Monday, November 23, 2015

PCP in Theaters - Sicario

Sicario - 2015, rated R.  My rating: 10 out of 10. 

It has been awhile since I've walked out of a movie just in awe of the film overall. Sure, there have been action movies this summer that I enjoyed (but never got around to reviewing) and I'm sure that I'm going to love the upcoming Star Wars flick, but walking out of Sicario I felt something I hadn't felt in awhile: the feeling of just being blown away by a powerful film.

Sicario is a story set in the ongoing pointless War on Drugs being waged by the U.S. Government. It focuses on badass FBI agent Emily Blunt, who is brought on to a task force led by the charismatic Josh Brolin that features the mysterious Benicio Del Toro, the titular sicario (hitman) that is waging a very dark war on the cartels in Mexico. I do not want to get too much into the plot so as not to give things away, but it is an incredible journey filled with tension that kept me on the edge of my seat.

The film features great acting performances from the core trio, and also some pretty beautiful filmmaking. There's extensive long aerial shots of the desert along the border between Juarez in Mexico and El Paso in Texas, shots that are haunting in their beauty. There's also a lot of gruesome scenes in Juarez, driving home to American audiences the cost of the war on drugs of the people in Mexico, costs that most of us either ignore or are ignorant of, such as the massive spike in the murder rate within Juarez as the cartels vie for control of the drug trade. Overall, the film is bleak, nihilistic, and unsettling to the extreme, but that is why it is so highly effective. It really gets under your skin and makes you think, and the incredible performances by all of the actors involve really make the film work in profound ways.

Bottom line, I cannot recommend this film enough. If it is still in theaters by you, make sure you go see it. If not, see it when it comes to DVD or Netflix, because it is easily the best film I've seen in a long while.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

PCP on TV - 2015-2016 TV preview - What's on my DVR?

So, I know I've been on an extended hiatus for the majority of 2015, and for that I apologize. My work and home lives have been insanely busy. I have been writing this post piecemeal all summer long though so I could get it up onto the blog for you and return in a big way. So, for the fifth straight year now (wow, I can't believe I've been writing this blog for that long!), here is my extended TV preview. I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think and what shows you're excited for down in the comments!

Making their debut this year: (11)

There's a bunch of new shows coming this year that I'm excited for, and fortunately for my time schedule, the majority of them are shortened season shows. Rather than airing a full 22 episodes like most network shows, some of these shows have shorter seasons. I still watch a lot (probably too much) of television, but thankfully as more and more shows are moving towards the limited season format, it allows me to keep caught up with all the awesome that is airing on so many different networks.

The Bastard Executioner - Kurt Sutter and F/X network have had a great relationship. He was involved in the show The Shield as a writer and producer, then created Sons of Anarchy for the network. Now his 3rd outing is set in 14th century England in the reign of King Edward I (aka Longshanks, the same villain king from Braveheart). Starring True Blood's Stephen Moyer, The Americans' Matthew Rhys, and SOA's Katey Sagal, the show features a great cast and it looks to be a good bloody show, kind of like a more historical and less fantastical Game of Thrones. The first season will be 10 episodes and begins on September 15th on F/X.

Blood & Oil - Apparently even though Dallas was recently cancelled by the folks over at TNT (see the cancellations section below), it looks like the Hollywood folks think that Americans like to watch shows about greedy oil tycoons and their dysfunctional families and their competitors. It's got a pretty solid cast though, including Don Johnson, Delroy Lindo, Chace Crawford, and Scott Michael Foster who I loved on Greek as the slacker Cappie. We'll be giving this one a shot, and it begins on ABC on September 27th.

DC's Legends of Tomorrow - This one isn't coming to TV until some time in 2016, but it will be now the 3rd series set in the same shared universe of Arrow and The Flash over on the CW. Since both Arrow & The Flash are a part of my DVR rotation already, I'll be adding this one too as well since it ties in and brings characters from both shows onto the new one. Look for both of those shows to build up this one periodically throughout their seasons, and you should watch all 3 shows if you want to get the most out of this shared universe. No word on the exact premiere date or how many episodes the first season will have, but it is unlikely to have more than 13 in its first year, I'd imagine.

The Expanse - I am really really really hoping and praying that SyFy doesn't screw this one up. The Expanse is based on one of my favorite series of novels in any genre by author James S.A. Corey (which is really a pen name for 2 guys writing together). The network wants this to be their new flagship prestige sci-fi show, like Battlestar Galactica once was. They definitely have some great source material to work with, as the novels are up to 5 books now and counting (with one a year slated through 2019). SyFy is going to run this show like Game of Thrones, with each season being one book. If you like science fiction at all, watch this show, and you also need to be reading the books because they are some of the best books I've read in a long time. The fact that they got some pretty good actors including Thomas Jane and Oscar Nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand & Fog) in the cast, as well as having the show written for TV by the same guys who wrote the awesome dystopian film Children of Men gives me a lot of hope that they are going to get this right. It debuts on SyFy on December 14th for a 10 episode season.

Fear the Walking Dead - The prequel/spinoff of The Walking Dead began in August on AMC and is nearly done with its 6 episode first season. It's already been renewed for a 2nd season too. I'm always down for more zombie mayhem, and it's cool to watch the world fall apart as this show brings us back to the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. It airs on Sunday Nights through October 4th, and will be back for a 15 episode second season some time in 2016.

Heroes Reborn - Heroes was a fun show, until it completely jumped the shark and never lived up to its potential. Now NBC is bringing it back for a 13 episode run. Lets hope they learned from their mistakes the first time around, and bring us a show that is exciting and worth watching again. I'm glad that many of the better characters from the original, like Hiro and HRG are back too. The heroes return on September 24th on NBC.

My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - Well, with all the superhero and sci-fi shows I'm adding to our DVR, I have to let my wife pick some new shows too. This one on the CW looks pretty funny, especially if they stick with the crazy internal monologues and musical numbers. The fact that this show was originally planned for Showtime also increases my interest in checking this one out, as maybe it will be a little bit more edgy than your standard network show. Also, the creater and star, Rebecca Bloom, used to write for the hilarious Robot Chicken, so that gives me hope as well. It debuts on the CW on October 12th.

Quantico - This thriller on ABC looks kind of like a cross between The Americans and Homeland, with a dash of Shondaland thrown in (one review called this show Grey's Academy) featuring a group of recruits at the FBI academy at Quantico, but one of them is apparently a terrorist mole. It should be interesting to see if they can keep up the suspense, or perhaps the show will go the way of Katherine Heigl's short lived spy thriller State of Affairs. We'll be tuning in as long as it's good though. It debuts on September 27th on ABC.

Scream Queens - I figure this first season of the show will be its best, as that is Ryan Murphy's track record (Glee, Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story). His shows always start out great and then eventually go off the rails into awfulness. It's got a great cast though, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin, and Oliver Hudson, so hopefully the show will be a lot of fun to watch. It begins on Fox on September 22nd and is slated to run for 15 episodes.

Supergirl - Although this new DC comics show is from the same people that created Arrow & The Flash (and Legends of Tomorrow), there is no word yet on if it is set in the same universe. Since it airs on CBS, not the CW, I'm not holding my breath for cross-network tie ins, but who knows? The show looks light and fun, more like The Flash than Arrow, so this should be a fun little superhero show. Kara Zor-El flies onto our TV screens on CBS beginning on October 26th.

Wicked City - This 80s era true crime thriller is based loosely on the story of the Sunset Strip Killers in Los Angeles. Airing on ABC, it has a limited run of 10 episodes and stars Ed Westwick and Erika Christensen as the killers, and I can definitely see both of those actors in that role so that is some good casting there. We have to wait until October 27th to see if the show is any good, but hopefully it will be enjoyable. Westwick was the best part of Gossip Girl, and Christensen was very creepy in the flick Swimfan.

After the jump: what is returning to the DVR, what got cancelled, and what almost made the cut but not quite. Click on "read more" for the rest! -->

Saturday, May 23, 2015

I'm back! But still so busy...

In years past I have done a summer movie preview and it has been one of my more favorite posts to write. Unfortunately, it is a very time consuming post to write, and I just did not have the time to do it justice this year. So, it isn't happening this year, sorry. I can tell you that I did love Avengers: Age of Ultron, and I also really can't wait to see Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World, and Ant-Man this summer. Beyond that, I don't know what else I'll be seeing in theaters this year, or waiting until it comes out on blu-ray to watch at home. So, apologies for the lack of a summer movie preview this year, but that's what happens when life gets super busy and gets in the way. I have already started on my fall TV preview though, and have written about a third of it, and it will be done in time for the fall TV shows kick off.

For the record, I did complete grad school, getting an A in my final class and graduating with my MBA. So, I should be able to start writing more, hopefully, but I am still insanely busy with work these days so who knows. But thanks for your patience, if you're still even coming by here to check out what I'm up to on my blog these days. If I'm just writing for my own entertainment, then so be it :-D  I have quite the backlog of movies to review, so expect to see a lot of short quick-hit reviews like I have in the past. I also have in-theater reviews to write for Avengers 2, Furious 7, 50 Shades of Grey, and Hunger Games 3, the last two of which are already out on DVD now. Wow, I'm really backlogged. Hopefully I'll find the time to get caught up soon!  Thanks again for your patience!