Category Archives: Highly Anticipated

Return of ‘The Walking Dead’

AMC’s The Walking Dead returns Sunday, 12 February.  I can’t wait!  How ’bout you?  What’d you think of the mid-season finale?  Were you happy with Shane’s actions?  What will happen now?   Here’s AMC’s sneak peek at Ep 208, Nebraska. [SPOILER ALERT: Video clip contains spoilers from Episode 07 of Season 2.]

For those who have missed some episodes, don’t fret.  AMC is airing a two-day marathon beginning on Sat., Feb. 11 at 8/7c, covering the full series to date. They’ll show all six episodes of Season 1 back-to-back on Saturday starting at 8/7c. Then on Sunday, the marathon continues with Season 2 episodes starting at 1:30PM/12:30c, leading right into the Midseason Premiere, “Nebraska” at 9/8c.   You can check here for the full recap schedule.

Word is the show’s third season has been extended to 16 episodes.  While I’m thrilled I have more Walking Dead to enjoy, I hope the episodes are more intense that they have been so far in Season 2.  Is it just me or where the episodes in Season 1 just a bit more edge-of-your-seat intense?  That said, I have enjoyed Season 2’s more character-based episodes.  They have allowed us to get to know them all a bit better, even if that means we like them a little less.

I have to say, the character who surprised me the most in Season 2 is Daryl.  In season 1, he was just a background character and not one of my favorites.  In season 2, we get to see him shine.    He is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  Who’s your favorite?  Are you ready to see some changes in the group’s leadership? Or think all is as it should be?

If you’re not already a fan of the series, what are you waiting for?  Catch-up this weekend and you’ll be hooked like the rest of us!

Be sure to check out AMC’s “10 Ways to Get Ready for The Walking Dead Midseason Premiere” for more videos.  You can also take their “Which Character Are You?” quiz to see who you’d likely take after should you survive the apocalypse.

[The Walking Dead Midseason Premiere Airs Sunday, 12 Feb]

Related Posts: Get Ready for the Return of The Walking Dead, The Walking Dead Returns, and Zombie Awareness Month (ZAM).

Fiction2Film: Zombies … an Oral History & a Love Story

In our Fiction 2 Film (F2F) posts, we will share news and tidbits we learn about author’s stories which have made the jump from paper to film.

~ Zombies … An Oral History ~

If you are a fan of zombie novels, you have already heard about Max BrooksWorld War Z film adaption starting Brad Pitt.  In fact, if you’re a major fan, you’ve already read the book.  But, have you heard the major changes to the story?  writing for Screen Rant.com discusses the fact that, although it is a “tricky narrative format to transfer to film” the main character, who in the book is a U.N. employee that interviews zombie apocalypse survivors on their experiences, will be quite different in the film.

Paramount’s announcement stated, “The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.”  This is indeed a different take on the story.  How does author Max Brooks feel about the change?

He acknowledges how difficult it could be turning the book into a film during his interview with the Daily Record.  He admits, “It doesn’t have a main character, the storyline is told from a hundred different points of view, would be prohibitively expensive filming in all these different countries.”  He also realizes the challenge this brings saying, “You couldn’t pay me to turn it into a film.”  However, he doesn’t seem worried about the changes, but rather excited to see how it all turns out.  “I’m not involved so I just want to be able to enjoy watching the movie when it comes out,” he explained. “At least I know they did at least as much research into things as I did for the book.”  In his 26 Aug 2011 blog post, after visiting the set in Glasgow, Max stated, “While I’m still largely in the dark concerning the overall story, it was reassuring to hear from Brad Pitt and Marc Forster that their goal is to make a smart, deep, geopolitical movie. I trust their talent and their intentions and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.”  He also learned from the January 3rd LA Times article, that states, “Forster [the director] and Paramount Pictures each view “World War Z” as a trilogy that would have the grounded, gun-metal realism of, say, Damon’s Jason Bourne series tethered to the unsettling end-times vibe of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead.'”  That’s a nice thought (for them financially), but will fans love the first film enough to support the making of a trilogy? 

‘World War Z’, the Fiction

“The end was near.” —Voices from the Zombie War

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.

‘World War Z’, the Film

Will the film be a hit among Brooks’ fans?  Zombie fans?  Pitt fans?  Only time will tell.

But, in E! News’ interview with actress Mireille Enos, who plays Pitt’s wife in the film, she said, “It’s like zombies are the new vampires.” And, it would seem she isn’t far off as we have seen the number of zombie-related books increase over the past year.  “It’s taking over. But somebody said to me this movie might end the zombie genre because, after this, what else is there to do? It’s huge!”  Now, this statement is not one with which I can agree.

I’ll watch the movie, I may even love it, but “end the zombie genre” because of its awesomeness?  Nah, probably not.  Romero has been doing good zombies for many, many years.  Others will surely follow.

‘World War Z’ is scheduled to hit theaters on, you guessed it, 12/21/12.  How apropos.

[Trailer can be viewed here.]

~ Zombies … A Love Story ~

Now, I have to admit that about a year ago, someone told me about a zombie romance and my first reaction was “Thanks, but no thanks.”  Then, I decided to give Isaac Marion‘s Warm Bodies a go.  The story is told from the perspective of R, a zombie who, try as he might, cannot remember much about his life before now.  Then, he meets his (living) sweetheart.  The book was a quick read, but one that proved in the end that Virgil may have had it right when he said, “Love conquers all things; let us too surrender to love.”

I was happily surprised to see on that Isaac’s book is also being adapted to film.  Unlike Brooks’ “fiction2film,” Marion’s appears to be more of a direct adaption than a variation on the story.  Although director Jonathan Levine is writing the script, he consulted with Marion during the process.

In an interview with Jonathan Liu, or “GeekDad” of Wired Magazine, he explained, I’ve not been directly involved as far as collaborating on it, but I’ve been consulted a lot, a lot more than what’s normal, from what I’m told. When they first hired the director he had lunch with me and just chatted about his ideas and vision for the whole thing, and he’s been interacting with me as he wrote the script. He’d call me up and ask me questions: what’s this part about, or how do you see this and that.

I read some draft of the script — I’m not sure how far along it was — and then I got to give notes on that, and later read another draft and gave some notes. It seems like they’re really respectful of my opinion and they seem to really care what I think, which is cool. Very unusual, from what I’m told. Even major best-selling authors who have all the clout in the world, sometimes they just tell them: “Get lost, we don’t care what you think. Just let us make this movie.” Everyone I’ve told about this who knows how that works has been amazed, that they actually have involved me.

Do you think that will make a difference to those who have read the book and watch the movie?  I know it will for me.  As much as I enjoy seeing a film director’s interpretation of a novel, sometimes I want to see the author’s original story, as is, on the big screen.  Of course, just because there has been so much director-author collaboration does not mean the film will be identical to the novel.  It is always hard to completely translate one to the other, yes?

Either way, Marion sounds excited about the film.  Although he did not have much say regarding the casting process, per the USA Today article, he didn’t see that as a problem because he wasn’t sure “how it would have been if [he] had hated them. But they worked out.”  He plans to watch the film in the theater instead of with the executives because “If something bad happened, [he] wouldn’t want them to see [him] cowering.”  That said, he wants to visit the production set as much as possible because, “The whole thing is fascinating and exciting.”   He may even try to “… sneak in the background and get eaten by a zombie.” 

‘Warm Bodies’, the Fiction

A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Not just another zombie novel, Warm Bodies is funny, scary, and deeply moving.

‘Warm Bodies’, the Film

As I said, it was initially hard for me to envision a zombie novel as a romance.  However, either Marion’s writing changed my perception or love really does affect us all – living or undead.  Marion can relate to our uncertainties about a romantic zombie.  “I didn’t want to sanitize him into something I called a zombie,” Marion says. “You watch him kill people and eat people and do horrific things zombies do. There’s a germ of change in there, so you hear him give his distaste for things but this is what we do.

“A lot of people can relate to that mindless repetition, that people do things they don’t want to do all the time. It’s the starting point for his character, and he develops an awareness for what his options are. It seemed natural to make him sympathetic because everyone’s been there at some point, in a place of misery and wanting to get out.”   The fact that R goes through his routines even while he dreads them was absolutely something to which I could relate.  It made him feel more real, I guess.

Teresa Palmer, who plays R’s love interest, Julie, says Nicholas Hoult is “… so beautiful to work with. He does such an incredible performance. He’s playing a zombie, so he can’t say much, but he’s very expressive with his eyes.”   And, he would have to be to pull this off.  The book is full of R’s internal dialogue, so  I’m very interested to see how that will be represented on screen.  I’ve certainly seen that work well in some and not in others.

I wasn’t going to say this because so many others are asking the same question, but after seeing this picture I feel I have to ask … Will these two be the new Edward & Bella?  It may not be too far fetched a question since Summit Entertainment, the production company behind Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight films, is also behind Marion’s film. The picture is certainly reminiscent of Twilight pics.  I’d say they should try to be more original, but on second thought, it was most likely intentional as they try to lure young adult paranormal romance readers into the theater.

‘Warm Bodies’ is scheduled to hit theaters on 8/10/12.

[To date, no official trailer exists, but you can view the book trailer here.]

Related posts: “Fiction2Film” feature on Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’ and our “Zombie Awareness Month” posts

“Cold Winds Are Rising” ~ Game of Thrones S2 Teaser

Season two teaser of Game of Thrones narrated by Stannis Baratheon, the dead King’s elder brother.

2012 Movies to Watch Out For: REMAKES

Remakes are pretty popular with the movie-makers at the moment but not necessarily with movie-goers. Some are perfectly happy with the originals and let’s be honest, most remakes suck. Here are some of the remakes coming to the big screen in 2012.

Dredd

Action | Sci-Fi
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Remake of: Judge Dredd (1995)

Release month: US ~ September | UK ~ tbd

Synopsis: In a violent, futuristic city, the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner.

Stars: Karl Urban (Star Trek) as Judge Dredd , Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)

Makers also worked on: I Am Number Four (2011), Never Let Me Go (2010), 28 Weeks Later (2007), Sunshine (2007)

News & Trivia: Filmed in South Africa. Currently in post-production. Estimated $45m budget.


Total Recall

Action | Sci-Fi | Adventure Photobucket

Remake of: Total Recall (1990)

Release month: US ~ August | UK ~ August

Synopsis: As the nation states Euromerica and New Shanghai vie for supremacy, a factory worker (Farrell) begins to suspect that he’s a spy, though he is unaware which side of the fight he’s on.

Stars: Colin Farrell (Phone Booth) as Doug Quaid / Hauser, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Ethan Hawke, Bill Nighy

Makers also worked on: Fast & Furious 5 (2011), Die Hard 4.0 (2010), I Am Legend (2007), Underworld (2003)

News & Trivia: Currently in post-production. Preview of a Total Recall car.


Dark Shadows

Drama | Horror | Mystery Photobucket

Remake of: Dark Shadows (1966-71, TV show)

Release month: US ~ May | UK ~ May

Synopsis: A gothic-horror tale centering on the life of vampire Barnabas Collins and his run-ins with various monsters, witches, werewolves and ghosts. Based on the cult TV series.

In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet-or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better…

Stars: Johnny Depp as Barnabas, Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Alice Cooper

Makers also worked on: Rango (2011), Inception (2010), Sleepy Hollow (1999)

News & Trivia: Directed by Tim Burton. Screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith, author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, both of which are being turned into feature films. Currently in post-production.


Pick of the Lot:

DARK SHADOWS

This is the one I want to see. The infamous threesome of Tim Burton, his other half Helena Bonham-Carter and friend Johnny Depp are always up to something interesting. I loved Sleepy Hollow, it’s one of my favourites. I’ve also never seen the original TV show or any of the reincarnations since then which is perhaps why I’m looking forward to it the most. You see, I’m still quite fond of the original movies of Total Recall and Judge Dredd even though they’re not the best films and haven’t aged particularly well.

Battle of 2012: Snow White vs. Snow White

Mirror, Mirror

MARCH 2012

An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.

Julia Roberts – Evil Queen
Lily Collins – Snow White
Sean Bean – The King
Also starring: Nathan Lane

vs.

Snow White and the Huntsman

JUNE 2012

In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

Kristen Stewart – Snow White
Chris Hemsworth – The Huntsman
Charlize Theron – Queen Ravenna
Also starring: Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Lily Cole, Bob Hoskins


The Winner?

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

For me, this is the one I want to watch. Gothic, action-packed, exciting plus fantastic actors make this a must-watch movie. I can’t wait!

Game of Thrones Season Two Sneak Peek

A behind-the-scenes look at season 2 which premieres April 2012.

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand

Release Date: 4 January 2011
Read Date: 13 November 2011
Rating:

The best YA angel book I’ve read. Fully-fledged characters with no self-respect issues and solid, healthy relationships. No insta-love here, and no plot holes plus, there’s a truly mysterious mystery…but I won’t be reading the sequel.

Clara is one quarter angel who has just received her Purpose, the one thing she was born to do as an angel. Her vision of her Purpose implies she will be rescuing a boy from a forest fire. Small details show her he is somewhere in Wyoming so the whole family moves from California so she can fulfil her destiny. She finds the boy, Christian, is the most popular guy in school with a possessive girlfriend. Clara studies him to the point of obsession in order to understand the where, when and why she is to save him. She comes to believe she has quasi-romantic feelings for him until he manages to completely embarrass her at the school dance and sees Tucker, Clara’s best friend’s twin brother, step in to save the day.

Previously Tucker had acted like a child, calling Clara “Carrots” due to the shade of her dyed hair and picking on her. It isn’t until a school break when all her friends, including Christian and her mother, leave town and she’s alone on her 17th birthday when Wendy sends Tucker to be her present. He takes her on a nature tour over a number of days, always setting up another appointment to spend the day together. It’s during this time they grow closer. Unfortunately, when they first kiss, her angel powers activate and his love turns to fear…I absolutely loved this aspect of the story. It’s so well written I was right there experiencing the wilderness with them, wishing I could be doing the same activities. I was pleased to see Tucker and Clara gradually fall for each other. Tucker was a true gentleman cowboy with an easy smile and a loveable character. I was disappointed in Clara’s mother’s reaction though. Any mother would be happy for her daughter to be dating someone like him. And it’s not like it was against the rules to date a human. All work and no play…

Clara’s mother is a half-angel with secrets. She holds so much back to the point of putting her children in danger but as a mother she’s loving and caring and fully involved in their lives, always knowing how and what they’re doing. I do wonder what her Purpose is/was and whether it has something to do with her children. On the other hand, Clara has a long-distance, almost non-existent relationship with her human father who sends guilt presents.

Jeffrey, Clara’s younger brother, is practically an open book at first, struggling to balance his need to compete in sports, wanting to be the best but also needing to hold back to ensure he’s not accused of cheating. He feels like a fraud. At some point I believe he receives his Purpose but tells no one, he becomes pensive and broody. I’m assuming his Purpose isn’t a particularly “good” deed.

I liked these angels and the concept of White Wings (the good) and Black Wings (the bad, who don’t fulfil their Purpose and are unable to love). However, I found it strange there were so many angels in one small town, albeit a tourist one. Angela came across as not just intense but I kept expecting her to turn on Clara because she’s so enthusiastically helpful when it came to anything angel-related.

My only problem I have with this book is the serious implication that the reason Clara must save Christian is because they are meant to be together, romantically-speaking. I abhor love triangles. I hate them, I do. In this case, it really makes me mad because the love Clara has for Tucker, and vice-versa, is genuine. I fell for Tucker right along with Clara. Why must Hand go the route of so many other authors and implement a love triangle? It feels like a huge insult to have these characters form a strong relationship we rarely see in YA paranormals and then basically say “Nope, he’s not for you. This one is.” For a moment there I really thought “Yay! We have an honest to god healthy teen relationship.” And now, I’m pretty sure that will be ruined in a sequel, for a character I never cared about. I don’t want to see this happen so I doubt I’ll be continuing with this series.

ETA: I will, however, be interested in watching the TV show of the same name based on this book, announced in October.

View all my reviews

Get Ready for the Return of The Walking Dead

WooHoo, Baby!  Are You Ready for Season 2?!

 

If you just can’t wait until Sunday, there are other ways to get your zombie fix:

  • Catch the latest trailer with the Sheriff bustin’ some zombie heads like coconuts
  • Design your own zombie avatar with AMC’s ‘Spread the Dead’ application on Facebook
  • Check out their Sneak Peek (US only, unfortunately) video
  • Or the daily Webisodes
  • Pop over to HalloweenCostumes.com and find a wicked zombie getup for this year’s tricks-and-treats day
  • Try your hand at AMC’s ‘Ultimate Fan Trivia Game
  • Or crack some skulls in one of the games at ZombieGames.net
  • And, if you missed out on Season 1, don’t despair, you can catch up here
  • Finally, check out the new book!

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor  

In the Walking Dead universe, there is no greater villain than The Governor. The despot who runs the walled-off town of Woodbury, he has his own sick sense of justice: whether it’s forcing prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for the townspeople’s amusement, or chopping off the appendages of those who cross him. The Governor was voted “Villain of the Year” by Wizard magazine the year he debuted, and his story arc was the most controversial in the history of the Walking Dead comic book series. Now, for the first time, fans of The Walking Dead will discover how The Governor became the man he is, and what drove him to such extremes.

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman, Jay Bonansinga,  Published October 11th 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books, is available for purchase at Amazon | BookDepository | B&N

Freaky Friday ~ Can Ya Dig It?!

Gotta love the slow jazzy feel of the 60’s mixed with futuristic sci-fi!

This flick looks like a splash from the past with a dash of the future.  I’m definitely diggin’ the ‘fro she’s sportin’.  This clip is for the movie, Soul Man, a CG animated sci-fi flick. The film is being developed by French director Guillaume Ivernel.  You can read more about this sci-fi-funk creator at BlacklightMovies.com or check out his IMDB page.


http://vimeo.com/29712832

(Via Blastr.com)

“This is a New War” ~ Underworld: Awakening in 2012

“This is a new war…”

Underworld: Awakening, starring the beautiful Kate Beckinsale, will air in US theaters on 20 January 2012. In this edition of Underworld, Selene wakes up to a “new world” where the humans are at war with vampires and lycans. From the preview clip, Selene is on the hunt for Michael (played by Scott Speedman), the vamp-lycan hybrid from Underworld: Evolution. Read ShockTillYouDrop.com’s report on their visit to the set.

Synopsis from Comingsoon.net:

“Underworld Awakening” brings a stunning new dimension to the epic battle between Vampires and Lycans, as the first film in the franchise to shoot in 3D.

Kate Beckinsale, star of the first two films, returns in her lead role as the vampire warrioress Selene, who escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species.