Archive | November, 2011

PCP Episode 055: Super Hero Dramas

29 Nov

Sorry about the lack of a Weekly Dose this week, but we’ll be making it up to you guys with a special double-post. This time, we’re talking television. Specifically, super hero dramas. We go into non-licensed shows (ie no characters from DC or Marvel). We go from the classics like Greatest American Hero, 6 Million Dollar Man and Zorro to Japanese adaptations like Big Bad Beetleborgs and Ultra Man. But, you’re more concerned with the modern versions, right? How about Buffy the Vampire Slayer (yes, it counts), Secret World of Alex Mack, The Cape (ugh) and spend a lot of time on the rise and falllll of Heroes. What are some of your favorites and which superhero TV dramas can suck it? Let us know and be sure to check back in this week for 056: Legend of Zelda.


Marcus Reviews Yelawolf’s Radioactive

23 Nov

Radioactive (Introduction): Over minimalistic and sparse production featuring only drums and tame synths Yelawolf shows off his unique rap style as he spits flames on this intro track. Does a good job of giving new listeners a taste of what their in for and reminds old listeners why Yelawolf is one of the most promising up and comers in the rap game. (4/5)

Get Away feat Shawty Fatt & Mystikal: Yes you’re reading that right, Mystikal is on this song and he’s rambling as only he can lol. Not much going on in this song as far as substance goes but I’m sure people that are heavy in the Southern Rap scene will appreciate this one. To everyone else though it’s easily skippable. (2.5/5)

Let’s Rock feat Kid Rock: Kid Rock, another artist who hasn’t been relevant in a while, provides a catchy anthem-like chorus (thank god he didn’t rap) for this tribute to Yelawolf’s country roots. Over a energetic rock/rap mash up beat, Yela gives us a tour of sorts of the country lifestyle that he proudly shows off and gives a bit of insight on how the south his impacted him. Judging from the chorus and beat I could definitely see this being one of the mainstream singles off of the album but Yelawolf doesn’t change his style up so that it can appeal to the masses. (3.5/5)

Hard White (Up In The Club) feat Lil Jon: Some of you may have heard this one already since it was the first song to be released off of the album. To put it simply, this song fuckin BANGS. Yelawolf and Lil Jon get ignorant over a bass heavy beat that features a sample of a woman singing what sounds like gibberish on this track that is tailor made for house parties and clubs. I don’t party often but if I was out and this song came on best believe I’d go nuts. (4/5)

Growin’ Up In The Gutter feat Rittz: The best word to describe this song is RAW. Yelawolf and Rittz compare growing up in the gutter to living in hell backed by a tense, slow burning beat which stays minimalistic during the verses only to have frantic electro-rock synths explode out of nowhere as Yelawolf unleashes his inner rocker and gets his screamo on on the chorus. The whole song sounds like what would happen if Trent Reznor randomly decided to make a rap song. One of the best tracks on the album and one of the best examples of how different Yelawolf is from all of the other up and comers in the game currently. My personal favorite track. (5/5)

Throw It Up feat Gangsta Boo & Eminem: Gleefully vulgar and Nonchalantly boastful with a beat that’s so Houston that you’d think this was a UGK or Geto Boys song, it’s another of those tracks that southern rap fans are gonna eat up and others will probably only listen to for Eminem’s verse who, while dropping a hilarious verse (all I have to say is Ugly Boy Swag XD), was kind of out of place on this track if you ask me. Would’ve rather had Em on Growin’ Up In The Gutter but that’s neither here nor there. If you’re a southern rap love then definitely put this on your ipod and swerve up the street. (3.5/5)

Good Girl feat Pooh Bear: And now we’ve come to the point in the album up where the inevitable love song shows up. Pooh Bear provides a simple chorus as Yela raps about not deserving the good girl he has but trying to be the best he can for her. It’s a cute track but a cliche and forgettable one overall. Not appealing or catchy enough to be a successful single and too lighthearted to appeal to Yela’s normal fanbase I’d definitely file this one under “filler”. (2/5)

Made In The U.S.A. feat Priscella Renea: Yelawolf gives a satirical breakdown of life in the good ole U.S. of A and the manufactured dreams that fuel this country. The critics have sung this song’s highest praises and it’s easy to see why as it shows an more intelligent and socially aware side of Yela. The beat and chorus on the song are nothing to write home about (which kinda hurt it’s replay value) but the lyrical content and subject matter alone make this one of the strongest tracks on the album. (4.5/5)

Animal feat Fefe Dobson: Coming through with the oddest/most unexpected feature on the album; pop-rock singer, Fefe Dobson, sings the chorus on this synth-heavy Diplo produced electro-rap track that his Yela rapping in full double time and shows off the southern wit that his fans have grown to love. This one is not for the hip-hop heads in the least bit but I could see the pop crowd liking this one and could be a possible single in the future. Overall it’s a fun little track that’s catchy enough to not be considered filler. (3/5)

The Hardest Love Song In The World: The second love song on the album but the only one to get it right. Over a soulful beat Yela raps about a Bonnie and Clyde-esque relationship with a southern girl while an unnamed singer croons on the chorus. Lyrically this song comes off sounding much more genuine and natural than Good Girl and it’s more catchy overall. It’s a sweet song with a brilliant title that would definitely do well as a single if he decided to release it as one. (3.5/5)

Write Your Name feat Mona Mona: First thing I noticed about this song is that beat is almost exactly the same as the one on Aston Martin Music by Rick Ross but with a piano added in there. Makes it seem like J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League bullshitted with this beat. But anyway, Yelawolf tries his hand at inspirational music on this track as he raps about there being a star in all of us. I won’t lie, this track’s kinda corny (especially the chorus) and with the half assed beat backing it I can’t help but label this as skippable. (2/5)

Everything I Love The Most: Just in case you forgot that Yelawolf is a proud redneck from Alabama he aims to remind you on this song as he gets his country rap on. The chorus on this song sounds right out of your typical country song as Yela melodically asks “Why is everything I love the most so wrong for me?”. As someone who’s not really into country I can’t honestly say I’m into this one but I’m sure there are people who’d dig it. If anything you definitely can’t say that Yelawolf isn’t proud of where he comes from and that’s admirable. (2.5/5)

Radio: In the same way that he did on Made In The U.S.A., Yelawolf breaks down how the internet killed radio and music video stations. He drops alot of truth on this song and I’d probably like it more if the music backing it wasn’t so generic and the chorus (which I think he sung himself) wasn’t so weak. It’s a great idea/message that’s waste on a lackluster song. (2.5/5)

Slumerican Shitizen feat Killer Mike: Yelawolf goes all punk rock on our asses as he openly embraces the way society views his hillbilly lifestyle and dubs himself a Slumerican Shitizen (which I’m sure will catch on) while Killer Mike drops a verse about how the lower class gets dicked by the government. While you definitely hear Yelawolf’s rock influences throughout the album this is probably the closest we get to a full on rock song. It’s Yelawolf at his most rebellious and you can’t help but love the way the guy is so sure of himself. One of the stronger tracks on the album. (4/5)

The Last Song: As the album draws to a close we’re treated to the most personal song on it as a reflective Yelawolf talks about his strained relationship with his father and how due to the absence of his father he was forced to grow into a man at a young age to take care of his mother with nothing but a piano and light beatboxing as the backdrop. It’s impossible not to appreciate the heartfelt honesty on this track and I think that it was smart to place at the end of the album so that just when you think you’ve figured this guy out, BAM he gives you some more to learn. Another one of the stronger tracks on the album. (5/5)

Yelawolf is known for being one of the most polarizing up and comers in the rap game due to his southern roots. The general consensus with him is either that people love him or they hate him, there’s really no middle ground in his case and after listening to this album I doubt it will do anything to change that. Yelawolf’s pride in his southern background/hillbilly lifestyle is a constant theme throughout this album and while some people, like myself, will find it endearing and embrace it along with him others will be turned off by it and move along. Because the album has such a consistent theme it’s biggest weakness appears in the form of attempts to be commercial. The second half of the album much weaker and scattered than the first because of this. Most of the more “pop” sounding songs on the album are lackluster, a bit halfassed and ultimately end up feeling out of place in the overall scheme of the album. When Yelawolf is in his natural habitat though, he shines marvelously. Yelawolf such an intriguing emcee and shows his depth/versatility multiple times throughout Radioactive. He can be charming and witty on one track, satirical and self aware on another and then raw, vulgar and rambunctious on the next one. There are even moments when he’s all of them on the same song! What truly makes Yelawolf unique though is his oft mentioned Alabama roots. He shows them off so proudly throughout the album that you can’t help but appreciate it and his pride serves as the defining trait of Yelawolf as an artist (his schtick if you will). He’s a hillbilly, a skater, a rockstar and a dope emcee all rolled into one polarizing but extremely interesting character. While flawed, uneven and doesn’t really have a strong replay value, Radioactive is a solid debut album and provides us with a good analysis of not just Yelawolf the artist but the man behind the artist. I for one am anxious to hear what’s next.

Lyrics: 4.5/5

Production: 3.5/5

Replay Value: 2.5/5

Overall: 3.5/5

PCP Episode 054: Gundam

23 Nov

Shiiiiniiiiiiiing Fingeeeerrrrrrrrrr! Gundam is a dense subject with decades of history, hundreds of characters and plots that go every which way but inside out (in fact they might have in  SD Gudam). There’s a lot to talk about when discussing Gundam but this one is just a general and informal overview of the series as an anime. We look back on the various iterations, discuss our favorite Gundams and ask the obligatory nerdiest of Gundam questions: which Gundam is the most powerful? Well, you tell us. What are some of your favorite sagas, Gundams and which is the most powerful?

PCP’s Weekly Dose: Thanksgiving

21 Nov

We’re going to be honest here: we have been busy, short-staffed and didn’t really have anything to review  this week so, we thought we’d wax poetic of the times. Itis Day is coming up and we get into a stream of random discussions vaguely related to that for which we’re thankful. This includes the state of Community, turkey day traditions, black Friday  sales and so much more nonsense that it would behoove you to listen. What are some of your quirkier Thanksgiving traditions? Let us know and check back in for 054: Gundam

PCP Double-Dose: Superman Birthright

18 Nov

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We’re back with more foolishness. Marcus and Josiah were having a talk earlier and thought they were on to something they wanted to discuss. Even though we said we would avoid talking about Superman: Man of Steel until we were closer to its release, we thought it’d make for a good discussion. What is wrong with the Superman movie franchise and what do we want out of it? As per usual, if you can get past the 8 minutes of foolishness at the beginning, you’ll find a reasonably in-depth exchange of ideas. What do you guys want out of a Superman movie? Dose Birthright make for a good model? Let us know what you think.

Shegaw Reviews The Muppets

17 Nov

It has been just over a decade since The Muppets last hit the silver screen. In fact, the last time the “mop-puppets” portmanteau were together in a new project was the 2005 tv movie The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz starring Ashanti. I’d like you all to absorb that for a moment. Needless to say, I’m what one would call a Muppets fan and was excited to attend an early screening of the film at Henson’s alma mater, the University of Maryland, and very much enjoyed the experience.

The presentation began with the Pixar short “Small Fry” featuring the characters from the Toy Story series. The plot here is the same as the other: toy gets lost; must get back home. Bonnie from Toy Story 3 has accidentally left Buzz in a ball pit of a fast food restaurant and an imposter, in the form of an overzealous Buzz Lightyear meal toy, takes his place. Along the way, the real Buzz has a run-in with a support group of discarded meal toys made of characters like Neptuna, Tae-Kwon Doe [deer pun], a T-Bone (a steak transformer), Blue Jay DJ [scratch-scratch] and many more. It’s a 10 minute short that had more heart and genuine laughs than all of Cars 2. Even the credits, containing ridiculous combo meals like a chicken mace, put me in a good mood to see the feature presentation. In fact, that “good mood” is the best way to describe my overall experience that night.

The Muppets is a crowd-pleasing time that accomplishes what should be expected. It’s an ode to that twilight between Vaudeville and the variety show era that the Muppets established so many decades ago. The plot is simple and follows Gary (Jason Segel), Mary (Amy Adams) and Gary’s brother Walt (a Muppet). Walt always struggled with finding his place as he grew up and idolized The Muppets as child and into adulthood. Gary and Mary have been dating for 10 years and decide to spend their anniversary in Hollywood. Gary invites his brother along so that Walt can have the chance to visit the Muppet Studios which they discover has seen better days. Sneaking away fro the tour, Walt discovers that Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) is buying the property and plans to rip the building down in an oil-drilling scheme. Gary, Walt and Mary find Kermit and tell him that the only way to save the studio is to raise $10 million to buy the property. Of course, the only way to do this is to get the band back together and put on a show.

Yes, it’s a cliched “save the rec center” type of story and it works. It just feels right. The simplicity here is something that must be accepted in order to enjoy this experience. Those who expect depth here likely have never seen a Muppets movie before and are entitled to be dismissive here. But, give it a chance and you’ll find a semblance of the same satisfied pleasure from watching cartoons as a kid. It’s a different kind of joy to derive than watching cartoons today. There is a B-story involving Mary feeling like an afterthought in Gary’s relationship with his brother, but you figured that out from the synopsis alone, didn’t you?

“How are the Muppets?”, you may ask. They are all there, in felt and wiring, with only a little bit of CG. Kermity, Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, the Electric Mayhem, Beaker and Honeydew, Sweedish Chef and all the others show up. Though, and this is a personal gripe, Rizzo needs more love. The main cast does get the necessary back-story for what they’ve been doing over the years. Fozzy is in a Muppets cover band in Reno called the Moopets, Gonzo is “powerful plumbing magnate” and Piggy is an editor for Vogue magazine in Paris. Now, why Kermit, Gonzo and Piggy can’t just sell some stuff to buy back the studio is an oversight, but that’s me being anal about things like plot.

As expected, the movie is wrought with musical numbers and cameo appearances. Most of them are actually clever, well-choreographed and funny. There is one rap sequence that left incapable of movement for a few moments out of sheer discomfort, but that was the joke. It is a mercifully short song though and the reactions to it by the other characters matched my own for added hilarity. The opening number “Life’s a Happy Song” and “Man or Muppet” are highlights. As for the cameos, they are aplenty but many of them are so brief that they’re gone by the time you’ve recalled their names. They may not add anything to get celebrities to do walk-on roles but it does add to the atmosphere for this era of entertainment. At any moment, I would not have been surprised if Bob Hope rose from the dead to deliver milk or something.

I make it a rule of thumb to judge a film for what it is. I would not judge what what makes a cat, or a dog or an elephant a good pet by their ability to climb a tree. The same goes for movies. A comedy should not be held to the same rubric as drama or a horror film. The Muppets make for a strange animal though. It is, in a sense its own thing (as much of a cop-out as that sounds). Ultimately though, the movie gave me the third greatest gift that there is: laughter. You’ll have to see the movie to get the first two (or ask. Even parts that I would not like got pulled off better than I expected while watching them. For instance, there is a search for a celebrity host that made me audibly groan when they chose the “star” to do it (you would agree with me) that turned out okay because host in question was tortured.

Despite some gratuitous Car 2 advertising (we get it, Disney owns Pixar, Muppets and baby tears), I got what I wanted from a movie I expected to be passable. The Muppets is like an old warm blanket that just got thoroughly washed, but has not lost its shape or comfort. If you’re a Muppets fan, it’s a must-see if only to either behold or complain. To non-fans, give it a shot. It does not offend and has a charm about it that is virtually inescapable. “Life’s a filet of fish” and can’t wait for this one to go wide so I can share the wealth of jokes that no else will get. It’s time to punch…teacher! See? Nothing.

PCP Episode 053: Video Game Movies

16 Nov

If you can get past the tomfoolery of the beginning of this show, we promise that we do talk about video game movies. It’s a lighthearted subject that we’ve touched on in past (eg 013: Guilty Pleasure Movies) that is set for jokes and great/horrible memories. We talk the best and worst in video game movies (you know the ones we’re talking about), do Matthew McConaughey impressions that go on too long and close out by discussing which games should be turned in films. What are your favorite and most hated video games movies? What games would make good movies (but would ultimately be mishandled by Uwe Boll)?

PCP’s Weekly Dose: Immortals Review

14 Nov

Look, Battlefield, COD, Uncharted and Skyrim have been eating our collective man hours lately and we have to review something (and we were not going to pay to see Jack & Jill). So we hit the flicks to check a slightly less oily version of 300. Yep, accompanied by our customary ramblings we get pretty in-depth with this review with some solid breakdowns. We typically don’t have a rating system but, we give this one a “Kendra Wilkinson”. What does that mean? You’ll have to listen to find. Oh, check back in for 053: Video Game Movies.

Marcus Reviews Immortals

13 Nov

For those of you that know me you know that I’m a sucker for mass scale war flicks, especially those set in the old Roman/Greek era, so the moment I saw the trailer for Immortals I knew that I was gonna be seeing it when it came out. The was a second reason I had my eye on this project though and that’s Henry Cavill. For those that don’t know, he’s our new Superman but unless you’ve seen The Tudors (which I haven’t) he’s been pretty under the radar for most of his career and so this would be a good opportunity for most of the world to see what he’s capable of. So the big question is Cavill capable of carrying a film? I’ll let you know after a brief synopsis.

Immortals takes place back in Ancient Greece thousands of years after a war in the heavens between the immortals that left the losers (The Titans) banished in Tartarus and the victors (The Gods) taking their place as the rulers of the sky. During the chaos of the war though the Epirus Bow, a powerful weapon from the Gods, fell to Earth holding with it the power to unleash the Titans if held in the wrong hands. A warmonger king, Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), feverishly seeks the location of this bow to do just that so that he may exact his revenge on the Gods for taking everything that he ever loved from him. To do so he must find the Oracle (Frida Pinto), a virgin woman gifted with visions of the future, and during his search he plows a poor village where he has encounter with Theseus (Henry Cavill) a man chosen by Zeus (Luke Evans) to protect his homeland and save the Gods. During this fated meeting Hyperion commits a despicable action that sets causes him to be the object of Theseus’ vengeance and sets the course to the War on the Gods.

Now I can tell you right off the back that I enjoyed this movie quite a bit and because I have less cons than pros I’ll switch it up this time and list my cons first. My first and probably biggest issue with Immortals is that for a guy that is looking to wage war on the gods, Hyperion doesn’t seem to have a big enough reason be that upset (or at least it’s not fleshed out enough). He explains his reasoning briefly towards the beginning of the movie but after hearing his gripe with the Gods I couldn’t help but ask “Is it really that serious?”. Without giving up the reason why, the movie could’ve benefited from a flashback scene or a monologue to give some more pathos and weight to it all but because they didn’t go that route he ends up just looking like a guy who’s evil just because this movie needs a villain. Another problem that I had with this movie was that there were too many moments in this movie where things just seem to drag on. Because the action sequences are so damn good the slow moments seem that much slower because of the anticipation for the next fight sequence. Also some of the dialogue in this film left a bit to be desired as there were some truly eye roll worthy moments. Last for as gorgeous as Frida Pinto is, much like in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, she gave a very muted and mousey performance in this and didn’t really do much for me in this. Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…the pros!

The biggest compliment that I can give this movie and the one you’ll see in probably all the reviews you see is that this movie is absolutely gorgeous. The director, Tarsem Singh, is known for the Renaissance painting-like visual style that he brings to his films and with a larger than life, mythology based film like this he was an inspired choice. Everything seemed to be shrouded in this bright golden hue that helped give it a fairytale like quality that makes sense due to its origins. To further praise the visuals in this movie, the CGI/Green screen work is seamless and expertly done. In alot of movies you can obviously see when green screen is being used but with Immortals they found a way to really make it so that everything meshed together perfectly so that even when you knew CG was used it never took you out of the scene. Also as you’d expect the fight scenes in this movie utilize slo-mo, but unlike 300, it isn’t the centerpiece of the action. The high speed photography used in Immortals is usually saved for when the Gods (aka Team Fuck Shit Up) get involved in the action to really drive the point home that they are almighty and trust me, when they show up it is truly a sight to behold. The other big compliment that I wanna give this movie is that for a film of this caliber, the acting for the most part was pretty top notch. Before I address the elephant in the room, I’ll talk about the others that I thought did a good job. Stephen Dorff (one of my favorite actors who’s careers seems to have experienced a rebirth recently) essentially played the comic relief in the group, but unlike most comic relief characters he never looked useless or wasn’t constantly bumbling around needing the main character to save the day. He gaves so levity to the mostly serious group, provided some laughs for the crowd and still came off as a capable warrior when shit hit the fan. Even though I criticized his character’s motivation earlier, Mickey Rourke portrayed Hyperion as if he was a God himself. This guy believed that he was a force of nature and he was hellbent on making the world believe it too or else. Rourke, who already has a deep and menacing voice, intentionally talked very slowly to make it seem like every word that he was saying was a statement. That gravely voice of his admittedly made me a bit unsettled in scenes where he spoke from behind a mask. Now when someone talks about Zeus pretty much everyone things of a majestic man with white hair surrounding his face who throws lightening bolts at people. Because of this mental image that we’ve all come accustomed to, when I saw that Luke Evans was who they chose for Zeus I was admittedly skeptical. Evans seemed fully aware of people’s doubts and made damn sure that he made a statement because he did a great job. Despite his youthful looks he played Zeus with a certain prestige and sense of hierarchy that made him seem superior to the other gods despite probably being about the same age as the actors that played them. And last but not last there is the aforementioned elephant in the room, Henry Cavill, who after this movie I am convinced is ready to be a leading man. Henry Cavill brings the perfect amount of intensity and urgency to his role as the vengeful Theseus and makes him totally convincing as the chosen leader of humanity in this war. Theseus is a man who fears nothing except not being able to protect those he cares about and because of this he shows on more than one occasion that when said person is threatened he attacks with reckless abandon. It’s this “man of action” mentality of his that I find so refreshing in a day in age where too often do action heroes sometimes take too much time trying to work out their next action in their head and really made it fun to watch him fight on screen. Also Cavill is an actor that actually seems like he’s really LISTENING to other characters when they speak which makes his reactions seem more realistic and genuine than you’d expect them to be. He may not be as physically imposing as Leonidas but he makes just as convincing of a leader and that to me is impressive. All in all I felt like Immortals, while not a great (or even necessarily a “good” one) film, was visually arresting, featured good acting and had some really exciting spectacle thrown in there to really make it a majorly enjoyable popcorn war film. If you’re looking for a good movie to see as a group before the inevitable onslaught of Twilight, I definitely suggest that you check this out.

Rating: C+/B-

PCP Episode 052: First-Person Shooters

9 Nov

Call of Duty and Battlefield are poised to go head-to-head with releases just days apart. As we get closer to the holidays (yes, we know it’s only the first full week of November) these games will be joined by a handful of others for grenade-tossing, meleeing,tea-bagging dominance. So, why not talk about first-person shooters as a whole? We keep things general here and talk about some of our favorites, assess the Battlefield-COD war and make (un)related jokes along the way. But, what are some of your favorite shooters that we missed or that downright sucked?