On MamaPop, I weighed in on the back-and-forth rumours that Frank Darabont may have sacked the writing staff on The Walking Dead, and what this might mean for the series as it moves into a second season:
Darabont’s strengths and weaknesses are easy to see in the first two episodes. He’s excellent at horror and general spookiness, and he’s particularly adept at portraying men pushed to their breaking point. If you want to see grown men break down in tears, Darabont is your man. He also has a knack for powerful and simple images. The shot of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) riding a horse along the empty interstate with the skyline of a dead Atlanta in the background is likely to become a classic post-apocalyptic image.
On the other hand, Darabont is such a big fan of “delivering the moment” that he oversells his premise to the point of insult. At one point in the second episode, [main character] Grimes says something like “I’m not a cop anymore, I’m just a man looking for his wife and family,” which is so on-the-nose that I kept flashing back to Thomas Jane’s role on Arrested Development and his repeated mantra of “I just want my family back”. Not surprisingly, Jane plays one of Darabont’s tortured square-jaws as the lead in The Mist.
"The Walking Dead Has Let Go Of Its Writers"
I also looked at movies set in a single location, and performed the usual ludicrous task of ranking the top five contenders. As always, these sorts of lists are completely arbitrary and mostly an excuse to arrange the stuff I like around an easy-to-follow organizing principle.
The most famous of Hitchcock’s one-room films is Rear Window, in which a wheelchair-bound Jimmy Stewart begins to spy on the building across the street to pass the time. When he witnesses a murder plot unfolding, things get dicey. The genius of Rear Window lies in the way that Hitchcock transforms the set into a kind of viewing room, with all the action happening on a “screen” that happens to be a window. The real drama, Hitchcock implies, occurs in the viewer’s mind.
"Top Five Movies Set In A Single Location "
For Prairie Dog Magazine, I interviewed Judd Palmer of The Old Trouts Puppet Workshop on his costume designs for the Regina Globe Theatre's production of HONK!
HONK! is a musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Ugly Duckling. For those of you who never had the pleasure of reading the original, The Ugly Duckling tells the story of an ungainly young duck, shunned and mocked by his duck-family, who grows up and discovers that he’s a handsome swan. When playwrights Anthony Drewe and George Stiles encountered the story in the early ’90s, they found that the themes of understanding, acceptance and maturity (not to mention lording it over the twerps who picked on you before you became awesome) still resonated powerfully in today’s world.
(It’s also possible to read The Ugly Duckling as an allegory for the genetic superiority of the aristocratic swan over the wretched bourgeois duck society, but this is not a popular interpretation.)
Not content with just the cover story, Palinode's Unstoppable Content Machine ground on with a review of Tomoya, the latest Japanese restaurant in the city:
But there’s only one way to eat udon soup, and it is not pretty. You lean as far as possible over the bowl and hoover the noodles into your mouth. Horrible slurping noises ensue — udon broth flies everywhere, little bits of noodle are left over and the end result should look like you’ve won a bare-knuckle fight death-match with Cthulhu.
Eat it alone, or with someone who loves you unconditionally. After your friends have seen you go at a bowl of udon they will never visit a restaurant with you ever again.
But whatever you do, don’t eat those little compressed pink pieces of fish that always come with udon. Apparently that’s gauche.
Enjoy your surplus of Palinode.