All Eyes On the SMALL Screen: The Walking Dead, Ep. 1

With all the hype leading into The Walking Dead‘s season five premiere, I along with millions of other fans was anticipating this premiere, and for me, probably more than previous seasons. Having just come off a solid fourth series, The Walking Dead seems to be moving only up, having already been renewed for a sixth season before season five even opened.

To amp up the excitement more than where it already was, AMC decided to release the first four minutes of the first episode online the day of the release. If you haven’t already seen it but are interested, check it out below:


Plot Breakdown

As the first four minute preview, along with the next several minutes following proved, the premiere fulfilled its promise to be bloody and gruesome, providing the most horrific footage the show has ever released. Terminus, only a sanctuary in name, a place that offered the promise of relief and help, attracted most of the groups separated from the battle at the prison with the Governor (David Morrissey).

The end of season four left us with Rick’s group, which now included Carl (Chandler Riggs), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Daryl (Norman Reedus), arriving last. Their lack of trust in others was only confirmed when the folks at Terminus turned on them, forcing them into a train cart, where they were reunited with Glenn, Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and the rest of their new group.

We’re left on a very intense cliffhanger at the end of season four. We’re brought back into the train car as season five opens, but instead, it’s different characters talking, with the caption “THEN.” Gareth (Andrew J. West), recognizable as one of the Terminus prison guards, is in the car, terrified. The episode shifts to the present, and the train’s current occupants are Rick and the gang, gearing up with pieces of wood, belt buckles, anything that can aid their situation to fight back and regain their freedom.

Terminus’s guards decide to gas their victims in order to tie and gag them, leading them into a human butcher shop. It’s exactly what you’d imagine in a haunted house, except they’re butchering humans instead of animals, smashing their heads with baseball bats, slitting their throats with machetes, hanging body parts and limbs from the ceiling, and operating on bodies with chainsaws. There’s no other way to describe the scene other than inhumane. Gruesome. Bloody terrifying.

Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl, and Glenn (Steven Yeun) are in line to have their heads smashed in, when all of a sudden a bomb goes off. Who better to save the day than Carol (Melissa McBride), who earlier was banished from the group for killing humans at the prison who caught the flu and were spreading it to the others. The episode’s name is “No Sanctuary,” but it could be renamed “Carol Saves the Day,” because the show would not have gone on without her.

After the group successfully kills off most of Terminus, it experiences yet another reunion when Carol leads them to the hut with Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman) and Judith, where we see happy tears on the show for possibly the first time ever.


Discussion Questions/Thoughts for Episode 501

  • The Walking Dead has been revisiting characters that have died or disappeared since the beginning of its run. In season one, Merle (Michael Rooker) was left for dead, handcuffed on the roof of a building, yet he made it back into the show in season three as one of the Governor’s cronies. Even after Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) died at the beginning of season three, she still returned in future episodes as a ghost haunting Rick. When the Governor kills Hershel (Scott Wilson) in season four, Hershel shows up later in the season’s finale in flashbacks. Death or disappearance on The Walking Dead doesn’t mean we’re saying goodbye for the last time to a major character. At the very end of this episode, we get an unexpected return when we see Morgan (Lennie James) from both seasons one and three, following Rick. Check it out:
  • Rick is ready to kill after a season of wanting only to plow and garden. He’s recovered (mostly) from his wife’s death, and he’s taking action. But when he and the rest of the victims have fled Terminus and made it to safety, he wants to take anyone else at Terminus out. This leads to arguments between the survivors, but my thought is, isn’t he just trying to cover all the bases? Last time he killed a dude and then ran away, the guy returned with his friends to get his revenge. Is Rick going crazy again, or is he just playing it safe?
  • Where is Beth? We know she’s alive. The season five trailer told us that, but even if it hadn’t, we haven’t seen her death on screen, so we’re expecting her to be alive. Also, if I’m being analytical, Emily Kinney’s name finally made it onto the opening titles alongside Chad Coleman’s. So she’s alive, but the real questions is, where did she go?
  • The people at Terminus were (/are still?) out for blood. But why were they BUTCHERING humans? My personal guess? Cannibalism. Did anyone else wonder what “food” Mary (Denise Crosby) was offering the visitors to Terminus? I’m banking on some kind of human organ or body part. Like both mother and son quoted in the premiere, “You’re either the butcher or the cattle.” Kind of makes you think of this season’s tagline, “Hunt or be hunted.” Is that the new theme of the season? It sparks moral questions the characters have been openly discussing and dealing with last season, especially Carol and Tyreese. It seems that while the disease was the primary “villain” of the show in the beginning, the characters are starting to learn that it’s bad people might be more dangerous than walkers.

  • Are they going to find the cure? We just got introduced to new characters at the end of season four, and it looks like they’re here to stay for now. Eugene (Josh McDermitt), the genius who holds the classified secrets that could supposedly cure the illness, has no fighting skills or ability to defend himself. His bodyguard, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), protects him at all costs in hopes of leading him to Washington so he can help with the cure. But after the deceit and destruction of both Woodbury and Terminus, how can the characters really rely on the possibility that Washington hasn’t already been corrupted by villainous leaders?

 Favorite Moments from the Episode

  • Every scene Carol was in, especially when she goes all ninja on Mary and takes her out.
  • The reunion of Daryl and Carol. *cue the tears*
  • The reunion of Rick, Carl, and Judith. *cue some more tears*
  • The Morgan reveal at the end of the episode.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of The Walking Dead season 5 premiere? Where do you think Beth is? What do you think Mary was trying to feed the Terminus visitors? Please join the discussion below, because I would love to know your thoughts.

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AEOS Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

If you’re looking for a family-friendly, entertaining and fun movie, Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) is the movie to go see this summer.

I have to admit, when I first heard of it, I wasn’t super excited to see it. This isn’t because the trailer didn’t look intriguing, because it looked funny enough to me. I now love the song “Hooked on a Feeling” because of the trailers. But a movie with a tree and a talking raccoon and green, pink, and blue people . . . I wasn’t sure if there would be too big of a learning curve to understand the terminology, characters, and places within the Guardians of the Galaxy universe. I wasn’t sure if I were geeky enough to be a fan.

The movie opens with a young Peter Quill Star Lord, who awkwardly watches in terror as his mother dies. We don’t know anything about his father, other than that he will eventually arrive to take care of him. Then suddenly, little Peter runs outside, and a space ship sucks him up. And then we’re somewhere brand new.

Introduce a whole new space world where it’s normal to be blue or green or probably any other color for that matter. Twenty-six years have passed. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) has grown up, and he’s on a mission to retrieve an orb. After he duels it out with Korath (Djimon Hounsou) and escapes, Korath reports back to Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) that Peter has made off with orb. Ronan assigns Nebula (Karen Gillan) the task to reclaim the orb, but Gamora (Zoe Saldana) proposes she go instead.

Meanwhile, Peter’s partner, Yondu (Michael Rooker), wants the orb for himself, but Peter decides to sell it to another buyer. Everything seems to be fine until Peter mentions the name “Ronan,” and the buyer suddenly loses all interest in the orb.

Quill, however, doesn’t have much time to decide what he wants to do with the orb, because others are interested in it. Enter Gamora, who doesn’t bother flirting for more than thirty seconds before snatching the orb and making a run for it. Enter one crazy, gun-toting raccoon named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), followed by his tree partner, Groot (Vin Diesel), who handles the heavy-lifting end of their team. They’ve discovered the bounty for capturing Peter Quill, and they’re out to retrieve him, while Gamora and Quill are fighting over possession of the orb. Soon we have four characters in a tangled mess, while we still are not exactly sure why the orb is so important.

Unfortunately for the four thieves, they are captured and thrown into a space prison by Nova Headquarters, headed by Nova Prime (Glen Close). In prison, we meet Drax (Dave Bautista) who has a score to settle with Ronan, who murdered his wife and daughter. Drax has it out for Gamora, who he believes is in league with Ronan. Peter, Rocket, and Groot team together to break out of prison. Gamora strikes a deal with them, offering up money to let her join in on the prison break. We learn that Gamora has her own plans aside from Ronan’s, and seeks to get out from under his heavy grasp. Drax eases his way into the group, also wanting to be released and gain vengeance for his loved ones by killing Ronan. The five fight together to break out of prison, and we start to learn each of the character’s goals, their desires for what each would like to do with the orb, and the importance behind the orb.

While I feel like the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy is a little convoluted, involving a lot of strange new characters and places, I do feel like the film picks up speed, gets to the point, and has such a fun time doing it. I recently read a very helpful article over at EW that answered some questions and explained some of the terminology and overall storyline regarding the purple infinity stone and the infinity stone belt. I’d recommend it to anyone, like me, who isn’t very familiar with the universe.

During some of the space fights, I felt like Guardians was inspired a little by the original Star Wars films, and I couldn’t help but think of them as they were flying around. Bradley Cooper does great voice work as the snarky, sarcastic Rocket Raccoon. Plus, I think it’s the first and probably only time I thought a raccoon could be cute. Chris Pratt, instead of needing to rise to the challenge, seems to naturally fit the role to play a silly, meaningful leader in the film. It’s as if he’s discovered the role he was always meant to play. Both the villains and heroes were played by a strong cast proven to be fully devoted to the film’s script and tone. For me, the writing seemed to get sharper as the film continued, and the humor seems universally-appealing to a large scope of viewers. The line “finger to the throat means death” made me laugh, followed by Drax’s explanation that “nothing goes over my head!” The editor inside of me is glad he eventually learned what a metaphor is.

Aside from the humor of the film, I felt like it touched on some deeper ideas, balancing the film with action, emotion, and humor, with some intentional deep thought throughout. I was caught off-guard to hear Rocket bitingly respond that although everyone’s lost people, it’s not an excuse to give up. It’s true that everyone has lost someone. That fact doesn’t make a person exceptional, nor should it exclude one from moving on in life. I appreciated the emotional lesson of his line, although his lack of compassion seemed more balanced by Drax’s character, who admirably fought Ronan, quickly learning that although he couldn’t defeat him, he would die trying if necessary. Even Peter revealed his softer side, risking his life to rescue his walkman with the “Awesome Mix,” which is, by the way, awesome.

And speaking of the Awesome Mix, one of my favorite parts, and perhaps one of the best parts of Guardians of the Galaxy is its soundtrack. Some of the people who attended the movie with me mentioned they had never heard any of the music before. I guess that says something about my age, considering that I knew most of the music already. It’s a great soundtrack, and I’m sure it will boost sales for the oldies that haven’t been bought in a while.

The Marvel cinematic universe has launched another successful film. I give Guardians of the Galaxy

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Now it’s your turn. What did you think of Guardians of the Galaxy? Please join the discussion below, because I would love to know your thoughts!

AEOS Must-See Movies for the Rest of 2014

Over at Flixchatter, Ruth recently posted what films she was most interested in seeing for the remainder of the year, which got me thinking . . . what do I really want to see this year? So I had the difficult task of selecting two films (sometimes three!) for each month that I most definitely plan on seeing.

August

August is right around the corner, and there are two movies I’m really looking forward to. About a month and a half ago, I read The Giver series. Each book is a very thoughtful and easy read that I’m recommend to just about anyone. I’m looking forward to starting a new review section for book adaptations called “Pages to Screen.” But until then, enjoy the latest trailer of The Giver.

The Giver

 

Guardians of the Galaxy is the other movie I’m looking forward to in August. I don’t know much about the comics behind the characters and stories, but my husband has gotten me excited about this movie. I’m particularly looking forward to Brad Cooper voicing Rocket Raccoon, and seeing Chris Pratt as the lead character. I’m also looking forward to seeing The Walking Dead‘s Michael Rooker in full costume and blue paint.

Guardians of the Galaxy

 

September

The month of September also includes another book-to-film adaptation that I’m really looking forward to: The Maze Runner. While I didn’t find it to be the best written book, I thought the story was intriguing. And based off the trailer, I think it’s going to make a potentially great film. If you’re interested in seeing the latest trailer, go on over to Yahoo! Movies or click here.

The Maze Runner

 

I’m excited to see both Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy act against each other in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. Chastain seems to know how to pick her projects. It’s one of two mystery movies that are coming out near the end of 2014 that I’m looking forward to.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

 

This Is Where I Leave You could likely be one of those large cast movies that falls flat on its face. But the trailer interested me enough that I’m putting it on this list. Plus, I have a soft spot for Jason Bateman, and I felt like the beginning of it could be similar to Elizabethtown.

This Is Where I Leave You

 

October

Gone Girl is the other mystery movie I’ve been looking forward to ever since I first saw the poster several months ago. The book the movie is based off of, written by Gillian Flynn, was published only two years ago – so it’s definitely making the jump from book to film pretty quickly. I’m interested in reading the book before this movie comes out, because like the book’s chapters are named after journal entries by Amy Elliott Dune, the murder victim of the story, the trailer reveals how much those journal entries will be featured in the film, and how they might affect the outcome of her widowed husband Nick Dunne.

Gone Girl

 

We haven’t seen Robert Downy Jr. play a character aside from Iron Man for a while. Now The Judge is coming out, and I think it could be good. I’m not overly excited for this movie, but it looks like it has potential.

The Judge

 

The one and only reason I’m particularly interested in Horns is Daniel Radcliffe. He’s been in a string of films since his Harry Potter days, most of which have been well-received. Horns, while yet another mystery film, seems to remind me of Hellboy. I have no idea how this film will do, but I was really impressed with Radcliffe’s American accent.

Horns

 

November

Being the next Christopher Nolan offering alone makes Interstellar high on my list to see for 2014. Nolan has released information only in small increments since The Dark Knight Rises premiered in 2012. Now with Matthew McConaughey fresh off a Best Actor win at the Academy Awards, he, too, now might be entering into Nolan’s regulars that he features in his films. While Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine, two actors who have already joined the ranks (or been part of it for years) are in Interstellar, the film boasts a heavy cast including Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, Topher Grace, and Wes Bentley.

Interstellar

 

The Imitation Game stars one of my favorite actors right now, Benedict Cumberbatch. But it looks like he’ll be acting alongside many of Britain’s big actors, including Mark Strong, Matthew Goode, and Kiera Knightly. I think this movie could likely get nominated for several awards at the Oscars. IMDB’s summary of the film is “English mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, helps crack the Enigma code during World War II.”

The Imitation Game

 

The newest trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 1) was released only yesterday to a huge buzz. We’re finally getting to see a little more footage from the film. While I’m excited about this movie considering that I’m a fan of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire was one of my favorite movies of 2013, I’m a little wary since they divided the third book into two films, following the trend of both Harry Potter and Twilight. Part 1 usually leaves you wanting more, and having to wait another year just so the box office can make more money is disappointing. I hope this movie is better than previous Part 1’s in other movie series.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Part 1)

 

December

Surprisingly, the month of December includes movies I’m not overly excited to see. I was doubly disappointed by the previous Hobbit films because of their overly long running time, and the major inclusion of material from The Silmarillion, making the films far less about the actual book The Hobbit and far more about trying to recreate the incredible Lord of the Rings trilogy. Despite my complaints, I do still have a little excitement leftover for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. Each of the previous movies had good moments and scenes, and some great acting. I’m hoping this conclusion is worth the wait.

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

 

Into the Woods makes the list for lack of other better movies to add. The trailer is only a teaser for now, but I’m curious to see how the musical will unfold on screen. Meryl Streep is no stranger to musicals, although I probably wouldn’t say she’s the best singer. There is a huge cast involved, and I’m looking forward to seeing a more involved trailer in the next few months.

Into the Woods

 

In Summary

To summarize, here are all the movies with their U.S. release dates included, in order from the movies I’m looking most forward to seeing, to least:

1) Interstellar (November 7)

2) The Maze Runner (September 19)

3) The Imitation Game (November 21)

4) Gone Girl (October 3)

5) The Giver (August 15)

6) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (November 21)

7) The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (September 26)

8) Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)

9) The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (December 17)

10) The Judge (October 10)

11) This Is Where I Leave You (September 19)

12) Horns (October 31)

13) Into the Woods (December 25)

What movies are you most looking forward to for the remainder of 2014? Feel free to join the discussion below.