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.

Monday, September 22, 2014

PCP on TV - 2014-2015 TV preview - What's on my DVR?

It's fall now, so it is time for the return of my annual TV preview. Sorry this is late, some shows have already begun, but I've been swamped at work lately. Welcome to the 4th edition of this post! Wow, I can't believe I've been running this blog for that long. Anyways, once again, here's my recap of all the shows that I'll be watching this fall, plus what is returning from last year, and what got cut. If you're not watching some of these shows, you're missing out! Also, you may notice some formatting changes from last year's post, I tried to streamline things for you to make things simpler.

Making their debut this year:
I think this year is our smallest additions to the DVR in a long time. That's probably a good thing, as it was starting to get a bit overwhelming with how many shows we watched.

Black-ish - This comedy focusing on an African-American family in a multicultural America is a big risk for ABC, but some are calling it an updated Cosby Show. It'll be interesting to see how Laurence Fishburne does in a comedy, something he hasn't done in a long time. Anthony Anderson should be pretty funny in the starring role at least. It makes its bow on September 24th.

The Flash - Arrow is already one of my favorite shows on TV, and it really got great during its 2nd season. During last season, it introduced the character that would become the Flash, and they are expanding the universe with this spin off. Considering there will be crossovers between the two shows, it's a natural fit to add this one to the DVR. Plus, it looks pretty good. The Flash speeds on to our TV on the CW network on October 7th.

Gotham - Although it is not tied to the same television universe as Arrow and The Flash, Gotham City is obviously a big part of the DC universe. This prequel show on Fox focuses on a young Detective Gordon, long before he becomes commissioner, and a Bruce Wayne that's still a child. The early buzz on this show is that it is the best new show of the fall, so that sounds pretty promising. Gotham begins on Monday September 22nd.

Marvel's Agent Carter - Marvel continues to expand its universe, and unlike DC is still keeping things tied together (they also have shows on some characters like Daredevil coming to Netflix in the near future). Agent Cater is the female agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. back in the founding days of the organization in the 1940s, played by Hayley Atwell, and she was Steve Rogers' (Captain America) love interest back in his films. This retro show should be pretty fun, but still tie in to the overall Marvel universe of films and television, so in a sense it is required viewing. It is only going to be a partial season show, filling the gap of the two halves of its corporate sibling Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when that show goes on a production break. It's debut date is TBD at the present time, but look for it in 2015 probably, or in December of this year.

State of Affairs - Katherine Heigl, who used to be one of my biggest Hollywood crushes a decade ago, returns to television as a CIA agent in a new series involving espionage, and with the US President played by Alfre Woodard. It'll be interesting to see if Heigl can play someone tough, after playing someone neurotic in practically every movie she's done lately. It could be good, and it could be terrible, but this is one my wife wants to watch, and considering I'm adding three comic book shows this year, I kind of owe her one. It doesn't make its start until November 17th on NBC.

After the jump, read on for what's returning to the DVR and what got cut! --->

Thursday, September 4, 2014

PCP in Theaters - Guardians of the Galaxy

It's been more than a month since Guardians of the Galaxy hit theaters, and it has been even longer since I saw the film, but I'm finally getting around to writing my review. Better late than never right? Besides, it was still the #1 film at the box office on Labor Day weekend, so obviously a lot of people are still watching it. Probably because the film is frakking awesome!

Guardians of the Galaxy - 2014, rated PG-13. My rating: 10 out of 10.

Look, I know I'm a bit of a nerd and a Marvel movies fanboy. So, take this review with a slight grain of salt. That being said, the characters in GotG are ones that I was not familiar with before seeing this film. I have never read any of the issues of the comic, and couldn't tell you anything about any of these characters before seeing the film. When I first heard that Marvel was going to make this film, I couldn't believe it. With such a deep roster of characters in the Marvel universe, this was the film they were going to make? Would Marvel have its first flop on its hands since it started making its own movies? I was concerned.

I shouldn't have been worried. The film is a ton of fun, despite having to do some major plot expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Marvel is using this film to greatly expand the universe inhabited by their Avengers, and a lot of items introduced in this film were done to make it so people understand when they show up in future Avengers installments, especially the powerful Infinity Stones and the character of Thanos. For the completely comic book ignorant, like my wife, she got confused at times as to who characters were and what were their motivations. For example, she has no clue the difference between a Skrull and a Kree, and doesn't know Nova Squadron from Thanos. So, her perspective on the film was different from mine, and she didn't enjoy the film as much as I did.

As I've said, I had a lot of fun with this film. The film has plenty of humorous moments, it is very obvious that this film is not taking itself seriously at all. Which, in the case of these characters, really works. In addition to many laugh out loud moments, the film also has a ton of heart. You wouldn't believe that a barely talking tree-creature could be the heart of a movie, but Groot pulls it off.

While the film gets slightly bogged down a couple of times from too much information and new characters being dumped on the audience, its hyperkinetic energy quickly brings the film back up to speed. The action sequences are pretty awesome and the CGI really makes this expanded universe believable. As a comic book film in the MCU, it is just as good if not better than anything that has come before. As a science fiction film, it is the most fun I had in space since seeing Serenity many years ago. It's not every day that a great space adventure comes along, and GotG really delivers as a space epic.

Bottom line: if you haven't seen Guardians yet, I can't encourage you enough. It easily was the best movie of the summer. I can't wait til its sequel in a few years!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sorry it has been so quiet around here

How busy have I been lately? Quite a bit, obviously, since I only had 1 post in August go up here on the blog. We did a weekend getaway vacation, work has been crazy, & my son came down with Hand, Foot, & Mouth disease, which was a royal treat to deal with. My projector at home also recently bit the dust, meaning I now have to watch movies on a mere 42" TV like a savage. (#firstworldproblems). So, I haven't had time to write lately, which is unfortunate, since I love writing these posts and sometimes I feel like I am letting those of you that actually read this stuff down with a lack of content. I once again have a backlog of reviews to crank out, including 2 movies that I've seen in theaters somewhat recently. I'll try to get those up first, along with my huge annual fall TV preview post. So, look for those posts in the coming weeks. Work is going to continue to be busy, and grad school is resuming again, so posts will be sporadic, but I'll try to get some done when I can. In the meantime, if you haven't already, follow the blog on Facebook if you want to be kept in the loop when I update, as well as get bonus content not featured here on the blog. The link to do so is here --> LINK

Anyways, sorry I've been not posting, I'll try to get some stuff up soon!