Thursday, April 28, 2011

PCP in Theaters - The Town

NOTE - this was originally posted by me on my friend's blog on 10/7/10 when this was actually still in theaters.
Review:  The Town.  Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars.

In the interest of full disclosure, I had this movie circled on my calendar for months.  I read the book this was based on,Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan, over a year ago and loved the book.  As soon as I heard it was being made into a movie, I was very excited.  Then they announced that the film would be directed by the same director as Gone Baby Gone, another phenomenal film set in Boston.  So, I was very psyched for this film.  The Town is the 2nd directoral effort from the director of Gone Baby Gone, so the director had set a high bar for himself.  It turns out, he actually can direct.  If you weren’t aware, the director of those two films was the star of this one, Ben Affleck.  He may not be the world’s best actor, but he actually can direct very well.  He’s a big fan of doing close-ups on his actors and then letting them do the work and it actually works very well.  It helps that The Town has such a talented cast, including Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) as Affleck’s extremely unstable partner in crime, Blake Lively (Gossip Girl) slumming it as Renner’s white trash sister who has a past with Affleck, Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) as a traumatized bank manager that starts a relationship with Affleck, and Jon Hamm (Mad Men) as the FBI agent trying to bring them down.  It also has small roles that pack a punch from Oscar winner Chris Cooper (Adaptation) and Oscar nominee Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father).  Despite Affleck being the main character, Renner really steals the show, proving that he is definitely a talented actor with his psychotic performance here.
Read the rest of my review after the jump.

PCP in Theaters - Easy A

NOTE - this was originally posted by me on my friend's blog 9/23/10 when this was actually in theaters.
Review: Easy A. Rating:  4 out of 5 stars.
Easy A caught me off guard.  I was expecting it to have a couple entertaining moments but to not actually be that good.  It turns out it was great.  I was laughing out loud at a number of moments in the film.  Emma Stone was awesome as the lead Olive, and she had a ton of great lines in this film, the writers really helped her out a lot with some awesome dialogue.  I think I laughed the most though at her parents, Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada) and Patricia Clarkson (The Green Mile), who were two of the coolest movie parents I’ve seen in awhile, very hilarious.  Amanda Bynes (She’s the Man) was also good though as the over the top caricature Marianne, the resident crusader on campus, and great small roles are also given to Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl), Thomas Haden Church (Spider-Man 3), Lisa Kudrow (Friends), and Malcolm McDowell (Halloween), especially the latter 3 steal the scenes they are in.  Easy A catches you off guard because it makes you think it is going to be yet another lame teen comedy, but it actually has a lot of depth and some good satire of other popular teen films, with some nice 80s references thrown in also.  Rare these days for a teen comedy, you actually start to care about the characters by the time the film is over, and you want to visit their world again.  With its very witty dialogue and memorable characters, Easy A has also joined my holiday wishlist for movies I want this year.

PCP on DVD - Boondock Saints II

NOTE - this was originally published by me on my friend's blog on 9/24/10.

Review: Boondock Saints II.  Rating:  3 out of 5 stars.
I really really wanted to like this film.  The first Boondock Saints is one of my favorite flicks.  It clocks in at # 4 on my favorite  guy movies list and it was a cult classic.  The sequel, a decade in the making, tries really hard to live up to its predecessor.  In fact, it tries way too hard.  And that is my chief problem with this film.  In an attempt to top the magic of the first film, everything in this film is trying as hard as possible to top the first film.  The whole time I’m watching this, I have a sensation that the actors and director are just forcing everything, and it pays off negatively.  Julie Benz costars as an FBI agent involved in the case, and her horrendously over the top awful southern drawl just sounds like nails on a chalkboard every time she opens her mouth.  She fills in for Willem Dafoe as the intelligent law officer involved in the case, and he was way better in the first film than she is in this one.  The action scenes are bigger, and the film has a higher body count, almost double of the first film, but they aren’t as good as they could be.  Director Troy Duffy is trying too hard to be John Woo, but he just can’t compare to the action legend.  The plot is largely strung together with baling wire, there’s not a lot of meat here to this story.  The acting is nothing to write home about either.  The only performance I liked was of Billy Connolly, aka Il Duce, who has some great moments in this film.  I do like how they explained how Il Duce came to become such a feared hitman, but that was the only highlight of the movie for me.  All in all, I was thoroughly disappointed in this movie, especially when compared to the original.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

PCP - Top 10 Guy Movies

Originally posted by me on my friend's blog on 9/20/10

Some movies are just not for all audiences.  The movies on this top ten list are all movies that are for men.  Check your pants.  Are your genitals outside your body?  If so, then this list is for you.  If you haven’t seen the majority of these movies, check your pants again, because your man-card will be revoked shortly if you don’t add these to your Netflix queue immediately.  This list is filled with the best movies that I have seen for guys.

10.  Taken.  Why is Taken on this list?  It may not be the greatest revenge movie ever, but it is definitely one of my all time favorites.  Why?  Because Liam Neeson is just flat out badass in this movie.  I’m so used to seeing him in dramas and serious roles, so to see him taking names and kicking ass is an awesome change of pace.  His Bryan Mills is so awesome in this movie, I think he’d take out Jack Bauer if the two of them ever met up.
9.  Army of Darkness.  Although not as violent as most of the movies on this list, this film is definitely a guys movie.  My wife always hates it when this movie comes on TV, because she knows she’s just lost me for the next 90 minutes.  This is one of those films that women just don’t get.  Between the cheesy special effects and memorable corny one liners spouted by the awesome Bruce Campbell, this movie is simply a ton of fun.  “Hail to the king, baby.”

Welcome to PCP: Pop Culture Panorama

Hello and welcome to your first hit of Pop Culture Panorama (PCP).  My name is Mike and I will be your guide into the realm of pop culture.  I’m 29, married without kids (yet), and I watch insane amounts of movies and television.  I was in the film club in high school, where we watched classic films and then discussed them.  I took film courses in college at the University of Michigan.  Also, I worked in a movie theater through high school and college, so I watched every movie that came out between 1998 and 2004.  And I do mean every movie.  I have watched some amazing flicks and some awful disasters.  I’m not talking Pearl Harbor or Gigli levels of bad, I’m talking House of the Dead or From Justin to Kelly bad.  I feel that watching bad movies and mocking them can be just as much fun as watching a great film. I endeavor to watch every movie I can, either in theaters or when it comes out on Blu-ray, regardless of genre.  I have about 200 movies in my Netflix queue, and I have a home theater with a projector at my house.  My wife and I also have a movie collection with almost 800 titles we own.  I am a master at 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon and can quote a ton of movies from memory.  I also have a DVR with about 20-30 shows I regularly watch with my wife, so needless to say I watch a lot of TV and movies.
When I review something, I do it from the point of view of a movie fan, not a movie critic.  I started reviewing movies as a hobby because I felt that a lot of critics got a lot of movies wrong.  When I go to watch an action movie or a horror flick, the critics might have given it one or two stars, but my friends and I often thought it was awesome.  This is because critics are looking at a film from a technical standpoint, where movie fans leave the movie thinking about whether or not they were entertained and if they want their money back.  I have two different standards for reviewing films, one for “popcorn” films and one for “Oscar” films.  This is how I can give a movie like the Dark Knight the same rating I gave Schindler’s List, a perfect 5 out of 5 stars, even though they are two radically different types of films. I rate all movies on a scale from ½ a star to 5 stars, or in other words 1 to 10.  My friends, coworkers, and family have come to trust and respect my opinion on pop culture, seeking me out for reviews before they go to see a film or commit to watching a TV show, and I hope that you will too.
Over the coming weeks, I will try and get uploaded as many of my previous reviews of films as possible.  In the meantime, if you want to see my rating history (1-10 scale) of every movie I’ve ever seen, you can see it here: