Zeke’s 2013 Year in Review – Movies and Television

Zeke’s 2013 Year in Review – Movies and Television

Last year I did a year in review, and this year I almost forgot to do it! It’s a few weeks late, but I’ve found myself with a bit of time on my hands, so it’s once again time to look back fondly on the year 2013, and examine the best that it had to offer! Today we shall be looking at Movies and Television!

2013 Movie of the Year – Frozen

If last year you told me that my favorite movie from 2013 was a Disney movie, I probably would have laughed. And if you told me that said movie would cause me to get countless songs stuck in my head, causea princess to potential uproot Ariel as my favorite, and be seen in theaters multiple times, I would have called you crazy. But no doubt, Frozen was my absolute favorite movie this past year. It had everything you would want in a movie: great character development, characters you cared about and cheered for, compelling story, shocking twists, an amazing soundtrack…it had it all. If you haven’t seen this movie you really need to step it up and make it out to see it. Frozen broke a lot of age-old Disney molds, and the fact that it has become my favorite Disney movie by-far is a testament to it’s success.

2013 TV Series of the Year – Game of Thrones

I have a sad confession. I did not watch the first two seaons of Game of Thrones. One of the biggest reasons was because I’m lazy and didn’t pirate it, since I didn’t have HBO. But when Kerby got a job at Comcast, thus gaining us access to HBO, I was able to marathon it the weekend of the premier, just it time to catch Season 3 and be up to speed. And I was completely blown away. It was an insanely mind blowing experience. I was ashamed that I hadn’t watched it up until now. Season 3 had a ton of twists and turns in a series that already was well known for coming out of left field (for those who haven’t read the books, of course). The mere fact that two of my most hated characters made me like them, mostly out of pity, and don’t even get me started on the Red Wedding. Wow. I can’t wait until Season 4, and I hope everyone out that has had a chance to watch this amazing piece of television history.

2013 Episode of the Year – Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor

Is it any surprise? The 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who was simply spectacular. I’ve watched it at least 5 times since it aired, including twice the day it came out (so that Kerby and his girl could see it). It had just about everything you could ask for (outside of Eccelston coming back). 10 and 11 worked amazingly together, and John Hurt was commanding in his role as The War Doctor. To top it all off, The Night of the Doctor, a short prequel webisode, brought back Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor, and it was so great to see him once again take over the screen. The story was twisty and turny (or would that be Wibbly Wobbly?) as one might expect from a Moffat written Doctor Who episode, but the added time it was given made it all flow out so well. From start to finish I was grinning from cheek to cheek. This was the Doctor Who I had been demanding for months, and it was very satisfying.
Well, that’s all for today. Tune in tomorrow when I’ll be discussing Music, and reveal my Song and Album of the year!

Zeke’s Year in Review – Movies and Television

Zeke’s Year in Review – Movies and Television

In 2010, I did what I hoped would become an annual event of the year in review, where I went over some of my favorite movie, music, and gaming best-ofs. Unfortunately, 2011 became rather hectic towards the end of the year, but I’m proud to announce that Zeke’s Year In Review is back! Today I’d like to discuss some of my best-ofs in Movies & TV. Remember, these are merely one man’s opinions, if you have a different one, post it in the comments!

2012 Movie of the Year – The Avengers

It’s hard to name any other movie than this spectacular blockbuster as my 2012 Movie of the Year. A lot of really good flicks came out this year, but only one made me want to see it several times. The Avengers took all your favorite Marvel Movie characters and jammed them together in this epic story. Joss Whedon, known for his brilliance in ensemble casts, managed to weave a tale that gave everyone ample screen time, and showed off each member of the super-team’s highs and lows. From Hawkeye’s surprise villain twist, to Black Widow’s acrobatic combat style, to Iron Man’s witty smarm, each character was able to shine and show of their personality. Well, maybe not Hawkeye…but there’s always Avengers 2! The dialog was witty and refreshing, and the humor was subtle but full of impact. As with most things Joss Whedon, there was no feed-line/punchline setup to the jokes, it was all well written in the dialog to make it seem natural, and it all came out of left-field. There were things I heard in my second, third, and beyond viewings of the movie that I had missed in prior showings because of all the laughter in the theater. The whole crowd got behind the film and you really felt like you were experiencing magic. So there’s no other movie that I could give this two. If you haven’t seen it, shame on you.

2012 TV Series of the Year – Sherlock

I’ll be the first to admit that, outside of Wrestling and Doctor Who, I don’t watch a whole lot of TV. So when a series comes out that I go out of my way to make sure I catch, you know it’s gotta be good. While I would have loved to pick something like Game of Thrones or even Breaking Bad, the fact of the matter is, I haven’t taken the time to properly experience those shows to the fullest. But one show that I definitely have is the BBC’s Sherlock. With Steven Moffat of Doctor Who fame at the helm, this show is more like a series of made for TV movies, and the added length compared to a standard television program definitely goes to it’s advantage. These shows are witty, clever, and have enough twists and turns to always keep you guessing. Many shows have tried to do a “modern day take” on Sherlock Holmes, from House to CBS’s Elementary. Even shows like Monk and Psyche have taken the Sherlock formula and done their own twist to it. But when it comes to Sherlock Holmes, it’s hard to beat the series helmed by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. If you haven’t had a chance, definitely give this series a watch.

2012 Episode of the Year – Doctor Who: The Snowmen

Despite being a giant Doctor Who fan, I spent a good portion of 2012 dreading the show. Whether it was Steven Moffat’s show-running, or Matt Smith’s portrayal of The Doctor, Amy Pond’s continued mary-sueing, to the gradual grinding down of the mystique of River Song, the 6th and beginning of the 7th season of the premier time-traveling show from the BBC left a sour taste in my mouth. So when the announcement came of Amy and Rory’s departure, as well as the premier of a new companion for the 2012 Christmas Special was announced, I didn’t hold my breath. I was excited, but anxious. I didn’t want to be let down again, as I had felt so often in the past few years. Let me take this opportunity to wash away your fears: The Snowmen is one of the best episodes of the Matt Smith / Steven Moffat years. It ranks right up there with The Eleventh Hour and even the amazing episode The Doctor’s Wife (written by Neil Gaiman, who is set to return in the second half of Season 7). This episode refreshed the entire series for me, and seemed to breath new life into not only the series, but Matt Smith’s The Doctor as well. Before this episode, I would approach 2013 for Doctor Who hesitantly, with much reserve. But after this episode, I’m rejuvenated once again. I’m happy to be a Doctor Who fan, and if you haven’t been able to catch this episode, find some way to do it. You won’t be disappointed!
Well, that’s all for today. Tune in tomorrow when I’ll be discussing Music, and reveal my Song and Album of the year!

The Walking Dead – Season 1: Walkers Gonna Walk

This weekend I had the pleasure of watching the first season of The Walking Dead. Based upon Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel series of the same name, this AMC series is an excellent addition to any zombie lovers library. While I do plan on picking up the title in print, this is about the TV series, which will start it’s second season in October of this year. This review does contain some spoilers, so be careful

The series centers around Rick Grimes, a sheriff’s deputy in King County, Georgia. He is your typical everyman, who wants to help everyone, but is helpful to a fault. People flock to him because of his confidence, and he takes that responsibility hard. He always wants to do the right thing for everyone, which sometimes leads to dangerous situations. But people respect him and look to him for leadership. While Rick spent most of the start of the zombie panic in a hospital, trapped in a coma-like state due to a very damaging gunshot wound, he manages to bring himself together in time to make it to his house, and meet a man and his son. While they are initial scared of his wounds (assuming it was zombie-inflicted), he gains their trust and takes them to the sheriff’s department station for hot showers, guns, and ammunition. Despite splitting ways so that the father could teach his son how to use a gun, he gives them a walkie-talkie so that he can keep them posted on if he finds survivors, and safety. There are several scenes of him at dawn, trying to reach out to them.

There are many characters that are introduced throughout the season. Some are there for the long haul, like Rick’s wife and son, as well as his former partner from the police force, Shane. Shane is an interesting character, a conflicted hero. He lied to Rick’s wife that Rick had died, in order to get her and Rick’s son to safety. However, the two bonded over their grief and grew closer, which only hurt him more when Rick arrives at the refugee camp, and the wife basically shuns Shane from that point on. You can tell that he is happy to have his old partner and friend back, but he sees the way that the wife and everyone else flocks to him, and his jealousy quickly grows.

The rest of the refugee camp is full of colorful characters, from a racist hick whose crossbow skills end up making him an invaluable addition, to a hispanic family just trying to survive, to a mechanic whose family died, and it takes a severe toll on his mentality. There is a pair of sisters who have more survival skills than you might assume at first, a kind old man who seems very comfortable with a gun and has an RV. There’s also a family whose father is quite abusive to his wife, and potentially child…but karma has a way of giving him some hard times.

The story really is about the humanity, or lack thereof, of the refugees, and the other people you meet along the way. During an outing into Atlanta, Rick and his group runs into a group of thugs, who act tough and savage, but in reality are the only thing keeping a group of old folks alive, after they had been abandoned and left to die. The redneck who seemed to just hate everyone actually becomes an invaluable member of the group, often being one of the best in the fights against the undead, despite his personal feelings towards others. The story really draws you in to each character, and while the zombies play a big role in the story, it’s more about the people. It makes you really care about them, suffer with their loses, and cheer on their successes.

The first season was over before I knew it, and I was desperate for more. I plan on marathoning the graphic novel soon, and I look forward to the second seasons this fall. If you love zombies, you definitely need to watch this. I’m not sure what took me so long, but it’s definitely worth the watch!