Friday, August 31, 2012

PCP on DVD - Attack the Block

Sometimes I'll pick up a movie completely on a whim if I have absolutely nothing else to watch.  Attack the Block caught my eye at the library, and I saw that it was from the producers of Shaun of the Dead, probably my favorite zombie movie, so I thought "why not?"  Thankfully I wasn't burned this time and actually enjoyed the movie.

Attack the Block - 2011; Rated R.  My rating:  7 out of 10. 

Attack the Block is a British film through and through.  Shot in London by first-time writer/director Joe Cornish (apparently a rather popular comedian there) the film focuses on a gang of youths that have to defend themselves and their neighborhood from an alien invasion.  As the characters are all British youths, they of course speak in the latest British teen slang.  A good portion of which flew over my head, but if you turn the subtitles on you can pretty much figure out what they are saying from context. 

For a low-budget sci-fi flick, Attack the Block is actually surprisingly pretty decent.  The special effects aren't terrible and the director overcomes some of the shortfalls of a low budget by forcing the audience to use their imaginations as opposed to showing us directly the result of screams and gunshots, instead just showing us the aftermath in one particularly well done elevator sequence. 

In short, if you like sci-fi and can understand a fast talking British teenager, then check this film out, you'll probably enjoy it!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

FML - Fun with Sleep Deprivation

As I mentioned recently on the blog, my son Jackson is teething now.  He's had his first 4 break through the gums, and is working on a few more teeth.  In addition to him being fussier than he used to be, he has also begun to interfere with my wife and my attempts to get a good night's sleep.  He regularly wakes in the middle of the night again now, not hungry, just wanting to be held because of the pain.  This has caused my sleep deprivation to kick back in, making me less effective at work and at home, and increasing my feelings of zombiehood.  Also, I get migraine headaches when I'm sleep deprived for too many days in a row, I've now discovered.  So I've been having off and on migraines for the past 8 months, which sucks.  I have one this morning as I type this in fact.

I often find myself having to pull over my car while driving now, just so I can get out and stretch and get my blood flowing again, to help me to wake back up behind the wheel.  I have also cut back on my caffeine intake as part of a program to limit how much I drink, so the timing of the teething is not opportune for me. 

There is a funny story though about what happened the other day because of my sleep deprivation.  My son woke up at 5 and again at 645 on Saturday morning (and my wife and I had gone to bed around 1 AM so we were tired).  Both times my wife was able to calm him down and get him back to sleep without him needing to eat a bottle, but on the second wakeup I had already gone downstairs to get the bottle ready.  I took it out of the fridge, unscrewed the cap and nipple, and stuck it in the microwave to warm up.  When the microwave dinged, I opened up the door to find I had just microwaved the cap, not the bottle of milk.  Whoops!

Yesterday I also made the blunder of confusing the films Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in a discussion on Disney movies, dropping the wrong name for which film had the dragon that breathes green fire.  My wife said that's like confusing Star Wars and Lord of the Rings because the two films are totally different.

I really can't wait until my son goes back to sleeping through the night again, he had been so good for so long, I really don't like how teething is affecting him.  Hopefully I'll be able to get caught up on some sleep this coming weekend, especially with the day off on Monday, but since Friday and Saturday night I'll be sleeping in a hotel and not my regular bed, I doubt it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

PCP on DVD - The Hunger Games

Typically when a movie comes out that is based on a book, I have read the book first.  I did this for all of the Harry Potter movies, The Lord of the Rings, the Twilight franchise, and many others.  Sometimes, like LOTR or HP, I enjoyed the books and the movies.  Sometimes, like Twilight, I read and watched them to see what the fuss was about.  The Hunger Games is the first film in a long time that I have seen where I have not read the book first.  Eventually I'll get around to reading the book series, but I just haven't done it yet.

The Hunger Games - 2012, rated PG-13.  My rating:  8 out of 10.

The Hunger Games is the film adaptation of the first book from a trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  In the story, set in the future, 2 children are chosen as "tributes" from each of 12 districts to compete in a reality-TV type program where they have to fight to the death until only one remains, so basically it is a cross of Survivor and ancient Roman gladiatorial games. 
The heroine of the film, Katniss, volunteers to represent her district in the competition, to prevent her younger sister from having to serve instead, as the girl would have quickly been killed.  She and her fellow district representative, Peeta, go to the capitol city where they train and get makeovers before the games begin.

As befits a movie where the fight is to the death, obviously not all of the 24 chosen tributes will survive, thus making this PG-13 movie have a high body count.  A majority of the deaths happen off-screen though, leaving the viewer to imagine what has happened.  In the end though, the good guys prevail and the viewers are left awaiting the inevitable sequels.

As with any literary adaptation of a 374 page book, some things have to have been cut from the film.  I am not sure what exactly was cut, but the film felt like there were parts missing.  I'm not sure if this was due to bad storytelling or if maybe the screenwriters had expected all viewers to have read the books?  Either way, there were some gaps in the explanation as to what exactly was going on, and some of the jumps in time seemed relatively jerky or abrupt.  Overall though I did enjoy the film very much, and I probably would have liked it better had I read the books, but even without having read the books the film is still worth watching.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

POS - You should be reading Matt Taibbi

If you aren't aware of the brilliant reporting of Matt Taibbi you really need to check him out.  He is an investigative reporter for Rolling Stone, and his pieces on politics (where he'll call out BS by politicians in both parties) and Wall Street are flat out outstanding.  His language is a bit heavier on the profanity (which he uses to express his disgust and outrage at what he is writing about), but aside from that his writing is extremely intelligent and also easy to read.  He has a great knack for simplifying a number of the complicated things that Wall Street has done in recent years that has really damaged our economy, from the mortgage crisis, deregulation, and the LIBOR manipulation scandal.   His longer articles in Rolling Stone are very in depth and detailed about some of the worst things happening in our economy, often perpetuated by firms like Goldman Sachs.

If you have trouble understanding just how dangerous an unregulated Wall Street can be, you need to start with reading his book Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America, it is a phenomenal read and also it is a fast read, despite the complex nature of some of the things he discusses.  In addition to his book (he has others as well) he regularly posts to a blog on Rolling Stone that can be found here: or you can follow him on Twitter 

For those of you that are in favor of the full deregulation of Wall Street I challenge you to read Griftopia.  If that book doesn't change your mind and open your eyes to just what full deregulation would do to destroy America, then you are either blind or naive.  For the record - I do not want total regulation of Wall Street, just common sense regulation such as the restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act provisions that separate securities trading from commercial banking, as the ending of that restriction directly led to the economic crash of the past few years.  Read Griftopia, I guarantee you'll wind up agreeing with me!

*****UPDATE***** updated 8/30/12
Wow, I must have psychic timing.  The day after I originally posted this (although I wrote it about 2+ weeks before that), Taibbi came out with a brand new in depth research piece on Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital.  Make sure you read this, it is oustanding!

Monday, August 27, 2012

PCP on DVD - One for the Money

For further proof that I will watch just about anything, I recently decided to check out the film One for the Money, a film adaptation of the first in a very long running novel series by Janet Evanovich.  Despite the film bombing at the box office, I was curious if there was anything redeemable about the film, since I had enjoyed the book.  Turns out, there isn't much here with this movie.

One for the Money - 2012, rated PG-13.  My rating:  5 out of 10. 

When reading the book series, Katherine Heigl is not who you'd picture in your head for the character of Stephanie Plum.  On screen here it is hard to believe her as a bounty hunter, even if her character is somewhat inept at the job because she is just starting out.  At least Heigl is not as whiny and annoying as she has been in a lot of her big-screen roles lately.  The film itself is weak, nowhere near as fun or entertaining as the book.  It is perfectly and completely average.  It has a couple moments that will make you smile, but really this is one that you could never see and you wouldn't miss a thing.

Friday, August 24, 2012

PCP on DVD - This Means War

As a married man, I sometimes get stuck watching a romantic drama or romantic comedy in order to make up to my wife for making her sit through an action flick like Immortals.  So, since I sometimes have to fall on this sword, I at least try and watch the ones that have something for the men in the audience as well.  This Means War does that, having Captain Kirk, Bane, and some slapstick action to keep men from falling asleep during the film.

This Means War - 2012, Rated PG-13.  My rating:  7 out of 10.

This Means War is the story of two CIA agents and partners (Chris Pine aka Captain Kirk and Tom Hardy aka Bane) that wind up inadvertently dating the same girl (Reese Witherspoon).  Kirk and Bane (I refuse to call them their stupid character names FDR and Tuck respectively) have been partners for a long time but wind up resorting to childish actions that threaten their partnership as well as their lives in their slapstick battle of wills to win the girl. 

The movie itself is light and entertaining, not that I was expecting anything serious from director McG.  Kirk and Bane  have good chemistry with each other as well as with Reese.  The jokes are funny and some of the slapstick gags will have you laughing.  The action is okay, but at least the film throws some in to make the men in the audience happy.  Only one thing really bugged me about the film - they never explain how the CIA has an agent that speaks all the time with a British accent and is apparently a Brit.  Doesn't the CIA only hire Americans as field agents?

Minor quibble aside, the film was fun and there are definitely worse films to watch on a date night (like this list of films to avoid on Valentines Day I wrote earlier this year) so if your significant other wants some romance, pick this one up!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

PCP on DVD - Immortals

Actor Henry Cavill is going to be Superman in next year's Man of Steel.  If you're unfamiliar with him as an actor (basically anyone who didn't watch The Tudors on Showtime), Immortals was your chance to see how he would do in a starring role.  It's amazing the guy is younger than me, sometimes (like on The Tudors), he looks much older than the 29 he is now.

Immortals - 2011, rated R.  My rating:  6 out of 10.

My main problem with this 300 ripoff is not that the action was bad (it was good) or that the acting was bad (it was decent).  My problem is that it takes a pretty cool myth - that of Theseus, the mythical founder of Athens, a demigod like Hercules, slayer of the Minotaur and solver of the Labyrinth of Crete, along with many other tasks and actions - and strips away all that awesome and replaces it with just an ordinary guy chosen by the Gods to lead the Greeks against an evil army.  That is just the first of many instances where the film spits on Greek mythology, so if you consider yourself to be a fan of the Greek myths or history, then this film might make you angry.

Aside from the destruction of mythology, Immortals' other crime is being too much like 300.  The films are extremely close in terms of their style and action, and it almost feels more like a sequel to 300 than anything else.  If you can get past those complaints, the film itself is okay.  As I said the acting wasn't bad, and neither were the action sequences themselves, the film just felt like something I'd already seen before.  At least Cavill was convincing as a strong leader and fighter, which gives me some hope for Man of Steel.  But this outing was just another routine action film set in ancient times, and it has been done better before.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

PCP Top 10 - My favorite Tony Scott movies

As I mentioned earlier this week on the blog, director and producer Tony Scott took his own life on Sunday.  The man was behind some of my all time favorite action movies, and his style of direction had tremendous influence on the way action films are done today, especially his frequent collaborations with producers Jerry Bruckheimer & Don Simpson.  He also regularly partnered with one of my favorite actors, Denzel Washington, making five films together.  In his career he never had the success with the critics or the awards like his older brother Ridley Scott, but he still turned out some great films that I still very much enjoy watching to this day, films that in some cases will be classics forever.  So in honor of Tony Scott, here are my top 10 favorite films that he directed.

10.  The Taking of Pelham 123 - This remake of a 70s flick starred Denzel as the hero & John Travolta as the villain pulling off a train hijacking.  Travolta's turn was especially great as he plays an excellent villain (see also Face/Off, Pulp Fiction, or Broken Arrow). 
9.  Deja Vu - The closest thing to sci-fi that I recall Scott directing, this time teaming up with Denzel on a film involving using time travel to stop a crime.  It is an interesting premise that is similar to the later film Source Code.  Worth watching but you may go cross-eyed from the time travel paradoxes.

8.  Unstoppable - Yet again teaming up with Denzel, this time on a runaway freight train, and costarring Chris Pine (Captain Kirk), this train ride involves a freighter that will wreak massive havoc if it derails, killing thousands due to its contents.  It's the last film Scott completed before his death, and a great ride from start to finish.

Read the rest after the jump break--->

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

POS - What Romney would have to do to get my vote

I had originally written this post prior to the announcement of Congressman Ryan as Romney's VP pick and it was supposed to originally go live on the blog on Monday August 13th.  Then Romney had to go and announce his VP on the 11th, resulting in me having to rewrite sections of this post.  I hate having to do more work.  Anyways, on to the post!

For those of you that don't know me too well, I typically vote Democrat with some exceptions.  However, I have been disappointed in Obama's Presidency, even though I feel he has accomplished a lot more than people give him credit for.  So, if there were a viable alternative for my vote, I'd be open to considering it.  (Not that it matters, as I live in a blue state and thanks to the electoral college my vote means squat anyways- but my rant on the Electoral College will be coming to the blog next month on September 4th so check back then, we'll deal with that issue later).  But lets say the electoral college didn't exist and my vote did in fact mean something.  In that hypothetical scenario, these are the things Mitt Romney would have to do for me to even consider voting for him, something he has given me no inclination to do thus far.  So, Mr. Romney - this is what you'd need to do for me to even think of supporting you.

1.  Actually define clearly what it is you intend to do as President. 

Thus far you have been extremely vague on your plans for what you'd do as President.  How exactly will you accomplish things once you are in office?  I need details!  You can’t just say “I’m going to balance the budget” without telling us what programs you intend to cut and just how much you intend to cut them (because we know you aren't gonna raise taxes on yourself or your rich friends).  You aren’t my parent, so saying “because I said so” doesn’t work.  Also, now that you've chosen Paul Ryan as your VP, you need to clearly spell out what exactly is in the Ryan budget in terms of specific programs cut, how much of the budget plan are you endorsing/embracing, and what if any changes you plan on making to the GOP budget proposal put forth by your VP choice.

Read the rest of my thoughts after the jump!  --->

Monday, August 20, 2012

PCP - R.I.P. Tony Scott

So today I woke to the news that one of my favorite directors has died, Tony Scott.  Although he never had the critical success of his older brother Ridley, Tony was still a great director in his own right and I was never disappointed by any of his films.  He was the director of my all time favorite 80s flick Top Gun, as well as a number of other great movies.  He will be greatly missed by many in Hollywood and by his fans around the world.  I don't know what drove him to take his own life as the story is still developing at this time, but I hope he has now found peace.  My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends in this tough time. 

Suicidal thoughts are a struggle for a lot of people, including myself in a dark time in my past before I got therapy.  If you are feeling depressed or considering taking your own life, please seek help before it is too late.  The National Suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

POS - Jury Duty

So starting today, 8/20, I've been scheduled to report for Jury Duty.  This won't impact the blog too much, as I already have posts scheduled for the next few weeks to auto-update.  The nice thing is that this is my first time being called for Jury Duty in a decade - the last time it happened I was out of state in college so I was able to get out of it.  I'm sure the judge will have some sort of gag order in place so I cannot blog about my experiences until after the trial is over, but I will be posting my thoughts on the experience as well as on the trial as soon as it is completed.  Other than that, the only impact on the blog will be that if I am selected for a jury, I will not be able to do bonus updates on breaking news.  Just wanted to give everyone a heads up!  Check back later this week for more posts, I've got some more reviews that will post this week on Wednesday and Friday, and a political post going up tomorrow.

Ok so I wasn't selected for Jury Duty today.  Apparently I have to call in each day to see when it is my day to report to the courthouse.  Today only potential jurors 1-80 had to actually show up to court.  I am potential juror 265.  So, if that rate holds up, I will not be having to show up to court until Thursday.  I'll keep everyone posted.

*****UPDATE 2*****
So when I called the hotline Monday night to see if I need to report yet, they announced that anyone with a juror number above 200 can forget about reporting and that our services are not needed at this time.  Thus, I get out of jury duty without even having to go to court.

Friday, August 17, 2012

PCP on the Page - 2312

Despite how much TV and movies I watch, I also manage to find a lot of time to fit in a lot of books.  I typically read about a book a week.  I have a core set of authors that I read every book they publish, but sometimes I read faster than they can produce new work to keep me interested.  One of those times recently I found myself browsing the new releases section of the library and I came across a book that caught my eye.  Clocking in at 561 pages, I decided to give it a whirl and I hoped it wouldn't be a waste of my time.

I had never read a book from Kim Stanley Robinson before, but apparently he's a big name science fiction author.  I don't read as much sci-fi as I used to, in fact this was my first sci-fi novel (not including fantasy novels as I consider those a separate genre) that I had read in a couple years.

Set obviously in the year 2312, the solar system as we know it is completely different.  Earth is a mess, and terraforming has happened on many planets, moons, and asteroids throughout our system, resulting in an extremely dysfunctional political system.  The novel is a story that explores this strange solar system, finding political intrigue as well as wonder and scientific amazement. 

It is a remarkable book, but extremely heavy on the science portion of sci-fi, with a lot about genetic manipulation and the physics necessary for terraforming and spaceflight.  It drags a bit in places and I got through it much slower than a typical book of this size (it took almost two weeks, way slower than normal for me).  If you like sci-fi I do recommend this book, but for a lot of people they may find this book to be a bit boring.  It really is a remarkable world to explore though, so I encourage you to give this book a chance.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

FML - Rolling baby makes for annoying diaper changes

So my son really loves rolling and moving a lot.  Normally this is very adorable, but when I am trying to change his diaper it is extremely annoying.  A couple times now he has spread his poop onto other parts of his body or the changing surface by moving when I am trying to change him.  It is also rather irritating when I am trying to change his clothing, as he nearly falls off the changing table some times, even strapped down.  Does anyone have any suggestions or tips on how to deal with a squirmy baby that just won't hold still?  Please let me know what has worked for you!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

PCP in Theaters - Raiders of the Lost Ark returns!

So in order to promote the upcoming Blu-ray release of the Indiana Jones series, Steven Spielberg has remastered the audio for Raiders of the Lost Ark to have surround sound, and made the film cleaner through restoration, without actually changing any of the special effects (so he didn't pull a Lucas).  Also, for one week only next month, Raiders of the Lost Ark will be in theaters on IMAX screens, starting September 7th.  I only wish I had the time to see it.  I can only imagine the boulder sequence on the huge screen. 

Read more at --> 

PCP on DVD - 21 Jump Street

Remakes and adaptations are all over the place in Hollywood.  2012 has brought us several notable ones including the Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall, and this one:  21 Jump Street.  Some remakes have been terrible (Fame, Footloose) and some great (Amazing Spider-Man, Fright Night).  Unfortunately, remakes can be a bit of hit or miss.  Fortunately, 21 Jump Street knocked it out of the park.

21 Jump Street - 2012; rated R.  My rating:  9 out of 10.

Early in 21 Jump Street a character says a line that sets the tone for the whole film:

"We're reviving a cancelled undercover police program from the eighties and revamping it for modern time. See, the guys in charge of this stuff lack creativity and are completely out of ideas."

That line had me laughing so hard because it was so funny and unexpected it nearly had me have my drink come out my nose.  It's not every day that a film remake or adaptation is so blatantly willing to have a great time, even if it means making fun of the source material and leaning on the 4th wall a little bit.  And the film version of the TV hit 21 Jump Street definitely makes fun of the source material, and it is actually supposed to be a direct descendant of the show, as characters from the show put in minor appearances.

Both the laughs and the action are rather non-stop in this extremely enjoyable film.  Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum both turn in great performances and they make for an entertaining duo.  I'm already looking forward to the inevitable sequel to this hilarious movie.  If you missed this in theaters, immediately add it to your Netflix queue because this one is definitely worth watching.

Monday, August 13, 2012

POS - Romney chose Ryan

So Mitt Romney announced his choice of VP - Paul Ryan, a Congressman from Wisconsin.  For those that don't know who he is, he's the guy in charge of coming up with the GOP's budget proposal that despite passing the house has no chance of clearing the Senate.  Why?  Because it drastically ends Medicare as we know it now.  Democrats will never vote to kill one of their greatest legislative achievements.

What have I just gotten myself into?
My initial reaction to hearing of the Ryan pick was to bust out laughing.  Then I stopped laughing to think about what having Ryan on the ticket means for Romney, and then I immediately started laughing harder.  Prior to this pick, the entire Romney campaign was less about Romney and more about a referendum on Obama's Presidency - do we give the guy four more years or not?  Now with the selection of Ryan for his VP, Romney has made this election a very clear choice between two competing ideologies.  On the left - protect Medicare and the middle class.  On the right - massive tax cuts for the rich, shifting the burden of taxes on to the middle class, and ending Medicare as we know it for anyone not already over the age of 55.  Also, in the past, Ryan has backed the wet dream idea of George W. Bush - privatize Social Security.  One of the tax breaks that I personally enjoy very much as a new father - the child tax credit- would be eliminated under the Ryan budget plan.  I'm sorry, but I don't want to be paying more in taxes so that the super-rich get another tax cut.

The election has taken on a whole new tone today.  The GOP is betting that people want to see the federal government get smaller, regardless of how much pain there is for many in the country as a result.  The Democrats are betting that people will not want to see their taxes go up so the taxes on the rich go down even lower, and that they want to protect the social safety net.  If you thought this campaign was ugly with class warfare before, buckle up and hang on, you ain't seen nothing yet.  This is going to be a very ugly and bruising campaign.  Welcome to it Congressman Ryan.

Bonus side note:  Interesting historical fact with this ticket of Romney/Ryan.  With a Mormon (Romney) and a Catholic (Ryan), this is the first ever major party ticket to not have at least 1 Protestant on it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

POS - Olympics Fail & Win

So unless you are in a coma and having someone reading my posts to you aloud (extremely doubtful) you're aware the Olympics are going on right now.  I like the Olympics, and although I cannot watch as much of it as I'd like to (the drawbacks of actually having to work for a living) that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy it as much as I can.  So in the course of this enjoyment, I have come across a couple .gif files that I would like to share with you.  The first is probably one of the most embarrasing Olympics moments ever - a guy loses his grip on his leg while diving, and it causes him to break his somersaults and backflop into the water.  All I can say to this is "Ouch!"

Not only did you fail, you failed in front of a worldwide audience, and in the age of the internet too.  Good luck living this down!
And the second comes from the U.S. womens' soccer team's gold medal victory over Japan, an incredible save from goalie Hope Solo.  This save sealed the win and the gold for team USA.  America! F*** Yeah!

No Soup For You!
I'm already looking forward to the 2016 games, because being in Rio they'll be closer to our time zone so maybe we'll get more live events instead of tape delay.  One can hope so anyways, right?

PCP on DVD - John Carter

John Carter was a Disney film that came out earlier this year in theaters, bombed at the box office, and came out on DVD a mere three months later.  Disney lost a ton of money on the film, hurting their financial bottom line until The Avengers came along to give them a financial boost.  It made me wonder how the film was, because despite it bombing at the box office, I actually heard some good reviews from friends.  I decided to check the movie out for myself to see if I had missed out, or if the movie bombed for a good reason.

John Carter - 2012, rated PG-13.  My rating:  7 out of 10.

John Carter is an interesting character.  Written originally about 100 years ago by the same author as Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs, the character had many adventures on the printed page.  The film version had been stuck in development hell for almost a century.  The series was extremely influential on the development of the science fiction genre as it was one of the earliest and most popular works.  That popularity faded with time however, and by the time this film came out, few people remembered the original character or knew of his influence on sci-fi.

The film itself almost feels like a throwback to the 1930s, which makes sense given the source material.  The action sequences and visuals on Mars are quite entertaining.  The plot is relatively straightforward, and it feels like a pulp novel of nearly a century ago, or like a sci-fi version of the more familiar Tarzan character - a man out of the normal place in the world.  This retro appeal was a turnoff for many, and that is in part why the film bombed at the box office.  But if you are a fan of a decent sci-fi action film, go see this one.  It feels like something out of a different era of film making, and that's not totally a bad thing sometimes.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Update on the blog posting schedule & formatting

So since I relaunched the blog, I have had new content at least once a day for 2 weeks running now.  I hope you're happy with my new output and have liked the redesign (if you have suggestions or feedback hit me up in the comments).   I've had more posts in August than in the prior 4 months combined so far, and by the end of the month I'll have surpassed the total for January - July.  I've decided to look at my posting schedule in terms of how I want to balance it with my life, as well as to prevent me from running out of things to say.  So, going forward this is the plan (in theory of course):

Posts every M, W, & F for sure, usually for the PCP category.  I've already got posts for the next 3 weeks written and scheduled for automatic updating at 730 AM for the entire rest of the month of August.  These posts will continue to be movie reviews of something I catch on Blu-Ray.  Once I clear out my backlog with individual reviews instead of the dump reviews like in months past (15 more reviews to write still, on top of the 10 in the can already scheduled to post) I'll either keep doing movie reviews on these days or change things up and maybe start doing video game, music, or book reviews also.  It all depends on how many movies I can keep watching once fall TV comes back on the air.  I might throw in some TV posts as well.

Random updates whenever I find something that I feel is particularly cool or newsworthy, such as yesterday's Avengers 2 news, posted as often as I have a chance to bang out the words.

Tuesdays and Thursdays will not always have an update, it depends on if anything random happens that day, but if they are more of a planned update they will typically be in the FML or POS category of posts instead of PCP.

PCP Top 10s will be coming back as well once the movie backlog is cleared out, but as those posts take significantly longer to write they probably will be only once a month or so.

Weekend updates will be very unlikely, but you never know.

Oh, and on the format of the blog itself, I'm just curious if anyone else is having this problem:  On the internet browser I have to use at work (Internet Explorer 8 because we can't download Chrome), the fonts for the header of the blog as well as the blog posts displays as the font Comic Sans.  This is not my doing, it is not my font of choice for the blog.  I am curious if anyone else sees this or if this is just happening to me?  It doesn't happen on my home PC, which uses Chrome.

PCP on DVD - Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance

I am a sucker for comic book movies.  I will watch any comic book adaptation that gets released.  Sometimes I am rewarded with a great film.  Sometimes, I have to suffer through crap like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.  This movie was rather awful.  It can only be redeemed by turning it into a drinking game.  So instead of a normal review, I present to you the Ghost Rider 2 drinking game.  Warning - playing this game may result in alcohol poisoning.  I am not responsible for your fate if you choose to tempt it by playing this game.

Ghost Rider:  Spirit of Vengeance (aka Ghost Rider 2) - 2012, rated PG-13.  My rating:  3 out of 10.

Every time Nic Cage makes crazy eyes - drink

Every time you see Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the screen - drink

Every time you see the original Highlander on the screen - drink

Every time Nic Cage's hairpiece appears in danger of falling off - drink

Every time the film makes reference or shows Ghost Rider peeing fire - drink

Every time you regret having watched this film - drink

Every time you wonder how in the world a film this bad could have been made - drink

Every time you wonder how in the world this film needed two directors when it appears they didn't even use the talents of one - drink.

Good luck not dying!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

PCP - Avengers 2 news

In a bit of news that has me extremely excited - Disney announced today that Joss Whedon, writer and director of The Avengers (as well as the creator of Buffy, Angel, Firefly & Dollhouse), will be returning to write and direct The Avengers 2.  This news has me saying "Numfar - do the dance of joy!"*

In addition to returning for The Avengers 2, Whedon will also be helping Marvel to develop a live action TV series from the Marvel Universe.  No word yet on what series that will be or what character(s) will be going to the small screen instead of the big screen, except it wont be the Incredible Hulk - Marvel already has a deal in place with Guillermo Del Toro to try and bring that character back to TV.

For more on the story - click here

*If you have no idea what that quote references, clearly you are not a fan of Whedon's work on TV

PCP in Theaters - The Amazing Spider-Man

There are many people who feel that it was too soon to reboot the Spider-Man franchise.  I was one of those people.  Unfortunately, the character is too much of a cash cow to let it sit on the shelf unmilked, especially after the disappointing Spider-Man 3.  But I really wasn't that psyched for this new take on the character.  I went in to the theater not sure if I'd be disappointed or surprised.  It turned out to be the latter.

The Amazing Spider-Man - 2012; rated PG-13.  My rating:  9 out of 10.
I enjoyed the new Spidey very much.  I saw it in 2-D not 3-D so there are several shots that made me wish I had actually had a chance to catch it in 3-D.  The film does a number of first person flying as Spidey moments that probably would have been quite fun to see in 3-D. 

As a film, aside from the visual wonderment, I thought the new Spidey did a pretty good job of revising the origin story in a way that was partly more true to the comics.  Gone are the organic webshooters and back are the reloadable wrist shooters.  The film also breezed through more of the origin so they could better focus on developing the relationship between Peter & Gwen Stacy (no Mary Jane) and also to better develop the villain Dr. Connors.  It was also nice to see the film tackle a villain that hadn't been portrayed on screen in any of the 3 previous films (not counting Dr. Connors' appearance as one of Peter's professors in Spidey 3, but he was never portrayed as Lizard). 

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone had a great believable chemistry (which makes sense as they're now dating) that helped propel the film along, and the action sequences were top notch.  It's not as good as Spider-Man 2 was, but the film definitely does a great job of reestablishing the character.  I look forward to more visits with this take on Spidey in the years to come.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

PCP on the Page & on TV - Game of Thrones

If you haven't been watching or reading the Game of Thrones series, you are seriously missing out.  The TV Series Game of Thrones airs on HBO and has run two seasons so far.  I've only seen the first, as the 2nd isn't on DVD yet and I do not have HBO.  The show is outstanding, and a rather faithful adaptation of the book series.  The best way to describe the show is it is kind of like the Sopranos in terms of the drama, with a dash of True Blood's sex and violence, but set in a medieval fantasy setting - a world with magic and dragons (though that is more of an important issue in the books so far than the show).  The book series by author George R.R. Martin is 5 books and counting so far (he is planning for 7 total), and I cannot recommend them enough.  They are long (some hit the 1000 page mark) but they are outstanding, some of the best fantasy writing I have ever read.  If you haven't already watched the first season or read the books, I highly encourage you to go out and do so as soon as you can.  The seasons of the show are 10 episodes each, and although the first season is a little slow in starting, once it gets going, it is just a phenomenal show.  It has been heavily decorated by the Emmys, and for good reason.

For those of you that have read the books or watched the series, I leave you the below .gif image of probably my favorite moment of the first season.  For those of you that haven't watched the show, once you do you'll understand just why this is so awesome.

Monday, August 6, 2012

FML - Teething update

So the 2nd tooth has now cracked the surface of my son's gums.  I'd put up photos but it is incredibly difficult to get my son to take a picture with us holding down his lip.  He really doesn't like this and thrashes a ton, and even if he's sleeping he rolls away from the attempts.  So, if you want to see my son's teeth, you have to see us in person :-D  In the meantime though, just curious for parents of children, is there a common order the teeth arrive in?  He has now gotten both of the middle teeth on his lower jaw, but I am wondering if there is a pattern on which the teeth break through or is it random.  For those of you with more than 1 child, what order did they grow in?  Combination of top and bottom?  Front to back or back to front?  Or just random all over the place?  I'm just curious so I know what to expect.  Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!

PCP on DVD - Chronicle

Some of the found footage movies are done better than others.  Chronicle is one of those movies. 

Chronicle - 2012, rated PG-13.  My rating:  8 out of 10.

Chronicle is sort of like a comic book movie, in the sense that 3 teenage boys develop mutant powers after an unexplainable incident.  Where it departs from superhero films is that the film is shot in a "found footage" style, and also none of the characters is particularly heroic until forced to become so.  In fact, the film is more of a study of what would happen if 3 teenage boys developed incredible powers, but didn't have anything to limit their behavior.  Also, one of the characters is a little unstable to begin with, thanks to his upbringing and social outcast standing within his high school.  Chronicle follows the characters as they come to grips with their new abilities, and the bad things that can happen if a person with the wrong personality becomes a powerful telekinetic.

I don't want to say too much more on the movie because I don't want to spoil anything, it is a good story told rather well.  It's definitely worth checking out and I highly recommend it. Also, unlike many found footage films, the footage gets more and more stable as the film wears on, explained in the plot as the characters using their telekinesis to stabilize the cameras, so at least it isn't as nauseating as some films (Blair Witch Project I'm looking at you).  Definitely go check this one out!

Friday, August 3, 2012

POS - My thoughts on the Chick-Fil-A situation

So Chick-Fil-A has been in the news a bit lately, thanks to the appreciation day on Wednesday and the same-sex kiss-in on Friday.  There has been some extremely heated debate over the whole situation, and I wanted to weigh in with my own thoughts on it.  This is what I think about the whole situation:

1.  Chick-Fil-A's president Dan Cathy has the right to say whatever he wants to say.  His right to say or do whatever he wants is protected by the Constitution, as long as it is not illegal.
2.  Chick-Fil-A has built its reputation on being a company with very strong Christian values, to the point that they are closed on Sundays.  If anyone is really surprised that the head of the company would be opposed to gay marriage, I'm surprised that they don't have the brain cells to figure that one out on their own.
3.  Just as Dan Cathy has the 1st Amendment right to say whatever he wants doesn't mean that people have to like it.  The people protesting have every much as right under the 1st Amendment to protest the company as the people supporting it.
4.  Chick-Fil-A as a company has the right to spend its money lobbying for whatever it desires, even if they are funding groups that are deemed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups, so long as it is doing nothing illegal. It's not like CFA is the first company to lobby government for changes.
5.  Customers that don't want to see the money they pay the company for their services have the right to take their business elsewhere.  No one is forcing them to buy the food there, no matter how tasty it may be (I wouldn't know, I've never had their food).  This applies to any company you have a political disagreement with.  I for one try to shop as little as possible at Wal-Mart because of some of their policies.
6.  People that are still shopping at CFA are effectively telling their gay friends (if they have any) that they think tasty fried chicken sandwiches are more important to them than their friendship with that person.  This gentleman's excellent essay on the matter should be read by all:  The Chick Fellatio: Stuck in the craw
7.  Don't treat the employees at CFA like they are the problem.  They just work there.  In this economy, they probably couldn't leave even if they wanted to.  In fact, you may be attacking someone who doesn't agree with your point of view at all, they may even be closeted gay employees. Chick-Fil-A's gay employees speak out 
8.  If you treat the low level employees like dirt, then you are just a douche.  Man fired for bullying Chick-Fil-A employee

Ok those are my thoughts on the matter.  Those of you that know me know where I stand on the debate over same-sex marriage and civil rights (and in the future I'll do a post on that elaborating more) but feel free to continue the discussion in the comments.  For this post I'll be heavily monitoring the comments and I will not hesitate to delete posts if you devolve into hateful name calling.  If there is to be discussion of anything on my blog, it must be civil.

PCP on DVD - Happy Feet Two

Anyone that knows me knows I like to watch a lot of movies.  New visitors to this blog can probably figure that out quick by looking through my post history.  I'll watch pretty much everything.  Sometimes, that pays off with a good movie, and sometimes you get a dud.  Happy Feet Two was one of those duds. 

Two, not 2
Happy Feet Two - 2011, Rated PG.  100 minutes.  My rating:  5 out of 10.

Happy Feet Two is a sequel to the cute 2006 animated penguin movie that was far better than this one.  In fact, my enjoyment of the first one was why I chose to waste my time on this film, even though I am about 25 years older than its target demographic.  Sometimes kids movies have something for the grownups to enjoy.  Only sometimes though.  This is not really one of those times.

The film is a series of loosely connected plot threads primarily told through giant song and dance numbers by all of the penguins.  While the song selections are great (I especially loved Queen's Under Pressure showing up), since they are all covers and not original numbers it really kind of feels like an animated episode of Glee with penguins instead of humans.  The film also has a pro-environment, anti-climate change message to it that kind of beats you over the head after awhile, so if you are a climate-change denier and don't want your kids to grow up to like the environment, then don't show them this movie.

I'm sure this film is great for kids though, as the massive song and dance numbers are probably pretty enthralling to a 5 year old, but to a 30 year old the film falls flat.  I'll let my son watch this when he gets older, but I'll pass on seeing it again.

Thanks for dropping by CRAPOLA - if you are new here since the redesign make sure you take some time to check out the changes, as well as the posts archive!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

PCP in Theaters - The Dark Knight Rises

For the first time in a long time, I actually got a chance to see a movie on the day it was released.  I had the Friday off from work the day The Dark Knight Rises hit theaters, and I wasn't about to miss my opportunity to catch the film.  I also wasn't going to let the tragedy in Colorado deter me from catching this one in theaters as opposed to the comfort and safety of my own home. I'm definitely glad I didn't decide to wait.  I only wish I had a chance to catch it in IMAX, but maybe that'll have to happen if I get a chance to go a 2nd time.

The Dark Knight Rises - 2012, Rated PG-13.  164 minutes.  My rating:  10 out of 10.

The Dark Knight Rises was an outstanding conclusion to a grand trilogy.  This trilogy will go down in history as one of the best trilogies in film history (I currently slot it 3rd behind Lord of the Rings & the original Star Wars trilogy, and just ahead of the first 3 Indiana Jones movies) and deservedly so.  Picking up 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight, TDKR deals with a broken Bruce Wayne having to readopt the mantle of Batman that he had hung up after the death of Harvey Dent.  TDKR wastes little time in jumping into the action, introducing Bane in an epic opening involving a mid-air plane heist.  This action setpiece is an even better introduction to the villain as well as to the film than we were treated to in TDK when the Joker pulled off an awesome bank heist.

It is hard to review TDKR without making comparisons to both TDK and to Batman Begins, as obviously they are a very intertwined series.  In fact, TDKR goes back to the events of BB quite a lot, bringing back the League of Shadows from the first film.  If you never watched BB or TDK, go and watch those before watching TDKR as it will help greatly with your understanding of this film.  I have no problem with TDKR going back to the well of BB because it ties everything together rather nicely.  I do wonder however where the film would have gone if Heath Ledger had not died.  Would Nolan & Co still have gone in this direction for the finale of the series or would the plot of TDKR been completely different?  I would love to have a chance to ask Nolan that some day.

Read the rest of my thoughts on TDKR after the jump -->

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

FML - Teething Bites

So my son has started teething recently.  He has had his first tooth burst through the gums and has several others that should pop through soon as well.  Teething sucks.  It has taken our son, who is normally the most happy-go-lucky, smiling baby and turned him in to a cranky, needy, whiny monster for the lion's share of the night.  We cannot put him down without him crying.  If we are out of the room to get something, he's crying.  If we are sitting next to him but he's not being held by us, he's crying.  He's not so bad in the mornings, maybe because he hasn't woken up fully yet, but at night he is downright awful.  We have him using cold teething rings around the clock, and we use baby Tylenol in the evenings, but he still is just so miserable. 

Before teething - "Wheeeeeeeeee"

After teething - "Bite Me"


The photo of him on the right is about the best photo he's taken since his tooth has popped in.  He smiles from time to time, but nowhere near as frequently as he used to.  He's also been having a much harder time eating than normal too.  It even has managed to irritate him more than his eczema (although that requires much more treatment to manage).  It's even hampering his sleep, making him fussy in the middle of the night.  I'd gotten used to him sleeping through the night, I am not happy at all that he is having a harder time both going to bed and staying asleep.  If anyone has any useful teething suggestions from experience, let me know!  After all, it's only 1 tooth down, 20+ to go.  Oh lucky me.