Walking Dead 6.12 Review “Not Tomorrow Yet”

*SPOILER WARNING: Never leave mayonnaise out in the sun as it will spoil quickly. And in the words of Grandpa from Hey Arnold, never eat raspberries.*

Hello again Word Press, Kevin here bringing you the review of the latest episode of The Walking Dead. Before I start up on the review, I can’t make any more comparisons to the source material until I get a chance to catch up on the comics (or until they finally release the third compendium) . I’m a very busy individual these days between working full time and working with my band to record our demo (it’s why at best I only release one blog a week). I’ll look into the comics on my own time, just not while the show is going on.

Speaking of being busy, I didn’t get to release my review on last week’s episode because I only saw the full episode of 6.11 this past Sunday. Overall, 6.11 was a pretty darn good episode, especially with how Maggie handled the negotiating with Gregory and stood up for herself. I also liked how last week’s episode was like the calm before the storm. This week’s episode had much more action than last week, and more human on human fighting than we’ve seen since seasons three and four. The tension in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife in this episode, and the second half of the episode played out like an awesome action movie. There are some things I enjoyed about the episode overall, and some things that really grinded my gears.

What I enjoyed:  It was great how well thought out and coordinated all of the fight scenes were in this episode as I loved seeing how many of the saviors were massacred later in the episode. It was great seeing Rick’s plan in action of faking Greg’s death, and then moving in to kill the saviors in their sleep. That was, until that one savior pulled the fire alarm right before Abraham and Sasha killed him (the shit officially hit the fan in the episode from that point onwards). I loved how Jesus managed to save Glenn and Heath after they were trapped in the armory and shot straight through the door to kill that group of Saviors. My favorite action scene was where Father Gabriel shot that Savior after saying a prayer for him out loud, and saying “Amen” after the deed was done (maybe Gabriel will finally start kicking ass for the lord?) Lastly, I enjoyed seeing Glenn and Heath struggle with the fact that they are now killers. This struggle showed how solid the acting chemistry was between Steven Yuen and Corey Hawkins (heath) can be even when the screen time runs quickly.

What I Didn’t Like: Abraham, why’d you have to go and be an asshole to Rosita? I don’t care if that’s “the way shit is” with you, you don’t just break up with a woman who’s been that good to you in a heartbeat. You don’t just tell her that you only dated her because she had tits. I mean, maybe it’s a better change of pace where in the comics Abraham cheated on Rosita, but it still leaves me feeling pissed off. I’m happy for Carole finding love again, but I’m sad it wasn’t with Daryl (like many had hoped it would be). Lastly, I shudder to think what may happen to Carole and Maggie being held hostage by who I presume to be one of Negan’s wives. Things could get ugly next week.

Overall, I felt like this was an awesome episode that was well written, acted, and paced. I look forward to seeing next week’s episode.

-KCard

 

 

Walking Dead 6.10 Review: “The Next World”

Reblogging to share on my social media pages.

Kevin Card

*Spoiler warning courtesy of Buzz Lightyear*

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Hello again everyone, Kevin here bringing you the analysis on this week’s episode of The Walking Dead. I just wanted to let people know that the reason I always open up with a “filler” paragraph is so when I post these reviews to Facebook the text doesn’t bleed over and reveal any spoilers for those who didn’t want to see them. I like to consider it an extra insurance policy to prevent people from getting upset over spoilers.

Speaking of filler, I often hear comic book Gatekeeping fans get upset at the show every season due how slowly the story drags on. These people need to remember that these are two different mediums, and television shows need to reach syndication (100 or more episodes). It’s especially worth mentioning that lately The Walking Dead has returned to referencing the source material at a rate that…

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Walking Dead 6.10 Review: “The Next World”

*Spoiler warning courtesy of Buzz Lightyear*

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Hello again everyone, Kevin here bringing you the analysis on this week’s episode of The Walking Dead. I just wanted to let people know that the reason I always open up with a “filler” paragraph is so when I post these reviews to Facebook the text doesn’t bleed over and reveal any spoilers for those who didn’t want to see them. I like to consider it an extra insurance policy to prevent people from getting upset over spoilers.

Speaking of filler, I often hear comic book Gatekeeping fans get upset at the show every season due how slowly the story drags on. These people need to remember that these are two different mediums, and television shows need to reach syndication (100 or more episodes). It’s especially worth mentioning that lately The Walking Dead has returned to referencing the source material at a rate that I find to be appropriate. My main complaint about the show is that they add unnecessary story arcs that turn into filler arcs (source material aside) such as the corrupt police officers in the hospital from season 5A. Now then, onto the show.

This week’s episode really had no way of topping last week’s episode, so we can consider this the calm after the storm has settled. That being said, a lot of awesome things still happened in last night’s episode of The Walking Dead. For starters, we finally got to meet the comic book character Raul Rovia (nicknamed “Jesus”). We saw Spencer put down Dianna’s walker with help from Michonne, and we also saw that Carl has no idea how to talk to women with how rude he was being to Enid. Lastly, I’m happy to see that Rick and Michonne are together now as a couple as I’ve recently been “shipping Richonne” (as the kids on Tumblr are saying these days). There were some things that bothered me about the episode, but I rather enjoyed it overall.

What I enjoyed:
It was great seeing how the characters interacted in this episode, Michonne helping out Spencer with his personal task of putting Deanna out of her misery (after being reanimated) and helping Spencer find out he still has a family with the people of Alexandria. It was awesome seeing Jesus interact with Daryl and Rick throughout most of the episode, and how they kept Jesus true to his comic counterpart at how skilled at sneaking and hand to hand combat that he is. I also enjoyed a lot of the dialogue as this was definitely a story driven episode, not an action driven episode. Lastly, it was amazing to see Rick and Michonne together, and amusing to see them both draw their weapons on Jesus while naked at the end of the episode. Some fan service for Walking Dead fans? Hell, I’ll take it! Now onto the things that bothered me.

What I didn’t enjoy:
I really felt like the writers had Rick and Daryl acting out of character this whole episode, I’m pretty sure Rick and Daryl should have been smart enough to know that they should have just driven straight back to Alexandria with that supply truck before stopping anywhere else. Yes they found Jesus (not biblically), but they also lost all of the supplies in that truck because they kept messing around to try and locate soda for Denise, and kept struggling to deal with Jesus. The truck wouldn’t have fallen into the lake (which was painful to watch) if Rick and Daryl had just done the sensible thing and gone straight back (which Daryl is usually known for in this show). I feel like that whole part of the story focusing on Rick and Daryl was just wasted time where they stopped acting their normal selves. Other than that it was a satisfactory exposition episode (that was unfortunate enough to have to follow the act before it).

So I’m looking forward to seeing next week’s episode of The Walking Dead and how the whole story with Jesus will play out. I should also note this is just about the part of the comics that I stopped reading at so I will either need to play catch up with the source material (I own Walking Dead compendiums one and two), or just ask that people not spoil the major story arcs that are coming up in the future. I’m also super curious to see what they do in the show with Negan.

For today’s featured song I was tempted to leave “Jesus Take The Wheel” by Carrie Underwood in honor of Jesus stealing the food truck, but musically it doesn’t scream “Walking Dead” to me. Instead I will leave you all with the Johnny Cage song “When The Man Comes Around” as the appearance of Jesus (Raul) means that bad things are going to happen this season when Negan finally appears.

-KCard

Top 10 Songs of 2015

Hello again everyone, Kevin here writing my final annual music review blog. Instead of an awards blog I’m just going to list my favorite songs of the year as a going away present to myself. I’ve had fun writing about the billboard 100 since 2011, but I feel the time has come to switch mediums into film and television criticism since I still feel that A) The Film and TV genres still award creativity, and B) There’s still an audience for people who want to movie read reviews and show theories. I’ve witnessed the rise and fall of many artists, one hit wonders, and internet stars over the last few years, and I’m tired of living in an age of accelerated one hit wonders.

2011 was the year I felt I didn’t have to be ashamed of my generation’s pop music anymore (though 2013 nearly made me eat those words), and the following couple of years made me realize that every year of this past decade has been incredibly different with the music styles that have come out. Now that’s not to say that we haven’t had some great music, it’s just that I don’t want to be an indentured servant to trying to change the Billboard 100 forever. So without further adieu, here are my top songs for 2015.

1. Ariana Grande- “Focus”

I’ve always had something of a fan crush on Ariana Grande since I first heard her back in 2014 as I really love her voice, and dig the style of her songs. I enjoyed “One Last Time” in the first part of this year, but I posted this song since I feel like this her most edgy song with it’s risque lyrical content and the unique style of the music video. I like they include the horn section towards the end of the song as well. Lastly, this is one of the more different sounding songs on the top charts right now, and I enjoy listening to it for that reason.

2. Adele- “Hello”

Speaking of 2011, I’m a hardcore Adele fanboy because I often credit her for saving modern music from the bullshit and creative stagnation of 2010 (Refer to: “Call me Mr Flintstone, I can make your bed rock”). When her song “Rolling in The Deep” first came out, I felt very happy as I knew things were going to change on the charts. It’s been five years now since Adele broke into the scene, and when she came back her first single “Hello” was a huge success. I love that she’s continuing her story of how she misses her ex lover that was the basis for her album “21” from 2011. The song itself is a wonderful combination of sadness and melancholy, and Adele’s emotive and powerful vocals add to the soul of the song as their centerpiece.

3. X Ambassadors- “Renegades”

This particular song is one that I’ve personally taken into my heart as I’ve felt like a renegade and an outcast my whole life due to having lived with Autism Spectrum Disorder (given how the video helps promote the differently abeled). I love how the song builds into something from the opening chords of the guitar, into an enjoyable verse, and then to an amazing chorus. Plus I love that line “The Spielbergs, the Kubricks” as those two reshaped modern cinema together as friends, despite the differences in their styles. The lyrics are deeper than your average pop song these days This’s a theme about unity, something the world is really lacking right now.

4. Breaking Benjamin- “Failure”

Growing up as an angst ridden teenager in the 2000s had many ups and downs, and the band Breaking Benjamin in my mind perfectly captured that struggle of growing up with depression and anxiety (with their music). And dammit, they sound awesome doing it along the way. I’ve been waiting since 2009 for these guys to release an album like “Dark Before Dawn”, and it’s amazing flagship single “Failure”. I love this song because even as I approach my late 20s, these guys still release songs that speak to my soul. I have a powerful love of songs that start off slow, but quickly build into something much grander and powerful. Breaking Benjamin has been mastering that style since their first album “Saturate”, and this hard hitting anthem about struggling with the fear failure is no exception. There was some controversy a few years ago over lead vocalist Ben Burnley suing his old band mates for the rights of the band name, but I’m glad to see the new members of the band haven’t changed the core elements of what I love about this band’s sound.

5. Breaking Benjamin- “Angels Fall”

As such, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I should post this band’s second single of the year, Angels Fall. I actually saw Breaking Benjamin live last Summer, and they sound very consistent to how they do in the studio. As for the song, “Angels Fall” is more dramatic than “Failure”, and I find it to be the better song as well. I say that because I enjoy the visuals that singer Ben Burnley uses to paint a picture of the heavens themselves struggling to reclaim what they once were. It reminds me of my past struggles to better who I am as an individual. I’m happy that this band’s album this year was so successful, I can’t think of any other band that deserves said recognition more than Breaking Benjamin.

6. Five Finger Death Punch-“Wash it All Away”

Five Finger Death Punch has always been something of an anomaly to me in that they are probably the most popular metal band of the current decade, yet many metal purists swear them off as not being “real metal”. Well, this song to me shows that FFDP doesn’t really give a damn that you dislike them. They care about their fans, not their haters, and they also care about trying to help veterans. I suspect that the members of FFDP are conservative, but they’ve (wisely) side stepped getting involved in most politics. As for the song it’s self, I really enjoy the chorus of the song as FFDP knows how to write songs around a powerful refrain. I also someone will come wash away the evils of this world, God knows there’s too much evil in it now.

7. Sam Smith- “Writings on The Wall (from Spectre)”

I first heard this song when I saw Spectre back last year when it first came out, and I’ve got to say this song is probably the most grandiose song on the list. I say that because Smith’s vocals and the old school Bond brass band accompaniment offer grand choruses, and the emotive piano tells of a softer side to the man we know as James Bond. Smith does an amazing job carrying the type of tone that sets such a great film, and the man has one hell of a voice. It rivals Adele’s performance on “Skyfall” from 2012. Bravo!

8. Taylor Swift- “Style”

I’m not normally a fan of Taylor Swift’s music as I think her song writing as too simplistic, and she reuses the same lyrical content over and over, but that’s not the case with this particular song. This song has a great mellow beat, a relaxing feel to it, and a chorus that tells of how Swift’s love will never go out of style. I enjoyed some of the songs off of her latest album, and I feel no shame in admitting that I’m not afraid to listen too music marketed to a largely female demographic. Why? Because my masculinity isn’t toxic or frail.

9. Nathaniel Rateliffe and the Night Sweats-“S.O.B”

That last comment had a strong Feminist undercurrent to it, but I may have to revoke any brownie points for posting a song with a sexist word in it (“b*tch”). All the same, the song itself isn’t sexist, it’s just a sort of throw back to the Doo Wop era where the song’s singer is asking for drinks to drown out his troubles. I love the strong old school feel of this song, as half is only A’capella vocals, and the other half is an old school rockabilly band playing during the chorus. Not to mention how catchy said chorus really is. And I how things look with current events, I sure could use a drink myself.

10. Marcus Miller- “I Can’t Breathe FT. Chuck D and Mocean Worker”

Speaking of current events, 2015 was a year of social and political unrest as cops gunned down minorities, and protesters stopped traffic on highways to prove that black lives matter. This groovy song is a direct reference to the police murder of Eric Garner, who inspired the hashtag “I can’t breathe” as he needed an inhaler before he died. This came off the album Afrodeezia by virtuoso bassist Marucs Miller who set out to create an album that emulates African American music through out modern history. I posted this as my final song because Marcus Miller is a personal hero of mine. I discovered his work after learning bass myself. The rapper on this song is named Chuck D., and his words paint the picture of struggle and unrest that was experienced this past summer. Beyond the sobering subject matter, I love just how funky sounding the instrumentation sounds on this song. The bass playing really is the central focus, and it delivers in creating some amazing musical textures.

With that, I conclude my blog post by saying I’ll keep trying to promote small bands that haven’t “made it” in the big leagues yet. But I’ve also come to realize why modern pop music sounds the way it does is to cater to the demand of modern day audiences, while the further down the chart you go the more progressive things become. I know no that everyone shares my visions and opinions musically, but I’m happy that my readers have read my rantings and semi-educational analysis on music. it’s been fun, I’ll see people again when The Walking Dead returns on February 14th.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

*Spoiler warning: waves hand-: “You will see the movie before reading this review…You will enjoy this movie, come back to this blog; like this blog, and subscribe to it.”*

Blasted Jedi Mind Tricks, they never seem to work on other bloggers (to my knowledge). Hello WordPress, this review’s a little late to the game, but in my head it made sense to review this two weeks later so that any hot water over movie spoilers could cool down. I intend to write this review from the perspective of a Millennial Star Wars fan who grew up on the special editions, survived the prequel trilogy, and who fell in love with the old Expanded Universe that Disney did away with last year.

Plot Summary: If you were determined to ignore my spoiler warning, then the First Order has risen out of the ashes of the Galactic Empire while being lead by Supreme Leader Snoke, while General Leia Organa is leading the Galactic Resistance while being backed by The New Republic. Amidst this galactic warfare, Luke Skywalker has gone into hiding because his Padawan (and nephew) Ben “Kylo Ren” Solo has destroyed Luke’s new Jedi Order by slaying all of Luke’s Jedi apprentices.

The plot of this movie involves us following the adventures of Finn, an AWOL Storm Trooper (“FN-2187”) who helped Resistance Pilot Poe Dameron escape captivity, later meeting up with mystery girl Rey. Finn and Rey later run into Han Solo and Chewbacca, and we discover more about Kylo Ren’s back story and his internal struggle with the light and dark sides of the force. I can see Han Solo’s son falling to the dark side as a slight reference to Jacen Solo falling to the dark side to become Darth Cadeus in the Expanded Universe, though that may be purely coincidental. All things considered, I truly loved this film and I list why below.

What I enjoyed: First off, while many people are still complaining about Kylo’s light saber, I freaking love the damn thing. Ren wields it like a Claymore, and the light emitter being unstable only adds to the power that it may posses. Those hand guards are also super practical in the sense of defending one’s hands from getting cut off. Special effects aside, I enjoyed the acting chemistry between Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) as they have a strong bro-mance, that many fans are hoping turns into an authentic romance (which would be a first for Star Wars, Expanded Universe aside).

Personally, I think there’s a stronger romance hinted between Finn and Rey (Daisy Ridley). I think Rey stands as a great female protagonist for how smart, strong, and quick she is with all of the situations that she ends up in. And while it was highly tragic, Kylo killing Han Solo with his light saber was an incredibly powerful scene (especially with how Chewy reacted by shooting Kylo afterwards, a boy he once thought as his nephew). Han’s death was more powerful than when Obi Wan become one with the force in Episode IV.

I believe that Kylo killed his father to further his hero worship of Darth Vader and to fall closer to the dark side, but it may only serve to bring Kylo further regrets in the future films for Kylo to seek redemption. That battle at the end of the film between Rey and Kylo was awesome, it showed how strong in the force Rey really is with how she was able to defeat Kylo with Anakin Skywalker’s light saber. Lastly, I think the writing in this movie blended the formula of episode IV with a modern rehash for a new generation of Star Wars fans, which in my eyes redeemed us from the travesty of the prequels (Refer to: The Plinkett Reviews). That being said, there were still somethings I didn’t enjoy about this film.

What I Didn’t Like: I’m just going to say it didn’t feel like exactly like the old Star Wars movies because it wasn’t written by a young George Lucas, it felt like Star Wars re-imagined by a fan of the old Star Wars films who wanted to re-imagine Lucas’s vision. I’m not calling the movie a giant fan fiction by any stretch, it just focused so heavily on the new characters we barely had enough time to feel for the old Star Wars characters again. I’m disappointed that Mark Hamill had no lines in the movie and had less than five minutes of screen time.

I’m also upset that Captain Phasma turned out to be a let down of a character (thus far). We’ll see if Phasma turns up again in the next film so that she’ll actually do some more productive stuff other than bossing her platoon around, and ending up in a trash compactor. Lastly, it would have been nice for an explanation on which planets were destroyed by the Star Killer Base since I’m not sure if Courscant was destroyed or not.

Final thoughts: There was a lot of debate from fans on whether or not JJ Abrams could pull off directing the next big Star Wars film set, and I was one of the people who felt he could. Now with record breaking sales and legions of new fans talking about Star Wars, JJ did it. He’s not going to be known as “Jar Jar Abrams” anytime soon. I feel like this movie was successful due to the nods and fan service to the first trilogy, but at the same time it didn’t make me feel warm inside the same way the old trilogy does. I feel that the new characters are great, but we could have used a little more time with the old characters since nostalgia was a grand overarching theme in the film. I will continue to pine over the loss of the old Expanded Universe, but I think JJ made the right decision from a marketing standpoint. What this film has done has paved the way for a new generation of Star Wars fans to learn about the epic space opera that took place a long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away.

-KCard

Merry Christmas Everyone

I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and hope that everyone else who doesn’t celebrate Christmas had a great Hanukkah and/or Kwanzaa. Also, happy almost New Year. Even as a self proclaimed Social Justice Warrior, I prefer saying “Merry Christmas” due to my Catholic upbringing. However, “Happy Holidays” is still easier to say than mentioning four different holidays at once. I think that old Virgin Mobile commercial hit it right on the head with “Happy Chrismahanakwanzaka” since people take this stuff so seriously. It’s the holidays! Just take some time to share laughter and love with your families!

-KCard

Walking Dead 6.8: “Start To Finish”

*Spoiler warning: in this day and age people act like there’s a show spoiler around every tree corner, and here we have quite a few ahead of us.*

Hello again folks, Kevin here reviewing the midway season finale of The Walking Dead. But before I do, let me say Happy belated Thanks Giving to all of my US readers (which is most of the five readers out there), I had a good Thanks Giving aside from a minor argument I had with my siblings about Television spoilers. It’s become evident to me that even potential spoilers such as show theories have become forbidden to be talked of in person or on Facebook. I agree we shouldn’t ruin the mystery for people, but there’s a witch hunt now for amateur TV critics such as myself for talking about spoilers. The whole thing’s getting to be “political correctness” debate levels of rediculous, and it annoys me to no end. Enough with my ranting though, onto the show.

This episode mostly brought us the payoff we’ve been waiting for in that the heard has finally infiltrated the safe-zone of Alexandria. What it didn’t do was give us the scene all of us comic readers wanted to see: how (in the comics) the heard gets cleared out. Being that the show’s writers don’t want to copy and paste from the comics, I can see their point of view; it’s just rediculous that we had a 90 minute flashback for Morgan and only an hour of this episode. If we use the comics as a reference point, then half the scenes in this episode were just filler material. For once, I agree with comic only fans that stuff and things were too drawn out in this episode. However, there were still awesome moments in this episode.

What I liked: First off, Carl is clearly an underrated MVP in this episode. The microphone dropped when Carl told Ron, “I get it, my dad killed your dad. But you need to realize, your dad was an asshole.” Carl kept his head cool through everything while Ron basically screwed over everyone hiding in Jessie’s house. While the fight scene between Carl and Ron was unnecessary, the following scene with the previously mentioned quote made the Carl vs Ron fight worth it. I’m sad that Deanna had to die after being bitten, but I’m happy she went out fighting and screaming in defiance rather than killing herself. It was also cool to see the various tensions between Carol, Morgan, The Wolf Leader, and Denise. Of course, the brawl between Morgan and Carol was damn intense, and we see how little it accomplished in how the Wolf leader successfully escaped with Denise. The idea of the camouflage zombie guts was taken directly from the comics, and it’s a nice touch adding it to the show. Lastly, I loved seeing the ants swell over Carol’s cookies in Sam’s room to the tune of “Tip Toe to the Window” by Tiny Tim, the symbolism of that comparison of the being the walker heard was well placed. Now then, I’m worried about Sam…

What I didn’t Enjoy: I sincerely hope that Sam doesn’t get killed off since he’s clearly on some kind of borderline psychotic state, and that could spell trouble for the group next season. I hated that the Wolf leader got away with Denise, and how the show has painted Morgan as an inept pacifist for that oversight of keeping the wolf leader alive (I can still respect what Morgan was trying to do though). Lastly, why do we have to have so many damn cliff hangers? Jesus, Dragon Ball Z didn’t have this many cliff hangers in one episode. Oh well, at least we get to look forward to how Negan will be portrayed, and this will give me enough time to catch up on the current issues of The Walking Dead comic (I stopped after finishing the second compendium).

Tonight, I leave us with the ever atmospheric sounds of Tiny Tim. This song just added such a great undertone of terror to this episode for Rick’s group.

-KCard