FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Season 1 Finale “The Good Man” Review

In “A Good Man”, we all get the post-apocalypse we deserve, as Fear The Walking Dead draws to a close. All good things must come to an end. Fear The Walking Dead ended up being very good, despite a rocky start and some missteps. Most of these were corrected in FTWD’s conclusion.

First of all, let us address the rotting corpse in the room – the zombies (or “Walkers” or “biters” or “shambling bags of flesh”, choose your sobriquet.) The main criticism I saw leveled at the AMC mini-series was the lack of Walkers, which is a pretty serious allegation for a show with “The Walking Dead” making up ¾ of its title. “The Good Man” makes up for this drought in spades, with wave after wave of rotting flesh, as The Walking Dead‘s universe sees its very first herd. Read More



The action’s heating up, as three families in AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead leave this world behind, encroaching further into the iconic ruin of the Walker-infested wasteland.

“Civilization is like a thin layer of ice upon a deep ocean of chaos and darkness.” – Werner Herzog

 The most striking moment from an episode full of suspense, melodrama, and exploding heads was a quiet one. Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis) and his first family, with another family, the Salazars, in the back of his pick-up, making his way to Madison’s (Kim Dickens) house. As the worried families drive in silence, the sprawling bejewelled nighttime carpet of Los Angeles is plunged into darkness, as the power outage takes hold and spreads.

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Portland Film Festival Returns! Sept. 1 – 7 Preview

Zombies! Madness! Faeries! Reggae!

Portland Film Fest returns, in its 3rd incarnation, cementing its place as a cultural tour de force and earning its reputation as one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals In The World 2014” from MovieMaker Magazine. Portland is at an interesting crossroads in its cultural evolution. On one hand, it is the run-down, rusted, gloomy, economically-depressed and overly-tattoed old school version of itself, which we all know and love. On the other, it is a shining mecca for the 21st Century, a beacon of progressiveness, DIY ethos, and collaborative creative communities. Read More


FEAR THE WALKING DEAD “So Close, Yet So Far” Recap/Review

“Can I have my knife back now?” – Tobias

The action heats up quick, like a saucepan full of nitroglycerin on the stovetop, as the contagion begin to spread. And we haven’t seen anything yet. “So Close, Yet So Far” leaves behind the family melodrama of “Pilot”, or rather, it imports it into this new world that is beginning to form as the old one decays, both with a bang and a whimper. Read More


FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, Episode 1 ‘Pilot’ Recap/Review

“What the hell is going on?” – Madison

“I have no idea.” – Travis


Imagine waking up in some unfamiliar place, dazed and disoriented. You stumble downstairs to a charnel house of cadavers, finding one of your good friends chewing off another friend’s face. What would you do? This cognitive dissonance, this mammalian panic terror is the core of what makes Fear The Walking Dead so deadly effective, as well as what separates it from its mothership. Read More


Sundance Review: LIFE AFTER BETH

“Life After Beth”
Directed by Jeff Baena
Starring Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser
91 Mins


The scales may tip all over the place on this zom-rom-com but even with all its tonal inconsistency, we’re dumped in a place of smirky satisfaction and forgiving admiration of intent. Life After Beth is narrowly shoddy, but still an easy crowd-pleaser and an affable experiment in reckless absurdity.

As Tomboy one famously said, Dane DeHaan could sell a ketchup Popsicle to a woman in white gloves, so even though his chemistry will Aubrey Plaza might be hard sold, it’s impossible not to believe the earnestness evidently pouring from his drippy soul. Plaza, that beloved goon, is no certifiable dramaturge and rides her quirky shtick hard here but, for what it’s worth, seeing her strapped to an oven, face peeling away with rot and sauntering towards brains is worth the price of admission alone.
Beth (Plaza), for whom the movie is cleverly named, met her end at the tip of a raddler’s fang solo hiking at night. The film opens on her funeral which sets the stage for a rather dour half hour with DeHaan almost over-committing to the conceit that his star-crossed lover has met her end. His performance oozes grief, demanding the likes of the Beth’s parents, John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon, who help keep things frothy as the film boils towards full-blown satire.

Without announcement, Beth reappears as if nothing had happened and overwhelmed with the miracle that is her revival, all are willing to overlook how this Beth isn’t quite the same as the one they put in the ground a week prior. Like the changing tides of puberty, Beth begins to undergo a new transformation, budding into a full blown zombie.

Leaps and bounds away from the breed of zombies George Romeo has familiarized us with, these Z’s suffer a case of super strength and amnesia but lack the malevolent, herdish brain-gobbling qualities. At least, at first. It’s during these introductory “zombie” moments when director Jeff Baena experiments with his own, unique faction of the obnoxiously popular iconography that the movie proudly rears its creative head and is at the top of its game for it. With zombies’ unnatural penchant for smooth jazz and love of reassurance-laden chatting, Life After Beth proves fitfully riotous. But when chaos breaks out and everything goes to piece, that flair of individuality and precision of vision falls apart as well.

More of a fun experiment than a certified success, this zillionth installment in the zombie niche has its share of dicey moments but it’s also riddled with guffawable zingers and crafty physical comedy. Plaza goes for broke and will surely be remembered for one of the strangest performances this year while DeHaan is rarely off the mark and it’s their unlikely chemistry that rounds Life After Beth round the bases, even if it occasionally limps its way across home plate.


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