Sunday, August 24, 2014

TV Review - The Strain on FX

Okay, so we all know about.. (stage whispers) Vampires. Some burst into flames in the sun. Some sparkle in the sun, some are only irritated by the sun but it does not harm them and some are just like humans walking among the masses. We have the human drinkers, the ones that only drink from the opposite sex, then the ones that only drink from vampires no matter the sex. So many versions. Some good, some bad and some are just... sad. But one thing they all have in common is that they can infect others.

Well today we take a new look at the "Vampire" thanks to the new show on FX. The Strain, based off the book series (of the same name) written by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. It's a new sick twist to the legend of the vampire. The dark forces that feed off the living. The blood that sustains them. Can you say human blood bags?

The shows starts off with a bang! Or really with a creepy noise, a scream and then... A plane lands at JFK International airport in NYC with the lights off, doors sealed. Epidemiologist Dr. Ephraim Goodweather of the CDC (Head of the Center's for Disease Control's Canary Team) alongside his team; Dr. Nora Martinez a biochemist and Jim Kent a CDC Administrator who works with Goodweather and Martinez. On board they find 206 corpses and four survivors.

thestrainplane.pngWhile at the airport they meet a strange old man, Professor Abraham Setrakian (Holocaust survivor and pawn shop owner). When he tells them they need to decapitate the bodies and burn them... well they have him arrested for trespassing. (laughs) Also, he say’s “If you have the coffin you have him.” No one pays him any attention as he is hauled off. While the doctors deal with the four survivors the CDC's head man has reservations when Dr. Goodweather wants to quarantine them all. 
(It's a political move to not do it. They may lose revenue. Big deal dude, you're talking 206 dead people here.. but I digress.)
The-Strain-TV-2.jpgAs the story unfolds the CDC tries to get to the bottom of what is going on something bad happens. All of the bodies... disappear. Just vanished. All that is left is the body bags they were transported to the Morgue in. The doctor’s suit up and again search the plane, following the trail of ammonia and fluids left everywhere but... something. They find worms, yes I said worm in the planes cargo hold and come up to find out what was in that plane. Goodweather and Martinez have a mystery on their hands. The four survivors bust out of quarantine when Dr. Goodweather's boss, Dr. Everett Barnes decides (along with the higher ups) that this is not a case for the CDC. The piece of nonsense the old man (Abraham) was spouting at the airport start to make sense. The episodes show the four survivors starting to change.  

The-Strain-62-06.gifIn the Morgue where the bodies of the plane’s victims were taken to be autopsied. (Talk about a long night.) Things go from gross to crazy and back to what the eff in no time. While the investigations are still under go on the plane the coroner starts the autopsy on one of the bodies. He removes the heart. He thinks nothing of it only moments later when he hears something does he see the heart is full of the burrowing worms used to spread the “disease”. Then the bodies suddenly come to life and kill the coroner. (Like we didn't see that one coming.)

Dr. Goodweather and Dr. Martinez have a patient disappear before surgery and set out across the hospital to find him. Conspiracy at the time was that the Military or someone had taken him. But what they don’t know is the airplane pilot changes, morphs, is born again.. whatever you want to call it, into a blood sucker. When they locate him in the basement kitchen of the hospital he attacks. They have no choice but to kill him. Fight or flight, I’d say.

Dr. Goodweather and Dr. Martinez then do an autopsy of the dead body. thy discover the changes in his body. The way his organs and his body have changed. The penis is gone, his heart is larger and the lungs are all dried up. (Talk about a O.O moment.)  It’s bad enough he lost his junk but now the rest of him is in disarray too. They dispose of the body and Dr. Martinez goes off to find Abraham. She is looking for answers only he maybe able to give. When they find out the bodies are going ‘home’ they decide they need to up their game.

The_Strain_SagaSell_1280x720_302484547647.jpgAbraham, Dr. Goodweather and Dr. Martinez all want the same thing. I’m just not sure if they are all on the same page to start. The vampires must be killed. There is no way to restore or fix them. They are just monsters now. Abraham gets a list of the passengers, illegally of course, and sets off to visit each home. Taking down the infected and any family members that may have been infected by them. Dr. Martinez, after seeing both Abraham and Dr. Goodweather decapitate a child and her father, decides she can’t handle this and walks away from them.

It’s up to Abraham and Goodweather now to go on the offensive and kill them all. I have to say the first episodes have been so good. I want more. (And I am very picky about my Vampires.. well sorta.)

Within the next few episodes I am hoping will unravel the mysteries of the master and the other vampires who have come from the old country. (Yes, I left a few things out, description wise, but you have to have a few surprises waiting for you!) Why they tolerate Abraham and just to see some badassness hit the TV screen. Something has to come together and make sense, right? I am truly intrigued with this show. Not only is it a new, twisted and slightly sadistic show it brings new life to the whole “vampires are real” spectrum. I mean if it’s going to be made it might as well be good. Make believe doesn’t have to be boring. Not at all.

corey-stoll-to-headline-fx-drama-the-strain1.jpgWith this show came a new set of books to read as well. You guessed it. I am odd I guess.. I like to watch movies, tv shows and such then read the books. Sometimes I do it book then show or movie but that seems to give me too much expectations. The book is always better. I have found that to be true with everything I have seen thats based off of a book. Del Toro and Hogan’s Trilogy I am sure will knock my socks off. And then I will review it and hopefully get more people reading.

Until the next time.. Happy Viewing. Sundays on FX!!

Epi #
Directed by
Teleplay by
Air date
U.S. viewers
"Night Zero"
Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
2.99 Million
"The Box"
David Semel
David Weddle & Bradley Thompson
2.12 Million
"Gone Smooth"
David Semel
Chuck Hogan
2.3 Million
"It's Not for Everyone"
Keith Gordon
Regina Corrado
2.27 Million
Peter Weller
Gennifer Hutchison
2.03 Million
Peter Weller
Justin Britt-Gibson
2.28 Million
"For Services Rendered"
Charlotte Sieling
David Weddle & Bradley Thompson
"Creatures of the Night"
Guy Ferland
Chuck Hogan
"The Disappeared"
Charlotte Sieling
Regina Corrado
"Loved Ones"
John Dahl
Gennifer Hutchison
"The Third Rail"
"Last Rites"
"The Master"

Friday, August 22, 2014

Music Reviews - What's New In Country

So... the world of country has hit a new level of yummy... in my opinion at least. Let's take a look and see what we have…

Jason Aldean - Burnin' It Down
What a song!! I mean it's a new twist to the "baby making" music. Hot, Sexy and gives you a deeper look into what Jason can do. He has a voice any girl could just fall in love with. Great to see him in a new light.

Florida Georgia Line - Dirt
Now, this song is a change from the guys normal sound and I love it! The video made me cry, not even gonna lie. The song has a heart and soul. I love that they both lend their voices equally in this song. they are so good together. This song is just great!

Brad Paisley
Going to the Riverbank anyone? I love this song. It's a fast but cool song. And it's Brad so that makes it all the better. And we all know that is so what we "rednecks" do. (laughs) Plus the video has a water skiing squirrel..

Not that I am partial to the boys but these are a few of my new favorites. Gotta love some sexy fellas making you swoon, melt and laugh your ass off. Remember the good times and all! Enjoy!!

Emmy's Book Review... 11/22/63

**Warning!  Possible Spoilers Ahead! **

What would you do if you could turn back time?

Could you kill one man, if you thought that his death could prevent the death of thousands?

It has long been debated that had JFK not been assassinated, the Vietnam war would have never occurred; or would not have occurred on the level that it did.

I am too young to remember the Kennedy assassination.  My mom, however, remembers it vividly—exactly where she was and what she was doing.  She tells me the whole nation just stopped—and nothing was ever the same again.
The only thing I can think to compare it to would be 9/11.  Anyone of my generation would have no trouble remembering their exact location on that day either.  I was at a post office, ironically.  The whole thing happened while I was in my car.  When I got back everyone in the office was huddled around a computer screen watching the news.  I remember standing there in the lobby with two of those white USPS totes in my arms.  One of my coworkers said “A plane hit the World Trade Center.”  I remember saying, “What, like a Cessna?”  Nope.  Not a Cessna.  And the nation stopped again.  And nothing has been the same since.
60,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam—it is estimated at least 1,600 went missing and 150,000 were injured. All of America was affected in one way or another by what I have heard termed a “police action.”
Vietnam polarized the American public, coming right on the heels of the Kennedy assassination to a country that was already at odds with itself.
But what if you could change all that, simply by being in the right place, in the right time?
This is the dilemma faced by Jake Epping in SK’s novel 11/22/63.
Jake is a recently divorced high school English teacher.  He is portrayed as an everyday average guy—no historian, no superhero—just an all-around “good” guy.  He doesn’t have a lot holding him to his life.
Jake is pressed into service by his dying friend Al Templeton.  Al has discovered what he calls a “rabbit hole” –a portal— into 1958, conveniently located in the storeroom of his diner.  Al uses it as a novelty at first—hey, wow, 1958—then as a cheap way to get supplies for his business.  He determines not only does every trip through the portal bring you back to the same exact moment in time, but also that every trip is a complete and total reset, a clean slate, while only the space of two minutes has passed in the “real” world.  The only person in 1958 that seems to have any knowledge that something is strange is a mysterious bum that Al calls the Yellow-Card Man, who is always sitting near the entrance to the portal.  Even his suspicion is just that, suspicion, a vague sense that he has seen you before.  Al figures that he is catching the frequency of the time portal due to his proximity to it and thinks no more of it.
After a while he gets to thinking about changing things.  He conducts an experiment, which is successful.  That gets him thinking of bigger and better things.  If you can change one thing in the past that affects a small amount of people, what would be the outcome if you changed something big?  Something like….stopping the Kennedy assassination?
Jake, of course, is leery of the whole thing at first, and spends his first trip in wide eyed wonder.  He returns with questions, and the desire to conduct an experiment of his own.   He wants to prevent a murder of the family of one of his favorite GED students.  The family in question had been murdered horribly on a Halloween night by their estranged father and husband.  This would mean spending upwards of a month in the time portal, waiting for Halloween.  Al encourages the experiment; after all, he did the same thing just to see if it could be done.  However, Al warns Jake, the past doesn’t WANT to be changed.  It will fight you tooth and nail to keep things flowing in the way that they are “meant” to be.
Jake enters the “rabbit hole”, armed with 1958 era money and a cover story from Al, along with plenty of advice.  The family he is trying to save lives in Derry—a familiar place to anyone who knows Stephen King’s work.  Jake actually comes to Derry just as the events of (the novel) It are winding down—he has a conversation in the park with both Richie Tozier and Beverly Marsh, two characters from It.  He senses that something in Derry is just “not right,” and spends the time he has to wait there gathering information about the situation he is trying to correct.  When the time comes, he finds out exactly what Al meant by the past fighting back.  It fought him harder than it fought Al, because he’s not just trying to save one person, he’s trying to prevent the death of an entire family.  Despite everything the past threw at him, he completes his mission and returns to the present day.  He is astounded to find that things did change, but is still leery of taking on a challenge as big as the one Al proposes.  It would mean spending years in the past—and if you were not successful, it would be years before you could try again.    
Al, as I mentioned, is dying.  He developed lung cancer while making his attempt to save JFK.  He came back in the hope that he could convince Jake to take up his mission.  He has compiled vast amounts of detailed notes on the movements and whereabouts of Lee Harvey Oswald to this end.  Also, sports results for the entire space of time, as a means of income.  He arms Jake as best he can, and leaves him to make the decision, because Al’s time has run out.  Jake obviously takes the mission on after Al’s death, collecting the notebooks and preparing to spend the next 5 or so years in the past.
All of these events are just set up for the main portion of the book, the years leading up to 1963.  Upon re-entering 1958, Jake has to once again, save the person Al experimented with, then go up to Derry to prevent that murder, because if you remember, every trip in is a complete reset.  Only where he returned to the present day before, now he continues on in 1958, biding his time until Lee Harvey Oswald returns to the United States.
Jake makes it to Texas after a length of time and scouts out the place that he knows the Oswalds will be living.  Jake has the same reaction to Dallas that he did to Derry--that something was just not right there. The people he comes across there are as a whole, suspicious, or rude, or downright dangerous.  I wondered, after finishing the book, if the reason he had such a hard time in Dallas was another layer of the past trying to “force him out”, or frustrate him on his mission.  I understood the action in Derry, everyone knows Derry has more demons in it than your average hellmouth.   Although he had originally planned to stay in Dallas, he winds up spending the intervening years before the Oswald’s arrival in a small town outside of Dallas called Jodie.  
While in Jodie, he takes on substitute work at the local high school, which eventually turns into full-time.  He makes himself a home there, although it is up to the reader to determine if this is a wise idea.  Although, when stuck in the past, you can’t blame the man for getting comfortable.  He eventually takes up with the school librarian, Sadie. He does good work in Jodie, helping many of his students develop into more fulfilled adults.  He cannot let himself forget what he came for, however, and he knows that when the Oswalds return to the US that he has to be in place to do his job.  Eventually this happens, and he has to leave Sadie behind in Jodie and move on to Dallas.  He makes it his business to secure an apartment near them—across the street, or in the same building—keeping an eye on their comings and goings.  Al never did determine in Oswald was acting alone or not that day, so Jake seeks to find out the truth of it.   
I learned more about Lee Harvey Oswald in this novel than I ever did in school.  It is meticulously researched and brought to life in such a way that you can almost hear the characters reciting the lines as you read.  I actually googled pictures of Lee’s wife Marina, and his daughter, June, in order to “see” them better in my head.  Lee Oswald was heavily involved in Marxism and created a pro-Cuba organization.  Through his wife, who spoke very little English, he was involved with several Russian movers and shakers in town as well.  I knew that he was and extremist, politically, but as I mentioned, I learned a lot more about his leaning in this novel than I ever knew before.  I went back and looked at pictures of him and thought to myself, “How did this little twerp ever get everything to line up just right?”  I didn’t see how he could have possibly done it all alone either.  Was it really just a lucky collision of circumstances that lead to the assassination of the president?  All this has been debated to death by people much smarter than me, so I’m not even going to attempt to offer an answer.  
Events move forward; there is drama with Sadie and her psychotic ex-husband.  He was granted what to me was probably has the most infuriating line in the book: “You can’t hit me, I’ve got mental problems, I’ve got a paper in the glove box of my car that says so.”  UGH!! That one line made me want to reach through the book and throttle that little shit.  If you’ve got enough brains to know you’ve got “mental problems” then you’ve got enough brains to know you shouldn’t have been doing whatever you were doing!  Sorry, people who use things like that as an excuse to do wrong makes me blow my top.  Onward, Jake becomes satisfied that Oswald was acting alone on the 22nd.  He tweaks a thing or two to ensure this and time rolls on.  Eventually the time arrives.  If he thought the past tried to block him up in Derry…, he just didn’t know.  The past throws absolutely everything it can at him, including the kitchen sink and the contents of the cabinets.  It made for a hell of a ride to the conclusion.  
I have tried not to give away too much in this review, but I have to say there was a twist--which I am not going to give away.  All I’m gonna say about that is there is a correlation with the Dark Tower, as any King fan will be familiar with.  And also I’ll say this--Ka is a wheel.  And that wheel will always come back around again, usually to bite you in the ass. I don’t think any other ending than the one he gave it would have been right.  I’m a fan, so I’ll admit I’m biased, but I thought this was an excellent novel from the Master of the Trade.


Coming soon…..Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn--I thought I was twisted….


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Music Review - Edge of a Revolution - Nickelback

OMG!!! Finally something new from Nickelback and I LOVE it!!

Available now on iTunes as well. And yes I downloaded as soon as the band tweeted
out yesterday that it was available! (laughs) It's a great song. If you listen to the words it's almost empowering you to stand up and make a change!!

"What  do we want? We want change
How we gonna get that? revolution
What do we want? We want change
Standing on the edge of a revolution"

I love Nickelback. They were one of my first bands that I was introduced to.. outside
of Country. It's been a long time coming but that shell is breaking open more
and more. I can thank Emmy for that. Usually if she say's "You'll like
this" she is right. So check out "Edge of a Revelation"

Barb's Book Reviews... Reborn

While out on mission to get to the city and get rid of it and Michael Emma, Will, Star and Jake are ambushed. Taken by men with guns on horseback to a small village. Star and Emma are roughed up and the prospects of being man handled are looking good. Thankfully when they get there Jack, the old man that wonders camps is there. He seems to be their leader. Of course the group is pissed and Emma is ready to kill them all. Things go from bad to worse and in the heat of escape things get bad. Will is shot saving Emma. He is going to die without a doctor's help. Star rides off (on horseback) to get Bernie. He can get them into the city.
Once in the city Anna and Emma wait for word from Bernie on how Will is. When Bernie does make it back to his place he has good and bad news. Will survived, they saved him but they are now holding his hostage as a way to get Emma (who they don't know is already in the city) to the city. Michael want's her and wants her bad. Emma questions Bernie about his being in the city. Why he is so trusted. Bernie tells her and Anna all about how he played a vital role n the creations of all of this. But they know there was a plan.. Marshall had a plan t stop it all from the inside. With a little luck on their side they find a hiding spot in Marshall's apartment n the city. It’s a coded message. But what does it mean? They can blow the place to bits. There was always a backup plan!
While setting the backup plan into motion Emma and Bernie stop by to see Will. He was being kept in a Coma by Michael. When Bernie lets Emma say goodbye to hit she knows it’s the last time she'll see him. They make it to the basement and just like the farms there is a panel box. As Bernie works on breaking the codes and setting off the EMP Michael shows up. Bernie is shot in the back but manages to launch the EMP. Emma escapes and gets the hell out of town with Anna. They both believe they lost Will and Bernie in the city. They are broken and need their family.
Lots of things happen in life and as they do you have to put the pieces back together and make a life for you to live. A few months after leaving the city in ruins Emma, Jack, Anna, Sarah, and Leo move to the old farm house. It’s enough room for them. And with Anna being pregnant she wants to feel safe. She doesn't feel safe at Star's new compound. Too many people. After they get to the farm house they discover it is occupied. Not wanting to kill people because they go their first they decide to camp in the woods and head back to stars. While getting fire wood Emma and Jake hear screaming and run back to the house.
When Emma sees Will, alive and in front of her she hits the ground. He wasn't dead when she left the city. He had been moved and managed to escape. He is weak and sick from being shot in the lung. He isn't himself but he is alive. Time passes and the old ladies from the old camp join them their. They bring seeds to plant and they all decide to make this farm a working farm again. When trouble arrives in the form of Nick, Emma and Star's half-brother thing change quickly. Nick turns out to be a good guy. He wants to be with his sister and away from Michael. Stars compound is ambushed and taken over by Michael. She manages to escape and get to Emma.
Emma and Star go back to the compound with Jake and Mitch. They kill their father and make it back to the farm house. When they get back they find out Anna has lost the baby, her body just couldn't handle it. And Will is getting sicker, his lungs are infected and he is going to die without antibiotics. Emma, Star, Mitch and Jake ride to the trading post to see if they can get supplies. While there Emma finds the old lady that sold her to the military but she has no antibiotics. She does have needles though. Jake kills the old woman protecting Emma and they run. The innkeeper helps them escape through the hidden tunnel and escapes with them.
By the time they get back to the farm Will is on his death bed. Both Nick and Emma inject their blood into him. See if they can actually heal him... sadly it doesn't work. Will is laid to rest and they all try to heal from the loss they have endured. Time heals all wounds. Family helps you as well. Love then finds you in many forms.
Years later Emma finds her love, the right kind of love in Jake and they move on to live happily together surrounded by friends and family.

So.. this Trilogy has an alternate ending. It starts with chapter 16 of the third book... the one where everything went to hell in a hand-basket. I almost didn't read this one because I liked the way the trilogy ended. Yes it was sad but for me Emma got the right one in the end. With that being said I do love how the love of the few over power the bad of the many.

Will is saved thanks to Stella. She has a miracle in her pocket so to speak and thanks to the small vials of pink liquid (a substance that makes the Gen-Babies) he is saved. He heels. Their lives, their love it all magnifies and they marry.