A very short review of the premiere of “NOS4A2” (2019)

So I checked out the first episode of AMC’s “NOS4A2” last night, after the ubiquitous ads successfully piqued my interest.  (I frequently get turned off to shows or movies when they’re overexposed by a bombardment of marketing, and resolve not to watch them out of spite.  Seriously.  But “NOS4A2’s” creepy trappings and the promise of Zachary Quinto as a child-abducting vampire were enough to get me to sit down with the first episode.)

This was decent!  I’d rate it an 8 out of 10.  The writing, directing and acting were all quite good, the protagonist’s troubled family drama was a lot more compelling than I expected, and this looks like a horror-fantasy series with some creative stuff going on.  I had a little trouble buying the 26-year-old Ashleigh Cummings as a high school student, but she’s great in the role.  And Quinto chews the scenery just fine as the vampire who apparently feeds off of the life force of the kidnapped children while they sleep.  (The character becomes more interesting when he grows younger — and the talented Quinto then infuses his interpretation with a manic, evil energy.)

The jury is still out with me, however, on this show’s horror elements.  They’re creatively conceived, but they might be a bit too campy and stylized for me.  (You know what I mean if you’ve seen the ads.)  “NOS4A2” was adapted from an immensely successful 2013 young adult novel by Joe Hill, and I suspect that the fantasy-horror mashup here is exactly what made the book appeal to fans of the YA genre.  It remains to be seen whether it will be too corny for more mainstream horror fans.

 

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A short review of Season 1 of “Black Summer” (2019)

I don’t understand how “Black Summer” can be as good as it is.  It’s produced by The Asylum, the makers of low budget, direct-to-video ripoff films like “Atlantic Rim” (2013) and “Triassic World” (2018).  It’s a prequel to the horror-comedy “Z Nation” (2014-2018) — a show that was so bad I couldn’t make it through its first episode.  Yet “Black Summer” is inexplicably a great, albeit imperfect, TV show.  I’d rate it a 9 out 10.

I might be in the minority here; a lot of people are severely panning this show online.  And I do recognize its weaknesses — there is very little detail in its plot or character development … there is often even very little dialogue at all.  And even I recognized some plot holes.  (I’m typically a little slow on the uptake where these are concerned.)

But this bare-bones zombie story still manages to screen some likable characters, and then put them through a thrilling succession of hyper-kinetic chases and melees.  I was on the edge of my seat, and I consequently didn’t miss the methodical, detailed plotting of shows like “The Walking Dead.”  The season’s finale is crowned by an extended, eye-level, real-time action set-piece that ought to be considered a classic in the  zombie-horror subgenre.  It was mind-blowing. I just can’t dislike a horror property that genuinely scared me.

I could simply be out of step with everyone else; I often have different tastes in zombie fare.  I love Zack Snyder’s 2008 remake of “Dawn of the Dead,” which this series reminds me of.  And I also love similar overseas productions like Spain’s “[REC]” films (2007 – 2014) and Britain’s “Dead Set” miniseries (2008), while those amazing entries are hardly known among my friends.  I also cannot understand why many people who love George A. Romero’s and Robert Kirkman’s productions must always compare other films and TV shows unfavorably to them.  We can love both.  Why not?

Hey, if you don’t want to make my word for it, here is what Stephen King tweeted: “No long, fraught discussions. No endless flashbacks, because there’s no back story. No grouchy teens. Dialogue is spare. Much shot with a single handheld camera, very fluid.”

I obviously recommend this.

 

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Have a Happy New Year’s Eve!!!

Have fun!  Be safe!  Enjoy!

Make sure you have a designated driver!  Or, better yet … why not be the designated driver?  What better way to spend the first hours of 2019 than as a hero to the people around you (maybe not the hero that Gotham deserves, but the hero it needs right now)?

I’m not sure how I’ve gotten to become such a mother hen in my old age …  Maybe it’s because, in my younger days, I was the one who needed mother henning.

Whatever, just don’t wind up like Gatsby, floating face down in the pool at the end of the night.  (But go ahead and totally be him up until that point.)

Postscript — the quote below, which I rather like, doesn’t appear in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” or its 2013 film treatment with Leonardo DiCaprio.  I’m told that the line actually originates from “Sex and the City” (1998 – 2004).

 

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Publication notice: Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine features “The Writer”

I am honored to share here tonight that a poem of mine was published by Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine in India.  The poem selected was “The Writer,”  and it is featured in the October 2018 Issue, which was released today.  You can find it here at this link.

Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine publishes English-language poetry from throughout the world, and features a variety of voices and perspectives.  I am grateful to Editor Rajnish Mishra for allowing mine to be included.

“The Writer” was first featured in 2013 by Dagda Publishing in the United Kingdom, and was included that same year in its print anthology, “Threads.”

I hope you all are enjoying the start of a terrific weekend!

 

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