Monday, July 30, 2012

PCP on DVD - Vampires Suck

Welcome back to CRAPOLA.  In honor of the recent scandal of Kristen Stewart cheating on Robert Pattinson, for today's hit of PCP I'll be doing a quick review of Vampires Suck - a parody of the first 2 Twilight films.  It wasn't the worst thing I've ever seen, it has a couple redeeming qualities to it, but really you should only watch it if you have absolutely nothing else to do.  On the bright side, at least the film is short so it won't cost too much of your time if you decide to check it out.

Vampires Suck - 2010, Rated PG-13.  My rating:  4 out of 10.

Vampires Suck is a sendup of the first two films of the Twilight franchise.  Considering that the movie manages to parody the entire important points of plot in two whole movies in the span of only 82 minutes, that kind of says something about the films of the Twilight franchise being slow and bloated, right? 

If you are the type of person who enjoys making fun of Twilight, you'll probably find a few laughs in this film.  There are some clever sight gags and throwaway jokes, and at least the plot is coherent compared to some of the dumber parody films recently (Disaster Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans - I'm looking at you), but really there's not a whole lot to this film.  It's almost exclusively Twilight jokes, with only a few other scattered pop culture references, so if you're unfamiliar with the Twilight franchise, you're gonna miss all the jokes here.

All in all - if you like making fun of Twilight, then this movie is for you.  If you couldn't care less about the Twilight franchise or never saw any of those movies, take a pass on this one.  If you're a Twi-hard, then only watch this film if you can laugh at yourself, because otherwise it's gonna make you angry.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Blog reformat - now easier to use!

Tonight at CRAPOLA we undertook a blog redesign.  I wish I could say this is my doing, but alas I am not nearly as tech savvy nor have the same level of attention to detail and organization as my wife.  I'd like to give her a huge thanks and shout-out for the new layout that she put about 4 hours in updating tonight.  The layout should allow you the reader to better flow through the blog.  Here are some of the new features:

-Handy quick link to the 3 different categories of posts on the right side column - just click the tag for the acronym for the section you are looking for and it'll take you there.
-Only the 2 most recent blog posts on the homepage to declutter the homepage
-A Twitter feed of my 3 most recent tweets.  Follow me @MikeCohodes by clicking the link at the bottom of the feed
-A link to my wife's photo blog with more updates on our son than I regularly post on the top right - follow the link to "The Cohodes Family"
-The About Me, Favorite Webcomics, & Other Websites links have been moved to the bar on the top of the page instead of clogging up the right sidebar

Thanks for dropping in, I hope you like the redesigned layout.  If you do, be sure to let my wife know!

One additional new change - I also intend to be updating more frequently now.  At least once a week if not more (ideally every other day or so).  Coming soon - reviews of The Dark Knight Rises & Amazing Spider-Man, as well as a few films I caught on DVD recently.  Check back often!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

POS - A Modest Proposal on Gun Control

Today in the POS (Politics or Stupidity) section of CRAPOLA I'll be taking a shot at the controversial topic of gun control in the wake of the mass shooting in Aurora CO at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.  I found myself engaged in a debate on gun control after the shooting happened with some friends and family that are more pro-gun than I am.  And unlike this Modest Proposal, mine today is not a work of satire but a legitimate path for what I think should be done in terms of gun control in our great nation.

I'm going to take a look at some of the arguments about guns, both for and against their spread in our culture, and weigh in on them with my thoughts and ideas for where we should go from here, in the wake of yet another mass shooting.  As most of you know, I'm primarily a Democrat, but I actually do support gun ownership.  I also enjoy firing guns, I think it can be a lot of fun.  I don't own a gun myself, but I have family and friends that own guns.  Personally I would like to own a gun for home protection, but my wife does not want me to have a gun in the house in case our son gets his hands on it.  Like most debates on issues, I think there is clearly a middle ground solution that we can agree is in the best interest of all moving forward.

Guns seized by Mexican police that originated in the U.S.

To start any examination of gun control and gun rights, we need to take a look at the gun laws and their history here in the US.  That look starts with the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution.  We all know how that goes, right?  "The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."  At least that's the text of the Constitution that is most frequently quoted, especially by the NRA and its supporters.  However, that is not the full text, and by omitting the full text, we are missing out on some key ideas behind gun rights.

The full text of the 2nd Amendment is as follows:

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Continue reading after the jump ---->

Friday, July 13, 2012

PCP in Theaters - Brave

I had a chance to catch another flick in theaters recently when we left our son home with a babysitter.  As much as I wanted to see Ted, I still haven't seen that yet, and instead I got to enjoy the Pixar movie Brave.  Between Brave & Snow White and the Huntsman, I have now seen in theaters back to back fairy tale stories.  I wanted to see this movie because even though I am not in the film's target audience, I tend to enjoy Pixar's films.  Unfortunately, Brave wasn't as good as most of their previous efforts, although it was still a good movie.  Out of all the Pixar films, the only ones I enjoyed less than Brave were the Cars movies.  That's not because Brave is bad, but because all the other Pixar films before it have been that much better. 

Brave - 2012, Rated PG.  100 Minutes.  Starring the voices of:  Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, & Craig Ferguson.  My rating:  7.5 out of 10. 

Brave is Pixar's first attempt at telling a fairy tale.  It is the story of a Scottish Princess who has a bit of a wild independent streak in her, and her attempts to avoid the fate of an arranged marriage.  Princess Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald (probably best known for her role in Trainspotting), is as wild and untamed as her hair, to the amusement of her father Fergus (the awesome Billy Connolly) and frustration of her mother Elinor (Emma Thompson).  Merida embarrasses her potential suitors at an archery tournament to win her hand in marriage and flees her mother's wrath.  On the way she encounters a witch (ironically casted Julie Walters, aka Molly Weasley) and gets a spell from her to change her mother's mind about the marriage plans.  Only, as expected in these sorts of stories, the spell does not quite work as Merida had in mind.  It becomes a race against time to undo the spell and save Elinor from a cruel fate.

Read the rest of the review after the jump! --->

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

PCP in Theaters - Snow White & The Huntsman

For today's hit of PCP I'll be writing about the recent fantasy film Snow White & The Huntsman.  I saw this with my wife on June 15th, 2 weeks after it was released in theaters, as my wife wanted to see this over Prometheus.  Although I was disappointed to not see Prometheus at the time, at least this movie turned out to not have been a total waste of time and it was actually quite enjoyable.  One thing that worried me was the size of the audience.  We caught this in a matinee on a Friday, two weeks after it was released, and we were the only two people in the theater.  When we caught Avengers three weeks after it came out on a Friday matinee, the theater was still packed.  Fortunately, despite that bad omen, the movie wasn't as bad as I feared.

Snow White & The Huntsman - 2012, Rated PG-13. 127 minutes.  Starring:  Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, & Charlize Theron.  My rating:  7 out of 10.

Snow White is an old tale that is familiar to all of us thanks to it being previously told countless times to children growing up all over the world. I've never seen a version of the story that is as dark as this one though.  SW&TH goes back to the dark origins of the Snow White story by the Brothers Grimm, bypassing the comedy and heart of the Disney version of the tale, and going even darker than the original Grimm story.  The movie expands the small role of the Huntsman into a major character who has a ton of screentime.  This has been a good year for Chris Hemsworth, as this is his 3rd movie this year, with the Red Dawn remake still to come in the winter.

The story is nothing really new, as by now everyone already knows the story of Snow White, unless they've been living under a rock their whole lives.  The only thing the film can do is tell the story in a new and exciting way.  In that sense, the film succeeds.  Visually, there are some sequences in this film that are quite amazing and thrilling, and in a couple cases very visually inventive.  I liked the way that the magic mirror melted and took the form of a person, and also how the troll under the bridge was actually camouflaged to look like the bridge itself.  That was a great little detail. 

Kristen Stewart is not terrible in this movie, although her performance wasn't phenomenal either.  She had the same blank expression for most of the film that she does in the Twilight series, so at this point I'm starting to wonder if she is even capable of facial expressions or not, having not seen evidence on film to the contrary.  She's severely upstaged by the very entertaining performance of Charlize Theron as the evil Queen Ravenna.  She hams it up in the role, and it is quite enjoyable to watch.  Also, she is stunning, because she's Charlize Theron.  The script of the film had to point out that the reason that Kristen Stewart was considered to be "the fairest of all" was that it included inner beauty as well, because in reality there is no way Stewart is winning that comparison.

In short, I liked this film because of some of the new twists it had on the Snow White story.  It found a way to tell that story that wasn't boring or a total rehash of all the other versions of Snow White that have come before. It had some cool visuals and decent action sequences.  Apparently, the studio has already greenlight a sequel, but I don't think I'd have any desire to see it if Charlize Theron's character doesn't return.
Trailer Hitch - These were the trailers attached to SW&TH and my thoughts on them

Katy Perry: Part of Me - I tend to avoid concert movies because they are rarely good. Despite the turmoil in Katy Perry's life in the past year, I don't have any desire to see that drama play out behind the scenes of her concert tour.  I'll pass.

Total Recall - I like the original version of this film, and the remake looks visually amazing.  I'm rather excited for this one, I hope they pull off a good job.  The last Colin Farrell remake, Fright Night (my review here), turned out to be an unexpected surprise, so I'm hoping lightning will strike twice.  I'll definitely be seeing this, and hopefully in theaters.

House at the End of the Street - This movie seems so much like so many other horror films I've seen before that I don't particularly feel the need to rush out and see this one.  I'll pass.

Les Miserables - It has a great cast, and it is a great musical, so I know I'll be seeing this eventually.  It comes out the same day as The Hobbit though, so I'll be seeing that first.  I'll probably catch this on DVD.

Ice Age: Continental Drift - Aside from the horrendously awful science this franchise teaches to impressionable youth (having the Dawn of the Dinosaurs come in the 3rd movie), I doubt I'll see this unless I catch it on DVD years from now when my son is older.

Bourne Legacy - I've enjoyed the Bourne series up until now, and nothing I've seen in this trailer makes me think this outing will be any different.  The film series continues to be wildly different than the books, but it is nice that they are having their own take on the character.  I'll probably catch this on DVD.