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Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “World War Z” (The Movie, Mostly)

Dear Frank,

World-War-Z-posterYou and I have been through this already, the whole thing where I don’t love zombie stories as a rule. BUT! That rule has plenty of exceptions, including the times when those zombie stories go post-modern.

Which is to say that yes, Frank, I am one of those people who has read Max “Son of Mel” Brooks’s (wonderful!) World War Z. It’s a really cool book! I mean, I read it years ago, but I have noble intentions of rereading it soon, and appreciating its intelligence in approaching the idea of a zombie outbreak post-facto.

I have also read a draft of J.M. Stracynski’s attempt to turn Brooks’s book into a screenplay that would then become a movie. And I have read so many of the articles about how making this movie was a major kerfuffle.

::SARCASM VOICE:: Oh, you mean attempting an intellectual approach to a classically low-brow genre wasn’t warmly embraced by a major motion picture studio? I AM SHOCKED. ::END OF SARCASM VOICE::

My point is: I saw World War Z with the lowest of expectations… Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank Why She Struggles With “Walking Dead” But Loves “Warm Bodies”

Dear Frank,

warm_bodies_ver7_xlgIt’s taken me more than a few years to understand why (despite being a total slut for any sort of fantasy or sci-fi narrative) I don’t really like zombie stories: They make for very hopeless storytelling. I can get on board with post-apocalypse narratives; I can get on board with horror. But zombie stories combine the two, often in a dark gruesome way, and goddamn if I’ve always failed to really engage with them. 

The exception, though, happens because of love.  Always because of love.  

Let’s start with The Walking Dead. If I had been single in the year 2010, I would never have finished watching the first season; I didn’t hate it, but I found it awfully bleak for regular viewing. 

However, I was not single in 2010, and the guy liked the show and didn’t have cable, so we watched it at my place — when Season 2 premiered a year later, after my relationship status had changed, I realized that on the bright side, I wouldn’t have to continue watching it. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Mass Effect 2″

Dear Frank,

You, like anyone else who checks in with the official Liz Tells Frank Twitter account, might have noticed that over the past few months, I’ve been spending some time playing a video game. This might not seem like a huge deal, except for the thing where I don’t really ever play video games — I mean, I enjoy the mind-fuck that is Portal, and I can still kick anyone’s ass at Street Fighter II (if you let me play Chung Li). But for the last fifteen or more years, video games have not been a part of my life — which is why it is SO WEIRD, how Mass Effect 2 COMPLETELY ATE MY BRAIN.

When I told you about the first Mass Effect last year, Frank, I did so with help from my friend Kate, because I hadn’t played it myself. I mean, the franchise sounded relevant to my interests, in a sexy Star Trek kind of way, but have I mentioned how I don’t really play video games? It wasn’t something I really considered an option for me.

Then my brother bought me ME2 as a Christmas present, and on a whim a few months ago I decided to crack it open and see how badly I’d do at it… Basically, your classic “meet-cute” love story. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “The Cabin in the Woods”

Dear Frank,

I feel kind of guilty about writing this, so let me just be upfront: You should see Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods. You should read this post only after seeing The Cabin in the Woods, because it’s a smart inventive film with some great twists and surprises. You and everyone else should go to a movie theater and vote with their ticket dollars for smart, original films that play with genre. I’ll see you in two hours plus however long it takes you to walk/drive/bike/bus to your local movie theater. Have fun!

Two hours plus however long it takes Frank to walk/drive/bike/bus to his local movie theater later…

Great! I hope you liked the movie, Frank! Let me tell you about what you saw:

Five young college students load into an RV and drive out to a creepy cabin in the woods. Once there, they party hard, but just as things are getting sexual they are each brutally killed by a variety of horrible creatures and accidents. THE END.

All right, some other stuff happens too… Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In the “Game of Thrones” Pilot

Dear Frank,

So because you and I are both literate adults, students and appreciators of fine pop culture, we are both very in tune with HBO’s tradition of quality television. What does a series stamped with the HBO brand promise? Extreme violence, plenty of boobies and power struggles (the power struggles are what make it classy). Does the first episode of Game of Thrones deliver? Hell yes it does.

The Game of Thrones pilot, based on the books by George R.R. Martin, is, like many pilots, a bit of a shakedown cruise — there’s a roughness to the characterization and the performances that will likely no longer be there in a few more episodes (not to mention a crap-ton of exposition), but is worth forgiving in advance because oh man already so many power struggles! There are pretty much three storylines, which I’ll attempt to summarize quickly and succinctly: Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Night of the Living Dead” (1968)

Dear Frank,

Happy almost-Halloween! The perfect time for a foray into that most classic of horror films, the 1968 “Night of the Living Dead.” I am usually a giant fraidycat during horror movies, but, fingers crossed, George A. Romero’s first foray into the zombie genre won’t have the truly scary stuff figured out yet.

Down to business. Serious scary black and white business. We start off with two young people who look like Brad and Janet from Rocky Horror. (Okay, they’re brother and sister, but that doesn’t matter much when it comes to “Rocky Horror” comparisons.)

Anyhoo, because they are young people and it’s the 60s, they’re whining a lot about parental obligations — specifically, having to come out and put a wreath on their dead father’s grave. When Janet admits to being a little creeped out by the cemetery Brad’s a dick and totally taunts Janet– okay, her name is Barbara. I know this now, because Brad has THE CREEPIEST LINE EVER. Read the rest of this entry

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