Monday, December 31, 2012

PCP on DVD - New Year's Eve

In honor of tonight's holiday, I decided to post my review of this movie.  From the people that brought you the overly crowded movie Valentine's Day comes the next holiday themed movie, New Year's Eve.  Starring an incredibly large cast of actors, this film tries to make you all warm and fuzzy about the holiday and it's potential for romance.  Unfortunately, it is 99% predictable and pretty much falls flat.

New Year's Eve - 2011, rated PG-13.  My rating:  5 out of 10.

When I say that NYE has a huge cast of characters, I'm not exaggerating.  Just take a look at the poster to the side, there's a full 18 actors with their names and faces on the poster.  That's a bit of overkill, and it actually bogs down the film.  And on top of the 18 billed stars, we get a whole ton of supporting actors that have familiar faces that make you say "Hey it's that guy!"  We get at most 15 minutes with any one or two characters, and some of the stars of the film are in just one scene.  Apparently everyone in Hollywood owes Garry Marshall a favor or something because the gang's all here.

By telling the series of intertwined stories for so many different people, none of the characters are able to develop much beyond a shallow stereotype.  All of the stories are completely predictable, and only a few are actually believable.  Most are purely designed to tug at the heartstrings but not leave any sort of lasting impression on the viewer.  It's kind of sensory overload.  All I know is that watching this movie annually on New Year's Eve will definitely NOT become a tradition in my household.

Friday, December 21, 2012

POS - My rebuttal to the NRA in the wake of Newtown

So the head of the NRA today came out and gave a speech blaming everything in the world but guns for the shooting in Newtown, including blaming video games, movies, the music industry, and other things for the shooting (all of which are BS reasons).  He also blamed the fact that there isn't armed security in every school because he thinks that would solve all problems.  Here's the thing:  Columbine had an armed security guard on duty when the shooting happened.  Virginia Tech had an entire armed campus police force.  Northern Illinois University also had an armed campus police force.  He cites the example of banks having an armed guard, but banks are usually small and only one room to cover.  Schools are massive buildings, sometimes even campuses.  My former high school, Stevenson in Lincolnshire, IL, has over 4,000 students.  One cop covering that whole campus isn't going to do much unless he happens to be in the same part of the school when the shooting starts, just like what happened at Columbine.  My college alma mater, Michigan, is even larger, just like a school like Virginia Tech.  Having an armed guard in every school is NOT going to solve the problem, sorry, but thanks for playing!

Furthermore, even if armed security was an option - how are we going to pay for that?  There are 100,000 public schools in this country, approximately.  So, if you put an armed security guard at each school, lets say he's making around $50,000  on average.  $50,000 times 100,000 schools = $5 billion.  And thats just for 1 guard at each school.  As I said, many schools are significantly larger than just single room schools.  So that 5 billion would just be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the costs for a program like this, in order to provide adequate coverage for larger schools.  10 guards per school, and we are now at $50 billion.  100 guards per school?  $500 billion.  Considering the federal government is in the process of driving over the fiscal cliff, where is that money going to come from?  Good luck getting the anti-tax and anti-federal government Republican party to agree to that.  Not to mention, those 100,000+ new security guards are likely to want to form a union (or the teachers unions will demand that they be unionized) so now you're telling me that you can get today's GOP to vote for a tax increase that will create 100,000+ union jobs?  Seriously?

Aside from that, I also find his remarks on blaming video games and movies for violence revolting.  Statistically speaking, his argument has more holes than swiss cheese.  Take just one video game that had been blamed for violence in the Columbine shooting:  Doom.  The Doom series of video games has sold over 10 million units since the first one's release almost 20 years ago.  There have been about 40 school shootings since the game's release.  That means that if every school shooter had played doom, there are 9,999,960 people that played the game that were not driven to a school shooting.  Put another way, that is odds of .000004, or 1 in 250,000.  You have significantly better odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime (1 in 10,000) or dying in a plane crash in your lifetime (1 in 66,000 given flying one round trip per year on one of the top 25 "safe" airlines).  Conversely, your odds of dying as a result of an assault with firearms is 1 in 321.  But yes, let's keep blaming video games, because that makes more sense.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

PCP on DVD - Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Robert Downey Jr. & Jude Law made their return in this sequel to Sherlock Holmes, this time taking on Holmes' most famous nemesis from the books, Professor Moriarty.  Along with RDJ & Law, director Guy Ritchie also returned to helm the film, & actresses Rachel McAdams & Kelly Reilly also reprised their roles.  Did it live up to the original (reviewed in this post here)?  Read on and see!

Sherlock Holmes:  A Game of Shadows - 2011, rated PG-13.  My rating:  8 out of 10.

I really loved the original Sherlock Holmes from 2009.  I liked RDJ's swagger in the character a ton.  This sequel delivers more of the same, as well as adds in Jared Harris as the evil villain Professor Moriarty.  Harris is outstanding as a villain, and if you need more proof of that than this film, go watch the first and fourth seasons of Fringe.  Also new to the cast is Noomi Rapace, the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, making her English language debut.  She cleans up nicely as a Gypsy here in this film.

The action sequences are well done and entertaining, but there is a bit too much reliance on the slow-motion "Holmes vision" that was used in the first film.  It pops up often enough that it starts to get a little bit annoying.  There was also less complications to the mystery this time compared to the first film, it was actually a bit easier to figure out just what was going on.  The nice thing is though that the film was still a very enjoyable ride, and it was fun to laugh at RDJ in some of the crazy costumes Holmes donned as a part of his disguises.  All in all it was an enjoyable sequel.  I'm already looking forward to Sherlock Holmes 3, currently slated for 2014.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

PCP on DVD - 50/50

Making a good film about cancer is hard.  Making a good film about cancer that is both touching and funny is even harder.  50/50 is an attempt to be that film, and fortunately it succeeds.

50/50 - 2011, rated R.  My rating:  8 out of 10.

50/50 is based on a true story.  The film is written by Will Reiser, a TV exec and real-life friend of Seth Rogen's that underwent treatment for cancer while in his 20s.  Playing the character based on Reiser is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, turning in yet another stellar performance in his career.  JGL is seriously and criminally underappreciated by too many people.  I'm hoping that the films he's been involved in for the past few years (Inception, TDKR, Looper, Premium Rush, 500 Days of Summer, 50/50) really help him to break out and get to the A-list level of stardom that he deserves with his performances.

The 50/50 of the title is JGL's odds of beating the cancer at the time of its detection.  The film is obviously going to have its dark moments, as it is dealing with such a serious topic as cancer and death.  But it is also uplifted by some great funny moments from Seth Rogen (turning in the best performance of his career), and also laughter at the comedic ineptness of JGL's hospital therapist, an intern fresh out of med school on only her 3rd patient, played capably by Anna Kendrick.  There are also great supporting performances from a very talented cast including Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston, Matt Frewer, & Philip Baker Hall. 

Overall, the film wound up being a lot better than I expected it to be and it is definitely worth a watch, despite the serious subject matter.  Go forth and be entertained!

Monday, December 3, 2012

PCP - Next summer can't get here soon enough

So we are now in December, which means we are 5 months away from May and the start of summer movie season.  To celebrate this, I'm going to share with you two new movie posters that were released today for what will likely be two of the biggest movies in 2013.

The new Star Trek and Superman films both are heavily shrouded in secrecy, so I don't really know much about the plot to either, all I know is that I have every intention of seeing these films opening weekend if my schedule will let me.  I'm also most looking forward to Iron Man 3 (May 3), Monsters University (June 21), World War Z (June 21), Wolverine (July 26), & Elysium (August 9), amongst many other films.

What film releases do you have circled on your calendar for 2013? Hit me up in the comments!