, Alicia and Victor – Nick is showing a marked, and worrying, reluctance to leave the safety of the stadium – head out to find Charlie’s folks, if they are to be found, find supplies (maybe) and an extra book for the youngest member of the group.

They don’t find a happily ever after ending, of course, but they do find lots of zombie deliberately herded into above-ground oil tanks, and a frightened survivor and nurse, Naomi (Jenna Elfman, looking none too Dharma-ish) who holds a gun up to Madison before ending up back at the stadium too.

The refreshing thing about all this togetherness and forgiveness and willingness to give others a chance – I mean would you have taken season 3 Victor back into the group, or given Naomi a chance after she tried to kill you? – is that Madison is the quintessential opposite of Rick’s kill-or-be-killed.

While Rick and his gang seems perpetually destined, thanks to some apocalyptic curse of the gods, to wander the earth killing, maiming and “defending” themselves (the trouble they find is largely brought about by their own hands), Madison is actually building something, making a community, one where people are given the benefit of the doubt, a second chance.

It may seem woefully cutesy and far too idealistic, but it fits with a recent and prevailing trend in apocalyptic literature to go beyond the initial collapse of everything and show humanity actually getting their collective shit together again.

We do it all the time after natural disasters and war so why not after, or more accurately, during, a zombie apocalypse.

It makes sense that a tenaciously survivable species like our own would reach that point and while The Walking Dead seems reluctant to fully commit to that yet, Madison has gone all in and the result, weevils in the turnips aside, are encouraging.

Hell, this might just work, for the characters and the show, which has shown a repeated willingness to eschew wanton violence for actually examining the human condition under stress and deprivation, but also under the thin veil of hope and the chance for renewal.

 

There’s nothing like a quiet Kit-Kat break between killing the undead and plotting misery for the fellow living around you (image (c) AMC via Spoiler TV)

 

Whether this will be sustained is another matter entirely with the arrival of Mel (Kevin Zegers) and his troop who play loud music, talk ominously about Madison and her community being tested, and who, it turns out, planted Charlie in the midst of the people they’re about to plunder as a trojan horse to gather intel.

Yep, Charlie is a spy, with Mel rather theatrically calling her out of the stadium and into one of his well-lit buses where her promised reward of new records awaits.

He’s like Negan-lite, a brash but somehow simultaneously smooth talker who predicts doom and gloom for Madison and the stadium-ites, whether by direct attack or attrition, waiting for them to starve as their crops fail and their resources dwindle.

One interesting observation he does make is charting the rise and fall of communities like Madison’s from hopeful up-and-’em-ness to perilous loss and decline, and while Madison rejects his sobering predictions out of hand, you can’t help wondering if there’s something to it even with humanity’s ability to rise from the ashes.

Of course, it suits Mel’s threatening narrative to say all this, but it turns out that the scene at the end of episode 1 where Alicia, Luciana, and Victor (who may have a suitor in the form of Cole, played by Sebastian Sozzi) taken Morgan, and likeable newcomers John (Garret Dillahunt) and Althea (Maggie Grace) prisoner after some roadside charades, takes place well after the events of Mel, Charlie and the really loud boombox (don’t worry – he’s herded the zombies into a truck, the better to play his music; he’s like a Pied Piper of the undead).

So does the stadium fall? IS it OK but ailing, hence the banditry to survive? Hard to say, and it seems like more answers await in episode three, but suffice to say that Fear the Walking Dead, which looked like it had sold its soul to the vacuously-violent devil with which The Walking Dead and Scott M. Gimple have long had a deleterious accommodation just one short episode ago, may have kept its slow, meditative spirit intact, giving us some hope that humanity may just make it back from apocalyptic ruin and thrive again.

But not before some more endangering shit goes down, naturally …

  • Coming up on Fear the Walking Dead in next episode”Good Out Here” …

 

 

 

What do dogs see on TV? Not what you think they’re seeing!

 

SNAPSHOT
…regardless of breed, what dogs see on the screen is definitely not what we see. Dogs’ visual systems are much more sensitive to flickering, which helps them perceive movement more efficiently. …what might look to you like a vibrant, colorful image could be pretty “meh” for your dog….Instead of having three different color receptors in their eyes like us, dogs only have two,so they only see the world in shades of yellow and blue. (excerpt via Laughing Squid)

Dogs love to be around their humans. I mean, they really love it. (As opposed to cats, and full discolosure I am a cat person mostly and love their weirdly eccentric ways.)

So we assume they love doing everything we do.

But do they? No doubt they love out company but are they really watching TV with us or just looking the part?

This fascinating, jauntily-told video talks about the fact that you dog may or may not be into TV as much as you think they are, for a whole range of reasons from the ability to distinguish movement to the inability to see the world in anything but shades of blue and yellow.

It’s a brilliant informative and short insight into the TV-consuming habits of humanity’s best friend and may have you looking at your pooch in a whole new way (they will of course be looking at you pretty as they’ve always done; with mess colours, and love and adoration).