Resin Heroes

Direct Beam Comms #78



Movies

The Girl with all the Gifts

The Girl with all the Gifts is probably the closest film adaptation to the story I Am Legend I’ve ever seen and the character Glenn Close plays of Dr Caroline Caldwell is probably the closest we’ll ever get to the novel version of Robert Neville even though the story of I Am Legend has been the basis of three films since it was written by Richard Matheson in 1954.

And I mean “closest” in a great way.

In The Girl with all the Gifts, it’s an unspecified time after a virulent fungal plague has swept the planet and turned those affected by it into green, flesh-hungry zombies. The UK military has abandoned the cities and has retreated to bases in the country in order to study the outbreak and come up with a vaccine lead by Caldwell. Enter a group of kids born after the plague including Melanie (Sennia Nanua) who have the infection but haven’t turned into blood-crazed ghouls and seem to be the key to finding a way to end the apocalypse.

But when the base is overrun and the survivors, including Caldwell, Melanie and a few soldiers lead by Sgt Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine) go on the run across a ruined landscape, the question is will they find the vaccine in time or is it already too late?

In many ways The Girl with all the Gifts reminded me of the movie 28 Days Later as well. I’m sure some of that comes from the fact that both movies take place in the UK and a lot of the action around London. But there’s also the idea of a few soldiers being left behind after things fell who are still working and fighting the hungries as well as a group of survivors having to trek across a apocalyptic country dodging the flesh-eaters to try and find a safe refuge. It seems as if most US based zombie stories are about groups holding up in some refuge which is something that happens a lot in the genera creator George Romero zombie films. In Night of the Living Dead it’s a farmhouse, in Dawn of the Dead a mall, in Day of the Dead a military complex and Land of the Dead a walled-off city. But in the UK zombie stories from 28 Days Later to 28 Weeks Later and even in Shaun of the Dead much of the action takes place with character on the run out in the open and very exposed

And this Caldwell/Neville character connection –– not to ruin things too much, but much like with Neville, Caldwell is so focused on coming up with a solution to reversing the apocalypse that she can’t see that a new order has started to emerge which is changing the balance of power on the planet.

Unfortunately, The Girl with all the Gifts comes at a time when we seem to have reached “peak zombie” with there being zombie movies like World War Z and TV series like The Walking Dead to name a few. So any new zombie movie like The Girl with all the Gifts has to somehow stand out from what’s come before to get noticed. Which I don’t think the movie did very well. How can it when it’s competing with nearly 50 years of zombie history with most of that created in the last 15 years? Unfortunately, The Girl with all the Gifts only made a reported $2.6 million at the box office, meaning good movie or not I don’t think we’ll ever see a sequel to The Girl with all the Gifts.

While I thought that The Girl with all the Gifts did a good job of changing enough things with the well-worn zombie genera to make that movie different to the stories that have come before, there was one part of it that made me laugh. At one point one of the soldiers is off scrounging for food when he comes across a rack of nudie magazines which he begins pursuing. “Oh no,” I thought, “this guy’s dead for sure.” Since in horror movies the quickest way for a character to get killed is by having sex I figured that by this soldier reading a nudie mag that was probably the closest thing to sex this movie was going to get so I put two and two together and… Well, you know the rest.

Lucky Logan trailer

TV

The Carmichael Show

The third season of The Carmichael Show premiered on NBC last week. It’s a show very much like a Community or Arrested Development that gets a lot of critics talking about it and a lot of praise but is a series the network doesn’t know what to do with since that praise doesn’t equal viewers. With The Carmichael Show we get a series that had a first season premiere at the end of August 2015 for six episodes then a second seven months later in March and now a third more than a year after the end of the second at the end of May and has constantly changed nights and times along the way.

The Carmichael Show is very interest, and good, in that it’s a sitcom that’s actually about something. It seems like most sitcoms these days are about nothing whatsoever and after a viewing they’re quickly forgotten. But not The Carmichal Show that started this season with an episode about rape and then one about whether or not soldiers are great simply because they’re soldiers, or if they can be just as bad as regular people too.

I think because The Carmichael Show focuses on some serious subject matter that harkens more back to the sitcoms of the 1970s than the 21st century and doesn’t end each episode on an “awww, isn’t family great?” moment that seems to be a prerequisite for each and every modern sitcom is why The Carmichael Show is such an overlooked show. Maybe in a world where where our day to day reality can be somewhat bleak at times, to have a show like the The Carmichael Show say, “yeah, the world might be bleak but that doesn’t mean we can’t make fun of it,” turns some people off who’d rather be watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory on TBS while wearing their “Bazinga” t-shirt.

The Deuce TV spot

The Gifted TV spot

Books

Planet of the Apes: The Original Topps Trading Card Series

I had no idea there was ever a card series based on the Planet of the Apes movie series, but apparently there were at least three sets released over the years. One for the original Planet of the Apes movie, one for the live-action TV series and one for the Tim Burton movie. All of which are being collected in this new Planet of the Apes: The Original Topps Trading Card Series book due out this week.

From Amazon:

This deluxe collection includes the fronts and backs of all 44 cards from the original 1969 Topps set based on the original film; all 66 cards based on the 1975 television series; and all 90 base cards, 10 sticker cards, and 44 chase cards from the 2001 film. Also included are four exclusive bonus trading cards, rare promotional images, and an introduction and commentary by Gary Gerani, editor of hundreds of trading card series for Topps…

The Reading List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1982: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan opens in theaters
  • 1984: Gremlins opens in theaters
  • 1984: Ghostbusters opens
  • 1986: Invaders from Mars debuts
  • 1989: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier opens in theaters
  • 2014: Edge of Tomorrow is released.



Direct Beam Comms #29



TV

The Tunnel

TheTunnel-1

Clémence Poésy and Stephen Dillane

Grade: B+: The new drama series The Tunnel debuted on PBS last Sunday night having originally aired in the UK back in 2013. Based on the Danish/Swedish series The Bridge which was also turned into a series that aired here in the US on FX also back in 2013, The Tunnel moves the action to a deep and quite dark tunnel.

Here, a body is found in a service tunnel of the Channel Tunnel that connects the UK to France. Half of the body is lying on the British side and the other half on the French which means that Elise Wassermann (Clémence Poésy) a French detective and Karl Roebuck (Stephen Dillane) a British one are both assigned the case. And when it turns out in a rather ghoulish way that there isn’t just one body, there’s actually two, and a bomb is placed in the car of a popular English writer things might be more complex than their case might have first seemed to be.

I watched the FX series The Bridge when it first debuted also in 2013 and thought it was all right. That series took place on the border between the US and Mexico and since it was also based on the Danish/Swedish series had most of the same plot-points as The Tunnel. The US series had interesting moments, but what lost me was the idea that the murderer had this almost supernatural way of doing things and the character of Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger) who had absolutely no social skills whatsoever which meant that I watched about half the first season and gave up on it.

While the British series is also based on the Danish/Swedish The Tunnel is like a distant echo of the US series and after one episode seems much more watchable.

The Elise character in The Tunnel still has her quirks but she’s no where near as anti-social or distant as the Sonya one was in the US show. I remember it being mentioned several times in marketing materials for The Bridge that Sonya was supposed to be slightly autistic which Kruger played up well in the show. Except I could never imagine that her character would ever have been able to relax enough or make enough friends on the police force to advance in the ranks to be a detective — or even a street cop for that matter. There’s a lot more that goes into getting a job like that than being great at it, and all Sonya had was that she was the perfect detective but no one could stand being around her.

In The Tunnel, while the Elise character still has some of those same quirks — she’s almost robotic in the way that she talks to people and doesn’t understand visual cues on how to act — her character still feels that she might have some social skills and could maybe have realistically made her way up the ranks to be a detective. Or at least this would have been possible in the universe of the show.

The one part where The Tunnel and The Bridge do seem to share some story is the idea that the killer is this high-tech super-ninja able to do just about anything with computers. To the point where in the first episode of The Tunnel he takes over someone’s car to the point that the police can’t get him out.

This part stretched the story a bit, but since this was the only beat that seemed off I was able to overlook it. Plus Dillane, whom up until this point I was only really familiar with in his role of gruff, dangerous Stannis Baratheon in Game of Thrones is really good in The Tunnel. Here, he plays a seasoned detective who’s lighthearted, the opposite of Elise, works on instinct more than the “book” but is just as good at his job as she is hers.

I can’t tell you how weird it is to know that the US The Bridge and the UK The Tunnel came out the same year. It means that in all likelihood neither would have been able to “steal” anything from the other show. So it’s interesting to see how both shows handled the material.

Roadies

The cast of Roadies

The cast of Roadies

Grade: B: The Showtime series Roadies debuts tonight (6/26) but the pilot episode’s been available via YouTube for some time now. This series, created by Cameron Crowe, feels very much like an extension of his movie Almost Famous (2000), and I mean that in a mostly good way.

Roadies focuses on the backstage hands who travel city to city building and tearing down the stage for an arena rock band. An ensemble cast is lead by Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino as Bill and Shelli respectively, the two responsible adults trying to keep their group of quirky younger technicians working together under tight deadlines. One of these techs Kelly Ann (Imogen Poots) has decided to leave the tour and go to film school since she’s lost her passion for the music while Bill is starting to question his role in the tour too. The question is will Bill or Kelly Ann leave or will they stay with the group of “lost boys” who never have to grow up and are always having fun at the show?

Since you probably recognize the names of Luke Wilson and Imogen Poots, I’ll let you guess if they stay or not. (Hint — they stay.) And I think that’s part of the problem I had with Roadies, or at least a problem I see having with Roadies; I’m not quite sure where the series is headed from here?

Like I said I enjoyed this first episode. It feels a lot like the backstage goings on in Almost Famous but shifted from the early 1970s and updated for 2016. And since I loved Almost Famous I suppose I was destined to like Roadies too. But I’m not sure where the series goes now? The story of the first episode seemed to have a beginning middle and an end. And the introduction of a corporate “suit” Reg (Raf Spall) who’s there to stress the “branding” of the band the roadies are supporting and cut costs seems a bit cliched and toothless. Of course Reg doesn’t know anything about music and of course Kelly Ann’s able to give him a tongue lashing like no other. He’s the bad guy in a suit and she’s the girl with spunk.

What would’ve been interesting is if Reg were a music fan, knew more about music than the roadies and had still been the way he was. But I digress.

But other than the threat of Kelly Ann and Bill leaving, which is resolved by the end of the episode, and Reg there’s not much else going on in the first episode. So, will future episodes of Roadies focus on different venues then, and different goings-on behind the scenes? Or will the story be about Reg trying to control the roadies? I wasn’t sure which is a red flag for me.

One thing I did like was the episode starts when everyone waking up the morning of the show and reveals what a day of a roadie looks like from start to finish heavy lifting and all. Which was interesting. I kind’a wonder if future episodes will also employ this format?

Movies

The Girl with all the Gifts movie trailer

28 Months Later?

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back movie trailer

“Two things are going to happen in the next 90 seconds…”

The Reading List

Russia Actually Lights Rockets With an Oversized Wooden Match

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1972: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes opens in theaters
  • 1987: Innerspace opens in theaters
  • 1999: The last episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine airs