Monthly Archives: February 2012

Review: Spartacus Vengeance: “Libertus”, Season 2 Episode 5

Gannicus returns in the latest episode of Spartacus Vengeance!

Burn It To The Ground

Tales of Spartacus’ defeat at the mines have spread across the region and imprisoned rebels Oenomaus, Crixus and Rhaskos are to be executed in the arena as a message that Rome will smother any flame that burns against its rule. Spartacus sends his own message: one that would ignite the hearts of all enslaved by attempting a daring rescue at the arena.

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Review: The Walking Dead: “Triggerfinger” Season 2, Episode 9

Suspense, gore, characters’ on the brink of death: one would think these would be common elements in a television show set in the zombie apocalypse but for much of Season 2, The Walking Dead has focused on character development and drama with varying degrees of success. In “Triggerfinger”, the show returned to emphasizing the inherent dangers of living in a world infested with flesh eating corpses and characters defining their own moral code when they are no longer bound by law or social norms. After Rick shoots two strangers, named Dave and Tony, the sound of the gunshots draw the attention of the strangers’ companions to the bar. From the outside of the bar, the companions question Rick, Glenn and Hershel if they know the whereabouts of their friends. Rather than telling a lie that might have prevented further violence, Rick confesses Dave and Tony are dead which results in the strangers firing at them. The expression on Hershel’s face is priceless as he reacts to Rick telling the truth to the strangers. When Glenn exits from the back of the bar a bullet nearly kills him and without hesitation Hershel shoots the gunman in the chest. Walkers descend upon the downed gunman who is still alive, gruesomely bitting of his nose and devouring his flesh. The gunman yells out while Hershel looks on with gun in hand, unable to end the life and suffering of the man he just shot.

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Recap: Spartacus Vengeance: “Empty Hands”, Season 2 Episode 4

Lots of blood, death, foul language, and full frontal nudity – must be the latest episode of Spartacus Vengeance!

Trail of Blood

Spartacus has paid a big price in rescuing Naevia from the mines. Many of his rebels died in the rescue and a few were captured including Crixus and bald gladiator Rhaskos. Rather than making an unwise decision to mount another rescue attempt so soon, Spartacus leads his followers to Vesuvius to rejoin Agron’s group. In the woods, Glaber’s men, led by Marcus, have split up into smaller squads to cover more ground in their hunt for Spartacus. As pointed out by Ashur, Marcus makes a crucial error in strategy. Instead of keeping his soldiers together in one large force that would easily outnumber the rebels in a battle, they give Spartacus’ group a fighting chance in each encounter. Marcus, arrogant in his belief in the superiority of Romans, has underestimated the rebels because he does not understand that they were once gladiators that spent their lives training to kill and are more than a match for common soldiers. Despite the rebels’ tenacity and fighting abilities, many have fallen and Spartacus feels he is to blame. Mira tries to ease his burden by telling him, “It is because of you … that we are free.”

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Review: The Walking Dead: “Nebraska” Season 2, Episode 8

In a zombie apocalypse the most dangerous thing in the world are the survivors. Young Carl was accidently shot by Otis in the season premiere “What Lies Ahead”; Shane used Otis as zombie bait in “Save the Last One”, and in the first season’s finale Dr. Jenner locked the entire group in the CDC that was going to self-destruct. At the end of “Nebraska”, two strangers named Dave and Tony walk into the bar, nonchalantly show off their guns, take a piss on the floor, joke about getting laid and demand to be taken to the farm. When Dave reaches for his pistol, Rick makes the right decision to kill them without hesitation. This a pivotal scene and most likely sets up the next several episodes. Dave and Tony are part of a larger group of survivors that will come looking for their companions which will lead to a confrontation between the two groups. Also, Hershel should now realize he needs Rick to survive in this world and it would be a bit surprising if he still wants Rick and company to leave his farm (with the exception of Shane). Further, it establishes that Rick will do whatever it takes to protect his people and that’s he’s not naive or “delusional” as Shane said earlier in the episode. If Rick was the person Shane says he is, Rick would have wanted to help out the strangers and invite them back to the farm. This season is leading to a ultimate show down between Rick and Shane. Shane will eventually push Rick too far and force Rick to make a tough decision ; a decision we now know he is capable of making.

If I recall from the first season, being infected does not result in an immediate transformation into a zombie, it actually takes some time. So the time line of Sophie being infected, captured by Otis, brought to the barn, then Otis goes out hunting the deer and shoots Carl does not seem plausible. If Otis discovered a newly infected Sophia that quickly, she should have still have been able to communicate to Otis and would not appear “dead”. It’s hard to imagine he’d throw this girl into a barn filled with walkers and not mention this to anyone. To stretch out the fate of Sophia over seven episodes was a bit much, especially since I cannot recall one scene that gave the audience any reason to care about her. At least, Shane was asking Hershel a lot of the same questions the audience were asking or thinking.

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Recap: Spartacus Vengeance: The Greater Good, Season 2 Episode 3

Lots of blood, death, foul language, and full frontal nudity – must be the latest episode of Spartacus Vengeance!

An Empty Hand Can Yet Become A Fist

Spartacus, Crixus, Agron, Nasir and the rest of the rebels brutally attack guards escorting a caravan of slaves headed for the mines. Just before Agron is about to get killed, Nasir drives his sword into the attacking guard’s back. Agron compliments Nasir, “You favor clever strategy, f*ck the man from behind”. Addressing the freed slaves, Crixus tells them he searches for a women named Naevia from the House of Batiatus. While searching the bodies for valuables, Agron and Nasir come across a slaver laying on the ground that is still alive. The slaver pleads to spare his life and a horse in exchange for information on Naevia. The sound of Agron yelling as he thrusts his sword into the slaver’s throat draws the attention of Spartacus and Crixus. Before Nasir can find the words to tell Crixus what the slaver said about Naevia, Agron simply says, “Dead … Naevia is dead.”

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Sizzling Hot! The Vampire Diaries’ Stars on Entertainment Weekly Cover

Threesomes are fun! But not on the Vampire Diaries … is anybody in this love triangle content? Most typical love triangles work because at least one person is on the outside looking in. However, TVD takes it a step further. At this point in Season 3, Stefan cannot forgive himself with how he treated Elena and won’t allow himself to show he still cares for her. On the other hand, Elena still has lingering hopes of reuniting with Stefan and is hesitant to develop her relationship with Damon. As much as Damon cares for Elena, he doesn’t allow her to make decisions for herself as seen in “Dangerous Liaisons”. When Elena lets it slip that Damon’s love for her is a problem, Damon presses the self-destruct button and hooks up with Rebekah, the girl that tried to kill Elena the night before (Yikes!). Even as rivals for the affections of Elena, brothers Damon and Stefan’s bond of family and blood over the last century is certainly the most  enduring if not most endearing.  The EW covers – that’s Entertainment Weekly not ewww, reminds me too much of romance book covers, but if it gets the attention of readers I’m all for it! ;)  Read my mid-season review of The Vampires Diaries Season 3: All Killer or Just  Filler?

The Avengers Superbowl Extended New Trailer 2012

“We got a Hulk”. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is getting all the best lines! Scarlet Johansson/Black Widow’s little-bitty gun cracks me up when she’s standing next to Thor’s hammer and Captain America’s shield. Check out the EPIC trailer below!

The Amazing Spider-Man Trailer 2012

Too soon for a Spider-Man reboot? Well, it’s coming to theatres this July! The Amazing Spider-Man stars Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) as Peter Parker, Emma Stone (Easy A, Zombieland) as Gwen Stacy and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Connors (Hannibal Rising). The first movie in the new franchise will have Peter Parker investigate his parent’s disappearance and help create a serum for Dr. Connor to regenerate his arm. Let me know if the trailer gets your spidey senses tingling in the comments below.

 

All Killer or Just Filler? The Vampire Diaries Season 3

Exploring The Central Themes of The Vampire Diaries

If you have never seen The Vampire Diaries television series, it would be easy to dismiss it as another supernatural teen melodrama. Elena Gilbert is not your typical high school student. Her parents tragically passed away in car crash accident. Although there is always a bit of sadness in her heart she is not without hope. Her world changes when she falls in love with a new student, Stefan Salvatore, who happens to be a vampire that does not feed on humans. Complicating matters is Stefan’s older brother Damon Salvatore. Damon is also a vampire but lacks a moral conscience and will kill when he’s angry, hungry or just for fun. Both vampires are initially drawn to Elena because she looks identical to their past love Katherine, who is later revealed to be an ancestor of Elena. Developed by producers Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson (Dawson’s Creek, Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer) The Vampire Diaries (TVD) is an exciting blend of mystery, horror and high-stakes drama. However is TVD just a rollercoaster ride of “vicious bloody vamp action” or are there more complex stories, character development and themes being explored?

Stefan, Elena, Damon

 More Human Than Human

Supernatural creatures in film, television and literature are often used to explore the human condition in conflict. In the campy horror movie Ginger Snaps, lycanthropy is an overt metaphor for a teenage girl’s transformation during puberty where the “curse” was not so much the full moon, but the 28 day cycle. When synthetic blood is created on HBO’s True Blood, vampires decide they no longer need to live in secret and “come out of the coffin”, living openly amongst humans and seeking equal rights. The myth of vampires can also be an allegory for the inevitability of isolation, power of seduction and fear of mortality.

On TVD, these issues are explored but the show’s real strength is in using the supernatural to showcase the importance of the struggle for existence through despair, suffering and loss. When a vampire is sired on TVD, their personal characteristics are greatly intensified, forcing them to either confront or give in to their deepest flaws and desires such as Stefan’s battle with his addiction to human blood. Further, vampires on TVD have the ability to turn on and off their humanity or moral conscience. On a show where a characters’s action and free will determine their development and meaning to exist, there is a deeply layered significance in Stefan’s choice to embrace humanity, life and love. However, in Season 3, episode 5’s “The Reckoning”, Stefan is forced by original vampire hybrid Klaus to turn off his humanity, resulting in his inability to feel remorse, empathy or guilt and thus removing any restraint to his dark impulsive nature. When Klaus allows Stefan to regain his free will in Season 3, episode 9’s Homecoming, there is not an immediate reversion to his former compassionate self, but rather the beginning to what will be a complicated journey of finding his purpose in life and on how to live it.

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Recap: Spartacus Vengeance: A Place In This World, Season 2 Episode 2

Lots of blood, death, foul language, and full frontal nudity – must be the latest episode of Spartacus Vengeance!

A New Purpose, A New Destiny

Dishonored and disgraced, Oenomaus seeks to be punished for what he has become in the savage fighting Pits; a place where “base animals” with no honor meet an ugly end. In a flashback, we see that young Oenomaus was fierce and wild like a “rabid dog” in the fighting Pits many years ago. Recognizing the ferocity and strong survival instincts of the fighter, Titus Batiatus barters for young Oenomaus, proclaiming that “All men can be tamed no matter how wild. One must only find an ember of purpose and give it breath”. At the ludus, Titus respectfully advises young Oenomaus that to be a champion fighter he must fight for something beyond survival and discover his own greater purpose which will lead him to his destiny. Later, young Oenomaus tells Titus, “Let’s not fight for the gods. I fight for you. That is my purpose, my life, to honor the House of Batiatus”. In present time, Oenomaus, fighting without purpose and feeling shamed for his role in the fall of House Batiatus, is badly beaten in the Pits, when a mysterious hooded person saves him from death at the last moment.

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