Michael Rooker

Michael Rooker

As we all know, Michael Rooker is fantastic. The man who got his filmic start as a murderer in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer has gone on to redefine intensity in a ton of roles and has most recently anchored The Walking Dead with a bizarre brand of lovable racism. According to Deadline, he’s now re-teaming with director James Gunn for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Slither reunion! Get excited. He’ll be playing the alien Yondu Udonta who rocks blue skin, a bitchin’ red mohawk and both of his original hands (until he, no kidding, gets his right one replaced by a device that converted into several different weapons). So this past season of The Walking Dead may have been one big audition tape. The character is also one with nature and kills with a bow that features arrows that can change direction at the archer’s command. Yet again, Marvel shows its superiority in casting.

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The Walking Dead Blog

Um… where to start? We got a double-crossing, a marriage proposal, a death of a main character and his subsequent zombification. A lot of stuff happened this week. But did any of it need to happen? Was there enough payoff?

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The Walking Dead Blog

Author’s Note: There were issues with my cable last night, hence why this is posting a bit late – I had to download the episode this morning. Barring further cable-related issues, future episode reviews will post Monday morning, per usual.  The Walking Dead returned last night after a midseason hiatus, and it came back with an above average episode, “The Suicide King,” directed by television director extraordinaire Leslie Linka Glatter, of Mad Men and Twin Peaks. This episode was important in the course of the show as some of the gang finally started to question the Ricktatorship and new leaders, other than Daryl, are beginning to emerge. There were some issues, but this return episode was successful on the whole as it planted seeds for many interesting happenings to come. Both Rick and the Governor lost their shit in front of their respective followers! The Dixon brothers are out on their own! Allen and Ben pose a threat to the group… kinda! And Beth is crushing hard on crazy Rick!

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The Walking Dead Blog

This week’s installment, “Made to Suffer,” is the last episode before the midseason break – new episodes don’t start up again until February — so are we made to care that we have such a long wait once this episode ends? Kinda. While this is a better episode than most of this season’s, it doesn’t quite measure up to the standards of past pre-break attempts. With a few exceptions, nothing overly exciting happens here, and the “cliffhanger” ending is hardly a cliffhanger at all. While the brotherly reconnection of Daryl and Merle is strongly encouraged, they were destined to cross paths all season. Yes, it’s a cool scene, and both Michael Rooker and Norman Reedus do an excellent job at emoting, but the scene does not come as a surprise and doesn’t create suspense. Plus, new characters from the comic were introduced – namely Tyreese – but it’s hazy whether or not his name was actually used and little to no character development from this new crew ever occurred, and that would have been a major plus. Also, why would Rick have a Shane mirage of Shane with a hairstyle/facial hair configuration that never appeared on the show? Was Shane-in-the-afterlife just celebrating Movember?  (Oh hey, Jon Bernthal.) Anyway… let’s get into the nitty gritty, shall we?

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The Walking Dead Blog

Comparatively to past weeks, the latest episode of The Walking Dead, “When the Dead Come Knocking,” succeeded in showing some great examples of that age-old George A. Romero zombie parable: that humans’ greatest enemies are each other. While we were treated to some great scenes of zombie violence, this episode was at its best when man fought man, even on a more psychological level. On the whole, this episode was fairly solid, except for that scene of Andrea and The Governor in their lovemaking afterglow. That probably did more to cause nightmares. Perhaps the most chilling scenes of the season so far were of Glenn and Maggie’s interrogations by Merle and The Governor. Now, Glenn was always a nice guy and it’s quite hard to watch him tied up at a chair while Merle threatens him with a knife. However, Merle, pressing a flattened knife on someone’s upper lip isn’t all that threatening… nevertheless, once the facial pummeling starts, you ache to save the wily little fellow. Michael Rooker as Merle (as usual) gets a great showcase in this episode with his ribald, white trash torture methods. He is able to convey the heightened sense of power that Merle feels over Glenn here, and soon afterward, the subservience to The Governor in a moment’s time. Backtracking, his performed control over Glenn perhaps makes up for his being The Governor’s underling in his own mind.

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The Walking Dead Blog

Editor’s Note: These blog entries are meant to be a discussion of the most current episode of The Walking Dead, so we recommend you watch said episode before reading to avoid spoilers. Keep your eyes peeled for them every Monday morning. On last week’s episode, The Governor was revealed to have a zombie daughter, Michonne left Andrea behind at Woodbury, Rick went into shock after Lori’s death, and Daryl and Maggie went on the search for baby formula. This week’s installment, “Hounded,” was another inconsistent one – somewhat of a mash-up between an existential one man show, a middle-aged romance film, and violent revenge flick. Revenge flick worked… the others didn’t… although this episode is important in setting up the eventual coming together of Rick and The Governor, finally marrying the prison and Woodbury. Fingers crossed the payoff will be worthwhile.

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Editor’s Note: These blog entries are meant to be a discussion of the most current episode of The Walking Dead, so we recommend you watch said episode before reading to avoid spoilers. Keep your eyes peeled for them every Monday morning. On last week’s episode, Rick wasted some prisoners, he and Lori pretty much got a verbal divorce, and that pesky Carl slipped away without anyone noticing to get medical supplies. Oh yeah – and Hershel is still kickin’. A recap of last week has little to do with this week’s installment, however, seeing as we are completely taken outside of the prison milieu as we follow the ongoing adventures of Andrea and Michonne and how they become entangled with The Governor (well-played by David Morrissey of Basic Instinct 2 fame). While Michonne and Andrea remain flawed, this week’s episode – “Walk With Me” – succeeded on many levels where last week’s did not. New and very interesting characters were introduced in The Governor and Dallas Robert’s Milton, Season One’s Merle came back to serve up some redneck badassness in his brother Daryl’s absence, and some of the principle characters actually came off as multilayered. This episode also does it darndest to deliver the desired gore factor. The Governor is also a more-than-formidable foe for Rick down the line – he also is aware that everyone is infected – and perhaps has the advantage of being somewhat of a sociopath.

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis: A small town becomes ground zero to an alien invasion, which reaches Earth in the form of alien slugs on a chunk of space rock. After the meteor lands in the woods, a local big shot Grant Grant (Michael Rooker) becomes infected with the alien parasite, which controls his body and memories. It’s a story we’ve seen many times before, and understandably so. Director James Gunn creates a loving homage to movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Blob and Night of the Creeps, in which the small-town sheriff Bill Pardy (Nathan Fillion) must battle an onslaught of infected, zombified humans while trying to stop the spread of the parasite to the rest of the world. Helping the sheriff is his long-time crush and girl next door Starla (Elizabeth Banks), who also happens to be married to patient zero.

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Super isn’t tied to the world of comics. Writer/director James Gunn didn’t make a satire or a spoof; instead Super is its own extremist beast. The Taxi Driver-inspired religious tale is a gritty, dirty, and dark comedy that just so happens to have the leads sporting superhero costumes. These aren’t your fluffy and perfect men-in-tights leads, but some seriously damaged individuals. There’s a jarring dichotomy to the film and its characters, which is something that split both critics and audiences back in April. Frank D’Arbo, a.k.a The Crimson Bolt, is a sympathetic and understandable protagonist, but you question his sanity. Libby, a.k.a. Boltie, gains great glee from slicing up goons in the bloodiest ways possible, and yet has an endearing charm to her psychopathic and wish-fulfillment ambitions. These are repellant characters on the outside, but understandably unstable in the inside. Here’s what James Gunn had to say about the fluctuating tone, writing a character driven film versus a set-piece driven film, and making possible psychotics sympathetic in Super:

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The real-life superhero movie is becoming a genre unto itself. With Special, Defendor, Kick-Ass and now James Gunn’s Super – the premise of regular men and women putting on costumes and fighting crime seems to be steadily growing. There hasn’t been a lot of information about the film, and without that information, it’s seemed a little generic. However, with the footage shown at Comic-Con this morning, James Gunn took a monkey wrench to that idea’s forehead and then shoved its grandmother out of her wheelchair. After all, if you’re going to make a film, why not make an “F’d up, low rent Watchmen“?

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Writer/Director James Gunn has done many things. Most recently, he’s become a beloved Twitter celebrity and delivered the uber-popular web series PG Porn. But beyond that, he makes movies.

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