Monday, October 13, 2014

PCP on DVD - Planes

The other movie I watched while I was home sick with my child was nowhere near as fun as The Lego Movie. Instead it was thoroughly disappointing, and it is 90 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

Planes - 2013, rated PG.  My rating: 4 out of 10

Pixar's Cars is probably one of the weakest films from that studio, and I never saw its sequel but heard it was terrible. When Pixar refused to make a 3rd film in the series, Disney decided they were going to go and do so themselves. Set in the same world as the Cars movies, the film is nothing but a shoddy merchandising cash grab and nothing more. It is not surprising, considering how much money the Cars series made Pixar and Disney that they would want to cash in as much as possible, because there is nothing that Hollywood likes more than beating a dead horse for every last dollar.

The film is totally predictable and lame. This is what happens when Disney makes a movie without Pixar's magic, it just sucks. As soon as I learned that the film was about an around the world race, I already knew who was going to win it, and what plot "twists" would happen along the way. The film was ridiculously formulaic and completely unoriginal. Even my son got bored, checking out at about the half way point of the movie, unlike The Lego Movie which kept him enraptured.

Bottom line, stay away from this one. If you haven't exposed your kids to this one yet, don't, in case they do like it. It's not a movie you want to be stuck watching on repeat.

Monday, October 6, 2014

PCP on DVD - The Lego Movie

So, my son is getting old enough to watch movies now, as he's almost 3 years old. Recently, he was home sick for a few days because he had Hand, Foot, & Mouth disease, and had to be kept quarantined from his daycare so as not to infect everyone else. We spent the time watching a few movies and some of his favorite television shows, and surprisingly, one of the movies we watched for him turned out to actually be quite fun for me as well.

The Lego Movie - 2014, rated PG. My rating: 9 out of 10.

I had heard good things about this film from some friends who had seen it with their children, but I was skeptical when it first was announced. The movie seemed like it would be a 90 minute commercial for a children's toy (albeit, the best toy ever), and I didn't think that there was any way this film could be that good. Man, was I wrong.

The Lego Movie turned out to be very funny, both for kids and grown ups, and it was surprisingly way better than I expected. It turns out that it is from the same writer/director duo that helmed the also funnier than I expected 21 Jump Street, (and its sequel that I haven't seen yet), as well as the quirky yet funny animated series Clone High. Given that the things I've seen them do before had me in stitches, it should be no surprise that this film was also quite hilarious.

The film works on so many levels. It is a straight forward action film, your typical hero's journey, with a plot that is simple and easy for children to understand, obviously, because it is primarily a kid's flick. However, there's a lot going on at a deeper level for adults as well. There's a lot of jokes that primarily adults will get that will fly over the heads of some of the kids, and the film also serves as a deconstruction of many action film tropes, similar to how 21 Jump Street also made fun of many of the film tropes that it employed. One of the funniest jokes in this one, on a meta level, is the interactions between the characters of Superman and Green Lantern. Superman finds Green Lantern to be annoying and lame, and does what he can whenever possible to get away from him, which is funny for the kids, but for the adults it is even funnier, when you realize that Superman is voiced by Channing Tatum, and Green Lantern by Jonah Hill. There is something about that casting gag that just cracks me up, every time I've watched this movie (which is many times now as my son loves it). The rest of the voice cast is outstanding as well, including Morgan Freeman, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, Charlie Day, & Will Ferrell in major roles.

I don't want to give away any of the plot details, especially the third act plot twist, but I do recommend you go out and see this film yourself. Even if you don't have kids, there's a lot in this film for you to like as well. So, go out and pick this up on Blu-Ray if you haven't seen this yet, I promise you won't be disappointed!

Monday, September 29, 2014

PCP in Theaters - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I've been so swamped lately, as you've probably heard me lament a few times on the blog now, that I haven't been able to write a review of a movie I saw in theaters in July, until now. It might still be in theaters, at the cheap ones, by the time this goes up, but otherwise it'll probably be out on home video soon.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - 2014, rated PG-13. My rating: 9 out of 10.

The sequel to the prequel that doubled as a reboot of a classic franchise hit theaters earlier this summer, an event that would probably be considered unbelievable to the stars of the original Charlton Heston classic, but obviously Hollywood works way differently these days than it did 45 years ago. The reboot/prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes was actually a pretty good sleeper hit 3 years ago, but it was dwarfed at the box office by that summer's biggest hits, finishing in 11th that year in total box office behind Harry Potter 8, Transformers 3, Twilight 4, Hangover 2, Pirates 4, Fast & Furious 5, Mission Impossible 4, Cars 2, Sherlock Holmes 2, & Thor 1, and finishing a mere 100 grand ahead of Captain America 1.  <side note - wow, that was a lot of sequels that summer> So, if you missed Rise 3 years ago, you weren't alone, but it is still a good film that I encourage you to check out. (I gave it an 8/10).

Fortunately, even if you never saw Rise, you can still check out Dawn without being too lost. It's set a few years after a plague released at the end of the previous film has wiped out a majority of humanity, and the group of Apes living in the mountains outside of San Francisco has grown tremendously. Meanwhile, there is a small band of humans living in San Fran, and everything is quiet until the two groups encounter each other. Problems ensue, obviously.

I don't want to say too much more without spoiling the plot, but the film is quite fun and filled with some great action scenes. It also has some incredible motion-capture work and some of the best CGI I've seen in a film. The various primates are so well rendered, they come across as completely believable on the screen. No lame rubber masks like the prior films in the series, here the technology is seamless and gorgeous. The film is also pretty touching and has a lot of heart. Overall, the film is very enjoyable, and I am already looking forward to the next one in the series. Already, the reboot series has already surpassed the original series in terms of quality of storytelling. If they keep it up, they can keep making Apes films as long as they want.